(Published Dec. 16, 2014)

What’s in a name?

This is a frequently asked question, especially among those of us who are classified as journalists.

The reason is that when we journalists seek out athletes and come across names, we wonder if the individual is a Japanese American or just has a name that makes it sound like he’s a JA.

This past weekend, a couple of publications featured a top story in their sports sections. The Daily Breeze had a heading, “Miriota Can Strike the Pose.”

It was a story on Marcus Mariota, who was awarded the Heisman Trophy, which is presented each year to the college football player considered the top performer for the season.

Mariota was the junior quarterback for the University of Oregon team. He became the first Oregon player to win the Heisman.

Now the JA part of my chatter.

In looking closely at his facial features, I guess I can say, “Yeah, he might be a Japanese American.” On the other hand, he could be a Hapa, which is possible. He was born and raised in Hawaii.

I have contacted some people to get them to gather some background on Miriota. That is, his high school history and information on his family background.

Has a prep football player born and raised in Honolulu ever achieved winning the Heisman Trophy?

I should have an answer when my contacts in Hawaii send me their response to my questions about Mariota.

I had some good contacts with the Island football program when I was involved with the Japan Bowl, the first NCAA-sponsored college all-star game played in a foreign country. As the result of the Japan Bowl, American football became quite popular in Japan at the high school and college level. I was able to recruit some of the top college players to participate in the Japan Bowl, including Tony Dorsett, a Heisman Trophy winner.

After the game, Tony gave me his Pittsburgh University helmet for giving him the opportunity to play in a foreign country. I have it on display in our living room.

Yes, over the years, I have received numerous offers to buy Tony’s helmet.

Needless to say, some of the offers were hard to turn down. If I ever decide to sell it, I’d have to return it to Tony and let him handle the sale. Yeah, I have a room full of sports memorabilia that belonged to some of the great college athletes — with their autograph on them.

Of course, there are collectables from the world of professional boxing, including boxing gloves worn by such world champions as George Foreman and Cassius Clay.

I’m planning to give them to my sons. What they do with them will become their own business.


I would guess that Christmas is on the minds of most in the JA community, but in J-Town, New Year’s is also a major event on our calendars. I was made aware of this by receiving the following newsletter:

“In order to introduce the Japanese way of celebrating New Year 2015 to the people of Southern California, ‘Oshogatsu Little Tokyo’ will take place on January 1, 2015 in Little Tokyo’s Weller Court, Japanese Village Plaza and the Frances Hashimoto Plaza from 11 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Admission is free.

“The event will feature traditional Japanese food, entertainment and cultural activities such as mochi-making demonstration, a kimono fashion show and sumo wrestling.

“The New Year celebration in Little Tokyo is organized by the Japanese Chamber of Commerce of Southern California and the Japanese Chamber of Commerce Foundation with the support from the Consulate General of Japan, the Nisei Week Court and various community leaders.

“‘New Year’s in Japan is a very important day. It is the first day of the year and we can all start fresh and celebrate the new year,’ says Yoshio Lee Aoki, president of JCCSC. ‘We are very excited to showcase how the Japanese celebrate New Year.’”

I guess the one thing that caught my eye is that there will be no admission charge to any of the events listed.

I toss this in because nowadays whenever any event is announced for J-Town, a large admission fee is listed.

I’m sure that free admission for this event will be welcomed by those in the community who plan to attend.

Can’t think of a better way to greet the new year. I’m sure many of you will also do so, so I’ll see ya all there.


It was kind of surprising to get a news release in which Los Angeles County Supervisor Mike Antonovich was recognized as “Los Angeles County Mayor Mike Antonovich.”

I know he is tagged as “the Mayor of L.A. County,” but it’s not a term used too frequently.

As most of you know, I’ve been a friend of Mike for many, many years, long before he became a supervisor, so I guess I’m accustomed in addressing him simply as “Mike.”

Now, maybe I’ll change that and address him as “Mayor Mike.”

Hope he won’t toss me out of his office if I do so.

There aren’t too many high-ranking public officials who are down-to-earth like Mike.


College football is right around the corner but only a few realize that the popular sort is falling apart at some of the major schools. Included is the University of Alabama/Birmingham, which is terminating its football program.

Also considering dropping their football program are the University of Hawaii and San Jose State.


I’ve been a follower of San Jose State football since the days when the late Babe Nomura was one of the big stars. To think that they might give up football kind of staggers me.

Ditto for the University of Hawaii. I’ve been a fan of the Rainbow for longer than I can remember.

What’s this world coming to?


I guess if I were to believe everything I read on my computer, I might be a millionaire if I responded to all the mail I get regarding how to earn money.

Since I have nothing better to do, I responded to one of the money-maker ads.

No, I’m still having lunch at McDonald’s.

Have any of you in the reading audience responded to any of the “Let’s get rich” promotions?

I’d like to hear from you.


Yes and I’d like to hear from you if your hearing is, well, bad.

I’m having problems with my aging ears and have been thinking about responding to those commercials appearing in all the print publications. One is calling itself “Invention of the Year (not ear).”

I’ve been thinking about contacting the company but their deal sounds too good to be true, so I thought, why not try to contact someone who might have responded to the advertisement?

It’s the one located in Virginia and they say it’s available at an affordable price. Excuse me. Just what is an affordable price?

Well, just thought I’d toss this in since I know my hearing isn’t getting any better.

Don’t laugh. Well, it’s okay to laugh. I can’t hear your laughter anyway.

Heh, heh.


Okay, I guess I’ll wind up today’s chatter on something I haven’t done for quite a while.

As those who have followed me from years gone by know, I was involved in boxing. Yes, I did enjoy a lot of success in the sport, but boxing changed. It went from just plain sports to professional sports.

Now it’s controlled by a handful of guys who have the money to invest in the so-called sport. It’s more of a promotional game than a sport.

Take Manny Pacquiao’s potential fight with Floyd Mayweather.

Will it ever take place?

Mayweather is now 38 and Pacquiao is 36.

If they keep stalling as they have, both may be in their 40s by the time they climb into the ring against each other.

When I was 36, everyone used to tell me I was “too old” to even train fighters, so I retired.

Now, two guys who may be in their 40s when they meet are still getting all the publicity.

Oh well, at least I am able to fill my column by chatting on boxing at near age 90.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.


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