For 18 years, she's been coming to the zoo on Tuesday mornings for a little over an hour to put on her khaki uniform and spread the word about animal conservation, information and care.
She's seen the zoo peacocks running wild, the birth of at least 11 giraffes and the installment of a new education center.
Glendale News-Press News Assistant Rachel Kane took a stroll around the zoo with Yamashita to ask her about the animals and her time there.
What kinds of people take the tours?
"We did R.D. White [Elementary School] from Glendale today. The third-grade class from R.D. White was here and they were full of energy. The tours, we typically go from 10 a.m. to around 11:10, 11:20 a.m. We establish our own route. So we can pick our favorite animals. They (the zoo) don't tell us what to do."
What animals are a hit with the children?
"Well, little kids like big animals. They like the monkeys and the chimps. I think they identify with the chimps. Each animal has its own unique thing. Most of the docents have their own little spiel about each of the animals. It's good for the kids but it's also a social thing for docents."
What kind of animals are you into?
"I'm a reptile person. I have them at home. I have ball python and a Pakistani gecko and I have a box turtle and a desert tortoise. You can't have those unless you have a permit for it, so I have a permit. And I have a dog."
What kind of older students do you give tours to?
"Like anthropology classes come in and we'll do ape tours because they want to compare primate and human anthropology. And we really have to get ready for those because they can ask some hard questions."
What's the best part of the job?
"Touring. I don't know, It's good to talk to the kids and see them observe stuff. What we try to do is say that we are all linked and if you kill one thing it affects us all."
Menu from Oct. 18 to 24. Meals served 11:30 a.m. daily at:
Adult Recreation Center
201 E. Colorado St.
821 Maple St.
Sparr Heights Community Center
1613 Glencoe Way
TODAY: Hawaiian chicken, fluffy white rice, corn, green salad, wheat roll, chopped cantaloupe.
THURSDAY: Italian sausage, broccoli, minestrone soup, garlic bread, canned pears.
FRIDAY: Fish or hot turkey, sandwich, scalloped potatoes, green beans, marinated tomatoes, whole-wheat bread, tapioca pudding.
SATURDAY: Roast beef with gravy, mashed potatoes, peas and carrots, confetti coleslaw, whole-wheat roll, fresh banana.
SUNDAY: Turkey Divan, mashed potatoes, broccoli, tossed salad, corn bread, apple juice, Ranger cookies.
MONDAY: Beef stroganoff, buttered noodles, carrot coins, tossed salad, pineapple juice, whole-wheat bread, peach cobbler.
TUESDAY: Chicken with vegetables, brown rice, coleslaw, whole-wheat bread, oatmeal cookies.