Some of you may have read this story.

It’s about a lady from Delaware who was visiting Las Vegas last weekend.

She was staying at the Riviera Hotel on The Strip. As she passed a Wheel of Fortune slot machine, she had a few quarters in her purse so she sat down and tossed in three of them. That’s 75 cents.

No luck, so she tossed in her second 75 cents.

Whamo. She hit the jackpot. A total of $937,000.

Not a bad total for an investment of $1.50.

So what is she going to do?

“I’m coming back next week for another $1.50,” she laughed.


A reader who wants to remain anonymous sent me the following email: “A few weeks ago, one of your readers inquired about places to eat in the Gardena area. There are numerous places and the following are a few that we seem to frequent. They are informal and we enjoy their food. Most are small places and usually very crowded.

“Azuma Restaurant on Western near 162nd — a small place that stays open late with generous portions, always crowded and tasty food.

“Curry House, a chain of them, on Redondo Beach Boulevard, in a strip mall near Normandie.

“Gardena Bowl on Vermont is a coffee shop at a bowling alley with good food at reasonable prices.

“Kotohira in Tozai Plaza on the corner of Redondo Beach and Western Avenue has hand-made noodles, tasty broth, reasonable combo noodle/rice dishes, served both hot and cold …

“Kozan Restaurant on Cabrillo, north of Carson, has family-type dishes and is a favorite of many.

“Lady Bug on Redondo Beach near Normandie is a takeout place with few tables, and has good Hawaiian-type dishes.

“Spoon House on Redondo Beach, north of Pacific Square, serves Japanese-type freshly cooked pasta dishes.”

Thanks to the reader for the foregoing.

Gosh, I’ve lived in Gardena for nearly 60 years, but I’ve dined at only two of the places listed above. Maybe I’d better try out the others since I dine out more frequently these days.


I’m curious about how many people in Japan know where Antelope Valley is located. And if they’ve ever heard of the cities of Palmdale and Lancaster.

And surely if they heard the name Mike Antonovich, they would respond, “Who’s he?”

Well maybe in the next few months they will get to know about the above.

Antonovich is the L.A. County supervisor for the 5th District, where Palmdale and Lancaster are located.

So why am I even bringing this up?

Well, Antonovich said the two cities mentioned here outbid Los Angeles in luring  electric light-rail car manufacturers from Japan and China to establish factories in the two Antelope Valley cities.

Kinkisharyo International, a Japanese company, already has been awarded a $300 million contract to build its electric light-rail in Palmdale.

The deal is for the purchase of 175 light-rail cars. While the first 78 will probably be built in Japan, then brought to Palmdale for the final inspection and acceptance by the county, the latter 97 cars will be assembled at a former aircraft factory on property adjacent to Air Force Plant 42.

Remaining options in the contract could be picked up by the L.A. County Metropolitan Transportation Authority Board, adding another 60 cars and $200 million to the deal.

Speaking to members of the Antelope Valley Chamber of Commerce, Mike said these deals have the potential to produce thousands of new jobs in the area. And maybe attract a lot of Japanese tourists to the area they probably never knew existed.

Go get ’em, Mike. Maybe you’ll have to learn how to use chopsticks.


By the time you read this column on Saturday — it’s being written on Wednesday — the Rafu editorial pages will have a story on a press conference being held by former undersheriff Paul Tanaka, second-in-command to Sheriff Lee Baca, on Thursday, at which I’m sure Tanaka will announce his intent to run for the position of sheriff, opposing Baca.

I wish I could have been there to learn first-hand of Tanaka’s intent.

The press conference is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Thursday at Griffith Park, so there’s no way I can make the drive there.

So if I’m to assume that the press conference is to announce Tanaka’s intent to run for sheriff, what are his chances?

With his background in the Sheriff’s Department for so many years, I would say that he would win the seat as the top man in the department.

Will his ancestry be a factor?

In the past, it might have been, but I think he’s got a good chance to become the first JA to hold the post in a county as large as Los Angeles.

Well, we’ll see.

I guess if Tanaka does announce his intent to run for sheriff, he will have to give up his seat as mayor of Gardena.

He’s been the top man in the City of Gardena for quite a few years, having recently won re-election.

Go get ’em, Paul.


Well, with the L.A. Dodgers doing so well, a lot of interest in baseball has risen in the local area. Which reminds me that there was a time when baseball was the top sport in the Japanese American community.

The JAs treated baseball like it was their own major league.

I lived in the San Jose area and remember my father and brother dragging me to watch the games usually played on Sundays.

The San Jose Asahi, like all the JA teams throughout California, had their own stadium and playing field. Ditto for every other city where there was a large JA population.

One story on the subject, which had the headline “Japanese American Baseball Leagues Fuel Dreams and Community Pride,” tells the story of Herb Kurima and his career in JA baseball, starting during his grammar school days.

His parents were strawberry farmers and he had to work on the farm, but at the age of 18 in 1932 he played for the Florin Athletic Club, one of the many semi-professional teams formed by Japanese Americans.

As a farmboy, he never shared the dream of seeing his name in the Major League box scores.

A Stanford University professor said, “Japanese Americans in the pre-war period were not welcomed into the normal mainstream league teams.”

There was definite discrimination, but there was a strong desire in the JA community to bond through baseball.

In the early 1900s, the Japanese Americans began forming teams, eventually organizing leagues that played throughout California, Hawaii, and Washington.

While the JA leagues were not as fabled as the black leagues, they performed a similar role as a source of community pride and path to participation in American life.

I guess these days, basketball has taken on that role in the JA community.


TV commercials displayed by Kia, the Korean car company, say they have led in sales in the U.S. for the past five years.

Well, according to a survey, Japan’s Camry is said to be the most purchased auto in the U.S.

To date, 400,000 of the Japanese model have been sold, which far outnumbers any other make of car.

I can buy that. When I am stopped at a red light, I look around me and all I see are Toyotas and Hondas.

Of course, I don’t have to look anywhere to see a Toyota. I drive one. A Toyota Avalon.


By the way, how many of you read the fine print in the golf tourney results?

If you do, you may have noticed that Ryo Ishikawa, the Japanese golfer, beat Tiger Woods in last week’s PGA tournament.

Ishikawa scored a par in the tourney while Tiger was one over par.

This is not to even suggest that Ishikawa will top Tiger again in future tourneys, but it was a nice note last week.


Just in case you glanced at the Ventura County’s Most Wanted chart, you might have noticed that one of those being sought by the police is Katelynn Chieko Nakamura.

According to the chart, Nakamura was born 4/22/1994, which makes her 19. She’s 5’7” and weighs 150 pounds. She’s described as blonde with blue eyes.


Maybe if I have to discuss weather I must be pretty desperate.

At any rate, the weather has been in the news during the past week or so, mainly because it’s been so hot.

So where is the hottest city in the U.S.?

The top city is Phoenix and you guessed it, the second is Las Vegas.

Three cities in Texas rank third, fourth, and fifth.

No, Los Angeles doesn’t make the top ten.

So where is the coolest city in summer? San Francisco.

Seattle ranks second with San Jose in sixth place.

Yeah, Los Angeles didn’t make the top ten in the coolest category.

The survey is generally taken in June and July.

It is said that a lot of people looking for a place to relocate to use the hottest and coolest rankings in their search for their future home.


This one is dedicated to JA seniors.

Good friends are like quilts — they age yet never lose their warmth.

Whose business is it if I choose to read or play on the computer until 4 a.m. or sleep until noon? I will dance with myself to those wonderful tunes of the ’50s, ’60s, and ’70s and if I at the same time wish over the lost love, I will.

I know I am sometimes forgetful. But there again, some of life is just as well forgotten and eventually I remember the important things.

Sure, over the years my heart has been broken. How can your heart not break when you lose a loved one or when a child suffers or even when somebody’s beloved pet is hit by a car?

I am so blessed to have lived long enough to have my hair turn gray and to have my youthful laugh be forever etched into deep grooves on my face. So many have never laughed and so many have died before their hair could turn silver.

As you get older it is easier to be positive. You care less about what other people think. I don’t question myself anymore. I’ve even earned the right to be wrong.

May your friendship never come apart, especially when it’s straight from the heart.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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