LAS VEGAS — Hooray! I finally made it.

Since I finally got someone to drive me and my wife to Vegas, I’ve broken a five-month absence. Got here today, Sunday.

Needless to say, after throwing our baggage in our room, I dashed down to the casino floor, but to my surprise the place was crowded and my favorite slot machines were occupied. So I returned to my room and decided I might as well start working on today’s column.

The first thought that came to my mind was an email I received before I left Gardena. It was from Editor Gwen, who was here last week. She told me her luck was pretty bad during her stay.

Well, I guess that’s pretty much the same with most people who visit here for two to three days.

Maybe I can get some of the money Gwen donated to the slots and I might be able to give her back a few bucks. However, I’ll know how my luck is when I find a place to play the slots.

Maybe I’ll walk over to the Main Street casino. Seems like I have more luck there than at The Cal. Of course, I could also walk over to the Fremont to see if the machines there are more generous in rewarding the players.

The Cal, Main Street and Fremont are all owned and operated by the same owner, so I’m sure nobody will complain if I add any of the above.


In the meanwhile, I can continue to pound away on the keyboard to produce my column.

I never thought I would be in Vegas writing a column rather than pouring coins in a slot machine, but I guess I’m a journalist first, not a casino gambling person.

Needless to say, most of those hanging around the casino are from the Islands. Listening to their chatter tells me this.

I bumped into a couple of them whom I knew. They greeted me with their typical Island comment, “Hey, brah, howzit?

To them, I’m another “kotonk,” which is the ID that Islanders give to Mainland JAs.

Yeah and we return their comment with our own ID for folks from the Islands. That would be “Hey, Pineapple.”


Oh well, let me see if can write about something else. Needless to say, the weather here is a lot different from Gardena. However, I guess weather is never an issue because very rarely do we go outside the casino, usually only to eat at a Japanese restaurant.

Yeah, Makino. It was introduced to me a few years ago by a friend, Al Morita, and I’ve been a fan ever since.

Makino used to have four sites but now they’ve cut back to two sites. The one I frequent is only a few blocks from Downtown, so it’s convenient to dine there.


As I often mention, I get ideas on what to write in many ways.

For example, as I sit here wondering, “Let’s see what I can touch on that might be of interest to the readers,” my cell phone rings.

Hey, that stirs my mind.

The thought that pops into my head is, “How does the cell phone rate in the rankings of the most unique invention of our times?”

I would rank the cell phone at or very near the top in this category. I’m sure many would rate other inventions as topping the cell phone.

Heck, even the computer on which I pound out my column would rank near the top, but to me, it’s the cell phone, especially when I’m on the road.

Not only because I get so many calls from all over the place, but because when I’m in Vegas, my cell phone keeps me in close touch with my wife, who might be wandering around the casino.

So when I want to locate her, all I have to do is dial her cell phone and ask her, “Where you at?”

When she gives me her location, I might tell her, “Hey, it’s lunchtime (or dinnertime). Meet me at the restaurant.” That saves me a lot of time.

Of course, there are the “regular” phone calls. As I write this, I received one such call:

“Hey, Horse, where you at?” the voice on the other end of the line asked.

When I said, “Las Vegas,” I heard a loud laugh.

“What he heck are you doing in Vegas? he asked.

Now it was my turn to laugh.

“What do you think I’m doing?” was my response.

End of phone call.

A lot of times, I keep my cell phone turned off because when I’m in a place like Vegas, I don’t like to be answering any call.

If the call is important, the caller will leave a message and I can call him/her back.


When I write a column from Vegas, I have to send it by fax with the clerk at the front desk at The Cal handling the chore.

When he sees me checking in, he will always comment, “Are you sending your writing to your newspaper today?”

I tell him, “Yeah, I’ll be down with the copy in a couple of hours.”

So far, I haven’t had any problems getting my column to Editor Gwen. The problem is mainly making time to do my writing.

It’s not like I’m back in Gardena in my “office” with all the column material sitting around on top of my desk.

When I’m itching to sit down at my favorite slot machine, video poker, it’s tough to concentrate on writing a column. But after over 24 years of contributing to The Rafu, I guess I can prepare myself mentally to create my weekly chatter even if I’m surrounded by slot machines.


This happened to an Englishman in France, who was totally drunk.

A French policeman stops his car and asks the gentleman if he has been drinking. With great difficulty, the Englishman admits that has been drinking all day. His daughter got married in the morning to a Frenchman, and he drank champagne and a few bottles of wine at the reception, plus a few glasses of single malt.

Quite upset, the policeman proceeds to administer an alcohol test and asks the Englishman if he knows under French law why he has just been arrested.

The Englishman answers with humor:  “Do you not know that this is a British car and my wife is the driver, on the other side of the car?”

 George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via email at horsesmouth2000@hotmail.com. Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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