(Published May 24, 2014)

Yeah, I’m back from you-know-where and yeah, I lost my “okole.”

For those who might not know what the word “okole” means, ask your friends from Hawaii.

I guess staying in Vegas for a day and a half isn’t enough time for Lady Luck to step in and help gamblers.

This was probably the shortest stay in Vegas. I usually stay at least four days and three nights.

Oh well.

By the way, our return trip took us just under four hours. I don’t think I ever made the trip from Vegas back to Gardena in less than four hours, but with my son driving at a high rate of speed, we broke the record.

I guess all I can say is “It’s nice to be young.”

The son who drove us is our youngest. He’s a lieutenant colonel in the Air Force.

Well, inspire of my lack of luck, I enjoyed my brief stay.

Ran into some people I know. I know I always note that people I run into don’t want me to mention their names, but the one I’m about to ID didn’t ask me not to mention his name. That would be Al Morita and his wife, Pauline. They came into the hotel’s restaurant while we were dining there.

Everyone knows Al. He’s the one who promotes the Japanese American basketball tournament each year in Vegas. His event probably keeps basketball alive in the JA community. At least 300 participate in his cage tournament.

Keep it going, Al. We JA basketball fans need your annual event.


We met Al and his wife while we were having breakfast with old friend Rose Kakuuchi and her daughter and sister.

As I frequently mention about our trips to Vegas, having breakfast with them is one of the highlights of our trip.

Rose has lived in Vegas about 20 years, which probably makes her one of the JAs who have resided there the longest.

One of these days, I want to see if I can find out what the total population of Japanese Americans residing in Vegas might be. I’m sure it must be in the thousands.

Maybe I should ask Rosie to do the research for me.

From left: My wife, Susie; Rose’s daughter; Rose; Rose’s sister; and almost faded out of the photo, me.
From left: My wife, Susie; Rose’s daughter; Rose; Rose’s sister; and almost faded out of the photo, me.


As I wrote in my previous column, I hadn’t been to Vegas for nearly seven months. The only thing that changed during our absence was the reduction of my favorite keno slot machine. There used to be ten keno slots but they cut it down to six.

Could it be that the machines were paying out too much? I know if I had stayed and played the machines for three days, I would have hit the jackpot at least once.

But as I said in opening today’s column, “Maketa.” That’s Japanese for “I lost my butt.”


Yeah, I know the price of everything seems to be going up and up. In spite of this, I am still amazed at some of the prices that have been boosted.

An example?

I don’t know how accurate the figure is, but I read that admission to Disneyland is now $96 for everyone over the age of 10. That’s $96. I had to read it twice to make sure I was seeing the figure right.

Man, I’m glad my sons are now grown adults and I don’t have to take them to see Disneyland as I used to when they were toddlers.

Hey, even in those days I thought the prices were a little high.

But ninety-six dollars! If I took my four kids and paid for my wife and me, that would be 6 times 96 ($576).

I wonder how many people are paying that kind of admission fee in this day and age.


I guess I chat a lot on what I eat while I’m in Vegas. Mostly, it’s buffet-style food. It’s not because I can eat so much at a buffet eatery, but I can choose what kind of food I want to eat. I can be very choosy about what I put on my plate.

Yeah, it’s a little more expensive than ordering off a menu, but when I’m in Vegas I don’t put too much emphasis on the cost of dining out. Heck, if I can feed the slot machines, the buffets can feed me.

I guess I should watch what I eat, but when in Vegas, such thoughts just slip my mind.

So, I’ll feel a little overweight when I get back to Gardena, I realize what I have done.

I went to see my doctor after getting back because I had an appointment. The first thing he told me was, “I see you’ve gained a few pounds.”

Well, “a few pounds” doesn’t sound that bad.


The election is just a few weeks away, so I expect there would be a lot of articles in the local newspapers about the various races.

One that seems to be getting a little more attention than others is the race for the sheriff’s office, which means that Paul Tanaka is getting a lot of publicity. However, not all the stuff printed about him is to his benefit. In fact, it seems that a lot negative issues are being written where he is concerned.

I would assume that the publications do have their favorites in any election, and in the race for sheriff, Tanaka may not be their choice, so at the moment, it would seem that Tanaka has about a 50-50 chance of gaining the top post in the Sheriff’s Department.

Needless to say, I am backing Tanaka and hope that all the JA voters do the same. It will definitely give him the edge if all JAs cast their ballot for him.

It isn’t only because he’s a fellow JA. His background in law enforcement work certainly qualifies him for the sheriff’s post. At least as far as comparing his background against those running against him.

There have been a lot of negative stories in the media about Paul, the latest in the Wednesday edition of The L.A. Times, and in any election, negative stories can have an effect.

Let’s hope it doesn’t hurt Paul.


Oh yeah, before I forget. I frequently mention places to dine when in Vegas, especially Japanese-style restaurants.

There’s one place with an ideal name. It’s called Tokyo Boys. Unlike most Japanese places, where prices are usually high, Tokyo Boys is pretty reasonable.

For example, you can order gyoza for $4.50 and braised pork belly for $7.50. At those prices, even I can afford it.

The latter are very favorable chucks of pork, far leaner than pork belly. Also tucked into the bowl are two shoyu-marinated hard-boiled eggs.

Yes, and they also serve sushi along with sashimi.

Enuff said.


ABC 7’s David Ono might make me famous.

When the newscaster asked to interview me about a year ago at the Japanese American National Museum in J-Town, I thought it would be a quick chat.

Well, it’s turning out that the so-called “short” interview was quite lengthy and it has appeared on TV.

My sister, who lives in Northern California, will be a able to see Dave’s interview with me because it was announced that his program will appear on San Francisco’s KGO-TV (Channel 7) on May 31. The title of the show is “The Legacy of Heart Mountain.” It will be aired in San Francisco, Oakland and San Jose.

I told my sister to tape the show if she wanted to since she has the equipment to do so and she can send me a copy.

David is working on getting the show in other markets as well.

The reason he asked me to appear on his initial program was that he had heard I was pretty active during our Heart Mountain days.

Well, I don’t know about that, but it’s nice to be recognized.



These days, no matter where one goes, the most common sight is individuals yakking into their mobile phones.

Be it behind the steering wheel of their cars or pedestrians walking along the sidewalks, everyone seems to be chatting on their cell phones.

I have one, too, but I very seldom use it unless I’m in my house or sitting under the tree in our backyard.

So, when I recently read about the possibility of constantly using cell phones damaging one’s brain development, I’m glad I’m not hooked on the constant use of the electronic device.

At any rate, the study will focus on such areas as memory and attention. So far there is not convincing evidence that the radio waves damage the brain over one’s lifetime.

I’ll keep my eyes on the results of the study.

The electromagnetic fields produced by mobile phones are classified as “possibly carcinogenic to humans.”


Today’s laugher is entitled “Travel Plans for 2014”:

I have been to many places, but I’ve never been in Cahoots. Apparently you can’t go alone. You have to be in Cahoots with someone.

I’ve never been in Cognito. I hear no one recognizes you there.

I have, however, been in Sane. They don’t have an airport, you have to be driven there. I have made several trips there, thanks to my children, family and work.

I would like to go to Conclusions, but you have to jump and I’m not too much on physical activity anymore.

I have also been in Doubt. That is a sad place to go and I try not to visit there too often.

I’ve been in Flexible, but only when it was very important to stand firm.

Sometimes I’m in Capable and go there less often as I’m getting older.

One of my favorite laces to be is in Suspense. It really gets the adrenaline flowing and pumps up the old heart. And at my age, I need all the stimuli I can get.

I may have in Continent, but I don’t remember what country I was in. It’s an age thing. They tell me it is very damp there.

I hope everyone is happy in your head. We’re doing pretty well in mine.

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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