(Published July 19, 2014)

“Gee, I forgot to buy my lottery ticket,” I uttered as I looked at the page where the winning numbers were printed.

My wife chuckled, “I don’t know why you even buy the tickets in the first place. What would you do if you won $20 million?”

She has a good point.

I guess it’s the thrill of winning rather than the amount of the prize.

I’ve been buying tickets for the state lottery since it first started years ago and it’s become sort of a habit rather than my desire to win the top prize. Over the years I would guess I’ve won a few hundred bucks.

At any rate, my wife’s comments did make me think a little.

I guess I was reminded of the woman who was asked what she would do if she won the nationwide lottery, which at the time had hit the $400 million mark.

She responded, “I would buy a new car.”

The person asking the question chuckled and said, “Heck, if you won the first prize, you could buy the entire car dealership.”

That made me laugh.

At any rate, nobody won last week’s Cal lottery, so now the prize will probably hit about $24 million.

Yeah, maybe if I won, I’d buy a house in Las Vegas.

On the other hand, if I won $24 million, the thrill of Vegas would vanish.

I mean, playing the 25-cent poker slot machine won’t be exciting at all if I have a few million in my pocket. Oh well, I can dream, can’t I?


Yes, I read Guy Aoki’s column every time it runs in The Rafu because I’m interested in the subject matter he touches on with his writing, since I still hold my Screen Actors Guild membership card.

Remember, I used to do bit parts in TV and movies many years ago when I was given my membership in the SAG.

Of course, I didn’t think Guy even knew I existed, but in one of his recent columns, he mentioned something about “Horse” saying, “Heh, heh.”

Heh, heh. Thanks, Guy.


Gosh, is it that time of year already?

That’s the thought that popped into my mind when I saw the photo of this year’s candidates for the Nisei Week Queen’s crown.

Yeah, when I looked at the calendar and saw it was already mid-July, I figured presenting the 2014 Nisei Week Queen candidates is in order.

Well, maybe it’s because I’ve been hanging around J-Town for so many years and have witnessed all of the queen contests that I get that “Is it that time already?” feeling.

The Nisei Week Queen contest is, after all, one of the major Japanese community events, and in the past, about three decades ago, I was pretty much involved in the contest, so it does have a special meaning to me.

Over the past years I became long-time friends with the wearers of the queen’s tiara, beginning with Em Kato, one of the first to wear the crown.


They’re talking about raising the minimum wage to 10 bucks per hour.

When I first began getting paid by the hour way back when, I collected 17 cents and thought that was pretty neat. Yeah, at 17 cents per hour, if I put in 10 hours, I was making less in a day than the 10 bucks an hour now being paid out.

It’s hard to imagine.

Well, when I look back and see that a gallon of gas for the car I was driving cost me 15 cents, I guess 17 cents per hour was pretty good.

Who knows, for you younger people, in about 20 years the minimum pay may go up to 20 bucks an hour, but you’ll probably be paying 10 bucks for a Big Mac hamburger.

The best pay I received before JAs were sent to relocation camps was 50 cents per hour for helping park cars at Stanford football games.

Not much, but a haircut only cost 25 cents.


Will it ever happen?

They are talking about dividing California into six different states. I guess if it happens — no way — the U.S. will become a 55-state union.

I’m not sure why they are even talking about such a move, but that’s the story I recently read in one of the daily metro newspapers.

Heh. Maybe Gardena will become a state instead of a city.

Sound pretty goofy to me.

But in this day and age, I guess anything is possible.


Oh yeah, before I forget, I want to thank all of you who sent me birthday wishes via cards.

Most of you who did so asked that I not mention your names in my column, so I’ll go by that.

Yeah, I’ll be tacking on another year to my already aging body this week. In case any of you want to know, I’ll be 89. Hopefully, I can reach 90.


If any of you are planning a trip to Japan, you can take your cell phone with you. That’s because Japan Airlines announced that they will be permitting passengers to use cells in flight, something they don’t allow at the moment.

Passengers on flights will have wireless access to the Internet on their computers or smartphones. Of course, they will have to pay for this service. Fees will depend on routes and devices.

On some routes, connections will be available for 400 yen per 30 minutes. Not a bad price, I’d say.


I hope I can complete today’s column. I was running out of ink for my printer and was going to pick up an order, but for one reason or another, I forgot. When my computer showed a “change ink” message, I realized I had forgotten, and since it was already about 7 p.m., I knew that my ink supplier store was closed.

If I suddenly stop, you know what happened. Yeah, I guess it’s old age.


I guess Las Vegas won’t have to worry about gaming in Asia hurting their casinos.

Two Vegas casinos, Wynn Resort and MGM International, opened casinos in Macau, but their gaming business is declining, with revenue falling $3.41 billion last month, and that ain’t hay.

Macau, the only place in China where casinos are legal, has suffered a slowing of economic growth, so those who thought that gaming in China would affect Vegas are feeling a bit better.

Even the most bullish analysts have warned of serious risks to Macau’s VIP gambling business, a $45 billion industry.

This tidbit of news might not be of interest to Vegas fans, but I thought I would toss it in.


No, I didn’t catch one day of racing at Los Alamitos, which hosted thoroughbred racing for the first time in a quarter-century.

When I was a real horse racing fanatic, I often went to the Los Alamitos oval to watch horses, but I guess it’s old age or something because when they held racing there over the past several weeks, I had no urge to make the drive to watch them run.

The thoroughbred racing ended this week.

Perhaps the absence of my favorite jockey, Corey Nakatani, may have had something to do with my lack of interest in the Orange County track.


Recently, at an event I attended, one of those I met said, “Hey, Horse, you’re putting on a lot of weight.”

I never thought about it, but after he made the comment I got home and stepped on the scale. Yup. I picked up ten pounds.

This seems to be the trend.

A recent report stated that almost a third of the world is now fat and obesity rates are growing. More than two billion people worldwide are now overweight or obese.

Japan has sort of escaped this situation, so I guess eating rice isn’t that bad.

Most of the problem begins with children, according to reports. An expert on the issue said that children are eating themselves into obesity at an early age.

Most say modernization has not been good for health and obesity rates have jumped five times in the last two decades.

I guess it’s “Hey, buta” time everywhere except Japan.

Of course, this doesn’t include sumo wrestlers.

Speaking of sumo wrestling, the ancient Japanese sport is catching on in the U.S., especially among women. You read that right, among women.

Tiffany Tran, an American female sumo wrestler, said, “People think sumo wrestling is just for fat guys, but it’s not that at all.”

Sumo has been a tough sell for American women, but that is starting to change.

Japan doesn’t allow women to compete in its professional ranks, but that is not the case in the U.S.

The American females competing in sumo are pushing to get it into the Olympics.

Won’t that be something if it happens?


Oops. My ink is starting to fade, so although I was planning fill the balance of today’s blabbing, it looks like I’ll be cutting it a bit short.

I’ll try to make up for it in my next column by writing an extra page or two.

I’ll have a week to go buy my ink supply.

Yeah, I know. Some of you who are not real fans of my chatter will probably stand up and cheer. Okay, let me cheer with you.


Got more space to fill?


Okay, Maggie, you don’t have to join in the hooray.


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


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