HORSE’S MOUTH: BIG Payoff in Nakatani’s Trifecta

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

One of the difficult things about writing for a newspaper is when a holiday falls on the date the material is due. This past Thanksgiving Day is a good example.

I write my Saturday column on Wednesday and Editor Gwen picks it up on Thursday. Well, Thursday was a holiday so she dropped by on Wednesday because The Rafu was shut down on Thursday. I told her I was working on my column but was far from finished.

She told me she would be by on Thursday as usual and hold it until Friday to get it ready for publication on that date.

I guess I’ll have the same problem next month when Christmas falls on Tuesday, another day on which my column appears. Will have to get together with Gwen to see how we’ll arrange when she’ll publish my Christmas column.

Oh well, better get rolling on today’s chatter.

Someone dropped off a copy of a magazine entitled Strickly Slots. The featured story was “Here Come the New Slots 2013.”

Each fall, the international casino industry gathers in Las Vegas for the central trade show in gaming, the Global Gaming Exposition.

It’s where the slot machine manufacturers roll out the new models for the coming year. The trade show offers a glimpse at what will be new on the slot machine floor in the year 2013.

Those of you who are slot machine fans will be surprised at the number of new machines that will be introduced in Vegas casinos.

I’m amazed at the number of new machines already available. There are so many I can’t begin to understand how to play them, even as I watch others do so. Many of them are penny machines. That is, the basic play costs one penny.

However, to win the maximum prize, the penny machines are a lot more expensive than the quarter machines.

On my last trip, I was waiting for my wife to go to lunch. I was standing in front of a penny machine, so I decided to kill some time by playing the machine. I put a $1 bill in the machine and pushed the maximum bet button.

Boom! The machine “ate up” the $1 and if I wanted to play another hand, I would have to put in another dollar.

That’s four times what I could play on my quarter machine, and they call it the “penny machine.”

I’m sure the 2013 new slots will probably introduce more “penny machines.”

Rots of ruck.

Since I’m frequently chatting about the number of folks from Hawaii who visit Vegas, I wonder just how many do fly in from the Island State each week.

According to the Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority, 7,000 airline seats are filled each week from Honolulu to McCarran Airport in Vegas.

Multiply 7,000 times 52 weeks and you get a staggering total of nearly half a million.

Kind of tough to believe.

One of these days, I hope someone will do a survey on the number of Japanese Americans from Southern California who visit Vegas every week. I don’t think the numbers come even close to the visitors from Hawaii.

Didn’t see the following in the local media except in The Orange County Register. It’s about the SoCal Aquatics Team’s performance at the 2012 Summer Junior Olympics.

The team entered over 50 swimmers and scored in every age group. They totaled 702 points, the most in the history of the club at the Junior Olympics.

In the gold medal ranking, Emily Konishi captured the trophy in the 15-year-old 200-meter freestyle. At Emily’s age, we certainly can expect to hear more about her accomplishments in the years to come.

Perhaps she might be representing the U.S. Olympic team in a future Olympics, so let’s keep our eyes and ears open for Emily Konishi.

Bravo!

Would you believe I haven’t been to Hollywood Park Race Track yet?

The meet is a couple of weeks old and I can say that it’s the first time in 50 years that I haven’t been out to the Inglewood track, especially since my favorite jockey, Corey Nakatani, has been bringing in winners with his mounts.

But it was his second-place finish in a race last week that caused me to regret not getting out to Hollypark.

The trifecta in that race paid over $2,000 because the horse that edged out Corey’s mount paid over $100. In all of his riding career, I don’t think Corey has ever had a piece in a terifecta that ever paid so much.

Well, I guess I’d better get off my you-know-what, get back out to Hollypark and start betting on Corey.

It would sure beat tossing 25 cents into a slot machine in Vegas.

Speaking of horse racing, I’ve heard from enough people interested in a Santa Anita Assembly Center Reunion during the next thoroughbred meeting at the Arcadia track, so I’m going ahead to put the event together.

To those of you who have indicated that you will attend, keep track of the progress I make on the date of the reunion. I am shooting for a March date. If the track gets me the reservation, I will make the official announcement in my column.

At the moment, 50 people have indicated they will attend.

If all goes as planned, the get-together will include a buffet luncheon in the Club House.

So for all those who indicated they will attend, please send me the names in your party either by email or snail-mail to the Rafu office.

Hope to see you all.

Here’s something that should make my old friend Tak Hamano of Umeya Senbei Company smile.

Those of you who are familiar with Umeya products know that one of the senbei he produces is a sweet, crunchy cookie, not like his other line of senbei.

I asked if he could give me a box to take to my Caucasian friends on my recent Vegas trip.

I didn’t know how they would react to eating senbei cookies for the first time. Well, they sent me a letter saying, “We’re hooked on the senbei cookies, never tasted anything so delicious.”

Hmmmmm, maybe Tak can find a distributor in Vegas for Umeya senbei.

Well, the recent election is now history.

Mazie Hirono, the first Asian American woman elected to the U.S. Senate, is pledging to continue efforts to keep U.S. relations with Japan strong.

Hirono, 65, was born in Fukushima and stated, “I hope to be able to visit Japan as a U.S. senator.”

She moved to Hawaii in her early childhood.

“Our early days in Hawaii were very hard, and I learned the challenges immigrants face and the importance of respecting other cultures,” she told he media.

Asked how she felt to become the first Asian American woman in the Senate, Hirono said she is “very honored, but that’s not the reason the people voted for me to be here.”

Needless to say, Hirono is a Democrat who defeated Linda Lingle, a Republican and a “haole.”

Before we leave Japan, Nisei travelers who have visited Japan know that touch-screen vending machines that produce things like train tickets aren’t a major problem if they can’t read the Japanese because information is also available in English.

With the growing number of tourists now visiting Japan from China and Korea, the vending machines are now making information available in Chinese and Korean.

According to the Transportation Bureau, the move is the first of its kind among municipal subway systems in Japan.

It is hoped that it will enhance convenience for its new wave of Chinese and South Korean travelers.

Speaking of language, here’s a short spelling lesson that I came across just before the recent election.

The last four letters in “American” are “I can.”

The last four letters in “Republican” are “I can.”

The last four letters in “Democrats” are “rats.”

End of lesson. Test to follow in November 2012.

As I often write, a little short today. Probably consumed too much turkey.

Will try to get back on my lengthy blabber next week.

In the meanwhile, I hope all of you had something to be thankful for this week, and thanks to all the Rafu staff for putting up with me all these years.

Gosh, would you believe it’s going on 22 years since the Horse’s Mouth opened his big mouth?

Okay, I’ll shut up for now.

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

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