HORSE’S MOUTH: Japan and Casinos

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YOSHINAGA-GEORGEBy GEORGE YOSHINAGA

(Published July 8, 2014)

As we get older, I would assume that most wouldn’t want to be reminded of the passing years; however, it’s nice to receive birthday greeting cards from friends.

I was reminded of this with the arrival of “Happy Birthday” cards from friends and followers of my column.

Yeah, I never thought I’d reach this age when I was a teenager some 70 years ago.

At any rate, thanks to those who offered their best wishes to an aging old man.

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In any situation I would say I am always on the side of the police; however, the other evening when I saw a video of this one officer beating up a woman on the side of a freeway, I was wondering what could have been going through the mind of the cop.

Sure, the woman might have been trying to resist arrest but she was flat on her back with the cop on top of her and the cop was pounding her body and face.

What is curious about the incident is that none of the broadcasters showing the film made any comments pro or con about the officer’s actions.

It will be interesting to see how this whole incident turns out when it is presented in the courts.

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I‘m sure many of you might be interested in the results of a recent survey naming the world’s top 50 restaurants.

The one thing that surprised me was that there wasn’t a single eatery from Japan listed.

In fact, one with a Japanese flavor was named, but it is not located in Japan. The Mandarin Oriental in Las Vegas, which features Japanese dishes, made 24th place.

Four Seasons Resort on the island of Maui made the 47th spot.

Most of the eateries rated high on the list were found in Asia.

There was no information on what was used to rate the so-called “best” eateries. That is, things like prices on the menu and quality of the food served.

Oh well, I guess I’ll have to stick with my Big Macs.

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The temperature in Baker, which Highway 15 runs through en route to Vegas, hit 110 degrees this past week, which prompted me to think: Boy, I’m glad I didn’t have a Vegas trip planned.

It was no better in Vegas, where the temperature also hit 110. However, once a traveler gets to Vegas, all the time is spent in air-conditioned casinos, so the heat outside doesn’t mean anything.

I called my old friend Rosie Kakuuchi the other day to ask how the hot weather was affecting her. Since she’s a resident of Vegas and not a tourist, she said she’s used to the hot climate. Besides that, she goes to the casino to take advantage of the air conditioning.

Well, as I mentioned in a column a while back, I have a trip scheduled in two weeks, so I hope things start to cool down by then.

I guess most visitors to Vegas who drive don’t give that much attention to the heat at this time of the year, 4th of July, which is usually the hottest time on the calendar.

Hopefully, my luck will be as hot as the weather.

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Speaking of Las Vegas and casinos, there are now high hopes for casinos in Japan, according to a story written by a Las Vegas Review Journal staffer. It reads, in part:

“Don’t say sayonara to casinos in Japan quite yet.

“Japan’s prime minister was quoted as saying he’ll push for casino legalization when the Diet, Japan’s national legislature, returns for a special session in September.

“Las Vegas’ top gaming executives will spend time in Japan in their never-ending effort to bring casino gaming to Japan.

“Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe wants the ruling political party to make casinos a reality.

“The country is seeking ways to fund the construction of a casino, which is said to cost $2 billion.

“Gaming taxes could range from $10 billion to $15 billion annually.

“Abe said he wants Japanese lawmakers to deliberate how casinos can boost Japanese tourism.

“Most analysts feel Japan will agree to a four hotel-casino complex, one each in Tokyo and Osaka and the other two in regional destinations.

“The Las Vegas Sands would spend $10 billion to develop a resort in Japan.

“Gaming experts say that Japan is a massive opportunity for U.S.-based casinos.

“It might take until 2016 at the earliest before Japan would begin the formal proposal process, but the casinos could open before the Olympics slated for Japan.

“A single casino in Tokyo could create $8 billion in annual revenue, more than the Strip’s yearly total, because of Tokyo’s population of 13.4 million and 10 million annual visitors.

“Caesars has been discussing a development partnership with several notable Japanese companies, including Fuji Television Network.”

So, I would guess that when some of your Nisei friends say, “Well, I think I’ll go and toss in some money at the casinos,” they won’t be talking about Las Vegas.

I wish I were about 10 years younger. I sure would like to go to a casino in Tokyo.

Imagine getting served sushi while you are sitting at a slot machine.

Oh well, we can dream, can’t we?

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I know I frequently touch on it. That is, how close I came to missing a column because my computer doesn’t operate. That happened today.

Fortunately, it being Sunday, my son, the engineer, didn’t have to work so he was able to jump in his car and drop by.

As always, with his professional background, he quickly solved my problems and I was able to sit down at the keyboard and pound out today’s chatter.

Of course, since my time was delayed, I probably won’t be able to be as long-winded as I always am, but at least I got my thoughts rolling.

Writing does require a lot of thinking as well as nimble fingers to pound the keyboard. In fact, the thinking part is a lot tougher than hitting the keyboard.

So, let me continue with my thinking.

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Here is something you may not know about Vegas.

Do Las Vegas churches accept gambling chips?

This may come as a surprise to those of you not living in Las Vegas, but there are more Catholic churches than casinos.

Not surprisingly, some worshippers at Sunday services will give casino chips rather than cash when the basket is passed.

Since they get chips from many casinos, the churches have devised a method to collect the offerings.

The churches send all their collected chips to a nearby Franciscan monastery for sorting and then the chips are taken to the casinos of origin and cashed in.

This is done by the chip monks.

Heh, heh. You didn’t see that coming, did you?

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Okay, let me move over to the issue I frequently mention. That would be barking dogs.

Here’s a short letter on the subject from a reader who signed the note “Amsakioka”:

“Hello, Horse: Regarding the barking dog. When my daughter and son-in-law moved into their new home, their neighbor also complained of one of their dogs barking, but only when they were not home.

“My son-in-law got a collar. I don’t know where he got it, but maybe a pet store or a vet, but the dog gets a shock every time he barks. I don’t know how much it cost but it can’t be too much.”

Sounds like a good idea.

However, since it’s my neighbor’s dog that keeps yelping day and night, I don’t know how I can get a collar on him.

I guess I could ask my neighbor, but if they were aware that their mutt was bothering all their neighbors with its barking, I’m sure they would have done something themselves.

Bark, bark.

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Do you know or have you heard about the “Darwin Awards?”

Maybe, if you will read the following submitted by a reader, you will get an idea what it is.

The Darwin Awards based on articles from newspapers throughout the country.

Here are some of the nominees:

1. An unidentified man, using a shotgun like a club to break a former girlfriend’s windshield, accidentally shot himself to death when the gun discharged, blowing a hole in his gut.

2. James Burns, a mechanic of Alamo, Minnesota, was killed as he was trying to repair what police described as a farm-type truck. Burns got a friend to drive the truck on a highway while he hung underneath so that he could ascertain the source of a troubling noise. Burns’ clothes caught on something and the other man found him wrapped in the drive shaft.

3. Ken Barger, 47, accidentally shot himself to death in Newton, N.C. Awakening to a sound of a ringing telephone beside his bed, he reached for the phone but grabbed a Smith & Wesson, .38 Special, which discharged when he drew it to his ear.

4. Michael Anderson Godwin had spent several years awaiting South Carolina’s electric chair on a murder conviction before having his sentence reduced to life in prison. While sitting on a metal toilet in his cell, attempting to fix a small TV set, he bit into the wire and was electrocuted.

5. A Dunkirk, Indiana, man using a cigarette lighter to check the barrel of a muzzle-loader was killed when the weapon discharged in his face. Sheriff’s investigators said Gregory David Pryor, 19, died in his parent’s rural home when Pryor, cleaning a .54 caliber muzzle-loader that had not been firing properly, used the lighter to look into the barrel and the gunpowder ignited.

6. A man cleaning a bird feeder on the balcony of his condominium apartment in a Toronto suburb slipped and fell 23 stories to his death. Stefan Macko, 55, was standing on a wheelchair when the accident occurred. It appears that the chair moved and he went over the balcony.

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It seems like thus far, the candidacy of Paul Tanaka for the next sheriff of Los Angeles County isn’t getting the support of the JA community as many expected. I’m not sure why he’s not getting the support, or maybe it is just my imagination that he isn’t getting the backing of JAs.

Since I’ve known him from his childhood, I feel like I am a supporter of his, but several readers of my column seem to think I’m not backing Tanaka.

Well, as the campaign heads into its closing days, we’ll find out about JAs’ support for him.

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

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