HORSE’S MOUTH: Rapid Rail System in Hawaii?

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By GEORGE YOSHINAGA

For reasons only the U.S. Postal System can explain, my Saturday edition of The Rafu wasn’t delivered on Saturday.

Perhaps for most Rafu subscribers, getting the Saturday edition delivered on Monday may not seem that bad.

For me, however, since I write this column on Sunday, I have to review the Saturday edition to make sure I don’t write on something that the Saturday edition already published. So I want to Marukai Market, located in Pacific Square in Gardena, which sells The Rafu, and purchased the Saturday copy.

Marukai charges 44 cents because they collect 4 cents for sales tax. I wonder if I can ask Rafu for a refund. Only kidding.

At any rate, I’m glad I did because I was going to write abut the Hawaiian resident who is suing the Main Street Station Hotel and Casino because he was beaten up and robbed when he went to the men’s room at 3 a.m. back in May of 2010. The Saturday Rafu carried the story.

The reason I was going to touch on the subject was that I play the slots at Main Street and am familiar with the area where the alleged crime took place.

The victim, Calvin Kawamura of Honolulu, is claiming negligence on the part of the hotel/casino for not providing security in the restroom area.

As I noted, I am familiar with the site of the incident and kind of surprised to learn about the crime.

At normal hours, there is a lot of foot traffic, but I guess at 3 a.m., there aren’t too many people around so I can understand such a crime taking place.

As to the lack of security, since the entrance to the restroom area is just a few steps away from the cashier’s window, there are officers standing around, so I’m curious how the suspect, described as a “homeless man,” slipped by the officers.

It will be interesting to see how this case turns out.

The victim is seeking unspecified financial damages.

I would guess that his chances of winning his claim are about 50-50.

As I mentioned a few times in the past, I’ve been living in my house for 56 years. During that time my next-door neighbor has been residing in his home for the same number of years.

Well, a couple of weeks ago, he and his wife moved to the State of Washington and put up a “For Sale” sign on the front lawn.

The real estate company handling the sale held an open house Sunday, and I was surprised at the number of potential buyers who stopped by.

I sat on the front porch of our house puffing on my cigar and watched them parade in and out. With so many potential buyers I’m sure the property will be sold within a few days.

The other surprising thing was the number of those of Japanese ethnicity who were among those viewing the property. I would estimate about 50 potential buyers were Japanese.

There were also a lot of “Asian” buyers dropping in. “Asian” being Korean and Chinese.

Yeah, I know. Many of you are wondering how I distinguished between Japanese, Korean and Chinese. A lot of them were speaking in their native tongue.

So, the chances of getting a new neighbor of “Asian” ethnicity seems possible.

Some of them looked at me sitting on the porch but didn’t even nod their heads to say “hello,” but I’m sure they were aware that if they buy the house, they’ll have a “Nihonjin” neighbor.

Hey, if any of you readers know someone looking for a house to buy in Gardena, the real estate broker is holding another open house next Thursday. That is, if none of those who viewed the house on Sunday buy it by then.

Of course, I’m sure some of you may utter, “What, live next door to the Horse’s Mouth? That’s crazy.”

My wife is a greater fan of the Los Angeles Dodgers than I am. So, needless to say, her mood this past week hasn’t been good.

The “Loss” Angeles Dodgers were just that the last seven games, going one win and six losses.

Heck, by the end of next week, they may not even be in first place. They are, as of Sunday, only four games in front of the San Francisco Giants.

Oh well, with their lineup, the Dodgers shouldn’t expect too much.

The only player whose name I recognize is Andre Ethier. The rest are minor-leaguers brought up to fill all the vacancies created by injuries.

Well, there’s James Loney, who is playing like his name sounds, baloney.

Enuff said.

Let me switch to golf, since my favorite player finally won a tournament this Sunday. That would be Tiger Woods.

On Saturday, the day before the final round, sitting in third place in the PGA tournament was Japanese teenager Ryo Ishikawa, just a stroke behind Tiger.

I don’t know where Ishikawa ended up, but for someone his age doing as well as he is doing, he should get more acknowledgment from the media, especially The Rafu.

He was five strokes in front of Ryuji Imada, the veteran Japanese pro.

Well, if Ishikawa keeps improving, he might begin to capture the attention of the media.

It’s pretty well accepted that if the State of Hawaii ever legalized casino gambling, it would have an effect on Las Vegas, especially the Downtown casinos.

However, if Japan legalized casino gambling, I don’t think it would have too much effect on Vegas. The Japanese government is moving towards opening up their country to casino gambling because of the economic slump now facing them.

A group of 150 lawmakers from Japan’s ruling party have embraced legislation that could begin the process of legalizing gambling within the next two years. Leaders of the group say they plan to submit the bill before the current parliamentary session is scheduled to end this month.

Passage would pave the way for casinos in the world’s third-largest economy within five years.

Japan feels that casino gambling would help promote tourism, encourage business, create jobs and boost local development.

Estimates of potential revenue for a Japanese casino industry range from $10 billion to $44 billion. Even the low end would make Japan a more lucrative market than Las Vegas.

American casino companies, facing a bleak outlook for growth in the U.S. also see big opportunities.

Sheldon Adelson, chief executive for the Las Vegas Sands Corp., has been a vocal supporter of the campaign for at least five years. He will give a speech in Tokyo entitled “The Economic Benefits of Establishing Casinos.”

Another Vegas casino mogul, Steve Wynn, has also embraced the campaign.

Japanese lawmakers have been weighing measures to legalize casinos for 10 years, but the campaign so far has been stalled.

Those opposing casinos are concerned that legalized gambling would create a generation of addicts or spur a new crime wave and provide new power to Japan’s influential yakuza organizations.

Public opinion polls show strong support for the casinos with more than 60 percent in favor.

Quite an interesting bit of news, I thought.

I don’t have any more trips to Japan in my plans, but who knows? If I can sit in front of a video keno machine in the Ginza area of Tokyo, I might decide to take a voyage.

On the other hand, who am I kidding? Why go all the way to Tokyo when I can jump in my car and drive to Vegas?

Okay, let’s leave Japan and on the way back to Los Angeles, let’s stop over in Honolulu.

The major news in Hawaii’s capital city is the building of a rapid rail system to ease the traffic congestion.

In a recent column I mentioned that Honolulu is now rated the most traffic-congested city in the U.S., even worse than Los Angeles.

So, like L.A., they are planning to build a high-speed railway system to ease traffic problems.

However, key politicians are opposed to the plan, especially the leading mayoral candidate, former Gov. Ben Cayetano, who plans to throw a wrench into the railway project.

If he wins the mayor’s race, he says he will pull the plug.

The plan calls for an elevated railway with 21 stations from western Oahu to central Honolulu’s waterfront.

Transit officials say the system would carry 116,300 passengers each weekday, paying the same fare as they do now on buses.

Cayetano says the railway would mar Honolulu’s picturesque waterfront.

So I guess he’d rather see Honolulu residents sitting in their cars for three hours while trying to drive on H-1, the main thoroughfare serving the city.

Well, that’s politicians for you.

This bit of news is something I knew about years ago.

The “latest news report” reveals that people born within 10 years of the 1945 bombing of Hiroshima developed leukemia by the time they reached 35 years of age, if both parents were exposed to the blast, according to a study by a Hiroshima University professor emeritus.

Previous studies jointly done by Japan and the United States did not find any correlation between leukemia victims and their parents’ exposure to the A-bomb.

The study said that at least 26 people whose parents are hibakusha had developed blood cancer by the time they turned 35, compared with six whose biological fathers alone were hibakusha and 17 whose mothers alone were hibakusha.

The reason I opened with the statement I knew about this long ago is that I imported a Japanese boxer for bouts in the U.S.

I knew he was from Hiroshima but didn’t realize that his parents were exposed to the A-bomb.

When he went for his physical exam to get his boxing license to fight in California, the examining physician said he had trouble with his blood.

I sent him back to Japan since he couldn’t pass his exam.

It was then that he told me he was born in Hiroshima after the A-bomb.

At the time, I didn’t hear anything about the A-bomb affecting those who were in Hiroshima when the bomb was dropped.

Now, I see this story about what effects the A-bomb had on citizens of Hiroshima.

Time to chuckle:

• An overweight blonde consulted her doctor for advice. The doctor advised that she run ten miles every day for 30 days. This, he promised, would help her lose as much as 20 pounds.

The blonde followed the doctor’s advice and after 30 days, she was pleased to find that she had indeed lost the pesky 30 pounds. She phoned the doctor and thanked him for the wonderful advice that produced such effective results.

At the end of the conversation, however, she asked one last question. “How do I get home, since I am now 300 miles away?”

• My dog chewed the tongue on one of my new, expensive running shoes. I hoped to save my investment, so I took the sneakers to a shoe repair shop. I placed them on the counter and asked, “Well, what do you recommend?”

He looked at me and replied, “Give your dog the other shoe.”

• There was a pretty nurse named Carol, who broke her engagement to a doctor. She was explaining everything to a friend.

“Do you mean to say,” exclaimed her friend, “that the bum asked you to give back the ring and all the presents?”

“Not only that,” said Carol, “he sent me a bill for 37 visits.”

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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