Sunday, September 30, 2007

The No-Mo Boy

We call him the "No-Mo Boy". This morning Hikaru ran around the house in his diapers. He said, "No mo pants!" when we tried to put on his pants. This evening Hikaru ran across the room as fast as he could without wearing any diapers. He said, "No mo diaper" when we tried to put his diaper on. (He needs to be potty trained anyway.) "No mo" (no more) is his phrase of resistance.

Hikaru also says "no mo!" to rice, bananas, and apples. He probably ate too much of that as an infant. He also said "no mo" to "Jack and Jill" (the nursery rhymes recording that he once enjoyed listening to over and over and over). He also says "no mo" to "wash hands" and "brush teeth", but we don't give him that option.

Hikaru almost said "no mo" to "outside", but he stopped in mid-sentence, "No mo out...". He changed his mind. Hikaru "loves" going outside. These photos are from the neighborhood park playground.

At age two, Hikaru is fearless on the playground. He got tired of the swing, and said "no mo" to that. And he went for the highest slide in the park -- climbing all the way to the top by himself, and sliding down...

After all that thrill seeking on the slides, Hikaru takes it easy by doing some "sand play therapy". Having the sand run through your fingers is very relaxing. And, of course, it's easy to say "no mo go home" when you're having too much fun.

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Friday, September 28, 2007

It's Just Art

© 2007 by Hikaru (Age 2)

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Growing Wolfberry

Remember the wolfberry plant that grew from the seed in May? Well, it's still alive and has grown a little bigger. What did I do? Not much besides watering it. It surprisingly survived the extreme heat of southern California. Here's another photo. (If you click on it, you can get a larger image.)

As a legend goes, this plant is linked to China's first emperor. He lived in 2800 BC and was known to be an herbalist and the "father of agriculture". Today, the berry is considered a "superfruit" with antioxidant qualities with many nutrients and phytochemicals. My mother-in-law puts the dried wolfberries in soup, and it's supposed to be good for the eyes. This link to Wikipedia has more information.

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Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Visiting Friends

Our time off from work is mostly on the weekends. Of those 52 weekends per year, we spend probably half of those with family or doing necessary things around the home (like cleaning, laundry, maintenance and repairs, yard work, shopping). And maybe take a few more weekends off for miscellaneous things like doctor's appointments, doing income tax forms, recovering from colds, catching up on sleep, or if the "server goes down". That leaves about 20 weekends per year to do fun things like visiting friends, going to the beach, hiking in the mountains, or traveling to other places.

Well, this past Sunday morning, we took a drive to Orange County to finally visit our friends Maria and Manuel, and their two sons Nicholas (age 9) and Lucas (age 6). Hikaru had some fun with the (older) boys -- walking around in their yard, playing with Lego blocks, and waving "hi" to their cat. We also received some "hand me down" clothes and shoes that should keep Hikaru well dressed in the coming year. Then we all went to Denny's for lunch.

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Sunday, September 23, 2007

Downtown Monrovia

Hikaru insists on carrying our bag of hot tamales, as we walk down Myrtle Avenue in old town Monrovia, CA. We picked up the pork and chicken tamales from (of all places) a nut and candy store.

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Butterfly and Grasshopper

There's no real reason, but I captured photos of the butterfly and grasshopper because they happened to be there. My occasional flashbacks to childhood memories seemed to be linked with the temperature of the air, the wind, the sunshine -- and the flutter and whir of insects. Probably every kid growing up plays with these two creatures. Hikaru also notices the very small, that adults often miss.

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Saturday, September 22, 2007

Cousin Sarah's Birthday

Hikaru had a good time hanging out at cousin Sarah's birthday party. Hikaru and Sarah are both two years old (and two weeks apart in age). However, it seems like we still need to teach Hikaru some manners in how to sit properly in a chair.

In this photo, Sarah seriously contemplates how to cut this toy cake, as Hikaru forces a smile.

Sarah claps with joy as the (real) birthday cake arrives with two lit candles. Happy Birthday!

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Rain is Coming Down

In this video, Hikaru gets excited about the rain. To view the video, just click on the image below.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

New Wireless Notebook

Notebook technology is getting advanced. We talked about finding a wireless solution for awhile, and we finally got one. Mommy is using this PC (pre-computer) notebook for her case notes. It's only as thick as 80 sheets of paper! Portable and lightweight, and only 10.5" x 8" in size (with unlimited battery life), we can take this anywhere!


Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hello Baba?

We're still getting lots of calls from the eggplants in from our garden. Hikaru answers one of the eggplants and talks long distance to Baba (Dad).

The eggplants employ a wireless "cellular" (solar powered) communication technology, and it's named the "e-Phone". Unfortunately, they only come in the color purple, and require a local carrier to the refrigerator.

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Saturday, September 15, 2007

Little Tokyo Point of View

Hikaru enjoys his perspective looking down on First Street in downtown Los Angeles, Little Tokyo.

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Monday, September 10, 2007

Remembering Uncle Roy

As they say, we often see our relatives at weddings and funerals. This past weekend, out-of-town relatives and family friends gathered in Little Tokyo to honor and remember my uncle Roy C. Machida. My uncle was a medical doctor and a WWII 442nd RCT veteran (G Company). He has seen some human struggle and battles during his lifetime, but his last fight during the past year was with cancer. He finally passed away peacefully, and we'll miss him greatly.

On Saturday, an outdoor memorial service was held at the Japanese American Cultural and Community Center (JACCC) plaza. It was a beautiful sunny day. With tears and smiles, people came together to celebrate, tell stories, and to honor Uncle Roy's life.

I have fragments of personal memories. Like the time when I was 12 years old, and my brother and I visited my aunt and uncle in LA (coming from Cleveland) for portion of a summer. It was our first time on an airplane. We traveled with my cousins to spend a couple days vacationing at Laguna Beach, and my uncle carried a box load of medical books to read. At the time, I thought he must be a very smart man.

And there are humorous memories, like the time when he used his handicap parking permit at a crowded Office Depot store. I guess, doctors have those things -- just in case. My uncle and I circled a filled parking lot until finally landing in the handicap parking zone. He himself seemed to be walking quite well, but he angrily chewed out a lady in a BMW who was double parked. Often reserved and "low key", my Uncle Roy could have quite an amazing temper.

Once my right ear swelled up due to some allergic reaction, and my ear looked like a "Ferengi". These are times when you realize how nice it is to have a doctor in the family, especially when one lacks proper medical insurance (as a low-income non-profit organization employee). My outer ear cartilage detached from the skin, so Uncle Roy cut the skin of my ear, drained the fluid out, and stitched it back into place. I wore bandages wrapped around my head for a week (to protect my ear) and looked like Gandhi.

In many ways, life is defined by our memories, and people around us continue to live within us from what we remember. After retirement, one of my uncle's projects was a memorial to remember his fellow 442nd soldiers who were killed in action. He was involved with a nonprofit organization called the "Americans of Japanese Ancestry World War II Memorial Alliance". The memorial was eventually realized, and dedicated in February 2000 at the courtyard of the JACCC.

I (and other relatives) sometimes helped Uncle Roy with some issues and questions concerning his computer. And part of the importance in this was an "electronic" memorial in the form of an educational CD-ROM called the "Echoes of Silence". This ongoing CD-ROM project contains the histories of the Nisei soldiers of WWII. My uncle. along with other veterans and volunteers, collected their personal profiles, reflections, remembrances, and stories.

So, Uncle Roy, we'll try to remember and to keep the memories alive.



During WWII, the American military was racially segregated. Nearly 20,000 soldiers who served during WWII were Japanese Americans. Units serving in Europe, like the 442nd RCT, had some of the highest casualty rates. While other Americans questioned the national loyalty of Japanese Americans (due to their ethnic background), these soldiers fought and died while their families were locked up behind barbed wire in internment camps. As the history of WWII fades in the collective memory, it gives more importance that these stories be documented.

This "Echoes of Silence" CD-ROM project is ongoing, and one can contact Jim Yamashita, project coordinator, for more information or to contribute to it. Please visit the website where "Echoes of Silence" will be put online.

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Thursday, September 06, 2007

Hikaru is Two

Well, Hikaru is two years old now, and he's already saying "no mo". "No mo" (no more) means that he's "had enough", and that he does not wish to comply with our request. For example, the other day we asked him to brush his teeth as we usually do, and he says, "No mo blush tee." Ok.

Hikaru had a very happy birthday. He blew out the candle himself, and got to eat cake. Normally we don't allow him to eat too much sugar, but we made an exception.

At two years old, Hikaru is gradually understanding the world around him better. And he can express himself better too, especially his likes and dislikes (food, clothes he wears, activities). Sometimes it's amazing to think how he learns the various concepts.

He has a good memory for people and animals and his experiences with them. When we went to the local park over the weekend, he remembers a rabbit we saw several months ago. He's also remembers where people sat. For example, Hikaru points to one chair in our house and says "Bachan's chair" (where his grandmother sat while visiting us). He also knows what belongs to whom, like "Mommy's car" or "Daddy's shirt".

Sometimes Hikaru makes random observations and expresses them. While driving to my mother-in-law's house, we passed by a automobile service garage. He blurted out, "car uppa!" (meaning that the car is up) for a car being serviced on the lift.

Hikaru likes the outdoors. The other day, he really wanted to go "camping" (and he knows what the word means). In his "Curious George" book, here's a story about camping and the animals, and it probably looked like a lot of fun to him. He was pretty disappointed when we didn't go camping, but we hope to in the near future.

Unfortunately, though, we still need to "potty train" Hikaru, and there's not much progress to report so far. He tells us when he goes "pooh-pooh", but only after the event has happened. Sometimes he sits on his potty chair for a while -- until he says "no mo ba-puh" (no more bathroom). Then he goes "pooh-pooh" a couple minutes later. We need to work on the timing of things...

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