Sunday, December 23, 2007

Happy Holidays!

Welcome to the second day of winter (and we have snow in the mountains). Happy holidays everyone! Hikaru is two years and three months old today. In this video he sings a popular "winter" tune called "Jingle Bells". To view the video, please click on the image below.

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year 2008!

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Orange Is Orange

A few months ago, if you asked Hikaru what color is an orange, he would have said "green". But he knows that things can change. When the oranges are "orange", that means that our Satsuma oranges ("mikan") are ready to eat!

In this photo, Hikaru shows off the very first oranges that were picked from the tree this season. These are "dwarf" orange trees, so they are at Hikaru's level.

Hikaru helped Daddy to pick them off the tree. He's also been helping to water the tree over the summer. We picked 17 oranges off the tree today.

And of course, happiness is eating a freshly picked orange for breakfast.

As Hikaru would say, "yummy, yummy!" Oranges are one of his favorite foods.

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Sunday, December 09, 2007

Autumn Leaves

It's hard to believe that it's December already -- and fall is almost winter. Today we took a morning hike at Eaton Canyon which is about a 30 minute drive from where we live. Los Angeles doesn't have drastic seasonal change, but it was a cool and crisp day. It was great to be outdoors, and a welcome change after a hot and dry season.

Hikaru was mostly interested in watching the other people on the trail (with dogs and kids), but he got a chance to play with some leaves.

Places in the East Coast are known for their colorful autumn foliage, but LA has a "little" bit (not much, though). Most of the leaves were brown.

Hikaru grabs a fistful of leaves, and throws them up in the air.

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Tuesday, December 04, 2007

KCC Farmers Market

Photos from Oahu continued...

Every Saturday morning there's a farmer's market at Kapiolani Community College sponsored by the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation. In addition to picking up "lunch", we had a great time!

The following are a few random photos from our wanderings about the marketplace, including this photo of us (below). When you have someone else take your picture be prepared to lose part of your head.

Lots of locally grown and organic fruits, vegetables, and healthy foods can be found here. There's a diversity of food samples to sample, so we went around trying everything from oatcakes to popcorn with spirulina.

There were also all kinds of bottled sauces and marinades. Great stuff for people who like to cook and eat.

Of course, the organic "made in Hawaii" produce is one reason why a lot people come here to shop -- apple bananas, papayas, mangos, pineapples, melons, herbs and spices.

From this place called Kaiulani Spices, I got some "Kona coffee" seasoning. It's a rub for meats which I have yet to try at home, but the food samples I tried were pretty good...

Many colorful reasonably-priced orchids and flowers sold here too. Unfortunately we couldn't take them back home with us to LA (due to the agricultural restrictions into the mainland).

These vegetarian "tofu" bentos called "Tofushi" looked quite "interesting", so we got one to go...


Sunday, December 02, 2007

Finding Love in Chinatown

Yes, we found love in Chinatown -- in Honolulu, that is... We went to Oahu to attend a wedding, but we were now also making up for our own "postponed" Hawaiian honeymoon.

In Hawaiian, the word "aloha" means love in all of it's different forms -- affection, peace, compassion. This adds an extra meaning to our hellos and goodbyes.

On the island of Oahu we stayed with our friends Pensri and Roy who graciously offered us a place to stay at their condo in Waikiki. It was wonderful to see them, and they took us to Honolulu's Chinatown.

Chinatown is located in an older section of Honolulu, and it's easy for us to feel comfortable here. It's a paradise for food with many wonderful family-operated markets, stores, and restaurants. Sort of like other Chinatowns, but with a Hawaiian flavor in colorful fresh fruits, vegetables, fish, herbs, and whatever else one can eat...

We bought some longans from the stand below. They were larger than the ones we're used to seeing, and we were told that they come from the "Big Island" of Hawaii.

This expert marketplace shopper is checking the vegetables for the proper qualities -- it does matter...

For whatever reason, the bananas seemed extra good here. And the bright colors of all the fruits themselves offered a visual feast.

And for lunch in Chinatown we had... Yes, you guessed correctly -- Filipino food... at a restaurant called the Mabuhay Cafe. Not being a good judge for Filipino food, I would consider it quite decent. But I feel our chicken "adobe" is still better than their chicken adobo. (Oops... sorry about dropping an inside joke.)

The menu cover (with a picture of the owners) says this restaurant has been in business since 1963. Boy, that's 44 years!

Finally, love can be found when you least expect it. And in the aloha spirit, we did find love in Chinatown. Can you say "cheese"?

This is a memorial to the Chinese revolutionary and the "father of modern China", Sun Yat-Sen -- who came to Honolulu at age 13. Here, he studied and learned English.

Our travel adventures will continue with our next blog posting... Aloha!


Raymond and Maria

Imagine a sunny island beach with gentle waves crashing on the shore. A perfect wedding location might look like the place in the photo below. Our reason for going to Hawaii (Oahu) was to attend Raymond and Maria's wedding -- but of course, what a great excuse for us to leave the mainland!

Weddings are special and happy life moments. At this particular moment in time, our extended family tree of relatives expanded by merging with another through marriage.

And look at all those teeth! Wow! We've never seen cousin Raymond with such a big smile!

Here's group photo of the bridal party looking pretty good...

And after the wedding ceremony is a good time for catching up with family members who we haven't talked with in a while... In this photo below, cousin Paul is trying to "catch up" with some kids.

As the sun set on the Hawaiian Islands, we had some great food, some speeches and well-wishes for the bride and groom, some dancing, and the traditional cutting of the wedding cake.

Congratulations and best wishes to Raymond and Maria for a happy wonderful life together!

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