Christmas 2019 in Colorado   2 comments

In 1992, our Kimura family had a reunion in Mt Hood for Christmas. The cousins remembered how much they enjoyed being together there and wanted their children to have that bonding experience, so we planned a family reunion for Christmas in Colorado. I found a huge house called Homestead House in Dillon-Keystone area that sleeps all 24 of us (13 adults & 11 kids) with 8 bedrooms and 5 bathrooms. We planned this trip well in advance. We set up a Christmas Eve sleigh ride, set menus for shopping and cooking, prepared for skiing, planned for events before and after the Christmas week, and more. Then unexpectedly, Kara’s mom died the day after Thanksgiving, so Ryan’s whole family had to cancel their plans to attend. Now instead of 24, our group was down to 19 people. We had to carry on without them. 

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Claudine and Yvette’s families and Lari stayed in Boulder before and after Homestead House. Kazu’s family and Bruce came just for the Christmas week at Homestead. Those of us who were in Boulder went to the Denver Zoo lights and the Planetarium show at CU campus. On Monday, Dec. 23, everyone drove up to Homestead after some of us did grocery shopping at Costco and Trader Joes. We settled in and bought pizza for dinner.

The house had foosball, pool table and all kinds of games, a fireplace and a kitchen with 2 dishwashers, 2 sinks, an island, and tons of dishes, pots and pans. They had parking for 6 cars and a hot tub outside as well as sleds for the kids to play in the snow.

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Phil just got a hip replacement, and he couldn’t ski so he worked on his puzzle.

On Tuesday, Christmas Eve, the skiers went to Keystone while us non-skiers did more shopping. Since our Christmas Eve sleigh ride included dinner, we didn’t have to cook. All 19 of us rode in a sleigh pulled by 2 mules. During dinner they provided entertainment for our listening pleasure. We sang Christmas carols on our sleigh ride back. It was a fun experience for all.

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Kazu and his girls along with Brian, Coen and Desmonne waiting for the sleigh ride

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7 kids at sleigh ride dinner

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On Wednesday, the skiers drove to Vail while the rest of us prepared Christmas dinner. We had shrimp scampi, prime rib and all kinds of sides. After dinner, the 8 kids were divided into 2 teams for a Gingerbread House competition. Both houses were fabulous, so the judges declared a tie.

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Prime Rib for dinner!

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Claudine always cleaned up!

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On Thursday, the skiers were tired, so we decided to go to Keystone Lake for ice skating. The kids had a blast! For dinner on Thursday, we had Mexican with all the fixings for make your own tacos. 

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Skating cousins: Azlyn, Chloe, Aulia, Ailah & Marlowe

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Skating cousins, Kazu, Claudine & Yvette

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Friday was the last day for skiing… we prepared curry stew for dinner. Kazu’s cousins (on his Dad’s side) who live in Denver joined us with their kids. The 13 kids got to play games like scavenger hunt, card games and fun minute-to-win-it games. 

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While the kids were running around the house playing scavenger hunt, these adults played their own game.

Saturday, we cleaned up, and left the house to go tubing on Copper Mountain. We had a blast! Some of them made a train of 10 tubes sliding down the hill. Then off to the airport for Kazu and to Boulder for the rest of us.

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Our last day at Homestead house.

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8 kids

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Whole group before leaving Homestead House… only Phil & Bruce are missing.

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3-person train at Copper Mountain tubing

Back in Boulder, 3 families did some activities: Yoshiki, Aronesty & Bennett families tried going to the Wild Animal Sanctuary, but it was closed due to high winds. So for plan B we went to Urban Air Adventure, where the kids from 3 to 15 could enjoy indoor rock climbing, zip lining, trampoline, and much more. That evening we went to a Denver Nuggets NBA game at Pepsi Center. The next day, we did a tour of University of Colorado Campus, Yvette’s alma mater. It was very impressive. On New Year’s eve, we had dinner at Christine’s house and on New Year’s Day, the Aronesty’s and Yoshiki’s went home. Lari stayed a few more days and visited friends in Fort Collins and Denver.

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Rocky the Denver Nuggets mascot

Posted February 13, 2020 by lariyasui in Uncategorized

Christmas Newsletter 2019   1 comment

2019 Holiday Greetings from Lari

Greetings to all from this “Townie” It has been a wonderful and exciting year for me, adjusting to life in Honolulu after living in Pearl City for over 50 years. Although I miss my Pearl City friends and neighbors, my life is so exciting with so many opportunities for fun right here in town. I am close to my doctors, my hair salon, my karaoke gang, theater shows, concerts, seminars, foodie events, birthday parties and much more.

As for my travels, this year, I did seven domestic trips and two trips to Japan. In January, I flew into Long Beach airport, a new venue for Hawaiian Air, to visit friends and family in LA and Orange County. In March to Seattle to visit friends and family. In April, Shari Tamashiro and I met in New York and did fun things there-mostly eating! and I also spent time with Yvette and her family and took a bus to MD to visit Shiomichi family to meet 2 new babies and Sharmaine and her family.                      May was a short trip to Kona with Roger’s ’58 Waipahu HS classmates, hosted by Buddy Barcelo at his home in Kona Palisades.

In June, I flew to Denver to visit my sister Christine and we both took a trip to Omaha to visit Kaitlin and her family. In July, Valerie Wabinga, Linda Burgher and Marcus Dowty went on a trip with me to Hokkaido. September was a Pahoa HS reunion in Vegas with my brother, Bruce. In October, I did a spiritual journey with 6 friends to Osaka, Koyasan, Kumano and Tenkawa. I learned about the Shingon Buddhist sect headquartered in Koyasan, a very spiritual place. After the week-long spiritual tour, Gloria Uyehara and I spent a week in small onsen villages, Kyoto and Kobe. We were lucky not to be affected by Typhoon Hagibis, which devastated other areas north of us.

For more in-depth information/photos of trips taken, please keep scrolling down to past trips for this year and many more previous trips.

This year, we are looking forward to having a white Christmas in Dillon Keystone area of Colorado. 24 family members (5 cousins with 11 grandchildren ranging in ages from 18 to 3 years old) will be housed in a huge lodge with 8 bedrooms, 5 baths, jacuzzi, pool table, and more. We will go on a sleigh ride on Christmas Eve, and skiing, snowboarding, and tubing.

I am so blessed with good friends and family whom I love, and they love me. My mission in life is to nurture those relationships as much as I can by spending quality time with the people in my life who mean so much to me. My life is full, and I am very thankful for my wonderful life and good health to enjoy it.
Love and aloha,
Lari

Opening day of Hawaii State Legislature with Wanda & Roy Takumi on the House floor

Shari Tamashiro is Uchinanchu of the Year for our Itoman Club

Wearing my traditional Korean dress at Halekulani banquet

Chinese New Year’s party

With Kathy & Derrick at Growlers USA

Ryan puts flowers for his grandparents

Oscars party sponsored by HIFF-Hawaii International Film Festival

Part of Guy Sibilla’s book club: David Jones, Marie Milks, and Judy Segawa w/Guy at my condo

We joined Kim Click at the Intrepid Museum in NYC

Shari gave me an edible birthday bouquet!l

Kiera gave me an edible bouquet for my birthday too!

Jensen graduates

Pohakea teacher luncheon

At Wahine Volleyball game

Pahoa HS reunion in Vegas

We enjoyed the food and beer in Victoria Ward

Wine event at Hawaii Convention Center rooftop

Moanalua HS cheerleaders win!

Posted November 30, 2019 by lariyasui in Christmas news

October 2019 Trip to Koyasan & More   Leave a comment

I belong to a group of ladies who learn spiritual practices from Makiko, who comes to Hawaii from Tokyo yearly to teach us. Last year, we decided to go on a journey to Koyasan in Japan with Makiko, who offered to share some highly spiritual places in that area, which is southeast of Osaka. 6 of us from Hawaii met Makiko in Osaka and embarked on our journey to Koyasan, Tenkawa and Kumano in Nara-prefecture and Wakayama-prefecture on the Kii Peninsula of Japan. Linda Uehara, Mary Ann Kobayashi, Cynthia Chi-Coi, Laurie Ide, Gloria Uyehara & me w/Makiko took a train from Osaka to Koyasan, where we stayed at Fukuchiin, a temple ryokan. We slept on futons on the tatami floor and ate vegetarian (monk) food. We experienced going to an early morning (6 am) Buddhist monk service, and observed the sunrise in the zen garden immediately after. Koyasan is the center of Shingon Buddhism founded by Kobo Daishi aka Kukai. We participated in the annual Keshien Kanko ceremony which was very special. We walked through Okunoin, the largest cemetery in Japan with over 200,000 graves, some very ancient & covered with moss.

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All aboard! ready for our train to Koyasan!

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Makiko as we left our lunch restaurant in a drizzly rain. Isn’t she the cutest!

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Laurie, Linda, Gloria & Mary Ann. Notice there are no tables, our monk food was way down low on those trays!

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Right after our 6 am monk prayer ceremony, we turned around and saw the sunrise at the zen garden.

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7 spiritual sisters enjoying the quiet morning

When we left Koyasan, Makiko hired a driver-guide, Kenji, who also studies spiritual practices and who knew of special spiritual locations which were new to Makiko. Kenji shared with us several spiritual places in the area of Koyasan, Tenkawa and Kumano. He drove us to Tenkawa & Kumano where we visited temples, shrines and more and stayed in ryokans. The reason why this is Japan’s spiritual heartland, a sacred place where the gods of Shintoism and Buddhism reside, is because the Kii Peninsula sits on a huge rock very deep (6,000 miles) beneath our earth, creating a strong magnetic field and thus a strong energy field. The mountains in the Kii peninsula are covered in dense forests with 3 pilgrimage routes from one mountain to another.

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This was a special zero energy spot, where 2 families who fought for 60 years, made peace at this spot. Zero because downward and upward energy balanced.

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This is a big shrine that represents the Father of Japan.

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Nachi Waterfall Shrine represents the Mother of Japan. In back row see Kenji-San our tour guide/driver extraordinaire.

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After our last ryokan in Kumano, the rest of the group took the train back to Osaka, but Gloria and I embarked on our own journey along the shoreline of Kii Peninsula. First, we stopped in Kushimoto, a small village at the very southern tip of the Kii Peninsula. There, I lost my iPhone but recovered it at the police station where it was turned in, with the help of the station master, Mr. Miwa. The next day, we took the train to another small seaside village, Shirahama. At our small, old-fashioned ryokan, no one could speak English. But we managed to get around the village by bus, to see all the amazing sites there.

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We are ready for our bath at our Kushimoto hotel onsen in our yukata.

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Mr. Miwa, Kushimoto train master, helped me get my lost iPhone back at the police station! What a special man he is!

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Spectacular Sandanbeki Rock Cliffs, Shirahama.

Then we took a longer train ride back to Osaka, and changed trains to Kyoto, where we stayed for 4 nights in a ryokan with hot springs right near the train station! Typhoon Hagibis was scheduled to hit Japan while we were in Kyoto, but luckily, it did not affect us there. We stayed in Kobe our last 2 nights, visiting the Earthquake Museum and Chinatown, as well as the shopping arcades… so many of them, seemingly unending!

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In Kyoto

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1000 torii at Fushimi Inari Shrine in Kyoto.

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Menbakaichidai, Fire Ramen in Kyoto!

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Sorakuen Garden in Kobe.

Lari’s Top Ten:

10. Onsens daisuki!

9. Kushimoto village, where my lost phone was found at the police station

8. Zero energy grassy spot where we lay down on the grass

7. Shirahama seaside village

6. Spending quality time with 6 sisters, in hotel room, on train, etc.

5. Kenji and Makiko guiding us to special spiritual places

4. Walking the ancient path of the Okunoin cemetery

3. Nachi Waterfall Shrine

2. My strong emotional reactions to high energies which touched my heart

1. Learning about the Shingon Buddhist sect founded by Kobo Daishi aka Kukai

By the way: I went to a friend’s memorial service and noted that the Buddhist service was very different from the usual Hongwanji type of service. Then I found out that it was from a Shingon Temple here in Honolulu. I spoke to the bonsan and told him that I was recently in Koyasan, and he said he was born and raised there.

Gloria’s Top Ten:

1.We walked partially on an old trail that ascetic monks walk for over 100 miles from one mountain to another and experienced spiritual connections while we were there. They were curious about us as we were about them.

2.Sorakuen garden in Kobe was very beautiful with lovely flowers, the chysanthimums were as tall as we, trickling streams, the color of the leaves were unique to the garden.

3.Fushimi Inari shrine with 1000 red torii in Kyoto

4.Arashiyama bamboo forest in Kyoto

5.Nachi waterfall shrine

6.the peaceful zen garden at Fukuchiin temple in Koyasan

7.Okunoin the huge cemetery with over 200,000 graves

8.Kumano Hongu Taisha shrine where the tree waved to us

9.We stopped at a rock and sweet spring water where Aukai stopped on his journey, and next to it is a small building where we walked up the narrow ladder upstairs to where the monks pray

10.Shirahama, where we saw Engetsu Island with a hole and did beach combing.

Makiko’s Top Ten:

1. Tenkawa Daibenzaiten Tensha (where we happened to be at the ceremony)

2. Kechien Kanjo (ceremony at Koyasan, Kongo-buji temple)

3. Kawayu Onsen (the night of Oct.5th, the water of the hot spring was extraordinary!! My skin became so fresh like a 20-something girl!)

4. The grassy place near Tenkawa Daibenzaiten Tensha

5. Greeting Kobodaishi at inside of the Okunoin (maosuleum)

6. Eating soft cream ice (you were eating shaved ice) near Kumano Hongu Taisha.

7. The first restaurant we went for a lunch in Koyasan

http://www.gomatohu.com/kadohamagomatofu.html

8. Waterfall in Kumano

9. The mountain top at Kumano, near the waterfall

10. That I could share a room with everybody♥️

 

Laurie’s Top Ten:

1. Kumano tunnel 

2. Toto toilets

3. Kukai Mausoleum – ceremony blindfolded

4. Kukai Mausoleum – when you and Gloria felt his love

5. Kukai back of Mausoleum – at shrine where you and Gloria felt his love again

6. Kumano Hongo Shrine – where the trees waved to us

7. Onsens – mainly the last one at the Midoriya Hotel, the sulfur turned all my of Tiffany bracelets black LOL

8. Awesome vegetarian monk food

9. Roykan hard floor futons – hard and painful but happy to have experienced it

10. Zero gravity grass area – lying on the grass like happy children

 

Cynthia’s Top Ten

1.  Makiko and Kenji-san’s earnest collaboration which resulted in an extra special journey for everyone. 

2.  Walking the same paths, visiting the same centuries-old structures/forests,  witnessing or participating in the same services as generations of pilgrims before us. 

3.  Visiting sacred Okunoin cemetery and the mausoleum of Kobo Daishi; experiencing his energetic presence.

4.  The synchronicities which led us to special experiences—notably visiting former living quarters of Kobo Daishi and purchasing rare and powerful “protection poster.”

5.  Witnessing our varied, sometimes profound,  emotional and physical reactions to places, situations, or energies—notably Lari, after she had kneeled and bowed before all of the altars in the Okunoin temple. 

6.  Participating in Scarnionne/group energy work to divert Super Typhoon Hagibis away from Japan. 

7.  Shojin ryori at Kadohama Goma Tofu Restaurant and Fujuchiin. 

8.  Enjoying the high quality of service, products, work ethic and artisanal skills of people and businesses in Japan.  

9.   Onsens. 

10.  Opportunity to experience and compare vibes of monastic Koya-san, countrysides, and Osaka.  

Posted November 29, 2019 by lariyasui in Asia

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Trip to Portland   Leave a comment

Every other year, TCA (Taiko Community Alliance) holds a North American Taiko Conference. I went to UNLV in 2015, to UCSD in 2017 and this year to Portland State University in downtown Portland. The workshops and performances are amazing. Mary and I were roommates at a nearby hotel and we just walked over to the workshops at PSU. We’d walk by food trucks with amazing food and had deliciousness at the Saturday Farmer’s Market right next to the campus during our break. We took a trip to The famous International Rose Test Garden, where we enjoyed thousands of varieties of lovely scented roses! 

Mary at the International Rose Test Garden

We loved the fresh, juicy peaches and delicious lunch here!

Taiko legend from Sado Island, Chieko Kojima.

Our Odaiko sensei, Isamu Kageyama doing a demo on the Odaiko (large standing drum)

Before the conference, I went a couple days early and spent time with old friends from Hawaii now living in Beaverton, Pam Ferreira and her sister Debby Higa. They took me to Willamette Falls and to lunch.

After the conference, I drove over the state line to Vancouver, WA, to stay with cousins, Jonathan & Heather Steinmann. Actually Jon is the son of my Kimura cousin, Kathy Steinmann, who also lives nearby with her other daughter, Tiffany. I got to meet 3 of cousin Kathy’s children and their families. One son live in Michigan. One night we went to dinner at Kathy’s daughter, Sarah Sherland’s lovely home, with a river and pond in their yard, that Sarah’s hubby, Will designed. I had so much fun meeting all my relatives in the southern WA area.

Jon & Heather have a menagerie at home!

Heather has 4 chickens and a trained cat.

Family dinner at Sarah & Wills home.

Yummy lunch with Kathy & Ron

Faith slept over with me at Heather’s and her sisters visited one day. They are Tiffany’s kids.

We visited the Columbia River, separating WA from OR.

I taught Kathy & Jon Hanafuda

Osso Buco for lunch at Swiss Hibiscus with Kathy and Tiffany.

Martin Wyss was in the kitchen helping Jennie at her Swiss Hibiscus restaurant.

 

Posted November 29, 2019 by lariyasui in Uncategorized, USA

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2019 Summer Trip to Hokkaido   Leave a comment

I usually go to Japan in the spring and the fall. But this year, domestic trips took up the entire spring season, so I decided to go to Japan in July. The only place to travel to in July is Hokkaido, because the rest of Japan is muggy, humid, and hot. My friend, Kendra had gone to Hakodate, and I had not been there on my trip to Hokkaido 2 summers ago. So this time, I wanted to include Hakodate in my trip. I invited Valerie to be my roommate and Marcus and Linda from Kansas City to join us for their first trip to Japan. So I planned this 10-day trip for the four of us, starting in Chitose near the airport to Lake Toya, to Hakodate and finally to Sapporo. We ordered our rail passes and our pocket wifi from the JR website. I made all the hotel reservations near train stations.
We all arrived at Chitose airport in the evening, so we stayed overnight near the train station. The next morning, we traded our rail pass vouchers for our rail passes and made seat reservations to Lake Toya. The hotel provided a shuttle to pick us up at the station and the driver took us through the mountains on a scenic route. We got to our hotel, checked in, and since our afternoon was free before dinner, we took a lovely, leisurely walk along the lake front. There were sculptures and lake tour boats to enjoy along the way, with flowers and trees and benches. We went back to prepare for dinner in our kimonos. After dinner we went out to the lake to watch the nightly fireworks show. Then back to our hotel for our refreshing onsen baths.

Dinner at our Lake Toya ryokan. Many small dishes!

After breakfast the next morning, I did another quickie onsen bath before we checked out and took the shuttle back to the train station for our 2-hour ride to Hakodate.

Selfie on the train.

Our Sheraton Hotel was right next to the station. We stayed there for 3 nights and every morning we went across the street to the Hakodate Morning Market for fresh seafood breakfast! They had many choices of delicious seafood. On our first afternoon, we decided to look for some famous Hokkaido soft serve ice cream. The next day we toured around the city: we went to a star-shaped fort called Goryokaku, ate hamburgers for lunch at Lucky Perriot, and went to Motomachi-the European district where we had tea at the British Consulate and saw the Russian Orthodox church.

 

Goryokaku Fort

That evening, we took the ropeway up to Mount Hakodate for the view of the city at sunset and at night. It was very cold up there.

Hakodate city at night from Mount Hakodate

On our second day, we took a bus out to a small tropical botanical garden in a glass building. Then Val and I went to Yunokawa Onsen, while Marcus and Linda went to the Red Brick shopping area. It was only $10 for us to enjoy the lovely onsen and then beautiful 100-year-old garden near the lobby. Hakodate has several locations of Snaffles, where we got their heavenly, light & delicious mini cheesecakes. It was our favorite treat of the entire trip!

Lovely 100-year-old garden


We took a 4-hour train ride to Sapporo and checked in to the Nest Hotel, located between the train station and Odori Park. Great location!

The first thing we did after checking in was to look for Zoff eyeglass shop. We found the closest one back at the train station underground mall.

New glasses for these 3, ready in 45 minutes!

For 3 nights, we had dinner at the Bic building where on the 10th floor are many restaurants, including a ramen hall with several ramen shops. I was so excited to find Tonkatsu Tamafuji, that we had to eat there. I had never eaten at the one in Kapahulu, because of the hours-long wait.

We took a day trip to see the Tomita lavender farm, the blue pond and the Shikisai Hills flower farm. Although I had done these things 2 years ago, I didn’t want my friends to miss these. We were lucky because Yumi from Tokyo booked a private car w/English speaking driver who drove us around all day!

Tomita Lavender Farm

Shikisai Hills flower farm

The next day we took the train to Otaru, where we walked, shopped and ate our way around town. Val and I took a cab to Kim Glass Design where we tried our hand at blowing glass, making our own drinking glasses. It rained in the afternoon, the only rainy day of our entire trip!

Kim Glass Design

Our last full day in Sapporo, we walked to Odori Park, where we were lucky to come across a jazz festival there! Then we went to Nijo Fish market and went shopping at Daiso, Don Quixote and in the shopping malls on street level and below street level where there are mazes of shopping.

Notice the road repair gates with Hello Kitty.

The fabulous food! Of course, everywhere we went there was soft serve ice cream; Melon flavor, chocolate, lavender and more! Also, every city seems to have their own version of light and fluffy cheesecake. The seafood in Hokkaido can’t be beat for freshness and flavor. I’ve never had crab leg tempura until Hakodate. Peaches, melons, grapes, ramen, soup curry, tonkatsu, and ikura were all amazing!

Tonkatsu Tamafuji

Miso ramen, so yummy!

Juicy, sweet peach!

Crab tempura.

Melon soft serve

Lari’s Top Seven: (because I had done some things 2 years ago)
7: Fresh, sweet peach -with juice dripping down your chin
6: Tonkatsu Tamafuji (although Honolulu has one, I never went there)
5: Snaffles cheesecakes in Hakodate
4: Yunokawa Onsen and garden
3: Lake Toya
2: Hakodate Morning Market
1: King Crab and scallop cooked on the fire at Sapporo Nijo Market

Valerie’s Top Ten:
10: Hakodate Fish Market: Kani Tempura breakfast every morning with fresh fruit (preferably $40 grapes! 😂) Cantaloupe and Apples
9: 7-11: Morning coffee, Seaweed Musubi, Onzen (?), and snacks galore – wanted to buy them all!
8: Lake Toya: Enjoyed walking along the Lake’s pathway on that beautiful sunny day taking photographs of the activity, the scenery, the boats, and one another. One regret was not taking the boat to the four islands in the center of the lake.
7: The Blue Pond: Although man-made, the color is beautiful and mystifying. It was hard to leave.
6: Furano: Tomita Farms – The Lavender fields were beautiful; however, the lavender ice cream was remarkable!
5: Shikisai flower Farm – Amazed by the colors and designs created by the method in which the farmers planted their flower beds. Breathtaking!
4: Rooftop Yunokawa Onsen and 100 year old garden: In the garden, all the plantings were perfectly placed around the koi pond. What a wonderful place to find yourself or to become centered.
3: Sculptures: They were all so beautiful and they were everywhere! In public streets, in the park, the fish market… wish I could read Japanese! I’m sure each one had a story.
2: Glass Blowing with Kim: What a hoot, so much fun! The staff were so helpful, no stress! End product was gorgeous… to mine eyes!
1: And last, but not least, I loved the Ropeway Tower and Gorytaku Park with the temple in the center. I LOVE temples! The surrounding trees were phenomenal… The Historical buildings in Otaru, the Russian Orthodox Church, temples in the surrounding area – all AMAZING!
FOOD AND DESSERT: Given a choice, I would definitely eat dessert before dinner! SNAFFLES, all flavors, is my favorite!

Linda’s Top Ten:

10. Goryo kaku Tower and park, Hakodate

9. Blue pond, beautiful and weird.

8. Nikko in the rain.

7. Nebuta Museum WA-RASSE in Aomori.

6. Toilets!!  They were clean, abundant, and free.  What more could a visitor want??

5. The trains and other forms of public transportation were fantastic, and on time.  Like our experience with the Swiss trains when the clock “clicked” the minute the train moved, clean and comfortable, and unlike the TGV you could see the view out the window.  They could be that fast but were not, and this was good.

4. Lavender and lupine, et al. fields were beautiful and lavender ice cream much to my surprise was yummy!

3. Rice fields trimmed in marigolds.

2. I  loved the social rules (being considerate of your neighbors, not talking on phone in train car, cueing for everything).  The “rules” were frequently explained or printed in English, Chinese, Korean, occasionally in Spanish and German and obeyed.  Soooo, civilized!

1. The Hokkaido “tour” arranged by  Lari and meeting Valerie.  It was great seeing you again, meeting Val, and thank you so much for doing the planning, Lari.  Hokkaido had been on my 2-do list for decades.

Traveling & Making Connections   1 comment

Traveling & Making Connections
Over the past six months, I have been traveling domestically to visit friends and relatives. By staying with them or sharing a meal, I re-connect with loved ones near and far. Before I leave, I make arrangements to visit with different friends and relatives, asking if I could stay with them for a night or two. Then I rent a car and drive from house to house, just spending quality time with them. I don’t want them to go out of their way to entertain me or take me site-seeing in their area. I tell them that I just want to hang out with them in their daily life: chores, errands, soccer games or whatever they are doing, I would just go along with them.

Last October, 2018 I flew to the Bay area, because Hawaiian Airlines had a sale. I visited with Paul and Sigi in Point Richmond and went to a Halloween party with them. Then to Vacaville to stay with the Golden family, who were renovating their house. On to Lafayette to stay with Lovelle, my taiko friend and lastly to Monterrey to stay with my Pahoa HS classmate, Daniel and his wife Toki. (Sad note: I am so glad I spent time with them, because Daniel just died recently.)

Sigi and me at Halloween party

Sigi and Paul in Richmond Point party

Diane & Bronce in their unfinished kitchen in Vacaville

Chad and Cody at home

Lorin, Phil and Lovelle in Lafayette. Lorin and Lovelle are taiko friends.

Toki and Daniel in Monterrey. Daniel just died in May 2019.

In November 2018, I made a last-minute trip to LA, when I learned that Yvette and family would be in Manhattan Beach visiting Joe and Diane Aronesty for Thanksgiving. So I booked a flight and stayed with the Aronesty’s. We got to have dinner with Norway trip friends, Patti and Shunji, who live in Torrance. We also spent a day with Erik’s relatives from San Diego and New Mexico, going bowling and having fun with them. Mostly, we just went to the beach every day.

Diane, Yvette and Marlowe in Manhattan Beach

Thai dinner with Shunji and Patti and the Aronesty family

In January 2019 I flew to Long Beach airport, a new route for Hawaiian Airlines. Patti & Shunji picked me up and took me home to Torrance, where I stayed for 2 days. Then they kindly and generously loan me their car and I drove to Culver City to visit my cousin Ann and her family there! It was my first visit with Annie and her family and I had a blast getting to know her and her kids and grandkids! Then I drove to northern LA, near Glendale, where my childhood friends, Bev and Ethel Jane (AKA Ettie) live. I then drove to Fountain Valley to visit my former student, Richard & Debbi Ross and then to Nancy Bauer’s home in Fullerton. (I forgot to take a photo of the two of us.) She had just lost her husband, Jim, and we shared experiences. I ended up back in Torrance staying with Roger’s high school classmates, Reto and Nani. The next day they dropped me off at Long Beach airport.

Shunji, Patti, me, Sharon and Wenshing having dinner. We met on a tour of Norway in August 2019.

Cousin Annie and hubby Trace in Culver City

Downtown LA with Annie

Bev Nii in LA

Ettie Nii in LA

Debbi and Richard in Fountain Valley

Nancy w/Jim before he passed.

Nani & Reto in Torrance

In March, I flew to Seattle and first stayed with Phil & Jane in Renton. They are Pearl City HS classmates of Yvette. Then on to my cousin’s daughter, Elda in Bellevue. Then I drove to Federal Way to stay with 2 young doctors, Eve and Jenn, who took me to a friend’s birthday party in Bremerton, and to get a Korean massage the next day. I had lunch with Brett Hudner and his girlfriend Lauren. The next day, I met Wendy & Bridgett for lunch in downtown Seattle. Lastly, I stayed with TJ and Pam Bauer who live in a lovely home on Lake Tapps.

Phil & Jane Pearl City HS class of ’84 now live in Renton

Elda in Bellevue

Jennifer me and Eve on ferry to Bremerton

Lauren and Brett at Korean lunch

Wendy & Bridgett used to work for Symetra, now at Strategic Planning Partners in downtown Seattle

Pam and me in their living room. Zander is photo bombing behind me

TJ & me before he left on a business trip.

In April, I flew to NYC to visit with YENM (Yvette, Erik, Noakai, Marlowe). We celebrated Marlowe’s 5th birthday at a bowling alley party. I took a bus trip to Laurel, MD to visit cousin Gary & Sally. Every visit they have their kids and grandkids come for dinner. Then to Severn, MD to visit Sharmaine, David, Colin and Addison. (I forgot to take a photo of the Hornsby family!) Sharmaine is my cousin Brian Kimura’s daughter. I returned to NY and spent another weekend with YENM, going to another birthday party, this time at a Karaoke room in Korea town. Then I stayed with Shari Tamashiro in a nearby hotel. We spent 4 days eating our way around the city, going to art museums, getting massages and seeing 4 broadway shows.

Date with Marlowe to see broadway show.

Marlowe’s bowling birthday party

Matt & Audrey w/Layla, Grandma Sally, w/Quinn sleeping in front, Billy and Kat w/Lily and Grandpa Gary on far right. In Laurel, MD.

Hornsby’s new home in Severn

Sharmaine waiting for bulbs to bloom in spring

East Village crawl: we went to 3 restaurants! Noakai, Marlowe and Grandma Lari

Shari and I enjoying omakase dinner at Tori Shin.

Shari and I at Whitney Museum

We loved the flower show at Macy’s

In June, I flew to Denver to visit my sister Christine and her family in Boulder. The first night, I stayed in Fort Collins with the Wortmans. They always invite their kids to come to dinner whenever I visit and I have watched their grandkids, Marshall and Audrey, grow up through the years. Chris and I flew to Omaha for a 3-day visit with Kaitlin, Shaun, Kaia(3) and Liam(1). Kaitlin is cousin Brian’s youngest daughter, sister of Sharmaine in MD. It was my first time to Omaha, and Kaitlin with her 2 kids, took us to Old Market with cobblestone streets, to the fabulous zoo, to Lauritzen Garden, to Bob Bridge, and more. Back in Boulder, we visited Brian and Desmonne and played with Coen(2), went to the Farmer’s Market, visited Shirley Stokoe in Denver, had dinner at Riffs with Leslie-taiko friend from Denver(no photo), and I helped Chris cook Father’s Day dinner.

Tom and Tyke Wortman, Fort Collins

Audrey, Marshall, Brian and Lori-daughter of Tom and Tyke

Kaia, Kaitlin and Liam at the museum in Omaha

Chris and I on the Bob Bridge over the Missouri River on the state line.

Playing with Coen in his ball pit.

Grandma Chris with Coen

Fathers Day: Phil, Des w/Coen, me, Chris and Brian

Posted June 29, 2019 by lariyasui in family, USA

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2018 October “Roots” Trip to Japan   1 comment

Presenting the latest episode of

Hawaiians in Japan

Starring: Lari, Christine, Bruce, Kazu, Ailah, Aulia, Fred, Fumiko, Maya, Elvis

October 3-14, 2018

We planned a pilgrimage to our family’s roots in Japan. My mother’s Hokada family came from Kumamoto on the southern island of Kyushu. My father’s Kimura family came from Oshima Island, Iwakuni in Yamaguchi prefecture. So Fred, Fumiko and Maya Hokada went to Kumamoto with us. Our cousin, Elvis Kimura, who lives in Hilo, went with us to Oshima Island. Kazu flew with Ailah and Aulia to Osaka and took the shinkansen to Kumamoto. Christine, Bruce and I met in Tokyo and flew to Kumamoto from Haneda.

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Bruce and Chris did not like this hostel

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Before flying to Kumamoto, we had dinner with Yumi, Asako and Koji. Yuba is liquid tofu and you eat the cooled “skin”.

My second cousin, Hiroshi Hokada took us to Kumamoto Castle, where we got to see some of the damage from the 2016 earthquake. They were having a festival at the castle, so we enjoyed entertainment with a picnic lunch and the kids got to play all kinds of games.

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When we returned to their home in the late afternoon, we walked over to the Hokada grave site. When Chris, Bruce and I scattered our parents’ ashes it was an emotional experience to take Mom back to her ancestral roots. Cousin Fred’s wife, Fumiko comes from Nagoya, so she translated all of our conversations with our Japanese relatives throughout our visit. While we were at Osaka Castle, the ladies at home prepared a huge feast for dinner all spread out on a long table. All of us had a wonderful time getting to know each other and meeting all the relatives.

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What a feast!

The next day, Hiroshi took us to Mount Aso National Park and we visited 3 active volcanic craters. Then we went to Takachiho Gorge, where we walked in the gorge and enjoyed the scenery and waterfalls there.

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The next morning, we visited Suizenji Park, with miniature versions of the major sites in Japan, from Mt Fuji to Fushimi Inari Shrine. Then we drove to Nabegataki Falls, where we could walk behind the falls to the other side. 

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We stayed overnight at Ryokan Yamanoyu in Kurokawa Onsen village with Hiroshi and Takako, who left for home the next day. The next day, we did the “Onsen Hop”. We  paid 1300 yen to visit 3 out of 25 onsens in Kurokawa, walking from one to the next. Then we drove to Yufuin, another onsen town. We stayed overnight, but didn’t get to see much of this town because we had a long drive to Iwakuni-Oshima Island to visit our Kimura relatives. IMG_4592IMG_4624

When we arrived at Oshima Island, Hitoshi Okabatake was waiting for us with Tony, a translator, that stayed with us the entire visit so we could communicate with our relatives. We visited the Kimura grave, and scattered our parents ashes there. The Okabatake family took us to a fine dinner at a restaurant and the next morning, we picked tangerines at their orange grove.

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After they served us a delicious home-cooked lunch, we drove to Iwakuni airport and flew back to Tokyo.

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Chris & I bought new eyeglasses for $60 made in 30m minutes, including eye exam.

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Before Bruce left for home.

Lari’s Top Ten:

10 Buying new glasses for cheap in Tokyo from Zoff & JINS

9 Kumamoto Castle

8 Yufuin onsen village shops

7 Meeting and “chatting” with Japan relatives. In Kumamoto, we had Fumiko to translate, and in Oshima, we had a professional translator, Tony, with us the entire visit with Okabatake’s

6 Scattering Sue/Kongo’s ashes at Hokada/Kimura graves

5 Nabegataki Falls -walking behind it!

4 Being with cousins and family traveling together

3 Takachiho Gorge

2 Delicious home-cooked lunch at Okabatake’s and home-cooked dinner at Hokada’s

1 Kurokawa Onsen Hopping

Fred’s Top Ten:

10. Convincing Lari to study conversational Japanese?

9. Witnessing Christine scatter the ashes of Uncle Kongo and Aunty Sue at the Hokada grave in Kumamoto.

8. Hotel Breakfast buffet with the Kimura’s 3x

7. Spotting Mt. Aso from the propeller airplane on the way to Kumamoto and the scary landing at Kumamoto Airport.

6. The clouds and the mountains of Kumamoto reminded me of Hawaii.

5. Maya tricked me. She took a nice photo of Kumamoto Castle but it was actually a picture of a picture of the Castle. I didn’t even notice that it was taken before the earthquake!

4. Aulia correcting me saying “I’m not Ailah, I’m Aulia!”

3. The 800 year old tree at Takachiho Jinja.

2.  Buying some Kumamoto rice for Mochi Tsuki.

1.  Visiting the Hokada home. They were so good to us. It was just like visiting our aunties, uncles, and cousins here at home.

Fumiko’s Top Ten:

10. Okonomiyaki Place. 

9.  Local super market.

8. Souvenir shops

7. Propeller airplane to Kumamoto. 

6. Hotel breakfast buffet. 

5. Kumamoto Castle. 

4. Mt. Aso. 

3. Takachiho Gorge. 

2. Hokada ancestors’ Graveyard. 

1.Dinner @Hokada San’s House.

Maya’s Top Ten:

10. Hotel breakfast buffet.

9. Singing in the car.

8. Free hotel smart phone.

7. Propeller airplane to Kumamoto.

6. Okonomiyaki Place.

5. Kumamoto Castle.

4. Graveyard.

3. Hokada San’s House.

2. Mt. Aso.

1. Takachiho Gorge.

Christine’s Top Ten:

10  Takachiho Gorge

9   YufuIn shopping area

8  Sleeping & playing with Ailah and Aulia

7  Freddie & Fumiko, Elvis, Kazu & Bruce’s company

6  Lunch at Otabatake’s

5  Oshima (Yashiro) Island narrow streets

4  sunrise at Sunshine Sazanseto Hotel

3  Onsen Hopping

2  IchiRan (Saimin) Ramen

1  Scattering Mom and Dad’s ashes

Bruce’s Top Ten:

10 Picking Mikan at Okabatake

9. Sunrise at Sunshine Sazanseto Hotel

8. Mount Aso

7. Suizenji Esuko Park

6. Kumanoto Castle

5. Toto and other Japanese toilets

4. Kimura Grave

3. Hokada Grave

2. Lunch at Okabatake’s

1. Dinner at Hokada’s

Elvis’s Top Ten:

10 Suizenji Jojuen Garden

9 Yufuin Street shopping

8 Eating Soba in Oguni

7 Visited Kimura Grave

6 Riding Shikansen

5 Picking Mikan at Okabatake’s

4 Museum of Emmigration

3 Dinner at Ryokan Yamanoyu -Family and food (especially the horse meat)

2 Kurokawa Onsens (3 extra ones)

1 Oshima family Dinner: cousins and food (sashimi was fantastic)

Kazu’s Top Ten:

Ailah’s Top Ten:

10 Going on long train rides while playing games (w/ daddy & Aulia)

9 Eating & drinking sweets (a lot)

8 Playing w/Maya(in the car) 

7 Seeing and feeding the koi fish 

6 Seeing waterfalls -fav.-nabegataki 

5 Going to many Onsens -fav.-okunoyu 

4 Staying @neat hotels -fav.-Yamanoyu 

3 Going shopping -fav-Daiso 

2 Sagamihara-favorite -seeing Mia 

1 Kumamoto -favorite-seeing my family

 

Aulia’s Top Ten:

10 eating sushi (it tastes good)

9 going to Kumamoto zoo (seeing the giraffe)

8 seeing coyfish(taking pictures of them)

7 going to see Nabegataki water fall

6 going to the Takachiho gorge (seeing the nice green water)

5 going to the Okunoyu onsen (going in a lot of pools)

4 staying in Sunshine Suzan Seto (resting)

3 seeing our cousins (playing with them)

2 going in the trains (sitting and looking out)

1 playing balloon popping game

Posted December 11, 2018 by lariyasui in Asia

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