Archive for December 2018

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. IMG_3628

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Bruce & Chris did not like the 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_4624IMG_4608

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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Lari’s 2018 Christmas News   23 comments

2018 Holiday Greetings from Lari

This was a year of big change for me. In April, moved from my Pearl City house to a 2-bedroom condo in Honolulu. It was a huge job downsizing from my 5-bedroom, 3-bath, 10-closet house where we lived for almost 50 years.    My new address: 1325 Wilder Ave #9 in Honolulu, HI 96822.  Email: lariyasui@gmail.com

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Willy & Sue Okimoto invited me over for a farewell dinner with my neighbors, Flora Nohara and Lisa & Wayne Shibata. Chef Willy cooked a delicious dinner for us! I miss my wonderful Pearl City neighbors. Houdini misses me and I miss him since moving to town.

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Houdini

Houdini & me

But now I save on time, gas and mileage on my car because everything is so close and convenient being in town. I leased my first luxury car, a Q5 Audi SUV. I am still learning how to use all the high-tech computer features on 2 screens.

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John Ohtani from Audi delivered my new Q5

In January, I went to Tuscany with Leanda Santos, and since it was her first time in New York, we toured a few sites in NY city before and after going to Italy, staying with Yvette and family in Battery Park City.

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Leanda & I enjoyed Cinque Terre in Italy

Then in early April, I took Yvette, Erik, Noakai and Marlowe to Osaka, Nara and Kyoto.

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Riding rickshaws in Arashiyama bamboo forest

When I returned home from Japan, Garrett Mozolic and his brothers of Mo Movers moved me into the condo. I didn’t finish settling into my condo and flew off to meet Mary Ann Kadooka in Barcelona. After Spain, with help from a few friends, I got my apartment all arranged and organized with paintings hung, and cabinets and closets filled.

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In May, (I’m a Taurus) friends and family celebrated my 75th birthday with 4 parties!

Party #2 at Sunrise

Party #2 at Sunrise

Most of the summer, I stayed home. Yvette and Marlowe came to stay with me (in my condo for the first time) in July. Noakai and Erik couldn’t make it to Hawaii this year.  In August, I flew to New York and took Noakai on a 12-day tour of Norway which included a cruise up the coast to the Arctic Circle.

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My son Ryan, Kara, Jensen, Madi and Allysen moved from Mililani to Salt Lake to live with Kara’s mom, Kathy Iwao. Jensen is finishing his senior year at Mililani HS, Madi started 9th grade at Moanalua HS and Ally is at Salt Lake Elementary. Ryan is especially happy to have a short drive to Pearl Harbor Shipyard. In September, we celebrated Ryan’s 50th birthday and Ally’s 9th birthday at Hilton Hawaiian Village for the weekend.

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In October my sister Christine and brother Bruce met me in Tokyo, and we flew to Kumamoto on the southern island of Kyushu to visit my mother’s Hokada relatives. My cousin Fred and family and my nephew Kazu with 2 daughters joined us there. We all had a wonderful time meeting and getting to know our Hokada cousins’ families, who entertained us royally. We scattered some of Sue and Kongo’s ashes at the Hokada gravesite. Fred’s wife Fumiko (from Nagoya) translated for us so we could communicate with our Kumamoto relatives.

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Hokada relatives in Kumamoto made a fabulous dinner for us in their beautiful home.

Then Fred left and cousin Elvis Kimura came to meet us and Kazu drove 7 of us in a van to Kurokawa onsen  village and Yufuin onsen town along the way and finally to Oshima Island in Yamaguchi Prefecture. We visited Okabatake family (our Kimura relatives) and visited the Kimura grave, where we scattered more of Sue and Kongo’s ashes. They hired a translator to help us communicate. Okabatakes have a large orange grove and let us pick tangerines, which we took with us for the remainder of our trip back to Tokyo.

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It was Bruce’s first time to Japan, and Christine’s second time. We did some site seeing in Tokyo before returning home. 

At Halloween, I visited different friends, house-hopping in the Bay Area. For Thanksgiving, I stayed at Aronesty’s home in Manhattan Beach, LA with Yvette, Erik, Noakai and Marlowe who flew in from New York.

My “townie” life in Honolulu is very busy with all kinds of activities! Theater, luncheons, dinners, festivals, movies, Apple Store classes, Red-Light therapy, facials, massages, pedicures, karaoke bars, farmer’s markets, and more.

I am on the Wilder Tower condo Board and attend meetings concerning our condo. I am an “Okinawan at Heart” member of the Itoman Club and help plan their activities. I still work part time for Chinen&Arinaga Financial Group.

In October, I attended the Hawaii Food and Wine Festival for 5 days at various venues around town. It was exciting to meet many celebrity chefs at their booths. I am a member of Hawaii International Film Festival (HIFF) and in November, I was at Dole Regal theaters for 10 days and saw 36 movies using my festival pass. On Veterans’ Day, I loved the fantastic Bruno Mars concert at Aloha Stadium with 30,000 of my closest friends.

To all my friends and families, may you have a wonderful and blessed holiday season! For more details about my trips, please read my travel blog by scrolling down on this page or clicking the archives on the left side.

Love and aloha, Lari

Posted December 9, 2018 by lariyasui in Christmas news, family