Sunday, November 28, 2010

Seeking Playdate for Maiya's Japanese Restaurant (#28)

Help us please.  Anyone want to come over to Maiya's Japanese Restaurant?  Maiya asks us to come to Maiya's Japanese Restaurant every day, several times a day. Please come to our house. Tony and I would appreciate it.  The menu is consistent.  We will even give you some homemade cash to pay for your food.  Irrashai!
Then afterwards, you can play with her and her friends (see purse below).

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Small Biz Saturday... Jenni's Gift Ideas (#27)

Did you know that today, the day after the shop-until-you-drop-day-after-Thanksgiving-day is Small Business Saturday?  It's the first I've heard of it, but I'm all for it!  Let's support our small, internet and home-based businesses, especially those offering green gift items.  Thought I'd share a few gift ideas for the season.

Here's a new Goodbyn lunchbox Maiya's getting for Christmas (don't tell her).  Well it won't be a total shock since she picked the color.  This is a growing, but home-based husband and wife business.  They are 25% off until Monday, November 29.
Here's a website that I like that offers a lot of cloth and other types of bags...

And you know about Great Leap's B.Y.O Chopstix for sale at Blacklava right?  A portion of the proceeds help support nonprofit arts as well as help to sustain the earth.
I know you've seen the video, but in case you haven't... 
help us spread the word about bringing your own chopsticks when you eat at Asian food places.  
For some community-based gift ideas, here is a book "Nanka Nikkei Voices 4: The Japanese American Family" published by the Japanese American Historical Society of Southern California.  This is a project that I helped out on the editorial team for the past 2 years or so that was finally finished a few months ago.  Both Tony and I have several pieces in the book, including the original 101 Ways to Tell You're Japanese American.  It's not available online that I know of, but you can get it by sending a check or money order to:  JAHSSC, P.O. Box 3164, Torrance, CA 90510.  For info email
Also, the Little Tokyo Historical Society (you can find them on FB) is selling a Little Tokyo calendar, with past, present and future images of Little Tokyo.  The cover and inside features Tony's Little Tokyo Mural.  It's not the picture below, but it's from the same day.
And finally, if you're in Orange County, go visit the beautiful Plant Depot, a family-owned nursery and boutique in San Juan Capistrano owned by my cousin Jackie's family.  You have to go see their beautiful fish pond.


Thursday, November 25, 2010

Thxgiving 2010 (#25)

Went to my mom and dad's house for Thanksgiving after watching Scott Pilgrim, not a movie about the pilgrims.  Tony & Maiya went to see Uncle Bill, then went over to his Aunt Janice's house for Turkey Day.  Auntie Keiko and I went to my mom's, then Tony & Maiya came later as we were just finishing up eating.  After, we went to the Ayala-Vera's (Letty & Paul's new house).  Didn't break out the camera there, but it was nice to see everyone.
 There's always an adults table 
 And of course the kids table.  My generation's table was in between the two
 Gayle's MIL Diane and her sister Aunt Marge
Kids had a lot of fun with oldest cousins Shannon & Ryan
Maiya with Auntie Keiko

And for those who read my blog yesterday and wondered what I ate, here it is.  Breakfast/lunch:  carrots  and hummus.  Appetizers:  about 3 tortilla chips with salsa, carrots with brie (instead of bread), olives.  Dinner: Mashed potatoes, green beans, ruttabaga (sp?), Italian sausage, broccoli & asparagus, corn, fruits (then back for seconds).  No turkey, I don't usually eat turkey anyways... it's the gravy and stuffing I really missed this year.  Dessert:  one bite of Maiya's banana cream pie and one bite of pumpkin pie.  Then at Letty's had one tiny slice of pumpkin roll cake with cream cheese (she said she made it for me because I LOVE it... ahh I could have eaten 10 slices).

Oh, and for the dorkiness... it's the Turkey Singalong.  Don't you wish you were there?
There you have it.  NaBloPoMo#Turkey#25.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Just in time--for health (#24)

So, I've been dealing with asthma since the end of August.  I used to have it when I was a kid.  It seems like I always had some form of exercise-induced asthma during my lifetime.  But in the past few years it has emerged every time after having a cold, which tends to drag on way too long.  This time, it has stayed around for almost 3 months.  I went to my doctor a couple of times and was prescribed two inhalers, given Prednisone, which didn't work, and then when I had to keep coming in for treatments and getting new medications, I got a nebulizer which helped.  But I wanted to wean off the nebulizer when it seemed like I was getting it under control.  But the coughing attacks, phlegm and wheezing didn't end.  I was still taking the daily inhaler, and the "emergency" inhaler several times a day and I don't know how many bags of cough drops I have gone through in the past few months.

I started going back to yoga after a 5 year break.  While I don't have energy to do the treadmill right now, a beginner Hatha class at the Y, I can handle.  After a bad week, I emailed my doctor again asking some questions and looking for advice.  Her suggestion was to do another round of steroids and switch to a different asthma medication.  More of the same, which hasn't really helped.  That did it.

Finally, a week ago, I went back to see my friend Victor Shibata, an amazing chiropractor and healer who does energetic work.  He has always been able to help... my back, allergies, the many times I have been unable to move my neck or head, when I wanted to get pregnant, when I was low on energy, when I had a bad cold, when my sciatica was out, when asthma kicked in... combining chiropractic with ART, autonomic response testing, which is a pretty interesting.

He does sort of a nutritional analysis and is able to pinpoint what is going on with some pretty mind-boggling precision.    He has been able to diagnose issues with thyroid, digestion and heavy metals such as lead and aluminum.  When we were in Cuba ten years ago and I was suffering from hammer to the head headaches from the heat and humidity, he did acupuncture and cleared it up.

I had a feeling Victor would tell me to cut back on my wheat.  Years ago, and I can't remember what for, he took me off of wheat.  My symptoms went away, and I felt much lighter, more energy, more focused.  And when I was better, I asked if I could go back to my beloved pastas and breads.  He said if you're feeling better why would you?  But of course, I did.

This time, he took me off not only wheat, but sugar as well.  I was expecting the wheat, I had been cutting back on pastas and breads as well as dairy products to reduce the phlegm.  No wheat AND sugar?  Just in time for the holidays.  While I do like licorice and an occasional sweet, muffin or donut, I do eat pretty healthy most of the time, eating a lot of salads and not a lot of junk food.  But of course now that it is off limits, it is everywhere and I am craving it big time.

In addition, he gave me instructions to drink 70 ounces of water a day (when I usually drink about 7 ounces a day if I'm not paying attention).  Not only that, but I am drinking water with INTENTION asking it to heal my lungs, actually my left lung to be exact, and to help me be healthier.  He also gave me occipital therapy, little accupunture pins to put in my ears, which he has me going in every 2-3 days to replace.  He also gave me vitamin supplements for my lungs, kidneys, liver (which showed weaknesses affecting my central nervous system), and 21 Vitamin B supplements a day, since apparently stress is depleting my Vitamin B (I have stress?  Really?).

While the dietary restrictions are not easy, living with asthma sucks and I am ready to move on.  So, definitely something I am willing to try.  I went back to Victor yesterday, while I am still having a lot of coughing and wheezing especially at night and in the mornings, I am feeling a little better.  He did some energy work to help me breathe better, a bit of acupuncture to open up my chest and lungs, got me to breathe from the diaphragm instead of the chest, and reminded me about stress and emotions being the root cause of my asthma and breathing issues.

So, watch me this Thanksgiving.  I won't be eating any stuffing or gravy rolls or pies or cookies or junkies.  But, I am grateful for this gluten-free life and thankful for the chance to work on making things better for me, my family, and the community.


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

More Letters from Daddy (#23)

A few more "Letters from Daddy."
October 4, 2010
Dear Maiya, Good morning.  Did you sleep well?  I did.  Mommy didn't cough all night.  That's great. Let's go to the park after school today.  Love, Daddy

October 12, 2010
Dear Maiya.  I think you are cool.  I love you.  I will see you after school at El Marino. Love Daddy

October 18, 2010 *This one is Maiya's favorite.
Dear Maiya, Hello. Hello. Hello.  It's off to work I go and you school--see you at 4:32! Love, Daddy

October 20, 2010
Dear Maiya, Ohayo gozaimasu!  Good morning young one.  Did you sleep well?  Did you dream? Did your body and mind rest?  I slept like a baby - ga ga goo goo!  Stay dry today and enjoy your muffin and machaca burrito.  Oishi, neh? Give Mommy a hug and a high five for me.  Let's go to the library today after school and get a book on club houses.  Tony "Daddy" Osumi

November 5, 2010
Dear Maiya, Good morning Love.  How did you sleep?  I slept all night and didn't wake up at all.  What are you bringing to Share Toy Day? Gaga? Sarcastic Cat? Your plastic light saber handle we got from the hardware store? When I pick you up after school, tell me.  Tonight for dinner I'm going to make gohan--rice.  White steamed rice with a fried egg on top with chopped up hot dogs and tsukemono.  Do you know what tsukemono is?  I think you spell it this way in Japanese:  つけもの.  Can you read that?  Have a great, fun day.  Be brave and strong. Love, Daddy

November 9, 2010
Dear Maiya,We have a DVD to watch after school.  We also have to take it back after we watch it.  Or maybe Daddy will take it back later in the night.  Oops! I forgot to say good morning.  "Good morning!" What fun stuff are you doing at school today?  Will  you be chasing some kids or playing soccer?  Be like Invisible Girl Mai Mai and do teamwork.  Love and hugs, Love and kisses, Love and tickles, Daddy

November 15, 2010
Dear Maiya, Good morning.  It's Monday.  Time for work and school.  Yay!  Yesterday was a cool day. seeing you on the basketball court hustling and dribbling and passing and shooting and trying your best was exciting.  Having grandma and grandpa there made it even cooler.  Next week let's invite Uncle Bill and Aunty Keiko.  I'll see you at school in the afternoon.  I'll bring a basketball.  Let's not forget to read a chapter of 100 Dresses.  I wonder what the contest will be about.  What do you think?  (Heart) and (Kisses) Daddy.


Sunday, November 21, 2010

Dreaming a Garden in Detroit (#21)

One of the things that has brought me to Detroit so many times was my work with Nobuko Miyamoto and Great Leap.  In my 8 years that I worked with Great Leap, one of my highlights was the many times I got to travel to Detroit to get to know Grace Lee Boggs, who I've mentioned in this blog many times, and inspired by Grace's commitment to community building through murals, gardens, the arts, and by making small individual changes that help transform and build communities from the ground up.  

Tony & I spent several summers with Detroit Summer, hauling hay, painting buildings, making connections.  So when Nob dreamed up the "I Dream a Garden" obon song and dance, we leapt into action.  8 years ago, we created a Harvest Circle Dance in celebration of the life of master gardener  Gerald Hairston, and a true gardening angel, with hundreds on a small corner at Genesis Church in Eastern Detroit, blocks away from thousands of vacant lots and empty houses, and just down the street from the Boggs Center, where Grace lives.  You can read about it on the old KuidaOsumi website here.  There's a few other articles on that URL I had written about my travels to Detroit and my experiences with gardening and activism.

Fast forward to 2010.  We were able to bring Maiya for the US Social Forum, and to be part of the re-create the "I Dream a Garden," as part of the USSF.  Nobuko was invited by Genesis HOPE, a nonprofit organization based out of Genesis Church that is working with youth on the East side of Detroit.  Also, our friend Ashley Kyber, who we had worked with back in 2002, also came back to add to the beauty and physicality of the "I Dream a Garden" project.

Genesis HOPE girls in their Sesame Street moment
 Tula & Maiya in matching Hello Kitty jinbei
 Nobuko with her son Kamau, 4 grandchildren, Tula & Maiya 
We'll call this Nobuko & the Grandkids Band 
since she took one look at the girls in their outfits and 
gave them a drum and tambourine to join along.
 The Griot stage built by Ashley's team (in white dress with baby on back)
 Grace Lee Boggs, Detroit's finest Griot at 95 years young
 Nobuko leading the Harvest Dance 
Native American Friendship Dance, part of the "I Dream a Garden" dance
And finally, here's a little video clip of the Sistahfriends.
It sums up our trip and the cuteness in a nutshell.

So, stay tuned for one last installment of our trip to Detroit.  And maybe a few more videos if I can get it together.  NaBloPoMo#21

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Dancing at WLA Obon (#20)

I was thinking that the West LA Obon is becoming one of my favorite obons.  I thought it was about the food, but really I think it's about the sense of community. I ran into my friend Stacy who lives in the neighborhood, who I worked with in college. It's walking distance from Uncle Bill's house and it's in the neighborhood where Tony grew up.  This year, it was all about the dancing.

 Arriving at the WLA Obon.  Maiya was looking for the games.
 I was looking for some corn (photo credit:  Maiya)
 WLA Taiko, my favorite multi-generational taiko group
Shooting hoops at the YMCA game booth
 Getting dressed by the pros...
 ...who scolded me for not ironing her yukata 
which was rolled up and stuffed in my purse. 
They put cardboard in her obi to make it stiff.
One of Grandpa Larry's Mochizuki cousins
Dancers from up above
Where's Waldo?  I mean Maiya & Tony.

Friday, November 19, 2010

10 Minutes on Heidelberg (Part 2 of 3) (#19)

Here we are this summer in Detroit.  If you're in Detroit, you gotta take the kid to see the Heidelberg Project, right?  You can Google it, if you want more info.  It was Tula and Maiya's first time there.  We only had a few minutes as we were heading over to East side of Detroit after leaving the USSF.  Here are a few pictures from our visit.

Girls of Code Pink
Tula & Maiya at the Number House
 Tony & Emily at the Dot House
 Hot on Heidelberg
Car Cemetery on Heidelberg

Thursday, November 18, 2010

More Maiya Video: Talking to Rod? (#18)

Here's a video back in January 2010 of 4 1/2 year old Maiya talking on the cell phone to Rod (Tony's audio friend) one morning while getting ready for school.  But the funny thing is that it is not a working phone, so Maiya is not actually talking to Rod, but to herself, but it sounds completely believable as a conversation.  Then when she gets off the phone, she is talking to me about what Rod said.  Got to love a kid with imagination... (NaBloPoMo#18)

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Nakatomi's Holiday Boutique (#17)

11:00 – 3:00 PM
 Nakatomi & Associates Courtyard
1820 14th Street - Santa Monica

Shop for unique, holiday gift items & something special for yourself!

custom japanese kimono fabric bags – alex
eco bags - june15/homemade soap -karen kim
japanese green tea and gifts – kanaya fine tea
silk shibori scarves – laura hunter / paper crafts – sue lee
100% wool blankets and scarves by hiroko kurihara designs
japanese fabric beads/stone necklaces – sue oda omori/kathie sakai
native jewelry - iliaments/ gold for cash - gold refinery
urban green - rickey smith/ byo chopstix - great leap
calligraphy gifts – yasuko/ t-shirts - black lava
gardening author-nan sterman



Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Visiting Friends in the D (Part 1 of 3) (#16)

I just realized I never blogged about going to Detroit this summer!  So, we went to the 2nd U.S. Social Forum, a gathering of 20,000 other activists from around the country.  I don't know how many times I've been to Detroit, I think this is probably my 10th trip, and I like to think of it as my 2nd home. Maiya and I flew out together and stayed with Scott, Emily and Tula.  It's important to take Maiya to Detroit to visit with Tula and Grace Lee Boggs, where Maiya gets her middle name, and to celebrate Grace's 95th birthday.  Tony was in Rhode Island to hang out with his friend Bill and planned to meet us in Detroit a few days later.
But the first person we saw at the USSF was actually our friend 
Luke "Aidger," who Maiya got to see perform for the first time.
The first thing Emily & I did was to take Maiya and Tula to the Children's Social Forum.  
Here they are waiting to see Joe Reilly perform.  I worked with Joe 8 years ago when he was part of the Long Hairz Collective, a spoken word group.  I think we have every one of their CDs as well as Joe's.
After seeing Joe perform at the Children's Social Forum, 
Maiya and Tula followed Joe to the childcare room
 for infants and toddlers and sang backup for him.
Here is Emily with Will Copeland (one badass spoken word poet) 
who was also part of the Long Hairz Collective (long hair in spirit these days), 
and who also was the Detroit coordinator of the USSF
Kibibi! One of my favorite people from Detroit Summer from 10 years ago.  
Grace spoke at one of the plenaries, a multi-generational panel.
Scott facilitated a conversation with Grace and Immanuel Wallerstein 
that was attended by 800-1000 people.  The response was phenomenal.

Roxy!  With Kibibi and her nephew at Grace's birthday party.
Ah, the beautiful Angela, who performed two of my favorite spoken word pieces about Detroit, 
one of them she says she hadn't performed in 10 years, but I remember it like it was yesterday. 
 BTW, Angela also a former member of the Long Hairz Collective, still has that long hair.
 Maiya and Tula with Grace at her birthday party.  The line to have a photo with Grace was crazy!
 When you want to raise some money, send the money bucket around 
with Boggs Center organizers, Tula and Maiya.  
Making Tula's Fruit Salad.  It was delicious.  
The secret is in the Trader Joe's rice pudding, and mixing it together with best friends.

Coming soon, parts 2 and 3 of our trip to Detroit.  NaBloPoMo#16