Saturday, December 30, 2017

"Mochi-tsuki" Mochi Pounding, 12/30/17

The other day, my photo friend Curtis Takano mentioned he will be going to his friend's annual mochi pounding. I immediately invited myself. I am glad the Nishimoto Ohana is still continuing this Japanese tradition.

Here is the clip

My first hand experience...

Sweet rice

Soaked overnight

Rice is steamed. When the steam reaches the top, it means the bottom tray is ready.

The hot rice has just been emptied into this container 

The first step is to break up the rice by each person pushing it to the other. In between a person is ready to use a scooper to turn the rice up and mix it - after about 4 rounds or when the rice is softer then the pounding begins. Each person alternately pounds it 3 times and again the person uses the scooper to turn the softer rice up and mix it.

Ready to make the individual mochi for:
"Kagami mochi - mirror rice cake" display for New Year decoration - "It usually consists of two round mochi (rice cakes), the smaller placed atop the larger, and a daidai (a Japanese bitter orange) with an attached leaf on top."

The Nishimoto family was generous in giving me all these (apology: they did not look like this when I left).
I partook in the mochi softening and pounding (I am not strong, my hits were like taps). I also partook in forming these mochi which was difficult for me to understand. Jennifer was very patient!!!

 It was such a fun day, besides a potluck, Geri made us custom sushi.

Mine had everything: avocado, tuna, cucumber, imitation crab, spam. Then there were condiments to indulge in.

It will be very sad if this tradition originating of course from Japan many centuries ago is discontinued. I am so happy I invited myself to experience this. Thank you Curtis and Jennifer as well as the Nishimoto Ohana (family)!!!

Wednesday, December 27, 2017

From Kuuloa Regional Park to Wahiawa Botanical Garden, 12/27/17

Actually, we (Derek, Milton, Curtis, Angie, Dewey) began at Kaneohe Denny's for breakfast.

Before we even got to Kuuloa Regional Park, we had to stop to capture this view.

From the park is "Chinaman's Hat".

Notice the dog

Lā`ie Point State Wayside

Haliewa Alii Park - short stop: too rainy and the water was rough.

Wahiawa Botanical Garden - did not venture far due to the rain - it was good for me to focus.

Many attempts to get a bokeh - thanks Derek for teaching me how to capture them.

Thanks Derek for this photo - not only is the beanie funny but you can see me intently focused.

Thanks Derek for creating our last 2017 photo outing. It has been a good year as we enjoyed meals together, laughed a lot and went to various places.

Sunday, December 17, 2017

Hoomaluhia Botanical Garden, 12/17/17

 Just 8 photos to share. Derek, Milton S., Dewey and I took a different path today.

This first one, I edited it until it looked artsy fartsy.

I usually don't see this beautiful female blue tail damselfly.  Hence here are 3; I got very close and manually focused the middle one. 

We did have a great time!!!

Saturday, December 9, 2017


Time ever so precious,
Why dost thou leaves me so often?
Have I offended or neglected you?
Shall I surrender myself to you?
For it is you who can make my life full.
Without you where's my track?
Where do I go? What can I do?

Sometimes I long to stay with you,
Other times, I wish you would never come,
And there there are times I can't wait for you.

You so effervescent, never letting me know when you go,
For every moment of you must be savored.

I wrote this for an assignment in college, I remember the words just flowed. I actually was surprised that I had personified time and it turned out to be a love letter as well as the use of some Old English words.

Just yesterday, a fourth grade student commented to me how time is going so fast, second quarter is almost over.

I am feeling the pressure of time as I do have a lot I want to finish in 2 weeks. However when doing planks, time is very slow!

What is time like for you?

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Osaka, November 7-12, 2017 (edited 11/24/17)

This will be a long blog - just wanted the entire trip in this post.

Our group of 10 left on Monday Nov. 6 @1:45pm and arrived at Kansai Airport, Osaka on Tuesday @ 6:30pm. We noticed how dark it was  - it seemed like it was 9pm.

Tuesday, November 7
Thank you so much for these Sumiyoshi Osaka Lions Club members who were able to come to the airport- welcome us, escort us by train to our hotel as well as pay for our train tickets. Thank you Ayako for this photo.

We quickly learned that this type of train had assigned seats. One of our members was told by another passenger that it was his seat. After that we inspected our tickets and noticed the information.

It rains a lot in Osaka, hence the umbrellas under lock and key. 

Wednesday, November 8, my Japanese breakfast.

View from our window - we found out this red and white vehicle delivers bread to Jack in the Box.

Another view - although the subways were right there, sleepy head was able to sleep through the night.

One of the ladies from the Sumiyoshi Lions club spent the day with us taking us to some shopping areas: Takashimaya Shopping Center, we went to Chamois  and the famous Daiso - 100 yen = about a $1.00 at Dotonbori

Back at Tennoji - you are looking at the tallest building in Japan - Abeno Harukas: 984 feet / 300 meters, 60 floors, opened March 2014, owner Kintetsu Railway, architect César Pelli.

To get to it - there is a pedestrian overpass. Lori and I witnessed vehicles not giving an ambulance the right away - apparently a broadcasting system is used - of course in Japanese announced over a loud speaker-  most likely "move out of the way".

Across the street is another shopping area - Lori spotted this darling tiled mural.

Heading back, our hotel is the one that looks like a waffle.

Welcome dinner at Hoshi no Kanade - Tennoji Apollo Building, 12th floor
President Okuno of the Osaka Sumiyoshi Lions Club - he was such a joy. It was here, that we exchanged our omiyage. We were given so many gifts - such generosity!!!

Thursday, November 9 
Ayako and her mother met us at our place and we caught a train to this lovely Hamadera Park Rose Garden. here is a link

I noticed how the bicycles were left  unlocked - how nice to live with that freedom.

Back on the train and here we are at Mimiu. I spotted the cute rabbit logo as were walking and was happy this was where we were going to have lunch.

This is exactly why I wanted to come to Japan, everything is about presentation. I had to take a separate photo of the dish on the upper left of the the previous photo.

 Random photos

Our last stop before returning to our hotel, Sakai HAMONO Museum - notice the large knife by the middle window.

This was the reason for our trip.  We are at the Sumiyoshi Taisha Shrine for the celebration of their 55 years chartered Lion's club our sister club Kamehameha Lions.

Again presentation is everything... It was an elegant affair.

Friday November 10 - a free day, Lori and I went on our own - as did the others.

I was very impressed with this food court. Not only do they separate their rubbish - the sign on the right says non combustable - the left combustable. Also there are yellow towels so we can wipe our spills and there is a place to drop the used towels into.

Notice the sinks - children are also able to wash their hands on their own.  

Saturday, November 11

Yu-san, our very cute tour guide - to Osaka Castle

The photographer must have sensed that he could have fun with us. He said loudly "Arr" I copied him then he kept saying louder. After this - he said to me "you are crazy". It was fun.

This is a replica of Sanada Maru, a famous general during the Battle of Osaka Castle.

Too bad, I did not take the photo showing the loop on the other side and the cone with designs on it.

This little one, was willing to pose for others. So pretty and cute.

Going to Amanohashidate

Kasamatsu Park

We ascended via cable car

Due to the weather, I was not going to do what this place is known for. There are platforms where you bend over and look between your legs to see a different perspective of this view.

Our overnight stay at Seikiro Ryokan (Japanese) style Hotel in Amanohashidate, Osaka

Sunday, November 12, our last day, so sad

This was actually another group's breakfast.

We found out this brother and sister are 13th generation of Seikiro Ryokan.

Mother is 12th generation

As we waited for the bus, I looked around for more memories of this place - it is a historical museum hotel

We did hear broadcasting - this their way of publicizing themselves - running for office "politics"

The owners were so kind to us - they even made coffee for us as we waited for our bus.

Again, Japan amazes me - it is clear that these seats are reserved. The beginning of our 12 hour trip home.

This was my dream come true - I have always wanted to go to Japan. I need to thank Lori again for having me join her Kamehameha Lions Club. What an opportunity to travel with this wonderful group. Another reason why this trip was so enjoyable was the hospitality of the Sumiyoshi Osaka Lions Club - thank you so very much!!!