Ramen Dreams

I love ramen. So much so, that I’ve sampled nearly every ramen shop on the island. I created my Top 10 List two years ago, and it has remained unchanged even with the recent influx. Ramen is simply a magical bowl of goodness.

My favorite shop is still Menya le Nood (formerly called Menya Musashi) on Pensacola Street. Lucky for me, it’s within walking distance. I always have the Tonkotsu Ramen (pictured above) with an ajitama add-on. The broth is deep and savory. The noodles firm and chewy. The chashu tender and flavorful. めちゃ うまい!

My Saturday routine (if I’m not headed to Chinatown) is to lunch at Menya le Nood. Parking is kinda bad. But it is not unreasonable to park at Ala Mona Center and walk over. It is totally worth it. Ask for their stamp card. Look for me when the shop opens at 11am.

Happy slurping! Always dreaming of ramen…

Wanderlust

Wanderlust blog post from 2015

Very blessed to have had opportunities to travel abroad. I realize that I’ve never compiled a record of where I’ve been. This post will help me to remember and reflect…

1979:
My very first trip abroad was during my junior year in high school (yikes, dating myself.) It was a band trip to Tokyo, Japan. Unfortunately (or fortunately,) my memories of the trip are only of my friends and the hilarity. Yes, I was too immature to appreciate traveling to a foreign country.

2001:
It took two decades before I needed to renew my passport. I was blessed with the opportunity to accompany two of our Kapolei Elementary students on an exchange program with Amano Elementary in Osaka, Japan. What made it truly special was the hospitality of our homestay families. ありがとう。

2003:
I went on my very first missions trip. Truly blessed. It was to Okinawa with a team from Hope Chapel Kapolei. We helped with the launch of Hope Chapel Gushikawa. 🙏

2010:
Through the JEM exchange program, teachers and students from Kamehameha Elementary and Buckingham Friends (Pennsylvania) were hosted by Glendal Primary in Melbourne, Australia. Heaps of memories.

2012:
I was a tag-along (not a chaperone) on Metz’s Spring Trip to Europe. We visited Rome and Florence in Italy, then Barcelona and Madrid in Spain. Bella vita.

2013:
I went on a medical missions trip to Mae Sot, Thailand with a team from Inspire Church. On my way back home, I was able to meet up with my Compassion sponsored child in Makati, Philippines. “Best day of my life.”

Later in the year, I traveled to Beijing, China to participate in the RDFZ Xishan International Summit. Made lifelong friendships.

2014:
I took a solo, “YOLO” trip to Paris, France. Stayed in the café district. It was a dream-come-true…

2015:
Revisited Osaka, Japan and stayed with Daryl. I was able to reconnect with the Yasuda Family who hosted me in 2001. ありがとう。

2016:
Bucket list stuff. I chaperoned our Kamehameha High School’s International Relations Club to Machu Picchu and the Amazon in Peru. So awesome.

A few months later, I chaperoned our Japanese Club to Tokyo. We were then hosted by the Takahagi Friendship Association. Amazing hospitality. ありがとう。

2017:
I was blessed to chaperone our elementary’s children’s chorus to Aotearoa (Auckland, NZ.) Backed up the chorus on guitar. We visited Hobbiton and shared special experiences with the Bright Family.

2018:
Cashed in my HawaiianMiles and traveled to Seoul, Korea. Stayed in Hongdae and had such a great time. 감사합니다。

2019:
Just booked a trip to Sapporo, Japan for the Summer Festival. Looking forward to it!

Future:
Would love to visit Hong Kong next year, then Taikai in Okinawa in 2021. Hoping in the near future to see Vietnam, Istanbul, Marrakech, London, and Hiroshima. Ahh, wanderlust…

Japanese Self-Study

Turning Japanese, I think I’m turning Japanese, I really think so.”
– – The Vapors

Just recently, I got this sudden urge to learn Japanese. I believe it was sparked by friends posting travel pics on social media. That made me reflect on the wonderful memories of my own travels to Japan.

Flashback. Growing up, my grandmother (obaachan) lived with us. I was exposed to Japanese at an early age. However, I picked up Japanese from watching dad’s samurai shows on KIKU TV. I learned mostly curse words like “chikusho!” To my obaachan’s horror, I was quickly enrolled in Japanese Language School. I really wanted to play Little League Baseball instead, so I hated Japanese School. I didn’t learn the language at all (which I now regret.) 

Because Japanese School failed me (rather, I failed Japanese School) I chose not to enroll in any type of formal study. I’m going about it via independent study. I’m trying to immerse myself in a variety of mediums to find my own path. So far I’ve watched YouTube videos, started journaling, downloaded iPhone apps, read manga, and listened to KZOO Radio on my commute. I even do my grocery shopping at Nijiya Market. Every bit helps…

YouTube seems to be my favorite mode of learning right now. I’ve found a few helpful YouTubers like Risa on JapanesePod101 and Japanese Ammo With Misa. But my go-to channel is Susuru TV. Susuru is a dude who eats ramen everyday. It’s all in Japanese, and there are no subtitles.

I also stumbled upon polyglots on YouTube. I feel validated that self-study is what they do. They said that there are no secrets, shortcuts, or a “language gene” that you are born with. The keys are having fun, finding your way, and doing a little each day.

And I hope to keep it going. がんばります。

POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi 2019

#POWWOWHawaii has been going down this week in Kakaʻako.

“POW! WOW! HAWAIʻI IS A GATHERING OF CONTEMPORARY ARTISTS THAT ENGAGES WITH THE BROADER COMMUNITY IN THE PROCESS AND CREATION OF ART.”

POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi drops every February. Surely one of the coolest things in my neighborhood! Cofounder Kamea Hadar is a friend and used to work with us at Kamehameha Schools.

This year’s biggest name is probably Shepard Fairey @ObeyGiant. (Last year it was Simone Legno @tokidoki.) I get to drive past this mural every morning to work.

This cool one by @negiyakisoba + @squid.licker is on the corner of Cooke & Auahi. (Bummed that someone would park here during “opening weekend.”)

This popular artist is Kevin Lyons @klyonsnatborn. Climbed over the fence at Mother Waldron Park to get this shot.

This surf themed mural is across the street from the basketball courts.

This one across from Honolulu Beerworks is by locally-based artist, Kris Goto.

And this corner mural is just a few steps away. Love Marvel stuff…

Had an amazing time checking out the murals and meeting a few of the artists. Highly recommend that you rent a Biki and cruise around. Be sure to visit POW! WOW! headquarters at Lana Lane Studios. You can pick up the passport and merch there. Relax at one of the many cafés in SALT @ Our Kakaʻako. Definitely one of my fave events of the year…

Church at My House

How many can say that they attend church at their own home? What a blessing!

Backstory: Previously, I used to live across the street from Waikele Elementary School where Inspire Church began. It was called Hope Chapel West Oʻahu back then. After moving to town, I prayed that Inspire would open a new branch closer to home. We opened Inspire City at New Life Church in Chinatown. That was an answered prayer! After a year-and-a-half, we moved into Kaimuki High School. Kaimuki High is actually located along Kapiʻolani Blvd., which is the street that I live on. But I guess God wasn’t done answering my prayer. He put Inspire Honolulu in my building. We now have Sunday evening service at Studio 909. Consider yourself invited!

What an incredible blessing it is to come down the elevator for church. But no excuse for being late…