Social Gatherings

The COVID pandemic has impacted us all. Everyone has a story. To make the best of the situation, my friends and I meet up weekly for おちゃ “ocha” (afternoon tea) and おひる “ohiru” (lunch outings.) This gives me something to look forward to…

We have found picnicking to be most enjoyable and relaxing. Good food, great friends, and Hawaii’s beautiful nature & weather make for a perfect day. There are really nice beach parks, mountain parks, and botanical gardens to visit. And buying takeout helps to support the local restaurant scene.

In these difficult times, it is important to take care of ourselves by doing positive and healthy activities. And in these difficult times, you can still have the happiest of memories.

Corona 🦠

This coronavirus pandemic is one of the most difficult things that I’ve ever been through. Hawaii’s stay-at-home orders have in effect become “isolation” for me. Now I love living alone here in my tiny Kakaʻako condo (been doing it for eleven years now.) But this has been tough.

Part of it was having to cancel two Spring trips to Japan. I came into this situation already sad. Then I started to see all kinds of cancelations taking place; graduation, Song Contest, community events, and even my Saturday 日本語 class. I felt the grief of everything around me.

Like everyone else, I started making adjustments. I am blessed to have the opportunity to work from home. It’s been crazy, but the new normal is beginning to set in. We’re still able to go grocery shopping and exercise outdoors, practicing social distancing. I’ve even learned how to cut my own hair in the mirror (see top photo in this post.) Not too bad…

But my saving grace through it all has been my friends from Japan. We live here in the same building, and we get together weekly. What started out as a language exchange has turned into a lifelong friendship. When this is all over, I just might say that this has been one of the most special things that I’ve ever been through.

POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi 2020


Been a big fan of POW WOW since the beginning when it was held at Fresh Café + Loft in Space. Every February, all eyes are upon Kakaʻako. The art, vibe, and energy are all incredible. Knowing cofounder Kamea Hadar made it personal. And now, having a friend who paints at POW WOW takes it to another level.

Derick, a.k.a. @7sketches, just painted his 3rd POW WOW mural, Pineapple Totoro! (こんにちは Anna!) It was a huge hit, especially with our Japanese visitors.

What was so cool was that he let his friends paint. Being unartistic, I volunteered to touch up any of the splatters. I also got to practice 日本語 with some of the visitors. And we had dinner together from Pioneer Saloon. Too fun!

Got to see the final product at the POW! WOW! Hawaiʻi Finale Block Party @ HNL Night Market. Mahalo Derick for allowing us to take part. どうもありがとうございました。This was my best POW WOW yet…

New Year’s Resolution Reimagined v.2020

Background: After reposting the same New Year’s Resolution from 2008-2012 without success,  I had to rethink it. I replaced my resolution with a bucket list in 2013. I went from incremental goals (i.e. lose 10 pounds) to life-changing goals.

Preface: At 12:05am on January 1st, 2013, I was lying face down in a cul-de-sac in Mililani Mauka after a fireworks accident (don’t ask.) I was thinking, sheesh, can 2013 be over with already? Unlikely as it seemed then, I was blessed to meet up with my Compassion sponsored child in the Philippines and walk across the Great Wall of China by year’s end. All things are possible.

I believe that there is intentionality in writing things down. And in putting it out there…

Life Goals:

• Seek after God’s heart
• Learn to speak Japanese
• Appear in a TV commercial
• Go snowboarding
• Own my dream car, a vintage VW bus
• Change the world

School Goals:

• Tie a kihei
• Run an international TED-Ed student speaking event

Ministry Goals:

• Go on a missions trip to Japan
• Start up a friendship ministry in Kakaʻako

Travel Goals:

• Visit Kumamoto
• Dim sum in Hong Kong
• Attend Taikai in Okinawa
• Eat phở on a plastic stool in Vietnam
• Sunday roast in London

• Get lost in Istanbul
• Travel to Angkor Wat in Cambodia

• See the Taj Mahal
• Witness the Aurora Borealis
• Attend a World Cup Soccer match

Completed Goals:

√ Visit my sponsored child in the Philippines
√ Travel to Machu Picchu
√ Walk across the Great Wall of China
√ See Gaudí’s work in Barcelona
√ Pasta at a sidewalk café in Rome
√ Ride the trains in Tokyo
√ Hold up the Leaning Tower of Pisa
√ Visit koalas in Australia
√ Witness the haka in Aotearoa (NZ)
√ Enjoy the busking in the streets of Seoul
√ Learn to surf
√ Ride an elephant in Thailand
√ Learn to skateboard
√ Take a solo (YOLO) trip to Paris
√ Visit my “homeland” of Okinawa
√ Find the best bowl of ramen in Hawaiʻi
√ Launch a homeless outreach ministry in Chinatown
√ Run a TEDxYouth event at school
√ Play guitar in a café
√ Publish a TED-Ed animated lesson
√ Own a condo near Ala Moana Beach (lifelong dream)

I am so grateful that I have been blessed with things that I never even imagined.

あけましておめでとう ㊗️ & God Bless 🙏

Christmas Card & Year-In-Review

Ho, ho, ho, Merry Christmas! Here’s my 2019 Xmas card and customary year-in-review blurb. Hope your year was the best!

In January, our @KSEdTech “dream” team held its annual professional development workshop at Island Pacific Academy in Kapolei. Twas another great day of learning & collaborating!

Inviting you to church at my house. What??? Yes, Inspire Church Honolulu moved its services to Studio 909 during Kaimuki High School’s renovation. What an unbelievable blessing 🙏

Got sick (not lovesick, but really sick) on Valentine’s Day. Stayed home, looked at old photos, then got this sudden urge to learn Japanese. Now studying 日本語 has become my passion.

Brought back “Soapbox” (mini TED-like Talks) to our KSEdTech Conference. This summer, we featured educators from public, private, charter, online, homeschooling, and startups.

Visited Sapporo for their Summer Festival. Stayed in Susukino and had an awesome time & amazing food!! Looking forward to going back someday. たのしかった!

This school year, I returned to KMS (middle school.) After 5 years at KES, 5 at KMS, and 5 at KHS, it was a nice time to change it up. I am also co-advisor for our K-club. 안녕하세요.

This school year I am also volunteering for Kanaeokana. I’m on the Hoʻolōkahi Kōmike which is tasked to promote inter-school engagement. We will be involved with FestPac 2020 next year.

In the Fall, I attended the UH-Mānoa Outreach Japanese Class. We met on 10 consecutive Saturdays at Sakamaki Hall. After class, we got to practice 日本語 (and English) with volunteer native speakers. They were all so nice and super cool. The best part was building friendships! I’ve already signed up for next Spring.

Speaking of friendship, one of the volunteers that I met actually lives in my building! We meet downstairs at Mr. Tea Café for weekly practice. We’ve become great friends, and I look forward to each meetup. たのしいです。

In November, some of our @KSEdTech team members attended the EdSurge Conference in San Fran. It was a great conference, and I got to reconnect with friends from the mainland. I also had a great time with my team. Good food, good friends, and H★MILTON.

Finally, so blessed to have chaperoned our high school robotics team at iREX 2019 in Tokyo. Had a blast! Imua RoboWarrirors! P.S. Christmas Illumination in Japan is a must-see.

Merry Christmas to all and a Happy New Year!

“Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Luke 2:10-11