Pac-Man Lite

Travel is my passion. And packing light is my mission. I only fly with one carry-on. So I guess you could call me, “a man who packs light.”

1. To eliminate the possibility of lost or stolen luggage. I never check-in my bag. I just bring one carry-on. Because my vacations are usually short, losing luggage on Day 1 would pretty much ruin the trip.

2. To be mobile. As soon as I deplane, I’m out the terminal. Because my bag is a backpack, I don’t need to drop it off at a hotel or locker. I can go straight to the museum or café. I also do not use a “rolly” bag, which does not work on stairs or cobblestone.

How does minimalist packing work?

Laundry. I pack five sets of clothes (not including what I wear on the plane.) This means that I would only need to do one load of laundry for a 12-day trip. My t-shirts are polyester, my socks are SmartWool, and my underwear is microfiber. Everything hang dries in a few hours.

The Bag:

I have an Osprey Porter 46 travel backpack. It’s the largest allowable carry-on (22″ x 14″ x 9″) for most airlines. I like that it opens fully, giving you access to all of your contents. Comes with stow away shoulder straps. It’s been one of my best purchases ever.

Packing Cubes:

Packing cubes help keep you organized. They compress your clothes and save a lotta space. I slip a Bounce dryer sheet into each one to keep things “fresh.”

Travel Wardrobe:

I wear my bulky clothes on the plane. I rotate two pairs of dark blue jeans for short trips and three on longer trips. I also wear my baseball cap on the flight.


I only bring one pair. I know that this is the deal breaker for some. I wear black trekker shoes on trips. Great for walking around the city or exploring nature. Super comfortable and waterproof. They’re versatile and can match jeans or shorts.


I wear my jacket on the plane. It’s usually cold. I recommend a black jacket. It’s neutral, and dressy enough to get by.

Toiletry Kit:

I’ve had this toiletry kit forever. I’ve tried to downsize to a smaller model a few times, but this one works so well. It has a great organizer and enough room to keep medicine and vitamins all in one place. This kit has a hook for hanging. Sometimes there’s no counter space. (Sometimes there’s no counter.)


I pack a light, collapsible daysack inside of my backpack. I always have an umbrella with me. I hate rain. I also carry toilet paper, just in case…


My iPhone is the only device that I travel with. I’ll also bring AC adapters and a portable charger.

The 3-1-1 Liquids Rule:

For carry-on luggage, you can only bring one quart size bag with travel-size containers up to 3.4 oz or 100 ml. Anything larger will need to be checked-in or confiscated.

Tips & Hacks:
• I print a copy of my passport for my bag, and I also email a copy to myself.
• I have the AT&T International Day Pass for my iPhone. It costs $10 per day.
• I bring an ample supply of Airborne vitamins to stay healthy.
• I pack spare disposable masks in my backpack and daysack in case the one I’m wearing breaks.
• ChapStick & sunscreen are must-haves. Don’t forget the imodium!
• No need to carry a water bottle or heavy flask. Bottled water is available everywhere.
• Notify your bank that you’ll be using your ATM & charge cards abroad.
• TSA pre√ is well worth the money. Take the express line and never take shoes off again.

Part of what makes you a minimalist is “doing without.” I do sacrifice a few things that a lot of people wouldn’t. I don’t bring slippers, shorts, or an iPad on my travels anymore. I also don’t buy stuff on my trips. I’m too poor. All of my spending money is for food.

I’m so looking forward to traveling again! (熊本!)This kind of packing is not for everyone, but it works. It’s so “freeing.” You should try it. Pack light…

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 🙏