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

Poke Bowls: My Top 5

Poke (pronounced poké) is one of my absolute favorite foods. Fresh, flavorful, and photogenic, i.e., Instagram worthy. A beloved local pupu (appetizer) when served over rice transforms into one of the best lunches you could possibly have. Here are my Top 5 fave poke bowls…

1 Ahi Assassins
If you’re lucky enough to find parking (located across from Puck’s Alley,) make your way up to the 2nd floor. This is the freshest, top grade ahi that I’ve ever had in poke. I like the Hawaiian style variety. Old-school. Inamona. Melt-in-your-mouth goodness…

2 Kahiau Jerky Poke & Provisions
New shop located in Chinatown. Always fresh, never frozen. Go for the Cold Ginger Ahi or Kahiau Special… or both. They even feature a Poke-of-the-Day. Poke Bombs are inari sushi cones topped with Spicy Ahi. Sells out fast.

3 Tanioka’s
While living in Waikele, this was my go-to place. Great quality fish and a ton of great menu items (fried chicken, salmon patties, tofu patties, etc.) I like their Onion Limu Poke. Check out their pop-up at Ala Moana Center for a limited time.

4 Off the Hook
Poke Market is across from the Manoa Valley Shopping Center (and next to Starbucks.) Fresh fish, great toppings, and seating. Really like their shoyu flavor…

5 Maguro Brothers
Find them in Chinatown inside the Kekaulike Market. Fresh fish, Kaisen-don, even King Salmon here. I really like their Hamachi Poke Bowl, flavored with soy and wasabi. Winnahs…

Also a big fan of Tamura’s, but I’ve never had a poke bowl there.

If you’ve only had poke bowls from Foodland, please try these suggestions. And lemme know if you have any recommendations. Always eager to expand my poke horizons…

Saturday Japanese Class

I’ve been teaching myself Japanese through daily self-study since February. It has become my passion. たのしいです。They say that you can acquire a language quicker if you live in the country (“immersion.”) So I’ve been trying to virtually immerse myself in the language & culture through YouTube, apps, music, anime, travel, and even grocery shopping. The only thing lacking was the opportunity to converse with native speakers.

I signed up for the UH-Mānoa Outreach Japanese class this Fall. We meet on Saturday mornings on campus at Sakamaki Hall. I found out about the class from ふみこせんせい who taught summer school at Kamehameha. She is awesome! I really enjoy the class and my classmates.

After class, we have optional conversation sessions with volunteer native speakers. We speak half-hour in 日本語, then half-hour in English. It has been amazing so far! すごいです!Everyone has been so kind. Aside from practicing the language (which is already great,) I’ve been able to make friends from Japan. In fact, one of the volunteers lives in my building! びっくりしました!We hope to meet up at Mr. Tea Café for weekly practice.

This class has been an absolute blessing. I’m truly enjoying this journey on hopefully becoming fluent in three years. がんばります。


In my Japanese language self-study, I’ve been immersing myself in the culture. Washoku is traditional Japanese cuisine. I’ve been eating Japanese food all my life, and only now do I notice that the bowl of rice is always on the front-left side. The foundation of Japanese cuisine is called “ichiju sansai,” meaning “one soup – three dishes.”

This pic is of my washoku style tableware. The chopstick rest was gifted to me by Lance-bro. The chawan (rice bowl) front-left is from the old Shirokiya from 10 years ago. The beautiful, wooden shiruwan (soup bowl) front-right is from the Rice Factory. The mame zara (tiny plate) in the middle is for tsukemono. In the rear are the “three dishes.” The nimono bowl (simmered dish) back-left and aemono dish back-middle are from the Itadakimasu gift shop in McCully. The sashimi dish, back-right was gifted by friends from ERD.

Picked up a few of these bowls to motivate me to cook more. To learn more about washoku and ichiju sansai, click on this link. Hope that eating Japanese food will help me to learn Japanese better. Sure can’t hurt…