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Written by on October 25, 2012

“What do you mean you don’t vote? How can you not vote?”

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Sometimes friends tease me for being so naïve and idealistic. But with the elections upon us, I am there once again. I cannot help it. As the child of immigrants, I was raised valuing freedom and democracy, knowing how lucky we all are to be here, knowing how fragile that luck can be. I am always shocked when I meet people who do not vote.

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Written by on October 18, 2012

Rhythms of the Season

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After a long trip away from home, one of the first things I always do upon our return is take all the kids to buy groceries at our favorite Chinese grocery store. I love watching them zip around, squealing as they load up our basket, “Ooooh! It’s been so long since we’ve had cong you bing!” “Xiao long bao! I want xiao long bao!” and “I haven’t seen this kind of zhu rou gan in soooooo long!”

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Written by on September 13, 2012

The Aunties at Temple

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I thought I could go to services 9-10 and then cut out quickly to go to the reading from 10-11:30, but there is no escaping the Aunties at temple. The first time we ever went to this temple, they ran out after us into the parking lot and physically pulled the kids out of the car one by one, insisting we stay for lunch. Today, they take four-year-old Little Brother by the hand and lead him down to the Fellowship Hall where they load his plate full of blueberry cake, potato chips, lilikoi cookies, purple potato tempura, multi-layered jello, purple potato manju, and fresh lychee. One Auntie is concerned, “He has a cold.” I look at his face and wipe his nose, “No, that’s whipped cream.”

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Written by on August 3, 2012

Culture on the Volcano

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Sometimes I find myself categorizing our lives into “School,” “Sports,” “Music,” “Science,” “Arts,” and “Culture.” I want to make sure that we are living balanced lives, that I am exposing the children to a little of everything, so that they will grow up to be well-rounded, like the old Renaissance ideal. It is refreshing to be reminded that life is not always so easily categorized.

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Written by on July 26, 2012

Culture of a Kiss

We went to an art exhibit opening and reception last night at Wailoa Art Center. Afterwards, my son, Little Brother, pouted all night because he saw me kissing the artist, “that man.” He cannot kiss me ever again, he says, and he rubs and rubs his skin with his shirt, to wipe off every last kiss that I give him. I try to explain that, actually, I was kissed BY the artist, that sometimes people kiss hello on the cheek just like others shake hands. But he will have none of it. This is not the first time we have had this conversation, but what am I supposed to do?

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Written by on July 20, 2012

The Obon Dance

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The bon odori is not a spectator sport, you really have to get in there and dance (after you have eaten of course, that is the other big part of it — tempura, teriyaki chicken, Spam musubi, cone sushi, shave ice, manju, mochi, corn on the cob, saimin — I always have to take a moment to peek in on the temple volunteers cooking madly in the kitchen, big clouds of mochiko billowing, the sounds of tempura hitting the oil … and inhale).

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Written by on July 5, 2012

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