Friday, June 8, 2012

"You're Not Special" Graduation Speech

David McCullough, Wellesley High School English Teacher, Tells Graduates: 'You're Not Special'

 My favorite part: Don't just do things for the sake of personal accomplishment or self-indulgence, but because “you love it and believe in its importance.”

 Link to video is in this article:

Friday, September 30, 2011

Cranes for Peace

One of my strongest memories of childhood was reading, "Sadako and the Thousand Paper Cranes." Her story moved me, especially what her friends did after her death. They told her story and then they put a statue of Sadako in the Hiroshima Peace Park and encouraged people to fold cranes with a fervent wish for peace. Inscribed on the statue is: This is our Cry. This is our Prayer. Peace in the World.

These 3,000 cranes were all folded with a fervent wish for peace and will go to the Peace Museum and Himeyuri Memorial in Okinawa. "This is our Cry. This is our Prayer. Peace in the World."

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Telling Stories with Sand

You know I spend a lot of time surfing the interweb and I have seen some amazing things on the web. I have never seen anything like this before. I've watched this several times already and still am amazed each time.

Kseniya Simonova, the winner of Ukraine's Got Talent, has become a YouTube phenomenon by telling stories through sand animation. In this video:

"She recounts Germany conquering Ukraine in the second world war. She brings calm, then conflict. A couple on a bench become a woman's face; a peaceful walkway becomes a conflagration; a weeping widow morphs into an obelisk for an unknown soldier. Simonova looks like some vengeful Old Testament deity as she destroys then recreates her scenes - with deft strokes, sprinkles and sweeps she keeps the narrative going. She moves the judges to tears as she subtitles the final scene "you are always near".

it's clear that Simonova has achieved her goal as an artist. If we take it that art's purpose is to illuminate the world in a new way, provoke a reaction, somehow alter the consciousness of the viewer then her work is a huge success. And that high art can come from a format [ukraine's got talent] that produced Stavros Flatley and that it can be popularised and sent around the world is surely some kind of modern miracle."
Watch this video. Really. Watch this video. It is so worth the time.

"What she depicts is love and war, set amidst the turmoil of WWII. Ukraine was probably the area most devastated in the war, even more than Germany. It was a conflict that saw nearly one in four Ukrainians killed. A population of almost 42 million lost between 8 and 11 million people, depending on which estimate one references. Ukraine represented almost 20 percent of all the causalities suffered during WWII. And that was after Stalin had killed millions during the manufactured famines before the war. It to this day touches every Ukrainian. That's the context of war memory that Kseniya reaches out to.

The sand art of Kseniya is set to music that reflects the tone of what she is trying to project, and the combined effect works very well. Sand animators use simple grains of sand to tell a story, in a way many people haven't seen before. What Kseniya Seminova does in a few short minutes is all the more memorable because it is so fleeting. Once she is finished, the grains of sand go back into containers and the art is swept away."

Friday, April 3, 2009

Remembering Herbert Isonaga, 442nd RCT

I just heard that Herbert Isonaga passed away. "Herbie" was a member of the VVV and the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, Headquarters Company and a friend. After I heard the news, I wanted to honor and remember his life. . .

Herbert Isonaga was born in 1921 in Koloa, Kauai. His family operated Isonaga Store, which supplied Filipino bachelors employed by Koloa Sugar Company with iriko (parched small sardine), shrimp, bagoong (fermented fish sauce), codfish and various canned goods. Trousers, shirts, lunch pail bags and tabi (Japanese socks), all sewn by Herbert’s mother, were also available

Of the 50 or 60 in his class at Koloa School, only 20, including Herbert, continued their studies at Kauai High School. Winning by one vote, “Landslide” Isonaga was elected senior class president. He went on to attend college at the University of Oregon and the University of Hawaii.

Herbert participated in the discussions and planning of the Varsity Victory Volunteers (VVV). He left college to join the VVV to be a part of the war effort. He then volunteered for the 442nd RCT. Herbert was assigned to the antitank platoon of Headquarters Company, 2nd Battalion and served admirably with the 442nd RCT in Italy and France.

After the war, Herbert graduated with a degree in business from UH. He operated a bookstore near the university. Later, he ran Herbie’s Drive-In. After selling his business to KC Drive-In, Herbert went into real estate with Hung Wai Ching.

Herbert married Sue Kobatake on March 26, 1949. They had three children.

I thought Herbert was both charming and sweet. My last memory of him is at a reception honoring Moriso Teraoka. Herbie came up and gave me a big hug.

Herbert Isonaga is one of my heroes. . .I am so grateful I got to meet him and tell his story.

Farewell Herbert!

“The greatest thing that happened to the AJA community was World War II. The 442nd and the 100th did a great service to the AJA community and ourselves for having served. I take great pride in that.

I sincerely feel that the recognition we deserve has been offered to us in many, many ways. Primarily in the opportunities that it has offered us.”- Herbert Isonaga

Please read the rest of his story:

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Remembering Hideko Masaki

On my trip to South America, I got to know Hideko Masaki. The first time I really talked to her was during lunch at a Chinese restaurant on our first day in Sao Paulo. We all opted to introduce ourselves. I started off and Hideko was next. 

She talked for quite a while about her life (which was varied and very interesting). As she wrapped up, I remember her grinning and saying, "I know I've talked for a long time but I'm old and I have a lot to say."

I remember thinking, "How cool is this lady?!?!" 

Hideko was in a car accident ten days ago and died from injuries sustained in the crash. She was 76 years old. I went to pay my respects at her service today and to support her daughter Mavis. 

It's a shock that she is gone. In my memory. . .I see the spunky and sassy Hideko. And always,I think back to our first meeting and remember how very cool she was. Ciao Hideko.

Monday, September 1, 2008

My South America Trip Comes to a Close

I'm a huge fan of malbec. I was determined to bring as many as I could home. :) I went on a hunt for malbec. Augustin Kanashiro wrote down a location (Winery) and where to go.

I hopped into a cab and managed to find the Winery. The clerks spoke no English (and I stink at Spanish). Through many gestures and drawing things, I selected 9 fabulous wines.

I was concerned about how I would get it home and have it survive check-in. They put the wines in styrofoam, stacked them up and strapped it together. They covered that with brown paper and assured me that it would hold. !! I was skeptical until they put a bottle in the styrofoam pack and started slamming it against the counter with gusto. :) no problem!

I get my precious cargo loaded into a cab and head back to the hotel. The driver can't find the street to the hotel, so I get out and haul the box for a couple of streets. whew!
When we get to the airport, I get the box shrink wrapped for extra protection. Just in time, John Tasato kept eyeing the box and asking when we were going to start drinking. :)

The Luigi Bosca, Rutini and Tahuan were lovely. Cheers!

Note: I breezed through customs with my treasures. Yay!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

Closing Reception

I get to the closing reception and track down Natalia and Augustin so I can say Ciao! Luckily, I run into Paulo on the stairs and get to make my farewells with him as well.

By the time I get there, the "foreigners" have all been moved to the 2nd floor. I opt to go to the 3rd floor where all the locals are gathered and have so much fun trying to communicate with them.

They are all concerned that I'm on the 3rd floor and keep telling me they think the food and drinks are better on the 2nd floor. I tell them I'd rather hang out with them and talk story.

Wow. They're so NICE! They notice that I like the sandwiches and I find myself inundated with plates of sandwiches. I didn't realize that they were going around the room piling up all the sandwiches for me. :)

It was great hearing their stories and getting introduced to entire clans, with names being rattled off in a dizzying array.

Side Note: The sandwiches in BA are amazing. The bread is really thin and has no crust on it.

There was a shop across from our hotel. I noticed that there was always long lines of locals waiting in front of the shop. Of course I join the line to see what they're getting!

It's amazing how they make the ham and cheese sandwiches! Picture a huge piece of thin white or wheat bread with the crust cut off. Bread : Ham and Mayo : Bread : Cheese : Bread : Ham and Mayo : Bread.

The ham and cheese are so thin, the taste is light. I loved it!!!