Archive for July, 2013

Lesson learned?

July 15th, 2013

My friend Paul and I often compare notes about child-rearing - sometimes to exasperation, sometimes just to swap tips and anecdotes. I mean, isn't that parental friendship? This conversation started with me complaining that Olivia's been having a bad streak of disobedience. (It is NOT the first time.)

He complained of same with his elder son, eight-year-old Noa. One of his stories was this: Noa asked for an expensive drum set. Paul thought it would be a teachable moment, to instill the value of money.

He said if Noa could save 50% of the cost, Paul would meet him halfway and buy the drums. He thought it would take Noa the better part of a year to save up his half.

Shortly thereafter, Paul gave his younger son Kai some allowance. Kai exclaimed with excitement, "I'm going to put this in the Drum Fund!"

Paul stopped him and asked what that meant. Apparently, Noa had sold his idea to his brother and his cousin, so that all three kids were contributing money (allowance, birthday gift money, Christmas gift money, etc.) to the pot. Noa had nearly met his fundraising goal and it had been two weeks.

Paul said with resignation, "I thought I was teaching Noa a lesson about money. Instead, he taught me a lesson about how he's going to be an entrepreneur who gets people to invest their money in his ideas!"

We have to admit - it's a good solution and it's not technically breaking a rule. I guess Paul and his neighbors will soon be enjoying the cacophany of a new and noisy instrument!

Healthy Aging with a Little Help

July 12th, 2013

As I have parents who are in the senior citizen demographic, I'm very conscious of elder issues. I learned about this information and wanted to share it.

Two major areas connected to overall health that are too frequently overlooked, particularly for those aged 65 and older, are visual capability and social connectedness, says therapist and charity innovator Karen Peterson.

“Physical and mental attributes are intimately connected, and what many do not realize is that balance is 20 percent based in vision. There are multiple ways of testing this, but perhaps the most simple is to stand on one leg, and then try to do so with your eyes closed – when your eyes are closed, you vestibular system, which controls your body’s balance, begins to work overtime,” says Karen Peterson, a therapist with multiple certifications, and creator of the new book and video series, “Move With Balance: Healthy Aging Activities for Brain and Body,” ( She’s also the founder and director of Giving Back, a nonprofit organization that grows and spreads programs that support senior health.

“Seniors of all ages – 55 to 105 – need to continually work on improving their balance, coordination, strength, vision and cognitive skills,” says Peterson, who has been teaching vision, brain and kinesiological modalities to children, businesspeople, athletes, classroom teachers and adults of all ages since 1987. “When they do, they’re less likely to fall and more able to enjoy life.”

In 2005, she expanded her program to focus on elders; specifically, to encourage active and younger seniors to buddy up with frail elder seniors for exercising eye-brain-body connections.

“Some folks reach a milestone age and recognize that they need to get active and, after only a short while, they actually feel younger. It’s these folks who we’ve encouraged to mentor other seniors who haven’t taken that step,” Peterson says.

“Members from different generations have partnered in training, and it’s an interesting learning experience for both parties.”

Peterson reviews the benefits of paring with a training buddy while practicing exercises that facilitate eye-brain-body cohesion:

• Independent study: Performed by a registered nurse and Dr. Lorrin Pang, Director of the Maui District Health Office, the Moving With Balance program, headquartered in Hawaii, has provided plenty of positive data. The objective is to reduce the number of falls in elderly who are institutionalized, many with cognitive deficits. The study was designed to compare the number of falls in the group doing the Move With Balance exercises to the number of falls in those serving as controls (no exercise). While the multiyear study is in the peer-review process, data shows a statistically significant reduction in falls in the target group – 38 percent.

• The importance of vision exercise: Vision gives the nervous system updated information about the position of body parts in relation to each other and the environment. With that information we judge distances, avoid obstacles and control our balance. Visual information goes directly to the midbrain, where it becomes part of the sensory motor pathway. This information lets us know and control where we are in space. When people get old, they tend to lose their control of this seeing-based system that provides spatial orientation. With one in three seniors experiencing a significant fall this year, visual-spatial exercises are an important measure for prevention.

• One example of a visual integration exercise – the arrow chart: With a partner holding the chart, look at the arrows and call out the direction indicated by each individual symbol. Then, thrust your arms in that direction; in other words, say and do what the arrow indicates. A partner can verify or correct movements. For an additional challenge, do the opposite of what the arrow indicates.

• Help from your friends: Working with a partner is tremendously beneficial for many of these exercises. Not only does it help with structure, consistency of schedule and morale, many of Peterson’s exercises call for coordinated movements and fast reaction times, including ball tosses. Partners can help cue and coach, and they provide security for seniors afraid to challenge themselves for fear of falling.

Successfully executing of these exercises indicates good brain processing ability, which is necessary for cognitive skills and balance, Peterson says.

Hawaii man in LA asks for Kickstarter support

July 10th, 2013

My high school classmate, Daniel Hi`ipoi Kauahi, lives by most standards, a perfect life. Working as a dolly grip in Hollywood, he brushes shoulders with brand-name stars on well-known movies and TV series like Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines, Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift, Mr. Deeds, Dexter, Private Practice, and dozens more. He’s lucky to have steady work in a fickle industry.

Daniel in middle

Daniel in middle

Daniel in middle

Daniel in middle

The motion picture studio grip graduated from Kamehameha Schools in 1988 and moved to California in 1997 to be near his son. While there he attend college at Chapman University. He graduated with a major in film and a minor in graphic arts, and immediately pursued work in the movie industry.


“It’s great; it’s so fast-paced and exciting. But things changed for me after my children were born,” he admits. “That’s when the pull of Hawaii became stronger and stronger. My youngest children are seven and two years old, and I’d really like to see them grow up nurtured by the same culture and wonderful sense of community that I grew up in.”

Now, he’s trying to find his way home, which probably necessitates a new career as well. “The film industry in Hawaii can’t provide me with as much steady work as I find in Los Angeles, so I’m looking to expand in new directions,” he explains.


Kauahi, of nearly half-Hawaiian ancestry, decided to use the other half of his college degree: that of graphic arts. “I’ve always liked sketching and creating, and it occurred to me that I could combine a passion for my Hawaiian culture with my love for drawing. I’ve created District 808, a clothing company.”


He feels if he can jump start a new clothing line, he can have a real shot at making his dream of moving back to Hawaii come true. He’s asking for the public’s help to donate to his Kickstarter campaign.

“District 808 is the embodiment of today’s Hawaii. It combines the past and the present to reflect who we are as a Polynesian society, moving forward into the future. It was borne out of my homesickness; I created it to be closer to Hawaii, which I have missed every day since I left the Islands. It’s my hope that people who wear my designs will also feel that much closer to Hawaii,” explains Kauahi.

Kauahi is asking for a total of $8,000, and his campaign closes on July 31. As per the Kickstarter model, he’s required to offer rewards and enticements based on the level of donor contribution. But what he says he’s really selling is a piece of the Island dream.


To contribute, go to his Kickstarter page at

SPJ - Hawaii awards

July 8th, 2013

I'm thrilled to say that a blog I posted about a Japanese candy craft won three awards from the Society of Professional Journalists - Hawaii chapter - 2012 Excellence in Journalism Awards. The winners were announced in a ceremony at the end of June. The same blog was nominated for a regional Emmy award last month. (Please click here to see the original story:


The awards and the judges' comments are:

TV Feature Reporting
First Place
"Honolulu candy makers resurrect dying Japanese craft"
Diane Ako, Tracy Arakaki
Judge's comments: "Great editing, nats and writing. What a feature story is about."


TV Videography
First Place
"Honolulu candy makers resurrect dying Japanese craft"
Diane Ako, Tracy Arakaki
Judge's comments: "A very nice entry, terrific B-roll, good interviews, and it moves well. The children really bring the piece home. Nice intro with the drumming and sushi. Criticisms would be that it feels about 30 seconds too long, and blown audio at the beginning with the Taiko drums. Nice entry."


Online Feature Reporting
"Honolulu candy makers resurrect dying Japanese craft"
Diane Ako, Tracy Arakaki
Judge's comments: "Fascinating video on original subject matter. Well executed."


My video partner Tracy and I do this for fun, so it's such an honor to still be recognized for our efforts even though we're no longer media professionals. Thanks, Tracy, for collaborating with me on this!

For more information about the Society of Professional Journalists - Hawaii chapter or these awards, go to

Posted in Career | 1 Comment »


July 3rd, 2013

The neighborhood BFF Kira was at our house. Through the default of geography, Kira is Olivia's best friend, because they see each other just about daily.

Kira was sharing a funny episode that happened with her older sister. "I asked Kaili what a wedgie is and she gave me one," Kira chuckled.

"What's a wedgie?" Olivia asked.

"Maybe that's the one time you're glad you don't have a sister to explain that to you, huh?" I asked her.

Wedgie-giving: it's not just for boys.

Recent Posts

Recent Comments