Archive for October, 2013


October 28th, 2013

I had a sick Betta. I looked up the problem and determined it was fatal. The fish had taken on a pine cone appearance in which the scales were popping out from the body, making it look like a pine cone when viewed from above.

Plus, he was listless for weeks, not eating, and looking pathetic. When he came to me he had a stomach problem. It looked like a parasite in his gut. The stomach was discolored, warped, and distending. I failed efforts to treat him.

I felt a mercy killing was the most humane thing. I know how to gut a fish, and I know people (not me) do it to live fish (pity the fish!), but I didn't want to do that to this one.

I decided to ice him to death. Again, trying to do the nicest thing for him, I chose to pour him in a small tofu container and put him in the freezer. Fishermen catch their fish and put them on ice to die, which I believe takes the better part of an hour, the whole while the fish is suffocating.

My sad pet would just get colder and colder like the Little Matchstick Girl. Hopefully he would die with visions of his fish grandmother greeting him in a huge 10 gallon tank.

So I said a few words to him and apologized for having to do this, and shut the freezer door. Olivia asked what I was doing.

"I'm putting him to sleep. It's better for him," I said. Of course, you can imagine the gears wildly turning in a six year old's cranium trying to shake out the logic on that one.

After trying not to laugh at the look on her face, I explained, "There comes a time in everyone's life when they get sick and they don't get better, Honey. Whitefish is really sick. I'm freezing him to death because I think it's the nicer thing to do for him. He's really suffering, you know. We want to be kind to our family members."

Slow acceptance of this really weird, really hard truth.

She said, "Suffering... like Popo?"

"Yes, Honey. But we aren't freezing Popo," I said. To me, it's obvious that we don't euthanize people. Kids are still learning the rules.

"Because she won't fit in the freezer?" came the innocent follow up.

The hearse, part 2

October 25th, 2013

I can't believe one person can have this many hearse stories. It's an embarrassment of riches.

We're still talking about the early days of dating, and Claus may have stopped driving the hearse to my house, but he was still comfortable to take it to his house.

One day, my parents were in town. At the time, they were living in New Jersey. They might have met Claus once before. They knew what he did, and my superstitious Chinese mother did not want to know much more.

They were staying at my house, using my car. They took me to and from work, and one night, wanted to have dinner at Hee Hing on Kapahulu, which was my late grandmother's favorite.

They suggested I invite Claus, so he said he'd meet us there. If you know Hee Hing, you know street parking is a rarity. Unbeknownst to me, he took the hearse. AND he valeted it.

Dinner went well, which was a relief that my parents seemed to like my new boyfriend. After dinner, we all waited outside for the valets to bring out the cars.

Guess whose vehicle came out first? Yes. The hearse.

My mother just about died when the valet pulled it up. All the other dining patrons also stopped and stared.

Most people wonder if there's a body retrieval. I'm sure that looked really good for Hee Hing.

My dad tried to break the awkward silence, by going 180 degrees the other way and trying to embrace the vehicle. "Oh, how nice. That's what one of these things looks like inside! Really roomy in the back! Maybe if we have too much luggage you can take us to the airport?"

My dad was walking around, poking his head into the hearse, the way a prospective car buyer inspects the product. The valet is waiting. There is a car behind us. People are staring.

I was hoping I might magically shrink to the size of an aspirin and crawl up in my own purse and hide.

Claus takes everything in stride. He's as mellow as they come. He smiled and patiently waited for my dad to finish admiring the vehicle, then tipped the valet and drove off.

The scene probably only lasted five minutes but it felt like an hour. I got into my own car with my parents. My mother said not one word about it, preferring to pretend it never happened.

"So, I guess you don't want to see where he works, then, Mom?" She glared at me.

I asked Claus to please not bring the hearse to a parental outing again!

The hearse, part 1

October 23rd, 2013

In our early days of dating, which parallelled Claus' early days of his business, Claus would sometimes drive the hearse when he visited me. It was for convenience, because he could leave my house and go straight to drop off a casket.

I probably should clarify the caskets were always empty. At this point, he was still just Affordable Casket, meaning he only sold affordably priced caskets. He wasn't taking in bodies.

The hearse couldn't fit in my garage, so to my initial horror and embarrassment, he had to park on the street. Though I got used to it (luckily I'm a really practical Chinese broad), not all the neighbors did.

He couldn't find street parking by my house, so he would park at least a block away. In the morning, as he fetched the car, he would often overhear the homeowner nearest to the hearse complain of "that damned hearse" right in front of their house. Sure, who wants that view?

To be polite, the next time, he would then park in a different spot, a block away from the complainant. Pretty soon, we joked, he would be walking a mile back to my house, because we couldn't foresee an end to unhappy neighbors.

Most of the time, he only overheard the people complaining about his vehicle. One day, though, someone actually contacted him directly.

He was at work when he took a call from an elderly lady asking to talk to the manager. "That's me," he said.

"Kindly ask your driver to not park in front of my house anymore, please. My husband is in hospice at home, and every time he looks out the window and sees the hearse, he asks if it's waiting for him."

Claus made a concerted effort to take his personal vehicle after that.

`Ohana Sundays at Shirokiya

October 18th, 2013

Twice per month in October, November and December, Shirokiya at Ala Moana Center will have 'OHANA SUNDAYS AT SHIROKIYA, a fun, family-friendly, free* event at the popular department store. (*not including items for purchase)

The schedule of semi-monthly events is:







All events will be from 1-4 p.m.

Here’s a detailed look at the first event on Sunday:

Enter the world of Harajuku, Anime and Sci-Fi as Shirokiya's first 'Ohana Sunday will put the spotlight on the 1st Annual Oni-Con Hawaii ( November 1-3, at the Hawaii Convention Center), and feature the following activities:

Graphic courtesy Mona Wood

Graphic courtesy Mona Wood

"YU X ME MAID CAFE & HOST CLUB" will be serving you your orders from Kulu Kulu and BRUG. Play games at your table with our costumed maids and hosts, and get a taste of what Japan's famous maid cafes are like!

Courtesy Mona Wood &

Courtesy Mona Wood &

"COSPLAY RUNWAY" invites cosplayers to walk our runway and display their costumes and portrayal of their character.

"MINI MASQUERADE THEATER" will share a small sampling of musical numbers and skits from Oni-Con Hawaii's Cosplay Masquerade.

If you've never heard of "COSPLAY CHESS DEMO," the Cosplay Chess Brigade will show you what it's all about.

A SHIROKIYA EXCLUSIVE: The U.S. debut of "NINJYASIZE," the ultimate workout routine! DVDs of this fitness program will be available for purchase for the very first time in a store outside of Japan! Enjoy a "Ninjyasize" demonstration for the first time in the U.S.! (see

ENTER CONTESTS AND WIN PRIZES like passes to Oni-Con Hawaii and Shirokiya gift cards! And, of course, you can purchase tickets for 3-day passes to Oni-Con Hawaii, as well as souvenir items, at Shirokiya on 'Ohana Sunday.


Here is a detailed schedule of the day.

1-4 p.m. Oni-Con Hawaii Marketplace

Tickets and Merchandise Sales (retail area, mall level)

1-4 p.m. "Yu x Me Maid Cafe and Host Club"

Snacks and games (Brug Cafe at Meika Plaza, mall level)

1 p.m. "A Taste of Cosplay"

Presented by Oni Con Hawaii and Babel Entertainment

(stage, mall level)

1:10 p.m. Cosplay Runway #1

Attendees in family-friendly costumes may participate on the runway!

1:30 p.m. Prize Giveaways #1

1:35 p.m. Live Cosplay Chess

2:00 p.m. Mini "Masquerade" Theater #1

2:25 p.m. Prize Giveaways #2

2:30 p.m. Cosplay Runway #2

2:50 p.m. "Ninjyasize" - FIRST TIME IN HAWAII!!!

3:10 p.m. Mini "Masquerade" Theater #2

3:30 p.m. Prize Giveaways #3

4 p.m. Finale

“Lovers of Harajuku fashions, anime and sci-fi will not want to miss this exciting premiere event," said Kevin Kaneshiro, Shirokiya Asst. Store Manager. "We're expecting a lot of people to come in costume, but everyone is welcome to watch and enjoy - and even participate - in the fun activities throughout this unique, fantasy-themed day."

“We are so thrilled to partner with Shirokiya on this event,” said Oni-Con Hawaii Event Coordinator & Co-chair, Steve Okubo. “We hope to see a lot of folks who are new to the whole Cosplay culture, as well, so we can introduce them to the fun of this phenomenon that is growing by leaps and bounds around the world!”

For more information or to register, visit

First grader business card

October 9th, 2013

Olivia is always asking me to make a play date with her school friends. I don't mind, but it's really hard to make the time to forge new connections with new parents, when a lot of the families have two working parents and multiple children and are therefore quite busy surviving.

My first response is always, "I need to check with your friend's parents first to see if they want to meet up." Then, I have to admit, rarely does that happen.

She took it upon herself to exchange numbers with some friends because she was tired of waiting for me to get past the first step. When she came home from school one day, she told us she had a phone number and wanted us to make a play date.

We were all impressed and said, OK, hand it over. This is what she came up with:


I guess her friend gave her an international number? Country code for Chad, Africa: 235.

Still, I'm impressed with her initiative!

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