Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Brown and sensitive

March 3rd, 2014

Olivia told me her classmate was having a birthday. We'll call him K.

"Who is K?" I asked. I know some but not all of her first grade class.

"He sits in the front by the teacher," she said.

"Nope," I shook my head.

"He had that blue shirt today," she continued.

"Hmm. Nope," I said.

"Poky hair?" she offered.

"Can't place him. Do I read with him (when I volunteer)?" I tried.

"Yes. He's brown, he's sensitive," she described.

Brown and sensitive. Not even a hint of racism or sarcasm.

He is a very tan local kid - probably some Hawaiian-Portuguese-Chinese blend. I have no idea about the sensitive part. Funny, how kids' brains work.

"Dark, Honey. We call that dark," I (politically) corrected.

Wait. Maybe his last name is actually Brown. I'll check tomorrow.

Siging off for now, Pale and Harried

Summer love

February 28th, 2014

June is a special month for Richard Soo. That's the month the former Honolulu Fire Department captain met the woman who would come to mean everything to him, Barbara Arincorayan.

Photo courtesy: Richard Soo

Photo courtesy: Richard Soo

"We were high school classmates at Kamehameha," he recalls. "After all those decades, we reconnected on Facebook last year."

Initially, it wasn't more than a platonic conversation with a schoolmate as their class geared up for their reunion. He didn't remember her, and had to look up her photo in the annual.

She remembered him as "a stuck up smarty in the advanced classes." She was a boarder, and he was a day student. At Kamehameha, the two groups of students don't usually mix.

The Facebook chats were friendly and interesting, and on a weekend when Soo was having a staycation in Ko`olina he invited Arincorayan to lunch. It was June 2013, and "there were sparks between us" he says. "We hit it off."

After their second date, Soo says he knew she was The One. "We can just sit and be together, and enjoy each other's company. We can talk freely," articulated Soo on what he loves about his lady friend.

"We have so much in common," adds Arincorayan. "He's easy to talk to. It just clicked."

Photo courtesy: Richard Soo

Photo courtesy: Richard Soo

This autumn romance is an unexpected blessing for them. Soo was long divorced, and had been raising two sons by himself. "I've been single since my younger son was in second grade. That son is now 19 years old!" says Soo.

Arincorayan had been widowed for five years and had not had children. On finding new love: "I was lonely, but I figured, if it happens, it happens. The time has to be right." She let fate take its course.

Neither says they expected to find love again, at age 63.

That's where the month of June comes into this story again. It was on a June day three years ago that Soo had gastric bypass surgery. "I went from 265 pounds to 160 pounds. I was overweight and had health issues, and had a family history of obesity. I was tired of struggling to bend over and tie my shoes. I decided to have the surgery and make a move towards wellness," he reveals.

In the first month, Soo lost 40 pounds. It took him two years to finish losing the rest, and to stabilize the weight. He had to learn a new lifestyle: New eating habits, new nutritional choices, new exercise routines. "I was bodysurfing and going to the gym. I felt really positive. I think it made me open my mind to the possibility of having love in my life again," he analyzes.

Photo courtesy: Richard Soo

Photo courtesy: Richard Soo

Just two months later, another event would occur - one that would open his heart, too. Soo says, "I had a devastating house fire. It really made me realize I should love what I do and who I do it with for the rest of my life, because life is short and fragile."

Fast forward to 2013, and a romance growing as fast as a wildfire. Within a few months, Arincorayan - or Honey, as Soo has taken to calling her on all his mushy Facebook posts - had moved in to his Papakolea house. A couple months after that, Soo proposed, in early 2014.

"We have a Crying Couch, where we sit, drink wine, and bare our souls. We were sitting on the Crying Couch when I told her I'm in love with her and want to marry her," he shares. Except nobody cried this time, and Honey said yes.

The wedding date's been set: August 16, at their house. The Crying Couch is ready.

The two have their Kamehameha Schools class of 1969 reunion this summer, too. "We'll be the hit of the '69 table!" he chuckles. A wedding and a reunion - and a lot to celebrate.

Ako doll

February 21st, 2014

In Shirokiya, my daughter noticed some kokeshi dolls for sale. We looked at them and picked our our favorites. We generally like pink, but she pointed out a doll with silver hair and a light blue kimono. Upon closer look, its name is Ako!

Ako doll

I looked at the box, and it said the doll is meant to encourage true love and lasting friendships. I don't like to collect stuff that will sit around on a shelf and take up space, but I'm a sucker for a good narrative, so I bought it.

Ako translates to "charming," according to the sticker on this kimmidoll brand. Curious, I looked it up later online. Apparently, it's a Japanese nickname to mean "cute." I did not know this, but I like it.

However, there was another website saying Ako is an Egyptian boy's name and it means "tired, weary." Oh, my. That is a name I do not want to live up to - yet it's true more often than I like!

What's in your name?

Top 10 Most Dangerous Jobs in US

January 27th, 2014

The life of a reporter often means you run to the scene of danger as every other sane person is running away from it. The first time I did this, I was a cub reporter in New Mexico, going to a fire where there were gas tanks nearby.

Police blocked off the road a half mile out, and I flashed my press pass and asked to get closer. They let me drive up to where the police cars were, some 30 feet away.

Then I got out and started gathering my information and images for the story. One of the firemen mentioned that if the tanks blow, we're definitely in the blast radius.

I remember thinking to myself, "Am I nuts?" It definitely gave me pause. Then I kept working. Now and again at every successive incident (fires, explosions, shoot outs, bomb threats, communicable disease, radioactivity, terrorism, risk of attack or robbery, heat exhaustion - I think I listed it all) during my 16 year news stint, I would think of this first realization.

Which is why, when I went to work for a luxury hotel, I thought, "Phew! What could go wrong here amid thousand dollar dinners and mega-suites of the rich and famous?"

Then there were two successive tsunami threats in my first two years, and as a manager, I was required to go to work to help fulfill crisis procedures. Every other person is driving out of the flood zone for safety, and I am fighting traffic and vigilant cops to insist to be let in to the red zone. Smart, Ako, smart.

I do realize there are way more dangerous jobs the world, but those are my little brushes with professional peril. has created a list of some of the most perilous blue collar jobs, and how, despite improvement in safety provisions, these occupations still put people’s lives at risk. Maybe you think fishing is the most dangerous, due to the popularity of that fishing show, Deadliest Catch? It's actually logging.

You can check it out here:

Do you perform this kind of work and do you agree it's among the most deadly? What else should be on the list that isn't?

Jazz Peace Concert at the Byodo-in

January 24th, 2014

New York tenor/soprano saxophonist Rob Scheps is headlining the Jazz Peace Concert 2014 at Valley of the Temples tomorrow afternoon (weather permitting.)

Scheps plays with the Jazz Clique Quartet, a band of talented local musicians who share a passion for jazz and perform together in diverse venues.

The band name is a play on words. The press release explains, "A clique is a group of people who interact more intensely than others in the same setting. When something 'clicks' you get it, it is now understood. A click is a sound, a lot of clicks can be rhythm. We hope that you enjoy the jazz stylings of the Jazz Clique Quartet."

Rounding out the band are: Joshua Kaye on piano; Louis Benanto on bass; Scott Shafer on drums; and Mihoko M. as vocalist. 

Bring your lunch and enjoy the day!

Byodo-in, the Valley of theTemples Memorial Park
47-200 Kahekili Hwy
Kaneohe, Hi 96744

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Temple Admission:
Adult $3
Senior & Child $ 2