New Blog 新しいブログ

Before I know it, this blog has become two years old (I started this blog in January 2006). Reading my past postings brings me a similar feeling to when I watch a movie which I have watched before. I can see certain memories from different perspectives which gives me fresh insights. To me, just receiving these fresh insights and enjoying looking back my days are enough; but it does not stop there. I am able to share them with people! What a bonus that is.

As a new year of 2008 has come, it is a good beginning point, and also I have been feeling that my blog seemed to have gotten heavier, so it has been transited to a new URL site. Although it's a new blog, I kept it as the same design, and the tile has not changed much either (just "2008" was added). Also, this blog, "Akari's Diary" will remain here as it is. This original blog will be linked from the new blog.

I hope you will enjoy visiting my new blog this year.



この度、新年を迎えまして丁度節目が良いことと、以前から心なしかブログが重くなり始めたような気がしておりましたので「Akari's Diary」を新しいURLに移行しました。新しいブログと言いましても、同じデザインで同じ名前で(「2008」が題名のおしりに付きましたが)やっていきます。この「Akari's Diary」はそのまま存在しますので、消えるわけでありません。新しいブログにもこの「Akari's Diary」をリンクしております。



Thank You Very Much ありがとうございました

Today is December 30th, 2007 on Maui.
Today is December 31st, 2007 in Japan.

The year of 2007 is about to end.
I won’t have an access to the Internet for the next couple of days (I am going to camping), so before the year changes, I would like to thank everyone whom I encountered through various ways this year. All my relations have founded who I am today. So thank you very much for being who you are.

I pray that each and every one of your new year will be filled with full of laughs, smiles, giggles, and good tears. Even when you go through rough times, I pray that something will always remind you how beautiful you are and how delicious our lives can be.

Please remember that I am here for you always.

With much love and respect,

Akari Ueoka








上岡 安佳里


New Printer 新しいプリンター

I bought a new printer. Yay!

For the past five years of my college life, I always had a printer at home, but I had never bought one for myself. Fortunately, there were always friends who passed down their printers to me. When I was just realizing that a printer could be a very useful tool to have at home in order to expedite my studying, my Japanese friend, K (I saw her in Kyoto last summer) gave me her printer because she was moving away. When the printer started to act strangely, my friend, Carlen (she is in Oahu now) gave me hers because she was also moving away. When I started to feel the need for scanner and copy functions, I found my third printer, Lexmark X83, from a pile of junk :) (I gave Carlen's printer to a friend of mine.) Interestingly, there has been always someone who gave me what I needed.

Finally, the life of Lexmark X83 seemed to come to its end about a month ago. It started to act strangely, and I tried numerous things to fix the problems. I corresponded with Lexmark Customer Service Center for about three weeks, going back and forth, trying different things out. It was frustrating, but the bright side of that was that I learned a lot about computer through this process. I was also hoping that while I was trying to fix the problem, someone with a printer might show up and give it to me (hehehe ;D )

However, no one did, and the Lexmark Service Center stopped responding back to me, so I came to a conclusion to buy a new one. I wanted a multiple functions in a printer, such as scanning and copying, so after I compared some products and researched on the Internet, I chose Canon Pixma MP470. It was about $100 including one black and one color ink cartridge and shipping. I hope to use this printer for a long time.

I think I was the person who gave myself what I needed this time :)

Lately, I have been thinking that I can be the person who provides what I need. Or almost I should be the one. (Of course, it's important to evaluate whether what I need is really needed or not, though.) Not only for material wise, but more so for emotional and spiritual aspects of my life, I think it's important that I provide what I need. I think I can live more freely and with less stress if I can self sufficient my needs. Certainly, I don't mean that it is a bad thing to help each other. We need help from others, so I think what I mean is that it's faster to get what I need if I seek it inside of me rather than outside of me (because it's right there with me right now). And often, what I am looking for is inside of me rather than outside of me, especially for emotional and spiritual needs. For instance, I can be freed from the dilemma between wanting to be appreciated and not being appreciated if I appreciated myself. Well, it's easy to say but not so easy to do :) In the past, there was an important occasion where I wanted a certain person to attend. However, the person could not make it, and I felt sad. My friend then asked me, "What could you get out of it if the person attended?" I answered, "I would have been recognized for my achievement." She responded, "I see, I hear you. Well, maybe the person will be able to attend the next occasion. By the way, did you recognize yourself for your achievement?" This was a big eye-opening question. I even did not recognize myself and was expecting the person to do it for me. I told her, "I did not even think to do it for myself." She said, "Well, you can still do it now." So I did. I told myself, "I am proud of you for what you have done." I felt so freed after that. My heart was lifted up as if some weight that was holding the heart down on the ground disappeared. Since then, whenever I feel, "I want to be treated this way," or "I need someone to do this for me," I ask myself, "Have I done that for myself?" It is surprising to find out that I have not done most of the times. I got to do it for myself first, huh? It's not too late to seek outside of me after I seek it inside of me... And most of the times, I find "it" inside of me anyway.

I was writing about my printer. How did I get here??? Oh well.

For Maui Residents:
You can bring your old computer, printer, and cell phone devices to Container in Pu'unene. People there recycle them. Their phone number is 877-2524. They are open from 9 to 4 pm from Monday to Friday. Let's minimize dumping trash in the landfill!

Yay, it arrived!
(Japanese: やったー。届いたよ!)


My old printer: Lexmark X83. It worked hard for me. Thank you.)
(Japanese: 私の古いプリンター。レックスマーク社のX83というタイプ。頑張って働いてくれました。)


過去5年間の学生生活の中で、最低一つのプリンターが家に常にありましたが、自分で買ったことはありませんでした。有難いことに、いつも誰かしらからプリンターを譲り受けていたのです。丁度学生になったばかりで、「あぁ、学校生活をもっと効率よく過ごすためにはプリンターが家にあったらどんなにいいだろう」と思い始めていた頃、友達のK(この前の夏に日本で会ったK)が引っ越すということで彼女のプリンターをくれました。そのプリンターが残念なことに壊れてしまったときに、今度はカーレンという友達が引っ越すので彼女のプリンターをくれました。それから暫くして、「スキャナーやコピー機能のついたプリンターがあったら仕事が捗る(はかどる)のになぁ・・・(家で仕事をしていたので)」と思い出した頃、あるゴミの山からLexmark X83というスキャナーとコピー機能の付いたプリントを見つけました。(カーレンにもらったプリンターは友達にあげました。)面白いことに、いつも誰かしらが私が必要としているものをくれました。

一ヶ月ほど前に、Lexmark X83がプリントアウトをしなくなり、もしや彼の運命もここまでかと思われました。色々とやってみたのですが、うんともすんとも言わなくなりました。レックスマーク社のお客様サービスセンターともメール上で連絡を取り合い、三週間ほどああでもない、こうでもないとお互いに色々とやったのですが直りませんでした。こうやって直している間に、また誰かプリンターをくれる人が現れたらいいなぁなんて望んでもおりました(ウシシシ。)







Cry, so You can Laugh Again 泣けたからまた笑えるよ

On 12/17, a man whom I have known for the past 8 years passed away.

He was my friend and a big brother. Although we did not see each other often, maybe once a year, he always cared for me, and I liked his big smiles and sense of humor. I could tell if he was in the same room because he was always making people laugh.

It was a sudden notice. He had a liver cancer, and as a liver is called "a silent organ," he did not have any symptom until recently. By the time he had some symptoms and saw a doctor, the cancer was spread.

He was visiting Maui with his partner this month to heal his cancer. One night, he started to have an excruciating pain, and he was admitted to an emergency room. The next morning, he left this world.

Everything happened so quickly, so keeping my head and heart up with them was a challenge. I could manage to act with my head, but my heart had not comprehended what happened. I easily could see him appearing again and saying, "It was a bad joke!"

On the night of the day he passed away, we had a ceremony at his partner's house (they were renting a house on Maui). People who have known him gathered. We talked about memories with him, chanted, prayed, and sang sings for him. I felt his spirit around us as if to say, "Everything is all right. I am okay. I am at a very good place now."

The moment when my heart finally comprehended his death was when I participated a cremation ceremony. He looked clean and calm. We decorated his coffin with flowers. It was a sincere, hand-made, beautiful ceremony. When the top of the coffin was closed and was about to put in fire, his partner started to wail. Seeing her crying bitterly with grief helped me to finally accept his death. I was able to let myself cry from the bottom of my heart. I cried quietly as I was looking up the ceiling of the mortuary. I knew that our souls live forever, and we all can be connected with him forever, but it was still sad that I could not joke around and laugh with him and hug him as a human anymore. I tasted the sadness firmly because I thought it was one of the pleasures of living as a human. After I let myself cry, I felt refreshed. I felt that I could move on after I surely accepted what have happened. I appreciated that his partner showed her emotions so openly. I was appreciative that we held the space for her to feel safe enough to cry. I appreciated each and every person who was there to support her. After awhile, she stopped crying, stood up strongly with a big smile on her face, and held a baby of her friend. The baby's smiles and giggles reminded all of us the beauty of life. Life goes on, and life goes around. Even this baby will leave this world someday. We all do. Until then, I want to live my life to its fullest by embodying who I really am and enjoy its process.

I would like to take over his wish, "live in harmony with everyone," and walk on with a sense of humor and courage in my heart. Thank you.











Patica パティッツァ

(Grandma's cute, antique grinder. We used this to grind walnuts.)
(Japanese: おばあちゃんの かわいい これまたアンティークな、くるみを挽く道具。)

I had a wonderful Christmas.

We woke up early (6:15 am) on Christmas to do a web-cam chat with Loren's sister and her family in Wisconsin (5 hours ahead of Hawaii). Grandma Elsie, Loren, and I enjoyed watching Loren's niece and nephew opening their gifts. The nephew is 4 and half years old, and the niece just turned two years old. They are so cute! I appreciate that technology has developed, so that Grandma Elsie could see kids opening the gifts as a live show despite of the distance.

After that, Grandma Elsie, Loren, and I started to make Patica. It's a Slovenian bakery. (Grandma Elise is 100% Slovenian. Her parents came to the U.S. when they were young, and Grandma Elsie was born in Ohio. She can speak Slovenian and English. It's interesting that I went to the Balkan right before I met her (and Loren), so I knew some words to say in her language. She teaches me some more words. I enjoy listening to her stories. She is a good story teller.) Grandma Elsie learned how to make Patica from her mother. This year, Loren decided to learn it from her.

(Japanese) 素敵なクリスマスを過ごすことが出来ました。



(Grinned walnuts. They are so fine like shredded pencils.)
(Japanese: 挽かれたくるみ。鉛筆を削ったみたいに細かくなりました。)

Let's melt butter first.
(Japanese: まずはバターをとかしましょう。)

Then, we scale everything accurately...
(Japanese: それから色々なものをちゃんと計って・・・)

Mix, kneed, squeeze, and work on it! (Loren and Grandma working collaboratively here.)
(Japanese: 混ぜて、捏ねて、絞って、さぁ混ぜますわよ!(おばあちゃん、ボールを支えて、孫とのチームプレーが見事です。)

After yeast is mixed in, the dough became like this.
(Japanese: 酵母を混ぜた後しばらくおいておいたら、こんな感じになりました。)

When we were letting the yeast to work, we took a short nap :)

Let's roll it. We used a dining table.
(Japanese: さぁ、伸ばしましょう。ダイニングテーブルを使いました。)

After we put honey paste and spread soaked golden raisins all over, Loren rolled it.
(Japanese: ハチミツで作ったペーストを全体に塗って、ラム酒に漬けておいたゴールデンレーズンを全体にばらしてから、ローレンが巻き巻きし始めました。)

They are now in the oven. I hope they will be baked nicely...
(Japanese: 巻き巻きされたものを切って、耐熱皿に入れて、いざオーブンに。さぁ、おいしく焼けてくれるといいな。)

This is our first trial of Patica. Loren said that it did not turn out as nice as he expected. Later, one of Grandma's relatives called her and told her that she also made Patica. But she said she could not make one like Grandma Elsie's mom. Taste can be remembered over generations but can be hard to be passed down.
(Japanese: さぁ、これがローレンと私の最初のパティッツァ。ローレン曰く、おばあちゃんが昔作ってくれていたパティッツァとは比べ物にならないらしい。まぁ最初だからね。いきなり上手に出来ちゃう方が稀よね。後でおばあちゃんの親戚の方がおばあちゃんにクリスマスのお祝いの電話をくれたのだけど、その方もお家でパテッツァを作ったそう。でも「やっぱり、おばあちゃんの味にはならないわ。」と言っていました。家庭の味は世代を超えて思い出になっていくけれど、その味を再現するのはなかなか難しいことのようです。)

This is a "fake" turkey although it has a wing. It is called Tofurkey made out of soy and seitan (wheat protein). I was curious to taste it, so I bought it. I marinated it in soy sauce with brown sugar, onion and garlic for about two hours and baked it in an oven for 15 minutes. It tasted yummy, and Loren said it has the similar texture to real turkey.
(Japanese: これは七面鳥の形をしている大豆から作られた七面鳥もどき。つまり鳥じゃない。でも鳥みたいな味と口当たりがしました。クリスマスだしちょっとどんな味がするのかしらと興味心から買ってみたのです。醤油に黒砂糖とみじん切りにしたにんにくと玉葱を入れ少し煮て、それにこのトーファーキー(豆腐とターキー(七面鳥のこと)を混ぜてこのような名前になったらしい)を二時間ほど漬けて下味をつけました。それをオーブンで15分ほど焼いて食べました。この写真はオーブンに入れる前のもの。)

A simple Christmas dinner on Grandma's favorite plate (given to her from her father).
(Japanese: クリスマスの夕飯です。簡単に済ませましたが。サフランライス(黄色いご飯)、グリーンビーンズ、トーファーキーとスタッフィングです。)おばあちゃんのお気に入りのお皿に盛り付けられました。おばあちゃんのお父さんからもらったお皿らしい。)

Grandma Elsie was all excited about making Patica with us. She seemed to be happy and very alive. She was teaching and supervising us (at one point, I was sitting down to grind walnuts, and she told me, "Stand up!" :D ) Usually, we take care of her, but today, I felt like she was taking care of us by teaching us something we did not know at all. Seeing her so strong and dependable made me almost cry. I think that it was a beautiful and valuable experience for me and Loren that we could become grand"children" again in front of her. Grandma, I hope you will stay healthy and live happily.