How does one start over again?

I've forgotten who I am... Who I was.

These words that I wrote so long ago don’t even seem familiar to me anymore. I grab at them and they slip through my fingers like fine sand falling from the jagged edge of a broken hourglass.

That old life seems so far away now; so long gone that I don’t even recognize the man who lived that life anymore. Things that I held to be so important then, I hold to be insignificant now. Things that I’d never even thought I’d want then -- they have become regular parts of my life now.

For years, I've hidden behind faceless icons.

This changes now.

I don't even know why I was so afraid to reveal myself then. I feel no such fear or apprehension anymore.

I've started writing again. I've started a stand-alone online journal site again, and am doing it the way I wanted to when I first started writing back in 1996. I'm taking the same stylistic elements I wanted to use, and I'm applying them now; now that technology has increased to the point where almost everybody has the bandwidth to handle the format I always wanted to use.

I'm not going to abandon LiveJournal though. No. LiveJournal will remain as the place I keep my daily informal thoughts, while the other site will contain the polished, finished products. I'll be linking those entries into LiveJournal, and keeping the LiveJournal comment features active for that journal. Just think of it as an extension of this one (or this is an extension of that one).

In a day or two, I'll be posting the URL of the new journal; and I will begin posting entry links here for you to use to get to the new material through your LiveJournal friends' pages. And those of you who have added me over the last year, and have faithfully kept me on your friends lists in hopes that I would return, thank you -- I will add you back by the next time I post.

In any case, thank you all for having me back.

With my love,


Here, in the time before sleep, I remember.

It's been over six years since Ryutaro and I lived in the same state.

Yet, memories of times past return to me as easily as yesterday's dreams. Tonight's dreams flow into my consciousness in my waking world, here... now. In the dark here, here in the time before sleep, they mix and in my mind I see things that have not yet been. He and I, together again. Ryu and I in some timeless space, some corner of this existence that is not Seattle, not San Francisco, and not Honolulu... but instead somewhere in-between.

Here, in the time before sleep, I remember.

A room of wood. Maple and Japanese pine. Soft, with smooth refined lines and light cast from the ceiling just enough to create dim shadows. Silky air, with just a slight breath in the air, fluttering through cloth-shuttered windows from the night wind outside. The tapping of water from beyond soothes my ears.

In silence, we sit at the bar. Behind the bar, a man clad in folds of white cloth with his sleeves tied back with rope; slicing through a block of deep red sashimi effortlessly... as if cutting air, with his long yanagi sliding against hard wood.

We take another sip out of our square, wooden cups.

Smooth, mildly sweet, cold Junmai Daiginjo sake slips down my throat like liquid silk, swirling around my tongue as it passes. Eyes closed, I swallow. In one taste, I enjoy the flavor of the melting winter and blossoming freshness of spring.

Somewhere, I can hear an old Kudo Shizuka ballad.

Here, in the time before sleep, I remember.
Hee Haw

Thanks, aye.

A casual passerby might think I have some bizarre fetish for Asian Canadian women.

The Asian Canadian Female makes up like 80% of my friends list. While that may be perfectly normal if I lived in say... Vancouver (and I was a woman), I don't live in Vancouver (and I'm not a woman). Over the years, I just discovered that I got along better with you guys (you guys are cool). You know, you and your maple syrup and ham and guys riding with tall hats and stuff.

(BTW thanks, aye to lavendarglass for bringing me some maple syrup last time)
Hee Haw

The Shitty Tippers Database

I like this:

The Shitty Tippers Database (STD).

Tipper's Name: Jennifer Lopez
Restaurant: Black Magic Bar and Grill
Where it happened: Vancouver, Canada
Total bill / Tip amount / Percentage: $752.34 / $2.16 / 0%
What happened:
The $3 was mostly pennies, nickles, and dimes. The bitch could'nt fork over a dollar?! Her 2 girlfriends were complaining about the temperature, and even asked if i could turn it up for them. Then the bottled water exactly at room temperature like they wanted. YOU HUGE ASS BITCH- YOUR ACTING SKILLS SUCK!

Maybe she thought the bill was in Canadian dollars and her tip was in American dollars and she was tipping the right amount.


Just kidding! Just kidding!

IMO, "standard" service deserves 15%. I don't know why it's been creeping up to 20%. If I get screwed with in any way, I'll tip less. If I'm really unsatisfied, I'll leave nothing. Yet, when I get really good service, I tip big. 50, 60, sometimes close to 100%.

An inherited blade

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The single piece that I wanted the most, ended up in Stef's parents hands.

It's a 20cm Deba. I'm not sure who the manufacturer is, or even if the house is still around. Stef's Dad told me that his mother had it since she was young (though it's still possible it's older than her), which puts this knife at least the 1920's or 1930's -- in pre-war Japan. It's made in the old-style manufacturing process, and is of extremely high quality. It's possible this is even a honyaki blade. It's even possible this blade was crafted during the very last years of the Tokugawa shogunate.

Over the years though, it's been beaten up. It's in my possession now. Last time I was up at Stef's parents' house, I asked them for permission to take it and try to restore it. I'm still not quite sure how I'm going to do it. It's in far worse condition than I originally thought. I'm going to need some specialized equipment to do it, I think -- but I can still do it. I want to restore the blade to original condition, re-mount the blade and lacquer the handle and then return it to Stef's parents.

Even in its current condition, it's still a great blade. Restored, it will be awesome.

I feel like Hattori Hanzo.

Father of the Pride and Hawaii

TV programming has been disappointing lately.

First, Sex and the City and Friends goes away. Then The West Wing goes from being the best show ever, to becoming so bad that the show's fans are petitioning NBC to grant the show a mercy killing and cancel the show. None of the rest of the great TV is the same; with shows like CSI, Law and Order, and ER going to crap.

I had high hopes for North Shore, but after the first ten minutes of watching that show's pilot, I decided it was one of the worst shows ever and just stopped watching. And I thought Amish in the City was pretty good, but now I'm just sick of it. I Tivo'ed the last episode but didn't bother watching it.

That's a bad sign.

Of course I still have my Japanese dorama and Taiga programming, courtesy of KTSF. I've been watching Shinsengumi and Kougen e Irasshai religiously since their first episodes; but I have to admit -- these shows are nothing compared to the great shows of the past: Aoi for the Taiga. Majo no Joken and Ginka no Hoshii for straight J-dorama. Up until last week, I decided that TV was heading down the long road to mediocrity.

Then a show piloted, and soared for the sky.

NBC's "Father of the Pride" has to be one of the best shows I've seen in a long time. Done by the same guys, in the same style as Shrek (and Shrek 2), except with guys like John Goodman and Carl Riener and guest stars like Lisa Kudrow (as Foo-Lin the panda) and Eddie Murphy (Donkey) -- this is definitely a show worth watching. It's the same style of humor. It's the same style of animation. It's like Shrek, Seigfried and Roy version, for TV. Awesome.

Even better, in the same week, another show piloted -- and while I have to say it's not going to be one of the 'great shows of all time', which "Father of the Pride" just may become, it's pretty damned good. Even more, it's a show about Hawai'i.


It's hard for people who are from Hawai'i to give their blessings to a show about Hawaii. We always have some complaint or another. This one, I have no complaints about. They respect the culture, and even serve to educate people about the various cultures of Hawai'i. They use local actors (with the exception of the headline stars), and don't make up stupid things just to please a non-Hawaiian audience.

On NBC on Monday and Wednesday nights (new episodes on both nights), it's a cop story situated in Honolulu, Hawai'i. I'd describe it as Hawaii Five-O meets CSI meets Miami Vice. It's got good action. It's got eye candy. It's got a good cultural backdrop -- and it's not filled with surfers and girls in grass skirts. It's got enough suspense to make me hold my chopsticks in mid-air while watching during dinner. The acting is okay. It's not going to win an Emmy, but it's definitely got two thumbs up from me.

Even cooler for me, is that I recognize almost every single place they're filming. In fact, they filmed in two buildings that had personal significance to me -- my ex-girlfriend lived in one of them, and my uncle owned the building next to the other one. I can't wait until we can get back. Maybe we'll see them filming.

The show has Michael Biehn in it too. That makes it cool for me. I love his character too. It suits him well. I mean, he's not dressed like a Space Marine (Aliens) or a Navy SEAL (The Rock), but he's good in this role too. It's too bad they couldn't double his role as a SWAT team leader. He's so good in that role. I watch movies like that just to see him in that role. I don't think anybody looks as cool in tactical assault gear as he does.

There's a new episode on Wednesday night. I'm just hoping that it's as good as the last two. The last episode (2nd) was especially well done; cinematography, storyline, action -- everything. My fingers are crossed.
Oh my Gaw

Triathalon mouse

I saw some kind of Triathalon mouse swimming across the pool yesterday.

If I wasn't in the pool already, I would have grabbed the camera and jumped in and taken a picture of it. I yelled to Stef and Jennifer, who only had their feet in the pool, to go get my digital camera but both were so caught up in watching the swimming mouse that they just ignored me (happens a lot).

It started out running out of the bushes at one end of the pool, jumped into the pool like an Olympic swimmer (leaping dive), and swam across the pool so quickly that it was leaving a wide wake behind it. Talk about fascinating. It looked so natural in the water that I surmised it must do this often. When it reached the other side of the pool, somebody grabbed its tail and tossed it onto the pool deck -- where it took off on a B-line for the parking lot without even pausing for so much as a breath.

I halfway expected that if I walked to the parking lot, I'd find a miniature mouse-bicycle waiting for it.


I'm burnt.

We spent Saturday at Greg's place, swimming at his pool. Foolish me, I thought that my 'tough Hawaiian skin' would protect me from these wussy California sun-rays. Since I moved to California years ago, I've returned to being light-skinned. I thought this was because the California sun wasn't as strong (for whatever reason), but have since discovered that this is actually because I spend a lot less time outdoors here than I did back home.

I'm burnt. I'm just glad it's not a really bad sunburn. It should be a lot worse. Perhaps my 'tough Hawaiian skin' actually did something for me. I was out in direct sunlight from noon all the way up until six o'clock -- without any sunscreen whatsoever. I should be completely roasted. I'm only halfway roasted.

It's still painful, although it's not as bad as it should be. I aggravated it even more by foolishly going swimming in the pool at Stef's parents' place yesterday, albeit this time with SPF-45 sunscreen on.

I'll handle. All I need is some time away from the sun, some Aloe, and some Lidocaine.

This has me thinking about and empathizing with the millions of tourists who come to Hawai'i every year with the similar foolish thoughts in their minds: That they want to get tanned quickly, so they go out and roast themselves on Waikiki Beach for the entire first day with no sunscreen. The next day, they resemble baked Maine Lobster and can't go out into the sun because it feels like it's 450° outside.

It's going to be another scorcher today.

I'm hearing that today is going to be another 100° day outside. It was like that for the last three days already. It felt good, when I wasn't sunburned. Now that I'm sunburned, it feels twice as hot. Thank God for A/C. It seems like Summer is finally starting for Northern California. I'm still not used to this "Indian Summer" thing.

The funny thing about this Summer heat is that my cousin Catherine just went back to Hawai'i on Wednesday for a month. I'd been psychologically building her up to expect an extremely hot California Desert summer with days-on-end of 100°+ days. Up until now, it's hit 90° only a few times, and not 100° even once. She goes home, and the temperatures soar. I bet when she comes back to California, the temperatures are going to drop again.

As much as I say I don't like this dry, desert heat; I think I might miss it once I move home to Hawai'i. I like humid warmth -- the kind that wraps your skin in silky comfort at night on a tropical island. I don't like humid heat though -- the kind that sticks to your skin and won't let go and steams you alive in your clothes; the kind you find in the tropics in the middle of a windless Fall day.

The time is counting down. It's almost time to go.