Back at the First Notch!

At Ft. McHenry in 2010. My spare tire is pretty much how it looked 30 days ago – and my Levi’s definitely weren’t buttoned at the waist!

Well, the first 30 days of my weight loss effort have been endured. :-)

Having surpassed my goal of losing ten pounds (although I was absolutely coerced into breaking the rules on two occasions due to my kids’ daily needs LOL), I am unbelievably back at the first notch on my Levi’s belt which I’ve been wearing since a teenager… and the Levi’s are buttoned up at the top with room to spare. Incredible if I have to say so myself.

This is what I looked like on Day 0:


Just kidding!  That’s my oldest boy…  and rather than blind you with a photo my daughter took of me on Day 0 of my actual gelatinous pale body, I think the point can be made differently. Besides, the photo at the very top pretty much shows what I looked like when I started without you getting blinded.

So… Below is a photo of me in Tokyo at the Toyota School dormitory on a hot, humid August day, wearing my favorite Levi’s belt many decades ago.  This was a couple of years after graduating from high school (19XXXXX BC).19XX copy

Then this week, I took a photo of the same infamous belt that I wear daily – and back at the very first notch!  I even have my top waist button fastened and my shirt tucked it because my Levi’s were falling.

They still fall. :-)  But the belt’s battle scars clearly show how big my waist had been through the years.


I am but 5’6″ tall and I was carrying 187 pounds two years ago.  While certainly not as dramatic as some of your results, I did start at 161 pounds 30 days ago and am now down to 146…  Well, 146-1/2 pounds.  So I exaggerated…


Overall, I’ve lost 31 inches as well, mostly off my spare tire and chest.

I’d call that a win.

I did drink copious amounts of Japanese green tea (the fountain of youth serum if you didn’t know) and water and ate lots of tofu.  The times that “food” was beckoning me were when I’d prepare my kids’ meals being a single dad and from scratch.  It was tough not tasting the food to correct the seasoning before plating it – beef stroganoff, spaghetti al limone, Maytag bleu cheese salad, classic pound cake and the like – but since the kids ate it all, it must have been just fine.

Thanks to my coaches Marissa and Doug!

U.S. Politics: It’s an ‘American’ thing


Well written words addressing my disdain for our “paid for life with bebefits” politicians.

Originally posted on J. Kevin Brent:

teddy_roosevelt Teddy Roosevelt once beat a gun toting bully senseless in a bar-fight in 1884, after the latter called him ‘4-eyes’; it did not stop him being elected President.

Since the fireworks of the Aug. 6th GOP Presidential primary debate my non-American friends & associates in Europe and Australia have written me seeming to be increasingly ‘aghast’, ‘shocked’, ‘appalled’, at the public conduct of Republican Party candidate Donald J. Trump and totally dumbfounded at his meteoric rise despite what they view to be his ‘abhorrent’ behavior.

What they’re particularly appalled at is Mr. Trump’s quick retorts and quips in response to political foes and detractors in the news media which they find disrespectful and unseemly of a man seeking the highest office in America.

These views are shared of course by ‘sacred cows’ in American news media, the moderate-elitist wing of the Republican Party and of course any Democrat politician: all…

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Diet is a Four Letter Word

One of my approved meals. Frankly, it was easy to prepare.

I have been dieting for the past three weeks.

Dieting for the first time in my life.

I’ve always thought dieting was no big thing.

But now, I’ve come to the realization that diet is a four letter word.

In fact, I found the first four letters in diet is die. :-)


Taken at the Yamato Museum in Kure, Japan, Nov. 2013 with my cousin Toshiro. I was near my peak weight then.  Notice my Packers shirt, not my belly, please.

In 2012, my oldest son Takeshi (who is now pursuing a doctorate in physical therapy) and I ventured to Japan, mostly to vacation but also to take the ashes of our Aunt Shiz back home to Hiroshima.  During our stay with our cousins, Masako always patted my stomach in fondness – implying I was Santa Claus.  Yes, for only being 5’6″ tall, I was the jolliest in all of skinny Japan.  I tipped the scales at 187 pounds.  Japanese people were taking bets if I could squeeze through the  train doors.

My son, however, could probably lift the whole bullet train – with one arm.  You should have seen the girls stare at him…  Well, they were really staring at my belly.

Body build
A recent pic of my oldest boy, Takeshi. Not one ounce of fat on him. I used to look like that, by the way.

…But to me fair to myself, this is me below when I was about 20…

toyota dorm
Can you guess which one is me? I’m on the right in the tall “geta”, or wooden sandals. I wore them to and from the tavern – drunk as a skunk and never tripped. Taken at the Toyota School dormitory in Tokyo. By the way, I was the arm wrestling champ at the school. Even kicked the teachers’ asses…but my son Takeshi laughs and still doesn’t believe me. Hmmph.


Two years ago, my great doctor – with whom I’ve been under his wonderful care since 1990 – asked me, “Do you exercise, Koji?”

“Um, no. Whyyyy..?”

“When you first came to me, you weighed 130 pounds…  You weighed 183 today.  You need to lose 50 pounds…”

I don’t think I heard him…  Men suffer from bad hearing, you know.


Long story short, about four weeks ago, my buddy invited me over to his beautiful home in Newport Beach for what I thought would be a cigar gig…  Instead, there were nothing but lovely ladies there… There to learn about a dieting system.  They described it as a way of life.

Egads…  Never did have that cigar.

Well, two days later, I signed up for a 30-day plan with a goal of losing ten pounds.  I was already down to 161 pounds – solely from cutting out breakfast burritos and enchiladas at lunch.  I also lost some pounds from being on Leyte for six days in July.

I started the 30-day plan on October 21st.  It was a strict plan.  Basically, only chicken, fish, turkey, green veggies, tofu, protein shakes and a potion that reminded me of Robitussin syrup of years ago.

Yes, it disallowed everything I loved: salami, mayo, beef, pork, Parmesan Reggiano, chili tamales, fettuccine Alfredo… 😢 I realized determination was key… like resisting the two Pringles leftover in your kid’s lunchbox.

My oldest daughter Robyn invited me over for Halloween, coinciding with her birthday.  There were cheeseburgers, homemade tamales… and a chocolate mousse birthday cake.  OMFG.  But I resisted.  I distanced myself from the deliciously smelling food by sitting against the walls.  I even resisted the bite-size Milky Way bar my little granddaughter Emi was waving in my face as I took her trick or treating.  Luckily, she dropped it somewhere along the way.


I took my Little Cake Boss with her friend to In-n-Out on the fourth or fifth day of my diet.  They both had Double-Doubles and those famous, wonderfully smelling, fresh French fries… but I didn’t even lick the wrappers.  I wanted to but she told me I’d be embarrassing her in front of her friend if I did.

And the toughest times were when the kids were with me; I had to cook breakfast, lunch and dinner for them.  I didn’t even TASTE TEST the food before I plated it up because of my diet.  It must have been OK since they ate my beef stroganoff, spaghetti al Limone, breakfast sandwiches before school, my famous pancakes from scratch smothered in real Grade A dark amber maple syrup with perfectly crisp BACON…  I even baked a classic pound cake from scratch for Brooke to take to school.

Oh, man.


The results after three weeks?

It is November 11 as I write.  Here’s my weight record from my doctor’s records although I haven’t seen him since April; started at 161 pounds on October 21st:


And here’s a pic of my fancy-schmancy scale today (notice my Green Bay Packers socks) – it’s 147-ish, about a 9% drop:


I guess it’s an OK result.

BTW, can you see that belt in the picture with my schoolmates in Japan?

I still wear that belt and it is on the first notch once again!  Don’t worry.  I won’t gross you out by posting a picture of my belt with my belly as a backdrop.

Moral to story: Son, you have competition… but first, I’m hitting Tommy’s Burgers.

Just kidding.

If I can do it, so can you.

It’s a mindset and with a little encouragement, you can attain your goals.

Iwo Jima Flag Raising(s) – the MOVIE (Part 1)


In reflection of the upcoming 240th birthday of our United States Marine Corps (Nov. 10) and to pay homage to one Marine who lost his life on Iwo Jima after filming the most iconic movie footage in Marine Corps history…

Originally posted on Masako and Spam Musubi:

battle_iwojima256 The more immortalized flag was just hoisted in the background, with a few of the seven famous Marines still trying to secure it. The group of Marines in front have just lowered the first smaller flag that had been raised a bit earlier. February 23, 1945. USMC photo.

I assume you know of the iconic flag raising atop Mt. Suribachi by our courageous US Marines on Iwo Jima?¹  It was immortalized, in my opinion, by the most iconic photo of WWII.

But did you know there were TWO flags?  And that THREE cameramen were involved with capturing the two flag raisings?

And did you ever wonder where the movie of the flag being raised came from…or who shot it?


You have seen the above color footage of the US flag being raised on Iwo Jima (above) during WWII countless of times.  On TV.  In movies (that’s important – the…

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Shedding Tofu Fears

Chilled tofu, topped with green onions, ginger and dried bonito shavings.

“My life is like tofu – its what gets added that makes it interesting.”

Angela Johnson

While certainly common as bread among Asians, tofu is akin to “eww” among many of us Americans.  To many, it may have the texture of slightly melting jello and dreadfully bland; but truthfully, it’s pretty darn good for you and perhaps a fine change up in your weight loss efforts… especially when you add zing to it.

While data varies slightly by source, my tofu carton’s label indicated it had 60 calories for a “1 inch slice”, or roughly 85 grams.  It also has 6 grams of protein.  I had “2 inches” for my meal tonight.

Served by itself, it is not fattening.  It only becomes fattening if you prepare it with other foods such as pork or beef or fry it up.  In my photograph above, the tofu is simply topped with:

  1. Green onions (You can have all the green vegetables, yes?),
  2. Grated ginger for zing (I hope it’s allowed!), and,
  3. Dried shaved bonito for texture and added flavor (“katsuobushi”).

Certain healthy weight loss literature indicates that soy sauce is OK in small quantities but I sprinkled mine with “Bragg’s Liquid Amino” which is allowed.  It is close in flavor to soy sauce – like Volkswagen is to Porsche.  :-)  As such and being an Asian boy at heart, I mixed mine at about a 3:1 ratio to be on the safe side.

Bragg’s Liquid Amino and a 10 calorie packet of dried shaved bonito, available at any Asian supermarket or online. If you eat sushi, you can eat this!

It is satisfying and it does “fill you up”, as they say.

Because it’s low in calories, I did add an organic Appleton chicken/turkey sausage (120 calories) as a compliment to complete my meal – grilled without oil, of course.  My uneducated guess is that this fulfilling meal was about 400 calories, give or take… and without fuss.

So if you’re looking for a break in your meal routine, give this a whirl.  Why drive a Volkswagen when you can drive a Porsche?

(Asian hint for peeling your ginger – use the edge of your spoon to scrape it off.)


Mr. Johnson, USMC – Part I


Seventy-three years ago this month, thousands of young men and boys perished in a vicious naval battle in the Southwest Pacific: the Battle of Santa Cruz Islands. I reblog this in remembrance of these heroic men and specifically, Mr. Johnson.

Originally posted on Masako and Spam Musubi:

“Koji, funerals don’t do a damn thing for me anymore.”

That was Mr. Johnson’s reply while I was driving us to Old Man Jack’s funeral.  I had asked him to help hold me together as I knew I would fall apart.

“Oh-oh,” I thought to myself when I heard that curt reply.  “I guess I hit a nerve…”


Old man Jack on the left, Mr. Johnson on the right. Taken June 30, 2005.

Mr. Johnson was Old Man Jack’s next door neighbor.

Since 1953.

Nearly SIXTY years.  Hell, I ain’t that old yet.  Well, I’m close.

They got along real well for those 60 years… except Jack was a sailor… and Mr. Johnson was a Marine.  They reminded each other of it often.

Lovingly, of course.

Old Man Jack happily reminisced that “…us white caps would also tussle with them Marines ‘cuz they thought they were better than us”. …

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Losing Her Life


A most touching story…of what may be in our own future.

Originally posted on The Chatter Blog:

I sat with her today for a very long time.  We had to take a scary ride together.  Scary for her.  No less difficult for me.   I had to tell her what was going on in her life, her life that she is slowly losing control of.  I had to explain it to her again.  Again.  And many more times yet.  She told me stories about her life.  Stories I knew.  But each time she told me I listened, intently, to hear about the child she was.  The young bride she became.  The faith she relied on.  And when she told me this again, and yet again, I smiled and encouraged her to tell me more.

I had to leave her to get and share some information with medical staff.

I came back to her and sat on the stool by her bed.   I smiled at her and…

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Short Stories about World War II. One war. Two Countries. One Family


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