“Such short little lives our pets have to spend with us, and they spend most of it waiting for us to come home each day.”

– John Grogan, Marley and Me: Life and Love With the World’s Worst Dog

May he rest in peace.

Yogi, my oldest daughter Robyn’s lovable three-legged corgi, left us last week.


Yogi was such a happy dog.  Her loving nicknames for Yogi included “Yogs” or “Yo-Yo”.

The day Yogi became part of the family… Who could resist him?

Yogs made me grin when he would run…if you can call it running.   Indeed, it was like watching a huge log of Jimmy Dean sausage on steroids with four Vienna sausages¹ as legs chugging through the grass.

c-10-579Man, he loved to play with a ball.  You’d toss a tennis ball or a toy and he would just instantly turn his back on you and bound away with his tailless butt the only thing you could see…  just like how the famous Willie Mays did after hearing the the crack of the bat.  After he chased it down, he’d bring it back near your feet.  He’d then stare at the now motionless ball… And if Yogi thought you were ignoring him,  he’d use his long, skinny nose to nudge it closer to you if you didn’t pick it up.  “Again!  Again!” he was saying.  The simple joy he must have had.

c-10-575The only time he wasn’t happy was when fireworks went off.  He would cower behind Robyn’s toilet, shaking in fear, with his two shivering rear legs protruding out from behind the toilet.  He was such a lovable wuse.

And he always wanted to be alongside somebody.  “Hey!  Me!  Me!  Look at me!” he was saying in dog-speak.



Yogi did not like it when I would try to sneak off to work on my computer. He made sure you knew he was there.

Yogs loved everyone – at least everyone who loved dogs.  He was always so happy to see you.  And he also knew who loved him.  He took in my dad and Old Man Jack very quickly on Father’s day in 2011.

Thanksgiving 2010
Old Man Jack, my dad and Yogi on Thanksgiving 2010.

When Robyn would bring Yogi to my house, I’m sure he sensed in her car with his doggy nose, “Ooo!  Ooo!  We’re near grandpa’s house…  The house that I can jump onto comfy sofas all I want and leave my hair all over them…and mama can’t say no!  Woof!”

And one of Yogi’s most favorite spots to sit was on my lap as I sat on my sofa; it was a silent doggy signal… His stubby little Vienna Sausage legs would propel him right onto my lap as soon as I sat down.  No invite was necessary.  Then, he would would lovingly lay his head on my nice round belly.

c-10-573Once he made it to my lap, he didn’t have to say one bark; his face said, “Pet me, you dumb human, while I leave tons of my hair as souvenirs!”

Yogi’s “pet me immediately” look… right on my belly.

Well, perhaps I was stretching it a bit.  Yogs didn’t really care whose lap it was…  It would become HIS spot.  No matter what you were sitting on.  No matter how little space there was…  It was all his space.

Yogs just HAD to jump on my littlest daughter’s lap. It didn’t bother him one bit the chair was narrower than a plane seat in Economy Class.

But make no mistake about it.  He knew who his mama was.  When Robyn would bring him over to my home to look after him for part of the day and then grew tired of all the attention I was giving him (How rude!), he would patiently wait at the door for his mama to come home.

Can his nose get any closer to the door?

c-10-585And of course, his “Feed me some of that human food!” face.

“Huh? I don’t care if it has preservatives!  …What???  Mama said no???  Well, if you don’t tell her, I won’t!”²


It was right before Christmas last year; her usual happy boy Yogi was then not only limping, he would yelp after I patted him on the usual spot: his side near his shoulder.  After a few persistent visits with different vets, Robyn tragically found out why her beloved son was limping.

Yogi had cancer.  He was only eight.

She was devastated.  We all were but I felt most badly for Robyn and I knew exactly how she felt.  Yogi was a big part of her life and he provided much happiness.  But just as if Yogs was her boy, she opted for surgery… but in order to remove the tumor, her beloved Corgi had to lose his leg.

Yogs sans a leg during his final visit to my home where he had unfettered access to sofas…

He returned home the day after Christmas last year.  Robyn was so happy Yo-Yo was back home.

We went to visit Robyn on August 23rd.  Even with all my failings, Yogs would always greet me with great happiness at the door with his stocky Jimmy Dean Sausage body nearly bowling me over.  But this time, he barely made it over to me as we walked in.  I said, “Yogiiii…  What’s wrong?”  I secretly feared for the worst.  I knew in my heart something was very wrong with Yogi.

She took Yogi to the vet on August 30th.  Inoperable cancer had now spread to his spine; he was in great pain.  She called me over that night to say goodbye as did many other family and friends.  There was great sadness.  But there was a happy moment.  She said I could give Yogi some of my human food deli sandwich.  I think we all gave Yogi some.  He must’ve been so happy.

Yogi left us the next day, August 31st, while being lovingly held by my daughter and son-in-law, just like Masako held my grandma in her arms as she passed away,  Yogi was blessed with having such an adoring mom and dad.

I know he is in doggy heaven.  More precisely, the “Dogs That Brought the Most Happiness to Mom and Dad” wing of doggy heaven.  While very, very sad, I know Robyn’s heart is at peace knowing her beloved Yogi is now free of pain.

I will dearly miss you, Yogs.



  1.  For those who don’t know what a Vienna Sausage is:vienna
  2. No, Robyn, I never gave him my food. ;-)

A Father-ly Invasion


In a hope for peace today, I re-post this story.

Originally posted on Masako and Spam Musubi:

Imagine being a Marine. You’re in Afghanistan.  You see your buddies getting blown up by the cowardly enemy’s IED or killed after an ambush. Then, after a bitter, maniacal all-out war, their religious leader capitulates.

Now, suddenly, you are standing out in the desert, outside of Fallujah, waiting to go in as part of the “occupying force”. Your feelings and emotions are going amok – anger coupled with fear of the unknown… You will be surrounded by the enemy who also fought the exact same bitter war against you.

USMC US 26th Marines marching into Sasebo, Japan – August 1945. Notice the Japanese standing to the left and the general absence of civilians.

Now… imagine you are a young Marine on a troop ship off the Japanese coast. It is August 30, 1945. A few weeks earlier, you became acquainted with the term atomic bomb. The Emperor of Japan just capitulated.

View original 1,220 more words

Patriot Day – 9/11/2001


Our protector is NOT the government.

Originally posted on Pacific Paratrooper:

Some of the destruction caused when the high-jacked American Airlines flight slammed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the west face of some of the destruction caused when the high-jacked American Airlines flight slammed into the Pentagon on Sept. 11. The terrorist attack caused extensive damage to the west face of the Pentagon

AFTER FLIGHT 77 hit the Pentagon on 9/11, the following incident occurred:

A chaplain, who happened to be assigned to the Pentagon, told of an incident that never made the news:
“A daycare facility inside the Pentagon had many children, including infants who were in heavy cribs. The daycare supervisor, looking at all the children they needed to evacuate, was in a panic over what they could do. There were many children, mostly toddlers, as well as the infants that would need to be taken out with the cribs.

Pentagon Memorial Pentagon Memorial

“There was no time to try to bundle them into carriers and strollers. Just then a young Marine came running into the center and asked what they needed…

View original 467 more words

Thoughts on the Black Lives Matter Protesters


Dr. Lynn – a patriot – expresses so well her thoughts on this topic tearing apart our country…

Originally posted on Life In The Gym:

This is an off topic post so if you’re here for the gym stuff, come on back and see me tomorrow!


For the Black Lives Matter Protesters and Supporters

Useful Idiot is a term that you may or may not be familiar with.  It’s use is often attributed to Vladimir Lenin.  Regardless of it’s actual point of origin, it’s used to describe people who function as tools in a cause whose ultimate goals they are blind to and whose leaders hold them in contempt while simultaneously using them for their own ends. In the case of Black Lives Matter, it describes a purposeful manipulation of emotion and a spoonfeeding of propaganda on the part of the more powerful leaders that is taken up by the street level protestors or “marks” as truth.  

You see, they are using you, my friends.  They’re using you as attack dogs to help in…

View original 851 more words

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Epilogue

Fortune in War

I believe there is fortune in war.

Before Pearl Harbor, the US was still not recovered from the Great Depression.  With the money printed in great quantity – as a necessity – by the US government, the US war machine rolled into action.  Many executives and businessmen taking part in this frantic and mass expenditure of government money with their companies gained their financial fortunes from this great war as did a large number of Congressmen.

The boots on the ground also had fortune – but it was MISfortune.  Misfortune fell upon the millions of brave young men who were sent to war because world leaders had their own agendas.  Millions were killed like my dad’s favorite brother, my Uncle Suetaro.

Misfortune, unfortunately, also followed home for the rest of their lives those young men who survived combat.   Men like Smitty, Old Man Jack and Mr. Johnson.  Horrible nightmares each and every night.  Some succumbed to the immense weight this horrible misfortune had on their minds and ended their own lives after making it home.  Sadly, they are all being forgotten in our children’s history books.


Our little group was afforded a day of sightseeing before leaving for Osaka/Kansai Airport in Japan, once again led by Mr. Yusuke Ota.  Here’s a small collection of sights taken in, some during the week (Clicking on an image will show you its location.):

Mr. Kagimoto hunts for dragonflies at the  golf course we had lunch at. The facility was once for US Army officers.
Shoeless children help their elder sell pineapples at bayside in Tacloban City.
Meeting with beautiful wife of Tacloban City’s Mayor, Christina Gonzales, a former actress. Thank goodness for our Carmela in the center: she speaks four languages fluently including Tagalog, English and Japanese.
Villaba’s town center; the beach is off immediately to the left. Our two vans are at the right.
(From left) Masako, Christina Gonzales and Carmela. The other young lady in red in the background is another Filipina actress.


Mr. Ota inspects a clock tower he donated to Tacloban City; he serves as a councilman in Fukuyama City where my uncle’s regimental army base was located during the war.


School boys at Old Kawayan City, Leyte.
At Albuera, Leyte. One of two self-destroyed Japanese howitzers can be seen behind Izumi.
Hard life of a Filipino fisherman.
At the San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in the Philippines. Engineering was provided by the Japanese.

While waiting at the Manila Airport for our connecting flight to Osaka, Mr. Ota took us to the Philippine Air Force Museum where among other items was the Type 99 Arisaka rifle Lt. Onoda kept with him for over 29 years in the Philippine jungle.  He was the last holdout from WWII:



A Victory Nonetheless

Seventy years after this most brutal war in the Pacific, the same US Marines and the same Japanese military that sought to kill each other with extreme bitterness are now the closest of allies as shown in the USMC photos below.  Now, they sail together on the same US Navy ships, eat together, train together and assault the beaches here at Camp Pendleton, CA together in joint training exercises.  The same with the US Army.  My gut feeling is one of these gallant young men would die to protect the other if the unfortunate circumstances arose.


U.S. Marines inspect the bodies of three Japanese soldiers killed in the invasion at Peleliu island at the Palau group, September 16, 1944. (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal)
Bitter enemies then, U.S. Marines inspect the bodies of three Japanese soldiers killed in the invasion at Peleliu island at the Palau group, September 16, 1944. (AP Photo/Joe Rosenthal)


110215-M-0564A-030 U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers carry gear during a hike at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Feb. 15, 2011. DoD photo by Lance Cpl. Gene Allen Ainsworth III, U.S. Marine Corps. (Released)
U.S. Marines and Japanese soldiers carry gear during a hike at Camp Pendleton, Calif., on Feb. 15, 2011. (Three US Marines on the left, two Japanese Self-Defense Forces soldiers on the right.)  DoD photo by Lance Cpl. Gene Allen Ainsworth III, U.S. Marine Corps. (Released)

Uncle Suetaro lost his life and while Smitty carried the war silently for the rest of his life, they were both victorious because of the above.

It was not in vain.


One War.  Two Countries.  One Family.

c-10-561 A
Uncle Yutaka, taken at the Minidoka, ID “War Relocation Center”, circa 1944. You can see the sub-standard wooden barracks they lived in; they only had tar paper covering the wood slat walls. Yutaka was the oldest surviving sibling but was imprisoned here during the war. My dad and cousins were also here but no picture of them is available.
Aunt Shiz and my cousins as they leave the Tule Lake, CA “War Relocation Center”, November 1945. My best guess is she still doesn’t know for certain that her younger brother Suetaro had been taken by the Japanese Imperial Army and killed. The atomic bomb was dropped on Hiroshima where her mother Kono and older sister Michie (and her children that went on the pilgrimage) lived just three months earlier.
Dad in his US 8th Army uniform along with Namie (center) who went on the pilgrimage and Sadako, her older sister. Dad had taken them Spam and C-rations plus clothing he bought at the PX in Tokyo.  April 1948, Miyajima, Japan.
Uncle Suetaro’s official death certificate from the remnants of the Japanese military. It was dated October 15, 1947, less than two months before my dad arrived as a US Army sergeant for the Occupation of Japan.

My Thoughts of the Experience

I cannot speak for Masako or my other cousins but what you believe in is almighty.  Hope.  Fear.  Happiness.  Sadness.  I experienced all those during the pilgrimage to Leyte.

While listening to Masako’s tender letter to Uncle Suetaro, a feeling of deep regrets and the dashing of hope experienced by Grandmother Kono buried me.  My heart could see Grandmother’s face in silent torment, resting in Masako’s arms in 1954 as she drew her last breath in the Kanemoto family home.

Grandma Kono at her Seattle barbershop, circa 1917. A forlorn Grandma and Masako, sometime after learning of Suetaro’s death, circa 1948. Grandma would pass away in this very home six years later.

Just like most American mothers, Grandmother must have clung on to a hope – however dim – that her youngest son Suetaro would come home… the one she decided to keep from returning to Seattle in 1940 so that he could carry on the Kanemoto name and inherit the home and land. That was not to be now. It would have been better to have let him go home. Her son would be alive.

But perhaps Uncle Suetaro would have ended up in the same prison camps that my dad, aunts and uncles were in but would still be alive.  Or, he would have answered the call out of camp and volunteered for the US Army as thousands of other Nisei’s did to prove their loyalty, only to die in Italy or France as part of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team during WWII.¹

Uncle Suetaro and my dad.

I also thought about my dad often during the trek.  At 96 years of age, this journey would have been physically impossible for him.  More so, I wondered if the stirring up of fond memories of his youngest brother would do more harm than good at this stage in his life.

My 24 year old son bows deeply in front of the family crypt holding the ashes of Suetaro who was killed at 24 years of age.
In 2012, my then 24 year old son bows deeply in front of the family crypt holding Uncle Suetaro’s fingernail clippings and a lock of hair.  Uncle Suetaro was killed also at 24 years of age.

I also felt more deeply the quandary confronting Uncle Suetaro when he was drafted into the Japanese Imperial Army.  The decision he had to make to knowingly fight the country your siblings were living in as Americans… and the country he most dearly wanted to return to.  However, he wrote in his farewell letter that he will fight to free his older siblings from the prisons FDR sent them to.

Also in his heart and in that of his mother, both knew this was a one-way trip.  A death sentence.  Japanese soldiers rarely returned from war.  In the case of his IJA’s 41st Regiment, only 20 young men returned home out of 2,550.

I’m sure just like any other American boy, he wanted a life that was worth living, a life filled with feelings, emotions, love and dreams.  That would never happen and it pains me without end.

Before he met his death, was he drowned in futility or solace?  Did he see death up close and come to the stark realization that would be his future perhaps tomorrow?  What did he dream about as he took his last breaths or was he blindly looking up at the stars hoping?  Was he dreaming about his childhood, playing on the corner of King and Maynard in Seattle with my dad?  Was he in great pain or was his death swift and without warning?  Did he see the eyes of the American soldier inches from his own eyes in a hand-to-hand combat to the death?  Was he hungry?  How terrified was he?

A tiny photo of the two brothers, dad and Suetaro, in Hiroshima, perhaps 1928. It fell out from behind one of the pictures in Uncle Suetaro’s photo album, filled with pictures Uncle Yutaka likely mailed to him from Seattle. Although tiny, it must have been precious to Uncle Suetaro for him to have kept it. I wish I knew why.

The painful mystery of what Uncle Suetaro did, felt or saw in his last days will remain forever so…  That is one agony that will be with me until my time own comes.  Happily, we at least visited him in his unmarked graveyard among the now lusciously green vegetation with the birds endlessly singing Taps for him.

As Izumi passionately said to Uncle Suetaro’s spirits, “Come home with us.”

Indeed, he did.

He is no longer a soul lost in a faraway jungle.


I wish to thank my Hiroshima cousins for making this unforgettable pilgrimage possible and a special thank you to Izumi whose untiring efforts to follow up on Japan-based leads brought comfort to our family.   I also wish to express my sincere gratitude to Akehira and Carmela who made dear Masako’s journey so comfortable and worry-free.  And a heartfelt thank you to Mr. Yusuke Ota whose in-depth knowledge allowed us to see our Uncle Suetaro’s last footsteps on this earth and gave Masako peace in her soul.

Most of all, Uncle, thank you for your sacrifice.  Indeed, you set your older brothers and sister free.

Rest in peace.



Other chapters are here for ease of locating earlier posts in this series:

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 1

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 2

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 3

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 4

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 5

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 6

A Soul Lost From WWII Comes Home – Part 7

A Soul Lost from WWII Comes Home – Part 8


  1.  For a summary of the all Nisei US army regiment during WWII: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/442nd_Infantry_Regiment_%28United_States%29

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


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 410 other followers