She’s Killing Me #10


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“Noooo-ah!” But too late. She was the last person to get out of the car…again.

She’s killing me, I tell ya.

My Little Cake Boss Diva.

Even way up in Seattle.  Her killing me is not restricted to home.  It is unrelenting.

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While some of her photographs will be shown below, a quick she’s-killing-me story first.

We weren’t even in Seattle for three hours when the onslaught continued.  (Don’t think she didn’t try to kill me during the flight.  Even my warning her of plain clothes air marshals being on board didn’t deter her.).

After quickly checking in, we met my good friend Rick; like any good buddy, he treated my two kids and me to dinner.

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My good buddy Rick, a USAF veteran. He liked blowing things up. Still does… but all his Mustangs are slower than mine.

As I had brought some cigars for him but forgot them in the room, we had to return to the hotel.  While he and his gal waited in the lobby, I escorted the kids up to the room.

Knowing my Little Cake Boss Diva, I sternly said, “Brooke, do NOT touch anything, OK?”

“Okaaay-ah!” she replied… and I headed back down to the lobby, cigars in hand.

I wasn’t with him for more than fifteen minutes before I returned to the room.  Yes, I was worried she was up to something.

So I opened the door.  Wham.  A rush of frigid artic air hit me.  Mumbles (from Happy Feet) would have been pleased.

At the other end of the room, there she was on top of the air conditioner grill…sitting on a blue bed cover sheet with her butt square in the middle with her hands on either side trying to keep the sheet down.  She was attempting to stop the flow of air conditioned air blasting out of the A/C.  Talk about the Lucy Show.  She was Lucy.  I was Ricky, down to the “Ai-ya-yai, Lucy!”

Before I could yell, “Brooke!”, Jack immediately ratted out on his sister.

“Papa, she was doing something that she wasn’t supposed to and turned on the air conditioner!  She doesn’t know how to turn it off so it’s freezing in here!”  He was very pleased with himself for tattling.

Now I could yell, “Brooke!  I told you NOT to touch anything!”

“Hee-hee…” she replied with her trademark “I’m VERY innocent” smile making for a happy face complete with adorable chubby cheeks..

I turned off the air then she scampered over to the one cup coffee brewer.  What do you all that gizmo?  A Keurig?  Sure enough, there was one empty slot.  She had brewed herself some coffee.

19105232875_47cbae4ee2_o“Brooke!  What were you doing brewing yourself coffee?!  You don’t even know how to use that thing!”

“Welllll-ah!  I was freezing-ah!  And I can read (the directions) so I made myself something like a latte, okaaaay-ah?  Sheesh!”

She’s only twelve.  OMFG.

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Anyways, that’s one of her traits…besides doing the opposite of what I say.  She has to try everything…except clean her room.

So as in my previous post – and not being pleased with the way Jack was taking pictures – she commandeered my pretty new bazillion dollar Canon DSLR for pretty much the rest of the trip.

I only gave her one pointer: to cradle the lens with her left hand while shooting.  For once, she actually followed my instructions.

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c-10-340But anyways, here are some of her photos taken with my bazillion dollar camera:

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Jack and me at the bottom left.
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Handheld macro!
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Handheld macro!

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Handheld macro!

c-10-334c-10-328c-10-333c-10-331c-10-332So what do you think of her abilities?

Her photography… Not on how she’s killing me.

A 100 Year Then and Now Photo Project


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Grandfather Hisakichi and Grandmother Kono posing in Seattle with their first child, my Uncle Yutaka, in 1910.

My grandfather, Hisakichi Kanemoto, immigrated from Hiroshima in 1898 with my grandmother Kono coming in 1908 to become his picture bride.  They had seven children of which my dad is the last surviving sibling at 96 years of age.  Five of those children called “Hotel Fujii” their home at King and Maynard in Seattle, WA.  Sadly, Hotel Fujii is no longer standing.

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My two littlest kids and I took a short vacation trip to Seattle the week of June 22, 2015.  One project I tasked myself was to attempt putting together “then and now” recreations of family photos taken about 100 years ago. Well, mostly 90 years ago but 100 sounded better.  Yet, I was only partially successful; it was luck for the most part:

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(Clockwise) Grandmother Kono, Uncle Suetaro, an unknown girl and dad on tricycle.  Dad says the corner brick building had a butcher shop at street level.  Circa 1925.  Color image taken at King and Maynard, June 25, 2015.
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Looking east up King Street. You can see the “Hotel Fujii” signage extending out from the hotel above my Grandmother. Year unknown but post 1917.
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At King and Maynard. Clockwise from Grandmother: Aunt Shiz, Uncle Suetaro, Dad and baby Mieko. Based on baby Mieko, likely 1925.
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Grandfather Hisakichi at far right, taken at Mt. Rainier August 1919. Finding a similar location on Mt. Rainier was a long shot but I had hoped this location in 1919 would not be far from current road stops as they were traveling in a 1913 Chevrolet Classic Six (Note 1). The 2015 color shot was a few hundred yards from the Rainier Inn.
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Aunt Shiz dancing on left, looking east up King Street. The bottom of the Hotel Fujii signage is above the girls. My guess is circa 1923.
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Grandmother Kono holding baby Mieko. Uncle Suetaro is peeking over the chair looking at his sister. Dad is standing in the middle with Aunt Shiz to his right. The lady is unknown as is the child but we suspect it is Mrs. Fujii. King and Maynard, circa 1923.
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Dad and Uncle Suetaro in front of Grandfather’s barbershop. Circa 1922, King and Maynard.
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Although a poor recreation, Grandfather is standing at right with his hand on an unnamed male buddy. He is in other photos. Taken at the entrance to Grandfather’s barbershop (best guess as to location). Circa 1917.

This “then and now” project was only partially successful as I did not consider many things:

  1. Other very successful “then and now” recreations by professionals primarily had one thing in their backgrounds that I did not: a building.  I overlooked that fact.  The Fujii Hotel was torn down with only a park left in its place, e.g., there were no windows or doors to line up the old photos with.  For the most part, that made for difficulty in guessing/placing from where the photos from the mid-1910s to the 1920s were taken.
  2. I did not consider the fact that the buildings on this street 100 years ago were built on a hill, i.e., all were built upon a concrete base that was taller at the west end compared to the east end.
  3. Because of the number of cars parked curbside, I had to resort to wide angle shots.  By doing so, perspective in comparison to the original would not be correct.
  4. There were a few homeless at the park who clearly did not want their picture taken.  As my two kids were with me, that became a hurdle.
  5. I did not take into account the time of day (shade).
  6. I did not anticipate the construction nor the large trucks, garbage cans and trees blocking the view.
  7. I misjudged the position from where I took the photographs, affecting perspective and angle.  I should have been ten more yards east for a few of the images.  Too late now.

I also realized that there were no pictures of Uncle Yutaka nor Aunt Michie at the Hotel Fujii.  Uncle Yutaka had likely already been in Japan (1913) by the time these old family photos were taken.  Aunt Michie, of course, was the only sibling not born in Seattle but rather in Hiroshima.

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Uncle Yutaka and Aunt Michie, taken circa 1918 in Hiroshima.

A lot was learned.

I only wish I had gained the experience before undertaking this family project.  I do hope my cousins and children will still find these images interesting if not to merely appreciate our family photos from “100 years ago”.

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NOTES:

1.  Grandfather (back to camera in center) camping on Mt. Rainier and Mr. Fujii’s 1913 Chevrolet Six:

1913 Chevrolet Classic Six - Retouched

2. King and Maynard today:

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The current store “Gossip” behind my kids was a butcher shop in the 1910s/1920s per my father.

3. The northeast corner of King and Maynard, taken June 25, 2015.  The building still stands as it was 100 years ago.

https://www.flickr.com/gp/p47koji/NcY4S9

4. Hing Hay Park where Hotel Fujii once stood; taken from across the street.  My guess is the barbershop entrance was behind the green car.

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At the corner was a small grocery store. To its left was Hotel Fujii. Taken June 25, 2015.

Thievery in Seattle


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My two littlest and I are wrapping up a four night visit to Seattle, my dad’s hometown. We head back tomorrow.

I had hoped to take a number of photos during the trip… but thievery occurred on the first day. While Jack had brought along my backup Canon DSLR to use, a thief absconded with my primary Canon camera on the first day.

Fortunately, with my last resort – my cameraphone – I snapped a photo of the thief, caught red-handed with the goods in her hands:

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Yes, it was my Little Cake Boss Diva. I felt so bad turning her over to my good friend Trooper Gar of the Washington State Patrol… but he was kind enough to allow her to be released back into the custody of her old man.

But indeed, she took control of my camera over the four days. Of course, just like when I escort her to the mall, I end up merely being her porter, lugging around her camera when there is nothing for her to shoot.

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But I had one personal goal: to visit my dad’s old Seattle neighborhood for the first time, children be willing.  I wanted to put together a “100 Year Family Photo Anniversary and Recreation” of sorts.

Dad and all his siblings (except Aunt Michie) were born in Seattle between 1910 and 1925 then raised in the Hotel Fujii at 620 S. King Street.  The hotel is no longer standing, having been replaced with the Hing Hay Park on the very corner Dad frequently mentioned: King and Maynard.

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Circa 1925 on the corner of King and Maynard in Seattle. Dad second from left, then Uncle Suetaro standing in front of Grandmother Kono.
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Taken June 25, 2015 at same corner. The brick building behind them had a butcher shop 100 years ago according to my father.

While this will be my very first try at recreating, the final images will hopefully be superimposed upon one another to show the then and now.  I can’t do the superimposing here at the hotel as my tablet doesn’t have the necessary editing software; the two stand alone images above will have to do for now . The color photograph of my two kids above are straight out of the  camera.

Coincidentally, at the end of our “Underground Seattle Tour” and in the gift shop, we came across “Lost Seattle”, the book in which my grandfather’s barbershop photo was featured.

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We thought that was pretty cool.

Kamikazes


I thought this article interesting on kamikazes during WWII.  It also pretty much parallels my thoughts on what type of young man may have trained to be one.

http://www.foxnews.com/world/2015/06/17/kamikaze-survivors-debunk-stereotype-with-stories-self-sacrifice-love-for/

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Source unknown

While countless atrocities were committed, I strongly believe that especially in the latter stages of the war, say late 1943-on, not all Japanese soldiers and sailors were crazed devils. Professional military personnel had been whittled away by the thousands by that time.  Replacements were replacements: they were drafted like millions of our boys: grocery clerks, farmhands, carpenters, etc., but not as well trained as our military were.

Possibly taken at his Fukuyama training grounds.  If so, this is where my Aunt Michie and cousin Masako took him a prized delicacy - sashimi.
My dad’s youngest brother, standing in the middle. Possibly taken at his Fukuyama training grounds 1943.

I do feel that these young Japanese soldiers and sailors were much like our boys under the stress of combat.  They griped about the monotonous chow (or absence thereof) like Old Man Jack.  The heat and humidity in the harsh jungle environments wore them down just like ours – likely worse due to lack of supplies – and took its toll on morale.

I stress again I am not condoning the inhuman acts.  I just wish to present a possibly different view on our Japanese adversaries during WWII… that they were not all willing to commit suicide and die on behalf of their Emperor.  Yes, they hated the enemy with all their might and would lay down their lives for their buddies just like ours… but all of them DID want to go home.

They just knew they couldn’t.

Some Disappointment


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Jack is now headed to high school come September having graduated from middle school.

The last two weeks have been exciting if not challenging with all the kids’ activities.

In addition to an 8th grade party and his 14th birthday, my youngest son Jack has graduated 8th grade and is heading off to high school come September.  Not only did he receive recognition for perfect attendance, he also made honor roll.

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Jack receiving recognition for perfect attendance.

In addition, my Little Cake Boss Diva has had rehearsals – lots of them – culminating in recitals… Twelve performances in total Friday, Saturday and Father’s Day Sunday.  During the past ten days or so, I must have made at least 25 round trips taking both her and food to and from dance rehearsals and performances.  Believe me, I have enough for TWO “She’s Killing Me” stories but you won’t be bored with them now; I shall refrain.

Insofar as these rehearsals and recitals go, she needs to be dropped off in full makeup and costume an hour before the start of every event.  But as I dropped her off on Saturday and watched her get to the entrance, it was clear that she was no longer my little girl.

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She is pretty much a teenager – a bit too early.

Still scatterbrained, though…Her brain has ceased to function now that school is over except she still wouldn’t let me take her picture.

Well, maybe just this one, taken with my cell phone past 10pm and after tonight’s recital.  It was taken in the light flowing out from the main lobby of the performing arts center.

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Very pixelated and grainy but it’s just for the memories.

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The annual recital was called “Arabian Nights”.

But my girl and boy are not the focus of this post… “Some disappointment” is my focus.

While my Little Cake Boss Diva performed five routines flawlessly Friday night (opening number, lyrical, tap, jazz, ballet), it’s about what the dance school decided to name the recital: Arabian Nights.  That is the source of the disappointment for me.  Of course, I have no say-so in the matter.

Perhaps it’s just the patriotism in me that’s clouding my vision – but it’s there plain as day.  Arabian Nights.  No, I am not racist but I do feel we are at war.  It is abundantly clear our young boys are dying each day in a godforsaken region in which Arabian Nights is based upon yet this implies something else to me.

Let us view it differently.  If a dance school in 1942 were to name their recital “Celebration of Nazi Folklore” or “A Tokyo Love Story”, would there be some boycotting or outrage?  I would think so.  Remember there were death camps and executions of prisoners of war.  Besides, it just wouldn’t make sense.  We were at war… and we are now.

Their opening number was called “Arabian Jewels”.  Other performances were entitled “40 Thieves” and “Walk Like an Egyptian” (talk about stereotyping).

How about a theme like “The Andrew Sisters” with tap dancing to songs like “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy”?  Or how about celebrating the much needed morale boosting supplied by the Hollywood Canteen?  Think of all the marvelous smiles these stars like Rita Hayworth, Bette Davis, Ray Bolger and Ginger Rogers provided our service men and women with their dance at the Hollywood Canteen.  Wouldn’t that would be something that these girls could dance to?

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Shirley Temple providing much needed smiles at the Hollywood Canteen.

Has the foundation upon which our country is based crumbled that far?  At least we recited the Pledge of Allegiance at Jack’s graduation.

Anyways, I was just expressing some disappointment.  I’m sure to many, this may be seen as cultural awareness.  I do loathe sharia law which is intertwined in Arabian Nights. It is totally contra to our Constitution.

I guess the answer lies within which side of the fence you are on.

She’s Killing Me #9


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About five years ago… when she was just my little girl.

She’s killing me, I tell ya.

My Little Cake Boss Diva.

If I were a cat, I am on my ninth life.

Well, maybe my tenth.

Unfortunately, I am a dog.  A dog that loves to sit on a human’s legs.  But unfortunately, dogs don’t have nine lives, you know.

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Her mind is on summer vacation; school is out this week.  It is a signal to her brain to cease functioning.  Well, not completely.  She can still text like crazy.

While her brain is normally stock full of smarts, it is now replaced with shades of nail polish, texts, BFFs, the mall(s), dance… and scatter-itis.

Scatter-itis, like scatter-brained in layman’s terms.

And she did not get that from me – but since it is me who is writing this, I can say that.

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2009

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My Little Cake Boss Diva was with her mother last week and as in every school year before, she has to turn in her textbooks.

Simple…unless your brain has stopped functioning.

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So my last visit to the gallows started at her orthodontist on Friday morning, June 12th.  Not that her mother told me she was taking her.

I will let my Little Cake Boss Diva’s texts speak for themselves:

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And when she says “in my room”, she is referring to my home.
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Car, not cat. I am blaming spell check.

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So I planned to be at home when school got out…  so she could see for herself her textbook wasn’t here LIKE I SAID.  One thing about my Little Cake Boss Diva: once she thinks she’s right, not even a jackhammer the size of Bumblebee can break it up.  (She did not get that from me.)

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Believe me, I bit my tongue when she said she wasn’t dropping by after I purposely came back home… but I’m sure her mother made that decision, also on purpose.  And in case you’re wondering, the “dolphin” is this huge plush toy I got her many years ago.
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“He” is my son Jack. I asked to make sure he had his own room; I have never seen interior pictures of my ex’s home…although my younger brother has.

text 9I slowly bled to death in those seven hours.  I had so many morphine shots administered that addiction is looming.  And perhaps you may be wondering why we didn’t talk on her iPhone that I bought and pay for monthly?

Don’t ask.

Somebody, please help me.

I am running out of lives.

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BUT, the saga of her killing me for the bazillionth time is not over… Not just yet.  She is still with her mom who is supposed to take care of all her dance stuff by virtue of the divorce agreement.  (You know, the same mom who apparently made no real effort to locate her textbook.)

The very next day – June 13th – my Little Cake Boss Diva was thoughtful enough to have arranged for my funeral services.  She even gave the eulogy from her mid-day Saturday dance class via iPhone.  Isn’t technology amazing?

Her eulogy via her iPhone began like this:

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text 99Luckily, I was an un-dead.  I had not been cremated yet so I managed to get into my car and drive to her dance studio by 12:30.  While I was certain her precious sheet of paper was not in my house, I knew she would not be satisfied unless she came to inspect her impeccably un-tidy room herself.  She thinks she’s always right, you know.

So she comes out a few minutes late (as usual), lugging her abundantly odoriferous dance bag and her plastic “dance bucket” filled with 1,000 pairs of her various dance shoes.

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Her bucket with her 1,000 pairs of dance shoes. BTW, there is a bottom to this pit, you know.

As soon as she got in, I expertly maneuvered the car out of the battle zone filled with crazed dance moms driving their battle tanks.  I think my Little Cake Boss Diva expected me to give her a piece of my mind for the textbook fiasco just the day before but I instead calmly asked, “Brooke, are you SURE it’s not at mama’s or in your dance bag?”

“Yessssss-ah! And it’s not at mama’s!” she annoying replies in her valley girl phonetics.

I look at her bucket and see a small corner of a piece of paper through the jumbled mess of 1,000 pairs of shoes.  “Brooke, did you look in your bucket?  The bucket you carry to dance class five days a week?”

“Yessssssssss-ah!” she instantly says while gesturing with her hands, palms up, fingers spread out… then looks down at the bucket, pushes around a couple of shoes, and pulls out the paper she was looking for…  You know, the vital paper she said was not at her mother’s house but at my house…in the bucket she sticks her manicured fingers into many times a week.

“Oooops…  Hee-hee-hee…” grinning then saying, “Sorry.”  No sorrrrry-ah, though.

I turn the car around and drop her off without saying a word.  My body is late for the cremation, you know.

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If you are unable to tell, my Little Cake Boss Diva is in the orange shirt.

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

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