Every time we visit Japan, we always visit Aya’s friend Kio. They met way back in the fifth grade and have kept in contact all these years. She was even one of Aya’s bridesmaids in our wedding. I find that quite impressive considering the long distance between. It would have been very easy for them to lose touch with each other. Through their friendship I met Kio’s mom, Izumi, at our wedding party in Japan. And with the power of Facebook, her mom and I are now “friends.” She doesn’t speak very much English and I don’t speak Japanese, but we both understand the same language; FOOD.

Continue reading “HULA’S KITCHEN: PART 1”


When my neighbor Joe and I started listening to music together it was just by chance. I think he asked me to drive him to CVS once and when I helped him bring in the groceries he asked if I wanted to stay for a bit. We got talking about jazz and such. We were both rattling off different artists, and then I asked if he had time to listen to a few things. Well, that random weekday evening turned into our first listening night which then led to a friendship that lasted a long time.

Continue reading “THE MUSIC NEVER STOPS”


One thing I love to do is just sit around a listen to music. New music, old music, rock music, or classical, it just depends on my mood. I’d call them listening nights. Usually I’d pick a night when Aya was out late, and I’d park it on the couch with a stack of CDs and listen. Pretty loud too. But with Ellie around, I don’t really get to do it as much as I used to. I have music on a lot, but it’s different. I love taking drives by myself now just so I can crank the music. Even if it’s a short trip to the gas station, I bring my iPod and put on a song and jam. I might not even get to finish the song but I don’t care, it’s still that short moment when I can remember who I am. Anyway, I’m really lucky to have Joe, a next door neighbor who loves listening nights just as much as I do. And on a recent visit to his house, the subject was the Beatles, and the volume had no limits.

Continue reading “MUSIC TO MY EARS”


When Aya and I first moved into our house seven years ago, my next door neighbor Joe and I would exchange polite pleasantries over the fence. We wouldn’t say much other than “hello” or “how are you” here and there. I rarely saw him outside but based on our brief encounters, I developed an image of what I thought he and his wife, Bev, were like. Just a nice quiet older retired couple that lived next door. Boy, can first impressions be deceiving.