"Life is about not knowing, having to change, taking the moment and making the best of it without knowing what's going to happen next."

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Good ol' Monopoly

Monopoly is sorta' a traditional Tamba game. We bring it back to life every time we have a reunion. 

Awesome Get Away to our country-side home

Kenji and Deryk, we need to remember this alright? We cannot underestimate the power of disasters. Indeed, it causes great pain, separation, and loss. But hearts are warmed, families are united, and the shortness of human life is realized. 

Aigo and Deryk                         Ninja and Kenji

Just chatting
Well, it was a great time for us brothers to get closer. Koji was back after 4 and half years of being in Columbia. And Hik and Mas had come to visit for a few days from Saitama. 

Himeji Castle Zoo

Checking out those rides


Monkey says "Boo!"

Tamb's Local Hangout
Two alleys. Three games. And daddy sucked. Well, I wasn't really trying so hard. Ha

We went for billiards after bowling. Got two tables for an hour. Played triples. Losers had to pay tribute to the winners.

              Dinner                               Competitive monopoly

Left to Right--Alisa, Koji, Dad, Mas, Me, Kengo & Deryk, Kenji & Joe, Aigo, and Mac.  

Gosh, man, I look like a half-century old there

Himeji--Kenji and Deryk Hanging on Mas

Tamba Home--Fay's Crepe Special. The occasion was Koji's Birthday gift to my dad

Friday, March 18, 2011

The role of daddy

  "Kenji also needs a daddy--not just someone who works and brings in money. I realize that he, more importantly, needs a daddy who can give him a piggyback ride, collect sticks with him in the mountain, and splash around in the snow and mud."

  Kenji and Deryk are not without their favorites. For the first 4 years of Kenji's life he was with only a mommy, and for Deryk it was his first 3 years with his daddy. After daddy and mommy met and assumed the role of parents to both, instinctively and naturally they would, for the months and years to come, cling to one more than the other.
  However perfect our union was, it was with sacrifices and compromises--as every couple must be willing to make. Mommy and I were once single parents and were both father and mother to our own, but when we met that had changed.
  But slowly.
  Yet quicker than I thought.
  The transition period had its immense hardships. Slowly but surely we were taking on the roles that we were meant to.

  The catastrophic earthquake that happened in Miyagi prefecture on March 11th was a time of tremendous loss and heartbreak for millions. But amidst this tragedy, I'm seeing something beautiful happen: hearts and lives are uniting, compassion and care are regaining its importance, and there is much more of a recognition of human frailty. What you have spent years trying to build can be destroyed in a minute.
  Fay and I have put everything into building our lives despite setbacks and lack of moral and community support. We have come far. And when this earthquake hit and the panic and confusion of it caused us to evacuate, for a moment I considered that we were also putting into jeopardy everything that we have built so far.
  Perhaps I was wrong.
  Today Deryk was in tears and he told me that he thought I didn't like him anymore. I realize that this time away from work is a healthy get away; a time that was much needed to regain a closeness with the thing that is more important than work--my family.
  Often, work can take predominance over everything, even the things that are more important. Though without work, thus without money, one cannot live and support his family, everyone needs a time to come away from the trees to see the forest; to be able to put things back into perspective.
  Just as Deryk needs a mommy, Kenji also needs a daddy--not just someone who works and brings in money. I realize that he, more importantly, needs a daddy who can give him a piggyback ride, collect sticks with him in the mountain, and splash around in the snow and mud--things that mommy's usually don't do but that boys need.
  Though there was much loss and pain and separation because of the earthquake, I'm sure that we are not the only ones who are experiencing reunion.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011


  At 8p.m on March 13th we made a swift departure from Kanto and arrived in Tamba at 1p.m the following day, but not without its obstacles. A closed expressway, shortage of gasoline, a 6.0 earthquake in Shiz, and a major detour--were only a few things that made ours an evacuation rather than just an ordinary trip.
  These are not hum-drum days of unchanging monotonous life in Japan. Symptoms show that something is amiss if not seriously underway. 60 earthquakes of over 6.0 magnitude, and over 200 of over 5.0--rattling and breaking the very foundations of this country that we call our home--is no small matter. We are not in a war, but the danger is not much different. We are being hit at all sides by what we are familiar of as the natural disaster, but this is moving about as if it has an agenda of its own.
  Though risks are involved, we have decided to remove ourselves as far as we can from the danger. Once the nuclear plants are under complete control, and the earthquake plates pose no signs of danger, we hope to return home. Let's pray for it

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Earthquake Update!!

  SENDAI (Kyodo) The death toll from Friday's devastating earthquake and tsunami in northeast Japan will likely surpass 10,000, the police chief of hard-hit Miyagi Prefecture said Sunday.
  The magnitude of the devastating quake was meanwhile revised upward the same day from 8.8 to 9.0, making it one of the largest in history, the Meteorological Agency said.
  According to the agency, said there is a 70 percent chance of another quake greater than magnitude 7 occurring within three days, and a 50 percent chance of one hitting in the three days after that.

  We'll be having an official blackout from 6:20-10:15 tomorrow morning to 16:15-22:20, I think, of the same afternoon. The food racks of all of the convenience stores and supermarkets are bare due to the high demand and sudden cut of restock. Half of the gas stations are out of fuel, and the other half have had lines of cars for the past 24 hours, causing major traffic jams. This is when money has little worth, and when friends and loved ones are most important. 

  Mommy and I have contemplated many things--of packing up and leaving tonight perhaps out of this quake-infested place. But then our thoughts went out to our loved ones, and if anything bad were to happen to them or to us, we agreed that we'd want to be near them. Other than my family back in Tamba, all of our loved ones are right here, so this is where we're staying for now, earthquake or no earthquake. 
  In times like these people you love become exceedingly clear. The ones you want to protect, and to ensure are safe, are those who you want to be with through times of ultimate danger. 

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Life is Precious

Life is precious, and we fear to lose it, but in the end it is ultimately not ours to choose. We are forced to surrender our lives over to the one that created it and to the one that caused the disaster to happen. 

Devastation in Japan

At 14:46 on March 11 there was an 8.9 magnitude earthquake in Miyagi prefecture, the biggest in Japan and Pacific in recorded history (over 1000 years), and said to be the 5th largest in the world. 
Since that time until now, March 13th, 12:06, just after midnight, there have been 106 earthquakes of over 5.0 magnitude. Due to the earthquake I won't be having work for at least a few days. I'll be sitting at home watching the news, reading articles, and listening to earthquake warnings. Apart from that, I'll be enjoying my time with my family, visiting friends, and jumping at every tremor. It's been said that it's a matter of time before another big one hits. 
These photo's below are only a small portion of the reality that's all around us right now in Nagano, Niigata, Ibaraki, Iwate, Miyagi, Yamagata, Fukushima, Utsunomiya, Tokyo, and Chiba prefectures. 

Whatever Happens

  In the moment of undeniable danger, when something is as powerful and uncontrollable as the earthquake that hit yesterday, one must admit that he is weak. Even the strong man will be given the chance to stare death in the face and feel fear for either himself or his loved ones.
  Kenji and Deryk, you may be too young to understand the magnitude of what just happened and may even think that it was slightly exciting, and I myself will soon forget about this too, but the reality of the present is that people are dying, suffering, and are still trapped amidst fallen rubble and flooded waters. We were very close to being in that situation.
  Whatever happens, mommy and I really love you, ok?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Facebook Posts

  • Just so glad that all of us are safe. Good to know that you, Hik, and Mas, are alright. Tried to get in touch with you, but couldn't.
  • I'm sitting at my computer at home at 5:40 in the morning. Tremors continue every 10 or 15 minutes. It's been said that the water of this entire area is going to be cut off in 20 minutes, so we've filled up our bathtub.
  • A building next to ours was in flames and fire engines were just then rushing to the scene. None of our cell phones worked; splendid, when it was the one most desired time to call our loved ones.
  • After the 1st quake, we all took a dash to the 1st floor and then outside. Freezing our butts off by the sudden change of weather that seemed to turn on us from sunny to rainy; rainy to snowy, a non-religious Japanese man looked into the sky and said that God must be angry with us.
  • Sirens were blaring, and a man was yelling through the speakers to run to the nearest clearing. We were huddled together. Suddenly strangers were becoming friends. Ha!
  • Man, that was freaky! It was only a low 6 on the Richter scale where I was, but I was on the 2nd floor of the place I work, and when things started to shake real bad I was freaked! Hundreds of boxes and containers were falling off of shelves 5 levels up, thick dust filled the air, a wall came down, and our building was obviously cracking.
The 2011 Sendai earthquake and tsunami (東北地方太平洋沖地震 Tōhoku Chihō Taiheiyō-oki Jishin[3]?, literally "Tōhoku region Pacific Ocean offshore earthquake") was an 8.9-magnitude megathrust earthquake that created tsunami waves of up to 10 metres (33 ft).[4] It was measured at 7[5] on the Japan Meteorological Agency seismic intensity scale in the northern Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, with an initially reported magnitude of 7.9,[5] while the JMA's tsunami warning listed the magnitude as 8.4,[6] later updated to 8.8.[7] The earthquake focus was reported to be off the Oshika Peninsula, the east coast of Tōhoku on 11 March 2011, at 05:46 UTC (14:46 local time) at a depth of 24.4 kilometres (15.2 mi).[8] News reports by Tokyo Broadcasting System (TBS) indicate that at least 1000 people have died and another 530 are missing in six different prefectures,[1][2] although it is feared the total number of dead could be far higher.[9][10]
The magnitude of 8.9 made it the largest earthquake to hit Japan in recorded history[4] and the seventh largest in the world since records began.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Even Fonder Memories

Amanohashidate beach, like a hundred years ago. 

Gym gathering

When Fay and Kenji 1st visited us in Tamba

On our way to Juri's place at Atago station

Lala Port


Our Family