Sunday, May 31, 2015


Ever since Zsa's passed away more than a week ago, I've asked her to come visit me in my dreams. Each night before I go to sleep, I remind her. But she hasn't come yet.

Last night, I woke up in the middle of the night with the word いつまで (itsu made) on my mind.  It means "forever".  Zsa's and I were Best Friends "Forever", but I doubted that it was a message from her . . . she didn't even speak Japanese. But . . . half asleep . . . in the middle of the night . . . I told myself to remember.

This afternoon when Wendell retrieved the mail he said, "You got something from Zsa's family." The envelope looked like it might contain a card. I wondered what it could be.

Turned out it wasn't from Zsa's family. It was from Zsa's herself. It was a long-lost thank-you card thanking me for the birthday present that I had given her back in February. 

The card described our relationship perfectly. It said how we both knew that are friendship couldn't be measured by how many emails we exchanged, or phone calls we made, or amount of times we saw each other during the year, but more on the close, comfortable connection that we've shared through the years. 

It was the most perfect card . . . arriving at the most perfect time . . . and signed in the most perfect way . . . 


Friday, May 29, 2015

Kids vs. Natto

I can totally relate to these kids.

Thanks for sharing, Gary and V!

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Best Thing on a Ritz Cracker Challenge

I never win any of the cooking contests we have at work.  Okay, I did win once when I made a Bavarian Tart for a dessert contest, but that was a looooong time ago, and that was the only time. Recipe is here.

I didn't win our Anything with Chocolate Contest or our Pasta Cookoff or our Curry Cookoff or our Sandwich Competition.

It's not just because I'm not so great in the kitchen, but it's also because we got some really good cooks in our office. The competition is fierce. So when I saw this sign posted, I knew that my chances of winning were, once again, slim.

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But . . .  I had an idea. What if I made something totally different from everybody else's? Hmmmm? What if I made a dessert? Hmmmm?  I found this recipe: Ritz Cracker Candy.  Best of all, other than the Ritz crackers which coworker Susan provided, I already had all of the other ingredients.  

Melt 3/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup light brown sugar in a saucepan.

Break in half 2 sleeves of Ritz cracker and place on a baking sheet.

Bring butter/sugar mixture to a boil and continue cooking for 3 minutes.

Pour over crackers. Bake at 350 degrees for 5 minutes.  Turn off oven.

Sprinkle 2 cups milk chocolate chips and let stand in turned-off oven for 3 minutes until melted.

Spread evenly over crackers.

Top with 3/4 cup pecans (I used walnuts) and 1/2 cup white chocolate (I used yogurt chips).

Cool completely (I put the whole pan in the freezer 'cause I have no patience) and break candy into pieces. Store in the refrigerator. Winnahs, right?

Wrong.  Leslie won with her Bruschetta Ala Something. Ack. Boo. Hiss. It actually looked better in real life than in this iPhone photo . . . but I no care.

Monday, May 25, 2015

Pastrami Sandwich from This is It Bakery and Deli

I went to Fisher Hawaii a couple of weeks ago and remembered that Jenny of maybeitsjenny blog wrote about a pastrami sandwich that she had gotten from This is It Bakery and Deli which is right across the street from Fisher. Although I still had a few more errands to run and wouldn't be eating the sandwich for another couple of hours I decided to go pick one up anyway. By the time I got to eating the sandwich, it was all soggy, but OMG, I totally agree with Jenny . . . it was really, really good. 


It was also really, really expensive . . . $9.45.  But I wouldn't hesitate to buy it again the next time I'm in the area.

Chips or potato salad comes with the sandwich. If you choose chips, don't forget to grab your bag from the bins in front of the counter. 



Saturday, May 23, 2015

RIP Zsa's

My BFF passed away a few days ago. 48 years we were BFFs.  We met when we were 13 years old.


I don't have any pictures of the two of us together from back then, but this is the tennis courts in Kaimuki where we spent every day in the summer of 1968 and 1969.

And this is the Taerobix class in Aina Haina where for years we used to go exercise up until about seven years ago.

This is Zsa's and her damn brother who used to put glue in my hair and ice on my butt, back in the day when I used to go sleep over her house. 

Zsa's and Ricky met while we were in high school and have been together ever since.

Zsa's shrimp curry recipe, my favorite:  here.

Rest in peace, Zsa's. Rest in peace.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Wendell's Beer-Braised Pork Belly

Wendell saw this recipe in a Bon Appetit magazine while he was waiting in a doctor's office.  I was able to find the article online. You can find the recipe here.


One of the ingredients is dried apricots! Wendell actually made a big mistake and used apple cider vinegar instead of just apple cider. !!!!! Still it was good. He said he's gonna try and make it again to see how it's supposed to really taste.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Oceanic's New Modem

We recently got this flyer from Oceanic. It said that for no additional charge we could get an ungraded modem which would provide us with up to six times faster Internet speed. 


We could go from a meager Standard 15/1 Mbps to an Extreme 50/5 Mbps. I actually have no clue what that means.

But "no additional charge" and "faster" sounded good to me, so I went to modem and requested a new modem. The next day we got an email. It said that the modem would be arriving shortly. It mentioned an "Easy Connect Kit". 
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A few days later on 5/14/2015, the Easy Connect Kit arrived.  According to the email I needed to connect the modem by 11:30 p.m. so I got right to it.

But wait. What is this?

And then what dis mean?  Whaaa?  I ended up just looking at how the old modem was connected and replaced the old stuff with the matching new stuff.

And the 4:00 a.m. activation time mentioned in the email?  Forget it . . . unless you can wait until 4:00 a.m. for internet connection. Instead, I called Oceanic and asked them to activate the new modem right away.  

Unfortunately, it took me awhile to actually get to speak to a live person. And the live person I got was so hard to understand. Her name started with a D and our conversation kinda went like this:

Me: Hi. I just installed my new modem and I need to have it activated.
D: something something something ACTIVATION something something?
Me: Yes?
D: something something something NAME something something
Me: Jalna?
D: something something something MODEM something something?
Me: Yes?
D: something something something ANYTHING ELSE something something?
Me:  Am I connected now?
D: something something something YES something something
Me: So, do I have the fast-speed connection now?
D: something something something ANYTHING ELSE something something?
Me: No?
D: something something something THANK YOU something something
Me: Okay?

I don't know if my internet speed is six times faster, but it is definitely faster. It's great! I hope it doesn't ever break though, 'cause heaven forbid I gotta call them back again. 

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Omiyage Giveaway Winnah Is . . .

I had to stop Wendell from going out this morning.  I said to him, "Wait. Wait. Wait."  I had taken a bit of time folding the strips of paper for the giveaway drawing because I wanted to fold them like the omikuji that you see at Japanese shrines and temples.


Even Kona was interested to see what was happening.

Here it is. The winnah.

Congratulations Arlene!! Yeehaw!! Can you email me with your mailing address?

I'll be taking a break from blogging for a little bit. Maybe for about a week. See you shortly.

Monday, May 11, 2015

Japan 2015 - Day 14 - Going Home

April 20: Mazda Motor Museum

Our last decadent breakfast buffet.  Boo hoo.  This is Sweetie's.

And here's mine.

Goodbye salmon/cheese bun.

Goodbye custard tart.

Checkout was at 11:00 a.m. with bus departure at 12:15 p.m.  Me and Sweetie checked out early and waited at the department store's door for them to open at 10:00 a.m.  At 10:00 the guy at the door had to put up a raised hand to prevent us from barging in before he was ready. The below are stickers displayed in The Loft.

We had learned the day before that our flight from Hiroshima to Tokyo had been canceled due to fog. The plan for today was for us to bus-it to Okayama, a 3-hour ride, and catch the domestic flight from there to Tokyo. Despite this hitch, we still managed to keep our planned visit to the Mazda Museum

This is the area where we first entered. 

The map below where I outlined in red shows the area where Mazda headquarters for the Hiroshima Prefecture occupies.  They employ about 20,000 people and produce 4,000 cars daily.



Here is a test for you.  Let's see if you were paying attention.  This is from Mazda's restroom. I photoshopped out the English translations.  Tell me . . . which button is to flush? Hmmmm?

Here is the vintage showroom.








Rotary engine showroom.




This is the first Japanese car to win the 24-hour endurance race at Le Mans.


This car's engine is configured to run on either hydrogen or gasoline.

I think this car is the 10 millionth to be produced at Mazda's Hofu plant. 

There was a McDonald's at a rest stop that we stopped at before the airport. A lot of us got the shrimp burger.  I liked it.

Here we are at the Okayama Airport.  We had just found out that our flight here might also be canceled due to fog. We were told that we just had to wait and see.

I was just glad that somebody else was taking care of all the headaches for us.

In the end, everything worked out okay. On the flight from Tokyo to Honolulu, me and Sweetie somehow got the seats situated between first class and economy class. Our seats were built kinda inclined already and the head rest thing could be adjusted to fold around your head. It was really comfortable. We both pretty much slept the whole ride home. We even skipped dinner. 

Here are my goodies, all safe and sound.

That was such a great trip.  I hope I can go back again next year. I would love to go with Kobayashi Travel again, and maybe, just maybe, we can have Yuuki, the best tour guide in the history of mankind, be our guide once more.