Thursday, July 30, 2015

Travelers Beware

My brother sent me this email warning. 


Daylight Robbery on a flight to Hong Kong.... Apparently it's quite common now-a-days… 
Putting your handbag on the floor is unsafe but we got no choice. Maybe we should strap the bag on to the safety belt too. 

As for bigger bag, it's best to put in the opposite compartment where we can see when someone comes to take away or opening it.
If you put your bags in the compartment directly above your head, they are difficult to see. 

Please take 2 minutes of your time to read the message below. This can happen on any airline going to any destination. These are very hard times for a lot of people… and many turn to CRIME!!! 

I would like to draw your attention to an attempted robbery on a flight into Hong Kong last week. With an hour to go, during the flight, I thought I noticed my bag being replaced in the overhead locker. I wasn't sure and decided it was probably a fellow passenger, moving it to access their own bag. 

I dismissed any thought of any wrong doing, but upon arrival in HK, something told to me to retrieve the bag, just to make sure nothing suspicious had occurred. When I opened the overhead locker (not above me) and saw my leather bag was the only one occupying the space… I knew there was a problem. 

I examined the content, only to find all of my wife's jewellery, along with some cash had been stolen, during the flight. 
I raised the alarm and my wife and I quickly blocked both aisles to stop anyone at the back of the plane disembarking....there were around 120 passengers… 

My wife and I both shouted for assistance from the stewards and stewardesses. Eventually a steward told me that security had been called but passengers were becoming very agitated and unwilling to show patience or understanding… they just wanted to get off the plane... My wife and I were the only people controlling the passengers. 
I pleaded with the passengers to check their own bags at which point three fellow travelers reported they had also been robbed. 
It was only at this point, did I see any evidence from the cabin crew that they were willing to provide any meaningful support. 

I vaguely remember seeing a passenger wearing black, sporting a white base-ball cap and pleaded with the rest of the passengers to see if they could remember anyone fitting that description. 

It turned out to be a passenger standing in front of me, who once he was identified and his possessions checked… he proceeded to offload money, jewelry, camera equipment and false documents, running into tens of thousand of dollars… all stolen goods from the aircraft passengers.  

By this time security had boarded the plane, the Captain had been informed and was standing in the rear section watching the events unfold. 

Eventually a policeman boarded the plane and I was able to explain the events leading up to my apprehending the thief. I have since been informed… this criminal activity is reaching epidemic proportions and the local authorities had already caught three thieves (with 30 already on remand since early December 2013) on flights into HK… and the distressing part is that all the criminals came from the same town in China. 

It is estimated that only 5% are being caught judging by the reports of passengers contacting the police after they have arrived at their destination. 

They sit in the back row of the plane observing where bags are placed… behind or away from the passengers who own them… and they systematically pull them from the overhead lockers while the passengers rest or watch movies. They then take them to the back of the plane and steal any valuable contents. They prey on foreign airlines as the penalties are so lenient… and the pay-off makes it worth the risk..!! 

I naively have never thought of robbers operating on planes, but now I have experienced it first hand. 

Here are a few take-aways: 

1. Hand luggage should ALWAYS be locked. 
2. Do not assume luggage under your seat is safe... One passenger had her purse plundered by the guy sitting next to her while she slept..!! 
3. If in doubt, wear or keep any valuables ON YOU, at all times..!! 
4. Don't assume, like me, that everyone on a flight is a law-abiding citizen. 
5. Do not assume business class travel is secure... Robbers can be wealthy. 
6. If possible… place a small bell or jingle attached-to or inside your bag… so that whenever it's opened or moved… there would be a sound. 

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Landon's Escargot

You can make this at home. For cheap. And you no need fancy serving dishes.


Just serve on slices of bread.

I bought this can of snails from Chef Zone. Guess how much it cost. 

$9.97!!  For 96 snails! My son Landon prepared it for us. He couldn't give me the proportions of his ingredients because he just "eyeballs" when he cooks, but I've listed the ingredients for you below. He combined everything and made a thick paste.

He put um in a pyrex dish like this and then broiled it on a low broil for a few minutes.

My low-carb diet went out da window, but it was worth it.

Landon's Escargot Ingredients:

Worcestershire sauce
Chili flakes
Parmesan cheese
Dried tarragon 
Johnny Walker Black

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Wendell's Ahi Limu Poke

Wendell followed a recipe to make this poke. You can find the recipe here. He left out the sesame seeds and the shoyu. I don't eat raw fish so I can't tell you if was ono or not, but he made it twice already so I think it's good.


Did you notice the smiley face?

Friday, July 24, 2015

Praying Mantis

I screamed bloody murder and did a haka dance when this guy nearly crawled up my arm when I was taking in laundry from the clothesline the other day. 

All of my antics didn't even faze him, and he remained unperturbed when I tossed him on the ground. He even did an Exorcist head spin before looking me straight in the eye while I was taking this photo. 


That's ONE very creepy insect, if you ask me.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

My Eggplant with Pork and Fried Tofu

The sum total of all of my culinary knowledge went into making this one dish. In fact the eggplant portion I only just learned when trying to figure out how to do this.


The tofu part of the dish I learned from Hiromi on NHK World TV.

Put cut-up tofu between paper towels and put some weight on it for around 15 minutes. Me, I just left it on until I was ready to cook.

I learned this method for cooking the eggplant from Serious Eats. It said that soaking the eggplant in salted water allows some of its cell structures to break down, allowing it to soften more efficiently when cooked. It added that cooking the eggplant until charred delivers the best, deepest flavor. I soaked the eggplant in 1/4 cup of Hawaiian salt and dunno-how-much water for around 20 minutes. Then I patted dry with a paper towel.

I heated a pan until it was hot hot hot, lowered the heat a little bit and added some oil. Then I carefully added in the tofu. 

I removed the tofu, added more oil and threw in the eggplant. I wanted the charred effect to get the "best, deepest flavor", but I small-kine overdid it.

I took out the eggplant and set it aside with the tofu while I browned the meat.

I bought this thinly sliced pork from Marukai.  I fried it up with three cloves of minced garlic.

Then I added around 2 tbs. of oyster sauce and 1 tbs. of shoyu.

I mixed 1 tsp. of this bouillon base and 1 tsp. of cornstarch with around 1 cup of water and added it to the pork.

Finally, I threw the eggplant and tofu back into the pan and tossed it around to absorb the succulent juices. LOL . . . "succulent juices" . . .

I meant to add in some green onions at the end, but I forgot. 

Monday, July 20, 2015


New Horizons left Earth on January 19, 2006 on its way to Pluto and the Kuiper Belt. Its closest approach to Pluto occurred last week on July 14, 2015, nine and a half years later. Can you imagine? A spacecraft needs to travel for nine and a half years to reach the beginnings of the outer edge of our own solar system. !!!!! 

You can check out New Horizons' Facebook page here to keep up to date with its further travels. 

Some Pluto facts:

Pluto was downgraded to "dwarf planet" in 2006. There are five known dwarf planets in our solar system - Ceres, Pluto, Eris, Makemake and Haumea. 

Pluto has five moons. Its largest moon, Charon, might itself qualify to be called a dwarf planet because Pluto and Charon are comparable in size and orbit each other, rather than just being a satellite orbiting a planet. 

The first detailed image of Pluto's surface returned to Earth after New Horizon's flyby shows icy mountains up to 11,000 feet high - comparable to the height of the Rockies - casting shadows across a relatively smooth plain. The lack of craters indicates that this part of the surface is quite young, no more than 100 million years old.

Pluto and the Solar Systems
The New York Times/Science

Saturday, July 18, 2015


Kay of Musings blog recently wrote about Environmental Working Group's compilation of best and worst sunscreens. When I was in my 20's I had a severe allergic reaction when I slathered a friend's favorite sunscreen onto my face. Since then I've been very careful about which sunscreen I use.

This is the sunscreen that I use on my face now. A former coworker gave it to me.  I've also used a Shiseido sunscreen with success. They're both $$$$$, but I only use it on my face so it lasts a long time. 

I copied and pasted EWG's Best Sunscreen list below. You can check out their list of worst sunscreens here.  Although there is a Huffington Post article which states that the report is misleading here, I think it's still good to know. Thanks for pointing the way, Kay!

Environmental Working Group’s list of best sunscreens (in alphabetical order):

Products from the following brands meet EWG criteria:
  • 100% Pure
  • Adorable Baby
  • Alba Botanica
  • All Terrain
  • Allure
  • Arbonne
  • Aubrey Organics
  • Ava Anderson NonToxic
  • Babo Botanicals
  • Baby Pibu
  • Babyganics
  • Babyhampton
  • Babytime! by Episencial
  • Badger
  • Bare Belly Organics
  • Beautycounter
  • Belli
  • Belly Buttons & Babies
  • Beyond Coastal
  • Biosolis
  • Block Island Organics
  • Blue Lizard
  • Bull Frog
  • BurnOut
  • Burt’s Bees
  • Butterbean
  • California Baby
  • California Naturel
  • Celadon Road
  • Consonant Skincare
  • Coral Safe
  • CoTZ
  • CyberDERM
  • derma e
  • DHC
  • Dr. Mercola
  • Earth’s Best
  • Elemental Herbs
  • EltaMD
  • Goddess Garden
  • Grahams Natural Alternatives
  • HeadHunter
  • Jan Marini
  • Jason Natural Cosmetics
  • Jersey Shore Sun
  • Juice Beauty
  • Just Skin Food
  • La Roche-Posay
  • Lavanila
  • Lemongrass Spa
  • Loving Naturals
  • Luzern Laboratories
  • MD Moms
  • MD Skincare
  • MDSolarSciences
  • Melvita
  • Mustela
  • MyChelle
  • Naked Turtle
  • Nature’s Gate
  • NIA24
  • Nine Naturals
  • Nurture My Body
  • Poofy Organics
  • Radical Skincare
  • Raw Elements USA
  • RevaleSkin
  • Rocky Mountain Sunscreen
  • Safe Harbor
  • Sensitive Skin Clinic
  • Seventh Generation
  • SkinCeuticals
  • Solar Protection Formula
  • Solbar
  • Star Naturals
  • Substance
  • Sun Bum
  • Sunology
  • Suntegrity Skincare
  • sunumbra
  • Sweetsation Therapy
  • The Honest Company
  • thinkbaby
  • thinksport
  • Tropical Sands
  • TruBaby
  • True Natural
  • TruKid
  • UV Natural
  • Vanicream
  • Yes To Cucumbers

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Wendell's Fried Noodles

Wendell made these noodles following a recipe from this past week's Midweek's Cooking Hawaiian Style.  The recipe doesn't call for it, but Wendell threw in some char siu. He said the noodles are Chun Wah Kam noodles from Times Supermarket. It was very tasty and a bit spicy.


Here's the reason for the spiciness . . . "sambal oelek". Wendell said that all of the markets carry it in the Oriental section.

1 pound fresh noodles
1 tbs. sesame oil

Veggie Stir Fry
1 tbs. canola oil
1 tbs. sesame oil
1/2 onion, julienne cut
2 stalks celery, julienne cut
1/2 bell pepper, julienne cut
4 ounces bean sprouts
6 ounces won bok, julienne cut

4 tbs. shoyu
1 tbs. sherry
1 tbs. sugar
1 tbs. oyster sauce
1 tbs. sambal olek
1 tsp. garlic, minced
1 tsp. ginger, minced

In a large bowl massage sesame oil into the noodles to ensure that they do not stick, then set aside. In a large pan, add canola oil and let heat for 1 to 2 minutes on high. Add onion, celery and bell pepper. Stirring frequently, sauté for 2 to 3 minutes or until onions begin to brown.  Add bamboo shoots, bean sprouts, won bok and noodles. Sauté for 3 to 4 minutes or until bean sprouts and won bok begin to soften.  Add sauce and continue to stir frequently until sauce is mostly evaporated and soaked into noodles and veggies. 

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Kaimuki Superette

This past Saturday after doing some garage sale shopping, me and Geri went to Kaimuki Superette to eat. You can check out their cool website here.


Notice the sign? "Sea", "Sand" and "Sun" are highlighted.

I guess if you choose one of these sandwiches, they'll grill it for you.

These are advertised as "omiyage".

Grilled lemon lemonade is $3 . . . very refreshing.

This is the South Shore He'e Roll . . . supah, supah ono. 13 BUCKS!!


Here is the Antipasti Sampler.  You have a choice of five. Really good, but again 13 BUCKS!!!!

I went back up to the showcase to take photos of my antipasti selections for you.




I don't know if it was because of the arched totan ceiling, but it was super noisy in the restaurant. 

Meet our new friend, Kodai. We saw him as we were walking to the car after lunch. He had a backpack on. He was pushing a suitcase. He had his phone in his hand. And he looked totally lost. We had to help.

In the end, our "help"only managed to make Kodai more than a half hour late for his appointment. Aiyaaaa.

When we parted, I gave him my email address and told him to let me know the next time he comes to Hawaii. I told him that I would have no problem helping him to get lost-er again.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

One Funny Mom

I was watching a program on KIKU TV the other night where they asked people in Osaka if they had any funny stories to share about their moms. Wonder why they chose Osaka, yah? Maybe moms are funnier in Osaka. Anyway, it reminded me of a conversation I had with my mom awhile back. 

I was driving her to have some medical procedure done. She started complaining and said that she hated having to take out her partial dentures prior to having procedures done.  She continued by saying that she hated answering questions without having her front teeth on.  She said, "The worst question is, 'What's your birthdate?' Imagine having to answer with 'October twurdy, nineteen twurdy twee'. Why can't they ask me questions before I have to take my teeth out?"

I laughed and laughed and laughed. For days I laughed. The way she said it was so funny.

And now my life is at stake. Because my mom's gonna kill me if she ever finds out that I told this story to you guys. 

Friday, July 10, 2015

Drapes to Grocery Tote

I bought these drapes at a church rummage sale. They were around $2 each. The dark-colored ones have a little bit of a plastic-y feel to them, but I wondered if I could make bags out of um.


They were a bit unforgiving in stretch, but still worked out great. I'm calling the bag a "grocery tote".  I made the straps long so that you can use it to carry some of your groceries on your shoulder, and then your hands would be free to carry the rest. 

Here's another drape-material bag.

And here are more that I've made. I've found that Foodland and Walmart don't charge for their plastic bags yet. Marukai and Don Quijote are charging 10 cents/bag. And if you go to the Disney Store, for sure bring your own bag, unless you're willing to spend more than $1 extra for a plastic bag.

You can find instructions here: Make It and Love It Farmer's Market Bag. For the straps, I cut two pieces of fabric 3 1/2 x 31 inches long.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

USA Wins

The U.S. beat Japan for the 2015 FIFA Women's World Cup title this past Sunday. And so I lost a bet I had made with coworker Bien.

I woke up earlier than usual on Monday morning. I made a turkey, salami and cheese sandwich for Bien. That was the bet. A homemade sandwich. So cute, yah. 

While I was making the sandwich, I thought of Bien. I thought of him exalting the skills of the U.S. team. I thought of him chanting, "HOPE SOLO--O-O-O. HOPE SOLO--O-O-O." as he had done on the days before the game.  

I pictured him unveiling the sandwich. I imagined him adding on the sliced tomatoes which I had packed separately. And then I pictured him eating the sandwich with the potato chips that I had included. I hoped that he would enjoy it.

I'm kinda glad that I lost the bet 'cause it made me happy making the sandwich for him.


Monday, July 6, 2015

Didi's Salmon Flakes

My sister Didi has been working on her salmon flake creation for quite awhile. She announced to us recently that she thinks she is finally satisfied with her recipe. 

You can use it as a topping on rice or tofu. She even made an omelet with it. Below is her recipe. Thanks for sharing, Didi!

salmon flakes

Salmon (Sake) Flakes

6-8 oz. salmon filet, skin on
Hawaiian salt, as needed
½ c. sake
2 TB sake
2 TB mirin
2 TB soy sauce

Salt salmon generously, allow to sit overnight. Wipe any moisture off salmon. Place in skillet over medium heat with ½ cup of sake. Simmer until no liquid remains, about 6-7 minutes. Remove salmon from skillet. Remove skin and any bones. Return salmon to dry skillet with sauce ingredients, stirring well to combine; flaking salmon. Simmer; stirring until no liquid remains. Salmon should be completely dry and finely flaked (about 10-12 minutes). Optional to cook until bits of charred salmon appear (about 15 minutes). I like it that way !

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Backpack to Tote II

I found two of these small backpacks at the swap meet.  They were only $1 each and in pretty good shape.


Great recycling potential, yah! 

This is what I made with it. It's about 11 x 9 inches . . . kinda small.  Good to carry your lunch and other knickknacks to the office in. 

There's no lining.

But I did make a matching coin purse and removable lanyard with the extra material.

I already gave away the second bag, but this one is up for grabs. First one to email me at can have it. Will update if/when it's goes.

Update:  Got one winnah already!  Makes me so happy!

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Marukai Response

Here's the response I got from Marukai.  I thought it was so nice of them to go through this effort. Notice the misspelling of my name.  It happens often that my "l" gets turned into an "i".

Hi Jaina,

Thank you for your inquiry. 

I spoke to the grocery manager and we are unable to bring in this product.

It is not approved by USDA.

Thank you, 
Marukai Customer Service