Jenni's Blog:: July 2003

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July 2003

July 29 - Friends Making a Diff
My sister Saori, and my sweet friend Kaz are participating in a 3 day walk from Santa Barbara to Malibu in November. They have a goal to raise $10,000 between them. Sao asked me to put a plug on my blog. She said, "We feel like that would make a difference in the fight against breast cancer. Kaz has lots of reasons to do this walk [in memory of her good friend Meg, for one] and she'll share those reasons with you, but for me, my reasons are knowing the amount of people that this disease affects. My mom's close friends have been affected, one survived the other didn't. Everyone so far that I've talked to knows of someone that's been affected. The other reason is I don't want Kyle [her son] having to worry about his family, his friends, his loved ones and go through the devastating effects of Breast Cancer as a life threatening disease." The proceeds will support breast cancer research, education, screening and treatment through the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation and the National Philanthropic Trust. I'm so totally proud that Sao and Kaz are doing this... friends making a difference. To sponsor Sao, click here, or to sponsor Kaz, click here. You can read more about it on Sao's website.
Tuesday, 12:50 am - Click here to comment:

July 28 - Weekend in Review
kuidaosumi at the higashi obon this weekend after the charette
It's raining tonite! I love the rain and the lightning, so unexpected... it is somehow lifting my mood! This weekend was the charette about the Mangrove site for the "no jail in Little Tokyo." Councilwoman Jan Perry said the jail and bomb squad has been taken off the site, although we don't want any bureaucratic govt buildings on the site that will isolate Nishi Hongwanji Temple from the rest of Little Tokyo. So, the big taiko debut was this weekend at Higashi's obon. I commented on the disaster I was under the July 21 blog. Tony came and took pix. At the ridiculously underpriced Farmer's Market at the obon, I got 4 grapefruits, 3 oranges, 2 canteloupes for 50 cents! On Sunday, I went to friend Lianne's bridal shower. It was great to see her and my friend Mary. We made a "Creative Memories" scrapbook page with marriage advice. It was my first time scrapbooking... I liked it more than I thought I would, but I really don't need another hobby right now!
Monday, 11:35 pm - Click here to comment:

July 25 - Art Attack!
Last week, over 700 arts supporters rallied in SF to "Save the Arts" in the wake of the possible elimination of the California Arts Council. I blogged about it on June 30 and May 16. Here is a really great article from Asian Week about it. Props to Vinay Patel, from California Asian American/Pacific Islander Arts Network (CAAPIAN) for his efforts in organizing the event. I just read an email that it's possible the Senate will finalize the budget this weekend... and CAC will likely be cut to $2-$3 million, down from over $30 million a few years ago. It's incredible that while we're fighting to keep a $400-$700 million jail complex out of Little Tokyo, that they think that cutting the crumbs for the arts will somehow make up a $38 billion deficit. Barry Hessenius, Director of the CAC said, "Somehow, some way, the arts will again emerge from the current crisis and grow stronger, for despite all the attacks, the arts offer something irreplaceable to society. As long as we are a species, nothing can ever destroy the instinct to create, and the desire we have to access that creativity. Someday we won't have to encourage people to think outside the box; someday there won't be any boxes."
Friday, 11:45 pm - Click here to comment:

July 22 - J-town Vision
7,330 people have signed that No Jail in Little Tokyo petition (see July 9 below for details). The City is holding a Public Charette on Saturday, July 26 to talk about the site of proposed jail in Little Tokyo. The Little Tokyo Community Council encourages people to attend the City-sponsored "charette" (focus groups, presentation by architects) about the proposed New Parker Center police, jail, fire and emergency complex on First & Alameda streets.

Saturday, July 26 at 9:00 am
Dept. of Water & Power, 111 N. Hope St., north of First St. (onsite parking available - enter on Hope St.)
For information, please call June Berk @ (213) 626-0414 ext. 5720.

The community's strong objection to the proposed jail and other elements, especially next to Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple and Child Care Center, need to be expressed to City officials. About 10 years ago, I participated in a charette about the vision and future of Little Tokyo. Our group said we wanted a rec center. If you're interested in voicing your opinion, please come. What's your vision for J-town?
Tuesday, 11:00 pm - Click here to comment:

July 21 - Bombu Taiko's Debut
Tonight the beginner class, including Sojin and my cousin Russell performed Renshu, the beginner piece. I was so inspired to see how terrific they were, I almost cried. They were really awesome. I wondered if our group was that good when we finished the beginner class, but I think this newest group is even better! I think it helped me make a decision.

So, after debating for weeks (not really, I was pretty much a no!) and with the support of people in Bombu Taiko, I signed up to play in Saturday's obon. I still don't have the piece fully memorized, I get all thrown off when it gets going faster and faster, but I am not as lost as before. I basically have no rhythm, no style, no grace, bad aim, a danger with a stick, but I am starting to get it. Tonight, taiko practice was awesome. We played till 10:30 pm, practicing the spins, people just having fun and jamming. Whew. I have so many emotions. I really am the weakest (taiko) link (in the class). But, people are so supportive and willing to help and encourage me. So I think I finally got the spinning for the first time (ok, it's only the 2nd week I'm trying). Here's the rhythm for 2-1-3-2-1. Don Don su Don su Don su Don su, Don Don Don Su Don su Don Don su Don su Don su.

This weekend, I'm going to fake my way through the first piece, Ashura, and then I'm going to play the base beat in 2-1-3-2-1. I'm just going to jump in, try to relax, have fun and just do it. So, if you're looking for something to do this weekend, come to the Higashi Honganji Obon and see the debut of Bombu Taiko (aka Taiko for Dummies) on Saturday, 7/26 at 3pm or Sunday, 7/27 at 5:30 pm on Third Street between San Pedro and Central in Little Tokyo. I'll be playing on Saturday and supporting the group on Sunday. Then afterwards, we dance.
Monday, 11:55 pm - Click here to comment:

July 18 - Dos Melones
I'm a lucky gardener. I have a small 4 X 10 foot plot that I've gardened in my backyard for the last 6 years. This Spring, because I was so busy, I had decided not to plant a garden this year. I also wanted to give the area a break. I have been putting tomatoes there every year and they've been getting diseases because you're supposed to rotate them yearly. I did have some chile peppers from last year, transplanted a small zucchini (that I thought was yellow squash) and planted some mint, but nothing near my usual big bountiful garden. Then I put some tomatoes in a pot, that I had zucchini and rotten onions in last year. Last Fall, I buried some veggie and fruit scraps in my garden, and added compost. Anyways, the plot was looking very fertile this year, even though I didn't really do much to it.

Dos Melones in my garden, taken July 5.
To my surprise, a bunch of wild plants started growing in my garden plot. I didn't know what it was. I thought it might be watermelons, but I wasn't sure. So, I decided to start watering it, to see what would happen. Well, they turned out to be canteloupes. Lots of flowers and vines stretching 10-15 feet, climbing up a trellis. My friend Victor told me to take off some of the flowers to encourage bigger fruits. I now have about 7 melons, bigger than grapefruits, well on their way to becoming full grown melons. The whole thing just makes me so happy. I visit them every day before I leave the house. The thing is, my dad was born and raised on a canteloupe farm before WW2, until he got sent to camp at Gila River, Arizona with his family. My grandparents were canteloupe farmers. Look grandma, I have canteloupe!

Oh, a little plug. I'm volunteering for the Tofu Festival this weekend. Come support the Little Tokyo Service Center!
Friday, 9:40 pm - Click here to comment:

July 17 - Hub Man Home
Yay my hubby's home! Tony's been gone for 8 days and just got back a few minutes ago. My tagline was "I miss the man, I don't miss the mess." The house has been sparkly clean since last Saturday when I cleaned. He went on a trip with his dad and uncle to visit relatives in San Jose and in Moses Lake, WA. They went up the Oregon coast, stayed in Moses Lake a few days, and came back through Reno for gambling and Green Creek, near Bridgeport for fishing. Happy to see him. So I'll be brief cause I want to say hello.
Thursday, 11:10 pm - Click here to comment:

July 16 - Alternative Parenting
Tonight, I had dinner with my friend Monica, her husband Benjamin and 9 month old baby Dyami at their new spacious home in Inglewood. Benhamin made salmon, broccoli, asparagus, soy beans and spinach salad. It was yummy! I got to feed Dyami. I tell you, it's a skill you have to learn to get the spoon in baby's mouth and not have half the food land on his face and in his bib. Benhamin gave me a few pointers to help make it stay in his mouth. It was fun! When I'm ready, they will be my role models for alternative parenting. They make most of his food in a grinder. He loves the quinoa. He eats organic, nonprocessed foods, wears cloth diapers and has never been sick. He's sharp and so expressive. After dinner we sat in the backyard with baby in the warm night and talked about June bugs, politics, family, friends and life with Dyami. I realized that I miss seeing Monica every day (we used to carpool to work together,chatting the whole way, analyzing our dreams), but it sure was fun to laugh from the gut and talk story.
Wednesday, 11:41 pm - Click here to comment:

July 15 - Photo Compulsion
I have been known to work on meaningless projects. For example, after visiting with my friends from college on Saturday night, I pulled out some old photo albums from the late 80s and early 90s. I've enjoyed looking at the pictures, seeing how hair and clothes styles have changed over time, what 100 pounds looks like, people who have come and gone in my life. I marvel at the trendy clothes I used to buy, most of which are long gone. But every now and then I see a shirt or blouse from 15 yrs ago, that I still wear. Anyways, I realized that my photo albums stop at 1997. I have empty albums, and two photo boxes full of pictures. I've noticed that my photos in the photo box were starting to bend and get warped. So I started pulling out old photos and organizing them for my albums.

Why do I feel compelled to do this. What does it matter if I catch them up or not? There's something obsessive compulsive about my need to do this now. Now, when I am so busy. Now, when I have so many unfinished projects. I guess in my crazy way, with my crazy schedule, incompleted to-do list, it's a way for me to do something easy. Instant gratification. A sense of accomplishment. Last night, I stayed up till 2:30 am putting together 9 pages of photos from my wedding, 5 years ago, completing 1998. This knowing that I had to get up early and carpool today. Oh well. I guess I have the satisfaction of knowing that my albums will be completed, if nothing else. And the good thing, is that there is an end in sight. You see, when we got our digital camera last October, we completely stopped taking and developing photos. So, once I finish the albums, I can start sorting thru the thousands of pix on our hard drive. Ai yah! Later.
Tuesday, 11:00 pm - Click here to comment:

July 13 - 71,026 Friends
So have ya been to Friendster.com? Oh my gosh. In the last 2 days, I've become addicted to Friendster. My friend Traci "invited" me to join, more than once, and I was thinking, no, it's ridiculous. I have friends, I'm happily married, I'm not looking for more friends, I don't need to spend more time on the computer, so why bother? Then I had read some bloggers talk about how zealous people can be in inviting you to join, to see the degrees of separation or connection between friends. They seem to be overwhelmingly Asian, mostly in their 20s, many single, not even looking to make a romantic connection. But the cool thing is that people can write testimonials to supplement what people write about themselves in their profiles. Kent said that they should have a section for ex's, so that there can be testimonials by ex's! So far, I have 3 friends. Some people have over 100 friends. And I can read the profiles of my friend's friends, and if I see someone that might be a good match for another of my single friends, the hook up can be made. Anyways, it turns out that with my 3 friends, and the connections between all the people they know, and all the people their friends know and so on, that my connection is 71,026 people and counting!
Sunday, 4:00 pm - Click here to comment:

July 12 - Six Friends and Sushi Rolls
Jenni, Lannie, Monica, Queenie, Lea.
Lannie's 19th Bday
Northridge, 1985
Had a nice little dinner party tonight with gal pals from college, Queenie, Lannie, Lea, Monica and Shenae. I did "make your own sushi handrolls." For some reason, I thought that 6 of us would need 15 cups of rice. We maybe ate 3 cups. Monica made Korean-style spinach, with garlic, green onion, sesame oil, lemon and sesame seeds. We had nori (seaweed), avocado, cucumber, tuna sashimi, kaiware (radish sprouts), and crab for the handrolls, edamame, furikake rice ball appetizers, pickled cucumbers, made salted cucumbers (cut and add salt), chirashi rice (rice mixed with vegetables), barley tea. We laughed about the old days and played "remember when" all evening. We (not me) shared a bottle of wine and sat around the table, ate and hung out like grown women, almost 20 years later. I spent the day cleaning the house. It might be the first time in years I entertained without Tony doing all the cooking. I liked it. So now, I have a clean house and a whole lotta rice.
Saturday, 11:45 pm - Click here to comment:

July 10 - Calming Detox Wrap
In the last 24 hours, the number of people who signed the No Jail in Little Tokyo petition more than doubled. I just checked, it's at 2,990! A quick glance at the names, and I saw my dad, old friends, two 2nd cousins, a few first cousins, friends of family, and many more. I got about 6 emails forwarded to me to sign the petition.

I was totally stressed out at work today. I was almost hyperventilating at the amount of work yet to be done. Tonight, I went with Laura to the spa in West Hollywood, courtesy of my friend Lily, who bought me a series of visits for an early birthday and Christmas present. Laura got a facial and I got a the calming detox wrap. It was pretty great. They wrapped me up like a burrito in hot linens soaked in "exotic herbs" (camomile and eucalyptus). I got a quick shoulder, neck and foot massage. Aahhhhh. Afterwards, we sat in the jacuzzi and sauna... I felt so relaxed and tingly.
Thursday, 11:45 pm - Click here to comment:

July 9 - No Jail in Little Tokyo!
I've been a little under the weather. Either got a quick flu or food poisoning. Luckily, I'm feeling much better now. Anyways, last month I blogged about the Jail in Little Tokyo that Tony and many others have been organizing against. There's a new e-petition circulating. I signed it yesterday, and was #243. I was surprised that so few people had signed it. But! I just checked it a little bit ago, and since yesterday, it has grown to 1326 signatures. Join us in letting the City know that we, the people, oppose the LA City proposal for a new LAPD headquarters, 500+ bed Jail, and Emergency Operations Center located next to the century old Nishi Hongwanji Buddhist Temple, due to security, noise, traffic and disruption concerns, and lack of community involvement in the planning process. Help us envision what we want for Little Tokyo, speak out so that J-town has a voice. Twin Towers is already 2 blocks away from Little Tokyo. We don't need another stinkin' jail.

Arts not jails! Here's a little perspective: While the California Arts Council is almost completely eliminated, the only line item in the state budget that increased was prison spending. We are asking for a mere $20 million for the Arts in California for a year. The proposed jail/combo facility is between $400 and $700 million. How about using a fraction of that amount to fund the arts. Please sign the Petition at http://www.PetitionOnline.com/LAJtown and leave me a comment below and let me and others know you did!
Wednesday, 11:00 pm - Click here to comment:

July 5 - Detroit Chinatown Mural
One of our reasons for going to Detroit in June was to help design the Chinatown Mural with Detroit Summer. While there, we met with students from U of M and youth from Detroit Summer to envision the theme of the mural; the 40th anniversary of Martin Luther King's first "I Have a Dream" speech and march down Woodward (a block away), the 20th anniversary of Vincent Chin's killing (also on Woodward Avenue) and his mother Lily's struggle for justice, the freeways that destroyed Black Bottom, Paradise Valley, the original Chinatown, and the vision for revitalizing Detroit's Chinatown. Tony came home, worked all week on the mural design and finished early this morning. We just fedexed the grid designs and color comps to Detroit. Below is a small black & white version, with links to the color comps.

Saturday, 5:00 pm - Click here to comment:

July 4 - Back in Detroit
I spent a week in Massachusetts in June, then I flew to Detroit to meet Tony there, my fourth year participating with Detroit Summer. We stayed four days at Dobson House, a B&B in historic Corktown, near the abandoned Tiger Stadium. During that time, we went to Detroit's Chinatown, helped paint a building for the revitalization of Chinatown and in preparation for Grace Lee Boggs' 88th Birthday party. Performers included Long Hairz Collective, Emily Lawsin, Invincible, the Daughters of Hakama, and much more. The next day, we went to the 40th anniversary event of the book, The American Revolution: Pages from a Negro Worker's Notebook, by Jimmy Boggs. Here are some photos from the trip, and a poem that Tony wrote while waiting for me in the airport.

Detroit Poem for Jenni #1
by Tony 6/25/03
From top: Emily performs, painted wall in Chinatown, Tony, Grace & Jenni at UU Church community dinner
From top: Grace with Ossie Davis, Tony & Shea at Avalon Breads, Jenni painting

Waiting for flight 1177
Touch down to touching you
Call it Detroit Summer--Lovin

5:37 pm, airport hum, carousels walking circles--what a terrible life
Not like ours,
full of adventure: Havana, Las Rocas, Moses Lake,
Diamond Head, Kona, Vegas, Mammoth... Japan?

5:49 pm, waiting for you
to cross this cold beige floor

5:51 pm, waiting to see you smile from 150 feet so I can enjoy watching you
for the next 149

5:55 pm, you're just about
to touch down
and I can feel it

6:06 pm, a week apart
among all these people
will we find each other again?

6:15 pm, of course... And there you are!

Friday, 12:30 pm - Click here to comment:

July 1 - Eight is Great!

Today is me and T's 8 year anniversary since our first (and last) date. So far it's been a great eight years together. This is a series of poems he wrote during those early days. Happy anniversary, love you honeybunches of oats.

Could She/She Did by Tony Osumi
Camping Trip at Edison Lake

(May 1995)
Do you think
she could
laugh with me
naked
during the middle of the day

uncovered and proud
her consciousness showing

I hope so

(June 1995)
They kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed and kissed...
for years

(July 1995)
an Asian woman
comfortable with herself

and spreading the word

in her heart she spells
Amerika with a K
saving C for Camp

he’s been born again
the year 1995
with one last lover

Peace. Out.
Tuesday, 11:50 am - Click here to comment:


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