A Taste of Hawaii

I have never written anything food related in my life but decided that I wanted to do so now to give people a “taste” of life here in Honolulu, Hawaii.  Rather than talking about some fancy dish, I’ll talk about this particular food that we all know and have tried once in our lives…”POPCORN”.

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Most people when they hear the word popcorn, associate it with the movies.  It’s a staple snack that we all like to munch on while we’re watching our favorite flick.   Some are purists that like to eat it plain, while others sprinkle on that cheese or garlic flavored seasoning; the rest just mix it with their favorite candy snack.

Here in Hawaii, what we like to do is to mix MOCHI CRUNCH (KAKIMOCHI) and FURIKAKE or LI HING seasoning with our popcorn.

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Mochi crunch, or kakimochi (kah-kee-moe-chee) as we commonly call it, is a snack originally created in Japan; it’s a type of bite-sized Japanese cracker made from rice and coated with soy sauce.  In Japan it’s normally called arare (ah-rah-ray) or senbei (sen-bay) and it usually comes in different shapes.  It was introduced to Hawaii in the 1900’s by the Japanese plantation workers and has been a staple snack amongst the locals since then.

Furikake (foo-ree-kah-kay) is seaweed diced into tiny flakes mixed with sesame seeds, salt, sugar and seafood flavoring.  It’s usually sprinkled on top of cooked rice for flavoring.

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Li Hing was brought over to Hawaii by the Chinese plantation workers.  Li Hing is dried, pickled plums seasoned in food coloring, licorice, salt and sugar and has also been a life-long snack here in Hawaii.  It’s truly an acquired taste; the best way to describe it is it’s a combination of salty, sweet, sour, tart and tangy.

The coating on the plums is what most of us like the best about eating this snack, so much so, someone had the bright idea to just sell it in powder form.  We usually sprinkle it on fruits, candy and shaved ice to give it added zest; others even concocted drinks with it.

I don’t know who started the trend or when it originated but someone in our lovely state decided to mix the two ingredients with popcorn and voila…it deliciously worked!  The soft crunch of the popcorn, the hard crunch of the kakimochi, the scintillating taste of the li hing powder and the earthy flavor of the furikake…mmm…delicious!  We even have ready made packets so that we don’t have to buy the ingredients separately.

For those who have a sweet tooth, this might not be for you because it’s more on the salty side.  When I say salty, I mean more like when you eat a regular potato chip kind of salty.  But this way of eating popcorn is commonplace in Hawaii when we’re at the movies or even chillin’ on the couch at home watching our favorite TV show.

It might not look too appealing but if you’re ever in Hawaii, give it a try.  I always say, “Try first, complain later.”  You might like it, you might not, either way you can at least tell your friends and family members that you got a little taste of Hawaii.

 

 

To Chase The Dream

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We all have various dreams,

some big and some small

Achieving them within our lifetime

is a most daunting task of all

 The failures, the pain,

the constant agony of defeat

Tests our will, our strength and resolve,

it knocks us off our feet

 Constantly trying and failing

is one of the best lesson we’ll get

It develops our drive, determination and passion

improves our successful living skill set

 Learning never stops

we have to grow everyday

Acquiring new and interesting knowledge

helps our dream get underway

 The grind towards the dream continues on,

it’s a path difficult and unclear

We must grit our teeth, head straight-forward

and show that we have no fear

 Our dream will never end

and in our hearts we must be true

To reach our goal, our life-long love

we must persevere and see it through

 So when you’re chasing your dream,

dig deep and give it your all

In the end you’ll fulfill your goal,

you can be proud and stand tall.

Midlife Reflections #2

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I look back on my life and take stock in what I’ve done and who I’ve become.  The one thing that I take most pride in is my ability to be a good listener.

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I’ve always felt that if a person takes the time to tell you something of importance, then you should respect that and give your undivided attention to what he/she has to say.  I try to listen without judgement and really hear the other person’s words.

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Too many times we’ve had and “A & B” conversation with someone but somehow ended up with “B” starting another conversation with “C & D” who just happened to pass by.  At that point, you kind of feel irrelevant and try to uncomfortably slink away without being noticed.

In my case, I stay there like a complete doofus because of some sort of self-responsibility to finish what was started.  AND when “B” returns back to the original conversation, the whole vibe is gone.

In my mind’s eye, I felt as if I was not important enough to hold your attention when I was unloading my feelings, advice and thoughts.

It is for that reason, in any conversation, that I look the other person in the eye and soak in what they’re telling me even if an outside party acknowledges me.  My focus on the person is steadfast.  This art of listening is something that I’m trying to instill in my children.

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As the days and months go by, life seems to tick away as if it were mere seconds on a clock.  Time is precious.  So when someone needs to talk to you, be there for them…and listen as if they’re the only person left on this planet.

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Forever Strong

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We wish good times would last,

that feeling of no tomorrow,

but we know that’s not the case

How does one stay strong

in the midst of the dark

When your life is riddled with

change,

crisis,

death,

tragedy,

pain,

heartache

We try to summon every ounce of

faith,

hope,

love,

courage,

support,

even false bravado

to overcome our trials and tribulations

We will never know how strong we are

until strong is the only choice we have

In the end if we do this, we’ll be

resilient in hard times,

fearless of the unknown,

eternally optimistic,

steadfast in our mind’s eye,

and

forever strong.

Midlife Reflections

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Back when I was much younger and starting out in the workforce, I used to think that a good paying job was the endgame to being happy and successful in life.  All that consumed me was trying to work for a company where I could climb that corporate ladder to a six figure salary; I was young, naive and dreamed big.  Little did I know that “all that glitters is not gold”.

I’ve seen people in good paying jobs but miserable as heck.  And I’ve seen the opposite, some in okay paying jobs but loving every minute of it.

Regardless of pay, we need to be happy in our jobs.  Why you may ask?  Since we spend three-quarters of the day at our place of employment, it stands to show that it’s like our second home with our second family.

If we can’t be happy there, then those feelings sometimes get transposed into our home lives.  We may not do that intentionally but it happens.  Life is too short to be miserable and stressed out.

In my current stage in life, I’ve come to the realization that life is meant to be enjoyed to its fullest.  After enduring the trials and tribulations of working many jobs, I only now know that if you’re not happy or enjoying what you do, find something that will.  Better late than never, right?

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This newfound wisdom is something that I impart on my children constantly.  So the next time you’re out job hunting, rather than asking yourself “how much does it pay?”, ponder on whether it’s something that you would “love” or “enjoy” doing for the rest of your life.  If you choose to follow the latter path, the pay will come.  Work for love, not money.

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You’re Grounded! Write Me A Story!

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The other day as I was walking through the local mall, I saw a mother unabashedly scolding her son.  He looked like he was about 9 or 10 years of age and completely embarrassed by the staring eyes of the mall’s patrons.

When the mother’s tirade ended, she forcefully grabbed her son’s arm and stormed away.  This scene was reminiscent of my childhood and all I could think of was what was in store for the boy when he gets home.

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I remembered whenever I did something bad, my parents would give me a good scolding and ground me.  “YOU CAN’T GO OUT AND PLAY AND NO TV FOR A WEEK!” is what my mom usually bellowed.  Back in my time, this was painful; I didn’t have the luxuries that the kids have nowadays.

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Being “grounded” meant just staying in my room doing nothing.  At that time there were no such things as cable TV, cellphones or video games.  All that I could do to pass the time away was listen to AM radio stations (because there weren’t any FM at that time).

Now whenever I did something “REALLY” bad, like playing with matches and burning things, I got a healthy dose of spankings.  My mother would get “the belt” and teach me an unforgettable lesson.

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Please don’t think bad of my mom; she’s the most kindest and caring person in the world.  Some of the terrible things I did as a young boy were REALLY BAD…trust me.  Remember, I grew up in a time when this was perfectly acceptable or “PC.”  Your neighbors and even teachers were allowed to do the same if you got way out of line…boy how times have changed.

As I was growing up, I wondered how I would discipline my children if they ever did something bad.  Well, cut to present day…as a parent of two, I decided to go the unconventional route.

When my children were young and did something bad, I made them write me a story and then read it to me and my wife.

“Don’t worry about grammar or spelling, just write me a story” is what I would tell them.

“What do you want us to write about?” my children would reply.

My answer, “Anything!  Just write me a story!”

For some unknown reason, this punishment really stressed them out.  Secretly I think that they would have rather been scolded or grounded.

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For the longest time, they would stare at a blank page and wrack their brains to come up with anything.  Their stories were simple at first but in time, they got to be more and more creative.  Their speaking skills improved as well.

Don’t get me wrong, they still got a good scolding if they did something really bad but I felt that I wanted to try and bring out their creativity at an early age.

This punishment benefitted them during their early school years and were recognized by their teachers whenever we had our annual parent-teacher conference.

Now that my kids are teenagers, this punishment is way too easy for them.  I need to come up with a whole new game plan.  Maybe I’ll make them come up with a dance choreography…yeah, I’ll do that!

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Life’s Haikus

The road may be dark

But always look for the light

Never give up

 

Life’s full of unknowns

You are stronger than you think

Always forge ahead

 

 Laughter exudes joy

Enjoy life to its fullest

Make precious moments

 

  Be with your loved ones

Make love spring eternal bliss

Let you heart explode

 

 Live with no regrets

Challenge yourself constantly

New things await you