Don’t Mess with the Midnight Cowboy

Jul 28th, 2014 Celebrity Encounters, Family & Friends, Work Douglas 1 min read

Remarkably, I never considered the possibility that my day would begin with a lecture from the Midnight Cowboy on proper familial noms de guerre but that’s exactly what happened. Never one to pass up on a free meal, I jumped at the chance to join my employer, Dr. Shell, and actor Jon Voight for breakfast. Their conversation ranged from health care, politics, to Jon’s latest…

Discovering the Code of Life

May 19th, 2012 Family & Friends, Genealogy Douglas 1 min read

We live in a remarkable age in which the average man can now gain access to his very code of life. Today I received my DNA results from 23andMe. $250 to learn that I’m a white male, of European descent, oh and with wet earwax.

Playing with Food

Nov 24th, 2008 Culinary Wonders, Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Fascinated by its tentacles, I couldn’t look away as my mother in law (“Okaasan”) prepared the squid for dinner. Their curled limbs were covered with little suction cups which caused me to wonder aloud whether they would still stick to things. My wife, Yumi, considered this question ridiculous.”It’s food, not a toy.” Okaasan also dismissed the notion. “They’re cooked and would never stick.” I was…

Okaasan Birthday Gift

Nov 23rd, 2008 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

It was final. My father in law (“Otousan”) was NOT going to drive us. He suggested instead that we just stay home and celebrate Okaasan’s birthday here at the house. The kids were disappointed. They really wanted to take their Obaachan out but he wanted to get nice and drunk. Everyone agreed to my suggestion that we take the bus. By the time the women…

The Beach

Nov 11th, 2008 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

My Japanese uncle is in remarkable shape for a man of seventy-five. During our stay here in Kochi, He has spent most days fishing with the kids, picking yuzu and nights drinking; alternating between sake and beer. Tonight, after a few pours, I found him hovering over a stack of photos depicting scenes from his youth. Ojichan (uncle) paused on a particular image and longingly…

All About the Bride

Nov 9th, 2008 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

Kochi no Obachan (our aunt from Kochi) entered the room with a stack of photo albums that had once belonged to Yumi’s obaachan (grandmother) before she passed away. The albums were almost as old as Obaachan’s two-hundred-year-old house where we were spending the weekend. I eagerly poured through the pages, asking many questions as Yumi translated. I was excited to discover an entire album dedicated…

Family of Bootleggers

Nov 9th, 2008 Family & Friends, Travel Douglas 1 min read

It was no idle boast to say that they owned the mountain. And how they ended up with so much land was weighing on my mind as another round of drinks were poured. My wife’s uncle, now 75 years old, explained their samurai roots. In fact, one of the family relics, an ancient sword, was even in his possession as a child. Not realizing its…

Bartering Osaka Style

Jan 18th, 2008 Family & Friends Douglas 1 min read

People from Osaka pride themselves in their ability to barter. While shopping with my father in law (“Otousan”), I was often struck by his aggressive haggling. Not simply going toe to toe with street vendors but any department store was fair game. Imagine walking into your local Best Buy and assuming the sticker price to simply be an opening bid in what would become be…

The Proud Yakuza Mamma

Oct 25th, 2007 Family & Friends Douglas 1 min read

In Japan, there is a term pronounced “oy-yo-baka,” which means stupid parent and used to describe people who brag about their kids. Our story involves one mother who was anything but boastful. As my father in law (“Otousan”) tells it, he was working at an ice cream store when the owner announced that he was going out of business, so Otousan raised money from family…