Monday, January 11, 2010

I have moved...

I have moved into my new spot at WordPress. It's still very messy and not really ready to invite all my friends yet, but I won't be updating this space at Blogger for sure.

My new blog is at

Hope to see you there!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Girls Night Mixer

Last Friday I have attended this amazing event-Girls Night Mixer organized by Veronique da Silva, very talented photographer.
I tried to remember how I "met" Veronique. I cannot remember for sure, but I think it was on Twitter(not surprising). Somebody must have Tweeted about the last Girls Night Mixer and I was immediately interested. I love meeting new people-and if it's a group of strong, inspiring women-who would not want to meet them?

As soon as I found out about the mixer I messaged Veronique and she immediately put me on her mailing list and told me that I would hear from her when the next mixer is announced.

Since then, she has hooked me up with very interesting project -making Chanel style crocodile clutches out of Origami-but I will need an entirely different blog post on that!

Anyhow, I have been eagerly waiting for the next mixer and when it was finally announced to be on November 27th-I RSVPed right away. Later Veronique told me I was the first to respond. :)

75 spots were immediately sold out.

The event was also a fundraiser for Bridges for Women-a local NPO to support women with histories with any kind of abuse. There were raffles, as well as donation box.
The venue was fantastic Union Pacific -This was my first time there but I am sure I will go back often from now on.

When I walked in the door I was immediately greeted by beautiful Veronique-this was my second time actually seeing her in person and I had not realized how tall she was! (I'm only about 5'1)
The room was filled with fabulously dressed women and great energy. I don't usually care for "mixers" -often people are on a mission to network for sales and it's a major turn off for me, but this night was different-all amazing women who felt strongly about making a difference.

It was also great to finally meet Nicole Sims-I met her through Twitter as well, and I've tweeted with her and seen her photos, but this was the first time we met, and I am really glad we did. We hit it off right away. She is friendly, funny, and seemed very genuine.
She helped Veronique with this event all along with her amazing graphic design. She did a small speech about how she met Veronique-totally by chance, and wasn't even in Victoria-but that's how almost all the amazing connections happen. This is why I believe there is no such thing as coincidence...

Another person I was looking forward to meet in person was Beth-she blogs here and I really enjoyed her post about how women have confidence in others but not for herself.
Does this sound familiar to you? So true, isn't it?
My mantra these days is "believe"-My favorite quote I use in my email signature is this ;
"Believe it can be done. When you believe something can be done, really believe, your mind will find the ways to do it. Believing a solution paves the way to solution."- Dr. David Schwartz
I used the idea of this quote and really trying to believe in myself-and also REALLY believe in what I want to accomplish. Don't listen to your negative tape in your head that says that you are not good enough, or this is too hard for you-who said that, anyway?
It's just you keep playing the tape over and over again in the auto-repeat.
I really had a good chat about it with Beth. Thanks for the great conversation.

For the raffles I've donated Babes Go Bare For Cancer calendars-project led by yet another amazing woman Trish-hopefully the raffle winners can spread the words about the campaign.
Please visit Babes Go Bare For Cancer website for more info, and please buy the calendar.
These are very brave, strong women posed for the cause-their stories are all amazing.
ALL the proceeds will go to BC Cancer Foundation. You can buy it online from the website, or you can buy them at Rocky Mountain Soap Company in Mayfair mall.

Being a mom, I'm usually exhausted by 9pm. But I managed to stay awake until midnight-woo hoo! Thank you so much for organizing this amazing event-you truly are an inspiration Veronique! Can't wait for the next one.

More photos from the event done by professional Jenna
is here. Fantastic photos!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Just so you know..

It's been so long since I've posted on this blog. I'm sure many of you can relate, but I'm having hard time finding the time to blog. Holidays are fast approaching and work keeps piling up. Sadly, blogging is not so high on my never-ending To-Do List.

But that doesn't mean I don't want to blog. I attended WordCamp on November 14th.(It just took me about 10 minutes to find exactly WHEN the WordCamp was-wasn't written on my calendar right next to my desk-WTH? Had to look it up online-how lame am I?)

WordCamp is a camp about WordPress...until I heard of this event, I didn't really know what WordPress was...I was happily using this blogger blog. But apparently WordPress is the way to go.
I was quite intimidated by the idea of going to the camp. I'm not a developer nor do I need to use WordPress for my business. I was just curious. I tweeted about it and found there were few beginners attending the camp as well and that ultimately made my decision.
You know the saying "Do one thing everyday that scares you"? This was my one thing, that day.
So off I went to University Canada West on the bitterly cold day.

All the guest speakers were great and I learned so much. Tris Hussey's talk was particularly useful. His talk was titled "Extra Tools Every Blogger Should Have"-he noted tons of tools such as RSS readers and image editing tools that I had never even heard of.
As an always time-crunched person(I have about max 10 minutes on my computer before my toddler comes to grab the keyboard), not having to do all the research was great-he just said "These are the best ones-pick any" His talk is summarized here if you are interested. To be perfectly honest I didn't know who he was(sorry!)-this was the first time I heard his name-shows how much a beginner blogger I am-but I REALLY enjoyed his talk! Thank you Tris.

Another talk I enjoyed was by Dr. Raul Pacheco-Vega AKA @hummingbird604 on Twitter. Him, I follow on Twitter and exchanged conversations here and there. I was looking forward to seeing him as I could tell he has such a colorful personality. And of course he did not disappoint.
Someone on Twitter mentioned that his talk was not suitable for young audiences-I say! It was a time full of laughter.

I also learned about domain name registration by Paul Holmes at DotCanuck.
So the day after the camp I went straight to DotCanuck website and did a search for my domain....I have kind of an unusual name so luckily my name wasn't taken.
So yes, now I am the proud(?) owner of!

I still need to set up my WordPress and very kind Paul had given me his staff Peter's contact info so that he can help me.
Yes I have emailed him, and Peter had called me, but I haven't got a time to call him back! Craziness. So please wait few more days(ahem, maybe weeks) before my new blog is ready. Meanwhile I will continue to mumble here at blogger.

Happy Blogging!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Run for the Cure 2009

Today was a great day. It was a day for Run for the Cure. I have never been a runner, and I always said that I hated running, yet somehow this was my 3rd year participating.

One of the reason I managed to continute participating is because this is for a great cause-breast cancer awareness and fundraising. I always felt strongly about raising money for the cure and research-not because I am a heroine, but just because breast cancer is just way too close to me. I know too many people who are affected by this desease, I simply could not feel like this was somebody else's business.

Another reason I participate is because it's not an official "run", and you can "walk" if you want to...and it's only 5K.*shrug* You start at 9am, and in most cases you are finished by 10am. You can go home and enjoy the rest of the day! Since I "hated" running, this was ideal.

Our team this year was called "Awesome Mommies"-that's the mom's group I belong to here in Victoria- and one of the members, Shelley suggested we form a team and run!

We had 15 members in the team. We did great with fundraising-we raised over $3800!! However, we NEVER met as a team to practice the run. You know, we are pretty awesome mommies, but we are also busy mommies...and we never had a chance to meet once.

So we were to practice the run "on our own" whenever we had time....well, I didn't practice AT ALL. Yup. Nada. I know I'm repeating myself but I hated running. And the wearher was kinda yucky. And my son was cranky. Yup. All kinds of excuses.

The day before the run, I was getting nervous and tried to go for a run with my mommy friend Kate. We texted back and forth-her son was napping, and then my son was napping, and she had errands to run and I had to go to the mall. There, our time was gone like that. Kate's fine, as she does Bootcamp. She's fit. But not me. I was starting to get uneasy.

In addition, my husband I went to a party that night. *gasp* It was a friend's 40th birthday and we could not miss that. I was the DD so I didn't drink, but still, by the time we got home it was 11pm and I was exhausted.

So, since I was so not at all prepared to run, I could have easily settled for walking. In fact, many moms in the team were going to walk. But something inside me was telling me that I should "try" running. At least try it....

As some of you know, I'm an avid tweeter, and I met tons of awesome people there. Recently I met(well, online) lots of great moms from Yummy Mummy Club. Most of them are in Ontario, but we chat almost every day-I'm starting to feel like I really know these moms. There are several runners in YMC-I enjoyed reading Candace's blog about how she did in the 15K run, and I always admired Kelli's "I'm off for a run!" Tweets. I was wishing I was a runner just like them...hahaha.

Just few days ago, I discovered Jill's blog and read her profile and it just hit me. (Her profile is on the right hand side) I always thought I hated running, I really know I hate it for sure?
Have I really given running a chance? I really liked the last sentence in her profile-"Instead of running away, I run." I got to confess, you inspired me to do this Jill.

I know several avid runners(like Tori-You have to read her post here on why she is running the Royal Victoria Marathon) and I know this is ONLY brother in law and his wife are triathlete for god's sake. For them what I'm doing is a baby walk I'm sure. But it was important for me I run.

So I did. I ran with Shelley. Wasn't sure if I could talk and run at the same time, but we managed. Last two times on the course, it felt like forever to see the "2K" sign. Today, before I know it, we were at 3K sign. There is a very gentle slope on the way back, and to me it always felt like "heartbreak hill"-but today it was okay.
And just like that, Shelley and I finished. We were slow runners-no doubt about that-but we didn't stop once.

I was amazed at myself and felt so inspired! That is an amazing feeling.

I wan to thank all the runners who inspired me-Kelli, Jill, Candace, Tori, and Shelley. I think I will start running again. Not running away, I run. :)

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Victoria Twestival

Last night was Victoria's first Twestival-a fundraising event for Power To Be which provides outdoor recreation programs to disadvantaged children and their families. Great cause.

In case you don't know this already, I spend ALOT of time online. I work from home, so whenever I have time I'm on Twitter, chatting with other people. I have circle of tweeple I became pretty close to, some don't even live in my city.

Having online friends used to suggest you didn't have many friends in real life. But now it's so accessible, REGULAR people communicate and make friends online too.

Still, I was feeling a bit shy about this Twestival-there have been bunch of Tweetups happening in Victoria in the last few months but I haven't been able to go to any of them. My hubby is away a lot for business, and having two kids(one is a baby)-you know, things happen.

So I asked my super outgoing friend Cathy to come along with me. Great thing about her is even if she doesn't do Twitter(I'm plotting to bring her into this world soon), when I asked her if she wanted to come to this Twitter event...she said SURE! I love open minded people.

I've got tickets for me and Cathy and we were all set-until unfortunately she had to cancel due to a mandatory meeting she had to

Now I was left with an extra ticket. What to do? Of course, I tweeted about it! Several people ReTweeted(RT) for me, and voila! I had a date for the night. This guy named Jason. We didn't know(follow) each other, but he's in Victoria, he is a movie critic. Cool. So I started following him.
(Of course, on Twitter...not literally...I don't have time to stalk people anyway)

I was a bit nervous to go to the event alone...but I'm a big girl, I can handle it. I left my kids with my hubby and off I went.

When I got there close to 8pm, there were lots of people mingling and music playing. Didn't recognize anybody at first, I went to line up for the bar(ya, I needed a drink!). Out came this gorgeous lady in black, she stopped me and said "Are you Yukari?!" That was @Jody_Nodes. She had this sassy wig and fabulous dress and accesories. She recently wrote a book about how to build your own website. Her friendlyness calmed me down and I was ready to mingle!

I chatted with @freshleafdesign-she makes this fantastic corsets for pillows-you have to see it-and it was great to finally meet @FootButterGuy. He owns Rockey Mountain Soap Company here in Victoria. I had some questions about "natural" body products shops and he answered my questions brilliantly. Thank you.

Met whole bunch of other interesting people-all the people I tweet with all the time, but it was so nice to actually meet and talk-there's no 140 letters limit here!!

Had an interesting conversation with @jordan_keats. Twitter is so great to get lots of info-but as a busy mom-and you know what, not just me, EVERYBODY is busy-sometimes I suffer from information overload-blogs to read, let alone writing your own, news to catch up, video you must watch, PSA to RT, etc is hard, if you want to promote something on Twitter, as it kinda gets buried in all the other people's posts. I do my best and "favourite" certain posts and TRY to get to them later, but sometimes that doesn't even happen. So how to reach people? Good question. We agreed how not to self-promo too much and instead giving-(we mutually follow @unmarketing so his name came up:) )is one of the ways.

I've been reading Malcom Gladwell. Right now I'm reading "Blnk"-so my brain is in "Gladwell mode"-it almost makes me wonder if there's a difference between blogs that get read and those not get read... there must be. Unfortunately I don't know the difference.

Anyhow, it was really great to finally meet everybody, and I would love to do this again!
Thank you so much for all the organizers who worked so hard on this event.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I'm packing for our family trip to Ontario. Nothing too exciting, just visiting husby's family there. It's not a big city like T.O. so we won't be doing much. But the kids will be looked after by the grandparents so I am hoping to spend lots of quality time with myself, oh, and with my husband. ;)
Anyhow, I am wondering if there's any good small gift I can take to the family back east-like something you can only get in Victoria, or in BC...something light,easy to pack, and says "Thanks for having us from Victoria BC! :)" you know?

In Japan it's called OMIYAGE(Souvenir) and it's a big part of Japanese culture.
When you go away, you are practically expected to buy souvenirs for everybody.

When my mom came to visit from Japan last year, she spent half the time here looking for OMIYAGE for her neighbors, friends, and even for classmates in her Chinese Language Class(about 15 of them!).
She said lots of her classmates were older than her, thus have more money and they travels often-to China, Taiwan, Korea etc... and every time they bring souvenir back to the classmates. So my mom now HAS TO bring something back from Canada. Oh the pressure!

We went to many souvenir stores on Government Street, but getting 15-20 key chains that says "Victoria, BC" was obviously not ideal. Who wants them anyway?
I personally think that whenever possible, a souvenir should be something consumable.
Only exception for me was the time a friend got me a little Eiffel tower key chain from Paris(I've never been to Paris but I know for sure there are million little shops that sell Eiffel Tower key chains but this is just so pretty to look at don't you think?-NOT a plastic orca that says "Victoria, BC")

My mom agreed to this and she started looking at maple syrup. But again, those things are so heavy. Then she found maple cookies.
I said, "I actually know some Japanese friends who buy this stuff every time they go back to Japan as these are so popular"... It's true. Except she buys them at grocery stores. Anyway, my mom liked the idea and we decided to get cookies.

After looking at the shelf for a while, my mom goes "So, how many cookies are in this package?"
Me: (Look at the label) "It says 24."
Mom: "Is it individually wrapped?"
Me: " When you open, you will see 24 cookies lying in the bag"
Mom: "......."
Mom: "Isn't there a such thing like OMIYAGE cookie box set here?"

In Japan, we tend to over-wrap things. Everything comes in an individual packaging, and then in a box or a bag, and then when you buy it, store clerk will warp it neatly with another wrapping paper, puts a bow on it, and then put it in a store bag. It's a huge waste of material and it's ridiculous. But the only time I appreciate it is when you are looking for OMIYAGE.

For example, let's say you live and work in Tokyo, but you go on a little trip to Nagasaki(that's where I'm from)...while you are there, enjoying the time, you decide you need to buy some souvenirs for your colleagues. After all, they are still working, covering your job while you are on vacation. You don't want to spend too much money, but you want to show them your appreciation. This is when OPMIYAGE box set comes in handy.

In this case you are in Nagasaki-a place the A-bomb was dropped, but it's also known for Loquat
(Japanese plum-it's delicious by the way). So, every souvenir shop has many different kind of sweets using the fruit. Loquat jelly, Loquat candy, Loquat cookies, you name it.

And the best thing is, most of them come in a pack of 12 or 24, all individually wrapped, and in a box. So when you come home, you just take the box to your office, and leave the box open in the coffee room with a note saying "I had a great time in Nagasaki. Here's a little something I got there. Please take one. " Everyone in the office will enjoy the taste of Nagasaki Loquat-at their desk or at the comfort of their own home-since it's wrapped you can take it home you see- and everybody think of you as a thoughtful person. It's a win-win situation.

Sure, you can buy a bag of cookies at local grocery store and take it back home as souvenir, but it just doesn't show that you CARE, does it?

It is going to make all the Japanese tourists so happy if Tourism Victoria decides to promote this idea. Souvenir companies should start making OMIYAGE packs.

By the way, Vancouver's Japanese-run souvenir shops already have these. It's not a new idea at all. It's just here in Victoria, something so simple can come to us so slowly.....

Only exception will be Chocolates like Rogers, as they come in a box. But then, some Japanese people find North American chocolate too rich and sweet. (I have no problem with it-hand me the box)

Well. Enough about Japanese OMIYAGE. I am looking for an equivalent in Victoria BC.

I just wish places like...Murchie's/Pure Vanilla/Patisserie Danielle etc etc would make boxed cookies and baked goods. Things like Cream Puffs and Danishes will be squished and won't taste good after a long flight. Cookies or maybe muffins might work. Something delish you can only get in Victoria BC! Wouldn't it make a great souvenir?

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Cats of Mirikitani

I belong to a group called Victoria Nikkei Cultural Society-VNCS. The group consists of mostly 2nd generation Japanese Canadians, but there are some first generations, and Canadians, and Japanese, like me.

Thursday night was apparently their 1st "Movie Night"-I became a member fairly recently, so I did not know this was their first time. Anyhow, I posted the info on my Mixi(Japanese SNS) but nobody seemed too interested. So, I went by myself.

We watched two movies. First one was very short documentary on Akebono cherry blossom tree in Vancouver's Oppenheimer Park. The tree was planted by first generation Japanese settlers in Vancouver area.

Second one was "The Cats of Mirikitani" another documentary on Jimmy Mirikitani, a homeless artist in NYC. Filmmaker Linda Hattendorf befriends him, and after the 911 she finds him still drawing on the street, and invites him into her aprtment to live.

Jimmy is 80 year old Japanese American-he keeps saying "Born in Sacramento, California" which means that he is an American. He is an artist, and throughout the film we can see many many pictures done by him.

Through Linda's questions to Jimmy through the camera, we learn little by little about him.

At first I thought this was just a "hey, let's get to know this homeless guy" kinda film. Well, I don't know there's any other movie like that, but, I didn't really EXPECT to find out a lot of exciting/important details about this Jimmy guy. I know this sounds completely rude, but at first I thought he is one of those cheerful, but a little looney street people.

I'm happy to say that I was wrong, and we learn that he was in a internment camp during the war. He has almost phogoraphic memory of where he lived and he draws pictures of the camp again and again.

I don't want to give away too much details of the film as I think you should really watch it, but Linda tries to help him get a social security number and she starts sort of a research as to what happened to Jimmy's identity and his family. Then we learn a lot about this artist.

I'm a bit embarrased but I cried watching this-considering the night's crowd was consisted of many 1st and 2nd gereneration Japanese I am sure many did too. Jimmy talk about how terrible it is to be sent to the camp and lose his family. He also talks about friends who died there...

I am not a Canadian Japanese, I wasn't born here. I'm Japanese and came to Canada merely 10 years ago and sometimes it's considered a long time. But I'm ashamed to say I know almost nothing about the
history of the first generation Japanese people who came to Vancouver area. And this film made me realize that.

I highly recommend this film.