Thursday, November 25, 2010

#132- Friends, Food, Fun

On Thanksgiving Eve: With Vegetable & Swedish dips, Red Wine and Sweets, I had a nice evening at Marie’s home. It was a farewell party for Lauren (Marie’s friend).

Lauren speaks Japanese and she wanted to meet me before she leaves Los Angeles with her husband, so I got invited to a get together with them. She is so smart and fun. I am so glad that I met her before she is going away…I told her that we can write emails to each other in Japanese.

Marie has nice friends. Her other great Swedish friend, Liz is also smart and fun.

It was nice evening with talk + drink until mid night. Marie’s husband is so sweet, he took some pictures of us.

At the end, I asked Marie, “Where are you guys(she and her husband) going for Thanksgiving tomorrow?” She said, “We are going to have a Thanksgiving dinner at Quincy Jones’s house”. I was surprised and said, “What??? Are you guys still keeping in touch with him?” I was surprised that Marie’s husband’s sister is ex wife of Quincy Jones, but they are still having Thanksgiving together. So nice! Even though after divorce, they still get together and they are friends. (I don’t think I can see this kind of relationships in Japan…)

American spirit/heart is so beautiful!

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On Thanksgiving Day: At Keasha’s mom(Galia)’s home. It was sweet + fun Thanksgiving dinner with 19 people.

Keasha and Galia (Keasha’s mom) have wonderful family!!! I always have precious time with them.

Keasha: My best friend from Entrepreneur Media Inc.(Keasha and I used to work together for Entrepreneur magazine.) She is one of the smartest friends. She is so intelligent, kind, beautiful and fun. I am so glad that she is my friend.

Galia: Oh…she is a perfect woman. I always enjoy looking around her house. Everywhere, everything…soooooooo perfect! Yes, she is a perfectionist!!! She is a former school teacher, so she knows how to teach people. I learned so many things from her from how to cook to how to love men :) (She has a nice boyfriend/husband, Ernie.)

Ernie: Musician and Galia’s boyfriend/husband. He is so sweet. He is perfect for Galia and my favorite person.

John: Oh…another favorite person. Of course, Keasha’s husband. He is very kind, sweet and intelligent like Keasha. They are soooooooo perfect couple.

Johnathan: John and Keasha’s son. He is so cute. He has such a fun energy.

Kyle (Keasha’s brother/Galia’s son): He is so sweet that he helped Galia’s cooking and trash today. I want to show his work to Japanese men in Japan. American men are the best! By the way, he has a tutoring service business, if you need some education or computer learning help, let me know, he can help you!

Nonnie (Donna) and Papa(George): Johnathan’s grandparents. Nonnie has such a positive power and always fun to be around. Papa is quiet, but he has such a nice smile. Johnathan has three of grandparents, lucky him!

Berthann: John’s mom and grandmother of Johnathan. She is a very elegant woman.

Today, when I arrived at Galia’s house, Galia said to me, “You are the first one!”

Forget about fashionably late…I am Japanese. I always on time or too early…(I always leave my home early just in case…)

So, I asked Galia, “Can I help you?”

Yes, I got a job as an assistant of Galia! I unwrapped candles packages & lighted candles and helped to bake corn bread.

When we (18 people) were ready to eat, we stand in a circle hand in hand and pray (speech by Ernie). It was so wonderful to connect to each other before dinner. So spiritual and warm…I love this family!

Food was amazing! Two pounds of food I ate within a couple of hours (When I came home, I gain two pounds).

First round: Turkey (white & dark meat both) with cranberry sauce and gravy, Turkey Breast Roulade with Apple and Raisin Stuffing, Smoked Ham, Candied Yams, Stuffing, Green Beans and Potato, Beans, Collard Greens, Corn Bread, Macaroni and Cheese, Deviled Eggs, Spiced Cranberry Cider Spice and Apple Cider…(I think I ate something more…but I can’t remember…I can’t think, I am still full!)

Second round: Oh…I was so stuffed, but I wanted to taste the best two items again/ Galia’s Candied Yams and Keasha’s Macaroni and Cheese. I guess, I can be a specialist of Candied Yams (see my old blog on Nov 12, 2010). P.S. Galia said, “There is no recipe for this candied yams, I just made it!” Oh…I wish I can see her brain during she was making candied yams… :)

Third round: Berthann’s Peach Cobbler and Nonnie’s Red Velvet Cupcake.

Forth round: I was going to clean my plate and went to the kitchen, and Janelle(Nonnie’s younger sister) told me, “Yoko, you should try my lemon cake!”, then I got a slice of Lemon Cake.

There were more food, but I couldn’t eat or try anymore…maybe I can try next year! ha ha ha!

By the way, I brought the box of Marzipan (fruit shapes) as a gift, but nobody taste them before or never seen them before…and I gave them wrong information…I said to them, “Do you know traditional Swedish cake made by marzipan? It’s called Princess cake. It’s so good! I think marzipan is from Sweden!” Oh…I googled “Marzipan”, I found out that it originally from Middle East or China.

Anyway, dinner was, wow, everything was soooooooo gooooooood! I loved Keasha’s family Thanksgiving. It was perfect Thanksgiving. Friendship was great, Food was great and it was Fun!

When I see everyone get along each other, it makes me so happy.

End of the dinner, Galia and Keasha asked me, “Yoko, do you want to bring some food to your home?” I said, “I am ok, all food are in my stomach! ha ha ha!” Galia said, “Why don’t you bring Deviled Eggs home?” Oh…she is so sweet! She remembered that I loved her Deviled Eggs. I said to her, “Yes, please! By the way, I am still keeping the recipe of Deviled Eggs from you, but I have not cooked it yet.” Galia said, “Yoko, recipe is for using, not for keeping.”

Me: “Yes, ha ha ha! If I feel like to eat Deviled Eggs, I will come to see you!” (in my mind…!)

I am going to eat Deviled Eggs with Coffee and Blueberry Muffin after Thanksgiving (tomorrow morning).

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Life is beautiful. Thank you my friends and U.S.A.!

I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. (if you are in U.S.A.)

Love,
Yoko

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
Nov 25, 2010

Copyright © 2010 Yoko Fujimoto

Saturday, November 20, 2010

#131- White and Red

Many people (including me) who lost loved ones believe that we can meet our loved ones in the heaven or loved ones are watching us to protect us.

October 25th, when I was watching KTLA Morning News (at 9:00am), I cried with a great story/interview and a comment of an anchor/reporter, Ms. Wendy Burch. The story was about the book, “Visions, Trips, and Crowded Rooms: Who and What You See Before You Die” by David Kessler.

(This KTLA TV interview, you can see at
http://www.ktla.com/videobeta/04ff917c-b21e-4d71-83b5-a4d0e97dbebf/News/KTLA-Watercooler-Buzz-with-David-KesslerNews/KTLA:-Watercooler-Buzz-with-David-Kessler)

As you see, Wendy lost her father when she was 17 years old and at the time she felt peace about her father. It was so nice to hear her story.

Since, I met Wendy in March, 2009 at the fashion show (designer Ms.Galina Sobolev of SINGLE had a private preview fall 2009), I have sent some emails to Wendy and she always emailed me back with nice messages. Since Wendy was on abc7 News, I love her report with her sweet heart.

So after this story on Oct 25th morning, I wrote an email to Wendy:
“Hi Wendy, I just want to say, it was nice to hear about your father's story this morning on KTLA. It was touched...Thank you for sharing. My father passed away on Nov 22, 1994...I didn't have a chance to say good-bye to him...but I might have a chance to say "Hello again!" when I am going to heaven... :) Thank you for the story. You always have great reports and comments on the NEWS program. You always show your beautiful personality as your looks :) Good luck to you! Have a wonderful day. Best, Yoko”

Then same day at night, Wendy wrote me back:
“Hello Yoko, So good to hear from you. I hope you find comfort in being reassured that we have loved one waiting to lead us along the next journey. Be well. WENDY BURCH”

Her email comforted me.

Around the anniversary of my father's death, I always have mixed feelings. Like today’s weather, Rain and Sun, Rain and Sun…

Tomorrow is the day of my late father in Japan(There is a seventeen‐hour time difference between Tokyo and Los Angeles).

The other day, I bought ten stems of violet/purple (I thought they are violet/purple, but when I came home and found out the color of flower was wine red!) and white of gladiolus for the special decoration (with photo, candles, colorful marzipan fruits etc) for my late father.

In Japan, white and red (like the national flag of Japan) combination means celebration and happiness. White is the color of the gods. It is sacred and can represent purity (death and rebirth). White is used at weddings and funerals (for funerals, black and white combination). White is also the color of mourning. Violet/Purple is widely considered to be the color of nobility.

So, I wanted have white and violet/purple color flowers for my late father’s day at my home…

The wine red gladiolus(also seems like, kind of dark pink…),at first I thought, “oh…shoot, should I go back to the store and buy another darker(or blue or sad color) color flowers ???”, then I told myself, “Probably, Papa(my late father) wants some bright color for his day. Let’s celebrate his life in heaven!” (P.S. Wine red/Akamurasaki gladiolus meaning: Fun memory)

My late father loved fashion. He was always well-dressed (he loved Dunhill). After his death, I sometimes smell his Dunhill perfume. Yes, I really believe that he is still around me and I can see him again in the future…

Hello everyone, life is so short, please enjoy your moment with yourself and have fun with your friends and family.

Have a wonderful pre-Thanksgiving weekend and Happy Thanksgiving!

Love,
Yoko

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
Nov 20, 2010

Copyright © 2010 Yoko Fujimoto

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

#130- Perfect Monday

Yesterday, between my breakfast (Scrambled eggs with vegetable, Chocolate cream bread / from Japanese store, Coffee with hazelnut cream + three spoons of sugar) and lunch (Takoyaki / literally fried or grilled octopus, is a popular Japanese dumpling made of whole baby octopus, tempura scraps, pickled ginger, and green onion, topped with okonomiyaki sauce and Japanese mayonnaise), I did meditate (like the book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE) and surfing the net.

At 1:00pm, I went to see my best friend from Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute, Marie at the Joan’s on 3rd in West Hollywood. We had a chat with latte and apricot bar at table outside. Since Marie was in Sweden for her summer vacation, this was the first tea time for us. It was nice to catch up with her and I felt that we are so lucky to have fun time like the book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE. (which means, we don’t need to work, just have fun.)

At Marie’s home, she showed me some new stuff at her home. New bathroom (like a fancy hotel bathroom!), large TV (10 times bigger than mine!), her new collection of books and jewelry. She has such a great style of living (fashion, interior decorating…and husband! She has a very nice husband.)

Around 3:00pm, we went to walk/talk at the Runyon Canyon hiking trail near her home. While we are walking and talking, we saw beautiful L.A. view. What a nice day. OMG…there were so many people hiking there on Monday afternoon. Marie told me, “When we (Marie and her friends) start hiking here 15 years ago, it was like around 5 people, but now, it’s like around 100 people here.”

Yes, Marie always finds something great stuff and it will be a trend later. (re: fashion, life style, etc.) She is a trendsetter! (I should write about her in real media.)

At her place, she gave me time to sit and relax in her balcony while she was picking up our dinner. The soft couch with beautiful special cushions (custom made!) + candles + orange juice with the view of banana trees and palm trees. I felt like, I was in Bali (like the book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE).

And at the dinner table, we had more fun chat with Chinese food (Chicken & vegetable with garlic sauce and brown rice) from her secret order place in West Hollywood.

When we are talking about TV shows which we like (we both like “Brothers & Sisters”), I told her that I love the sitcom “Outsourced” (NBC sitcom that is set in an Indian workplace). Then, Marie imitated Indian accent. OMG…she is so actress (of course, we are from Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute). I laughed so hard! She is really good at that. I asked her, “Could you imitate my Japanese accent?” and she said, “No, I am able to do only Indian accent. I’ve never been to India, but India in me, because the jewelry. Most of the beautiful gemstones from India.” Oh…that’s make sense! And I felt like, I was in India for a moment like the book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE. ha ha…! (plus. There are so many Buddha in her home.)

After I rushed back to my place for “90210” and “Gossip Girl”, she called me to be making sure that I was safe back in my home.

Marie is working in the fashion industry and party industry for a long time. She has so many talents for fashion, business, interior decorating, maintain a great & healthy body etc. Now, she has many new dreams like me. I hope her new dreams come true soon (I pray like the book, EAT, PRAY, LOVE).

It was perfect Monday. Completely happy.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
Nov 16, 2010

Copyright © 2010 Yoko Fujimoto

Friday, November 12, 2010

#129- Before Thanksgiving

Today, I have received a sweet email from Keasha who is my best friend from Entrepreneur Magazine(Keasha and I used to work at the Entrepreneur Media Inc.).

Here is her email: Hi Yoko, I have to tell you this story. This morning, Johnathan said, "I want Yoko to come over to my house." And he didn't know you were coming for Thanksgiving yet. So then I told him, "Guess what? Auntie Yoko is coming to have Thanksgiving dinner with us this year!" He is very excited about seeing you! You have made quite an impression. He knows you are a person with good energy. See you soon, Keasha

Johnathan is Keasha’s son. He is soooooooo cute! Johnathan and Keasha made my day.

Keasha’s mom invited me to have a Thanksgiving dinner at her house with Keasha’s family + Keasha's mom’s family and friends. I can’t wait to see them and enjoy a day on Thanksgiving day with them!

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I am so lucky to have such nice + lovely friends. Each year, I have nice time on Thanksgiving with my friends.

My memorable Thanksgiving days were:

1: My first Thanksgiving in Miami in 1987. I went to Italian American family’s house with my roommate (OMG, I don’t remember her name) from Brazil. This family is friend of my roommate. It was first time for me to eat Turkey dinner. I ate so much that day. Everyone surprised that I could eat a lot of food with my skinny body. Especially, I loved the Candied Yams(it was first time, I ate them), it was soooooooo yummy!!! I ate so many yams that day.

2: My first Thanksgiving in Los Angeles in 1990. I ate dinner with 20 gay men and one straight girl friend, Karen from Lee Strasberg Theatre & Film Institute (I used to act.) Yes, it was sooooooo L.A.! It was a fancy dinner with 20 gay men + one girl. It was first time to see many cute gay men at once. It was better than the dinner. Eye candy!

3: Thanksgiving with home work with Suzie and her family in 1997. OMG…at the time, I was just starting job at the Entrepreneur Magazine and I was freaking out, there were so many words that I didn’t understand in Entrepreneur Magazine (I thought, they will fire me…but, I was there 6 years and a half, thank god…). So Suzie and her mom helped me to understand so many words in the magazine…many Thanksgiving memories with Suzie and her family.

4: Big house +great food + great family Thanksgiving with Michele and her family. Many years, they treated me like their family member.

5: Last year dinner with Yuko-san and her husband (see my last year blog on Thanksgiving).

And many more great memories.

I love American and American culture. Especially, I love thanksgiving. I really feel that Americans are welcoming me to U.S.A. on Thanksgiving.

Before Thanksgiving, I want to say, Thank you to my friends and Thank you to U.S.A.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
Nov 12, 2010

Copyright © 2010 Yoko Fujimoto

Saturday, November 6, 2010

#128- Time

Last night, during the phone conversation with my best friend, Suzie, I told her that everything is timing.

Time is very important for us, but sometimes I love doing nothing (I don’t feel “waste of my time” for doing nothing).

If I don’t feel like writing (I mean, my work as a writer. Even though, I love writing, sometimes I don’t feel like writing), I don’t write/work. I just do what I want, I might watch TV, eat, reading, listen to music, see movies, get together with my friends or doing nothing.

Most of the time, I don’t do “I have to do it” things and I just do “I want to do it” things. Life is very short…since my father passed away, I really think that…so I am enjoying with my happy things (“want to do it” things).

Standard time begins tomorrow, so I just ate dinner at 5:30pm to prepare for tomorrow/one hour difference from today. Because I usually eat dinner before 7:00pm for my diet strategy (my weight is 97lbs now, but I am still too far from my original weight at 86 lbs…). / By the way, I am an anti strict diet strategy, because I love to eat, so my healthy life strategy is: Just enjoy food with happy feeling and eat what I want when I am hungry (except “before 7:00pm” strategy).

Anyway, timing is everything.

This winter, I don’t go to Japan for my vacation (I always visit my mom & brother for one month in Tokyo, Japan). I am staying here in L.A.

Two reasons: 1. finishing up my novel (in Japanese) 2. instead of my trip fees, I spend $4400 for my new teeth(since the Newport Beach dentist mixed up my teeth four years ago, I wanted to fix it, now I am doing it with the best dentist in Torrance).

I miss my mom and brother…but I hope to see them in early next year with my new novel and new teeth… everything is timing, I hope.

Have a wonderful winter time!

P.S. By the way, did we have real summer and fall in L.A. this year??? I feel like, I am still in summer time… :)

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles
Nov 6, 2010

Copyright © 2010 Yoko Fujimoto