Monday, May 28, 2012

#176- Celebration of life for my best friend’s dad, Dr. A

*** Why I am getting an airplane ticket to Arizona right now?

On Wednesday the 23rd, I have received a sad email from my best friend (Suzie). Her father (Dr. A) passed away in Tucson, Arizona on the 23rd…

Since Suzie became my best friend 24 years ago, Dr. A was my second dad to me in U.S.A.

After I talked with Suzie on the phone on Wednesday early in the morning, I was in shock and I was walking around in my room for a while. My brain didn’t function. I did exactly the same thing when I lost my dad in 1994.

I couldn’t think well and I was numb to this sad news of Dr. A. Between purchased an airplane ticket to Tucson and made a reservation for a super shuttle to L.A.X., I was going around, around, around in my room so many times…I couldn’t believe about Dr. A's death.

Why he passed away? Why he passed away? Why he passed away? I kept asking myself. I couldn’t think of anything but Suzie’s dad (Dr. A).

At L.A.X. when I was eating a chicken sandwich and french fries, I was hoping… “I hope Dr. A had a nice last meal before he passed away”, because he loved food like me.

When Suzie’s brother (Mr. R) and his friend (Mr. K) picked me up at Tucson International Airport, I was still numb. I was still asking myself many “why?” “Why he has to leave from the earth?”, “why I am in Tucson now?”…

Around 11:00pm, I arrived at Suzie’s parent’s house. I hugged Suzie’s mom Ms. C and Suzie.

At the house, I was still numb and I felt like, “I am in a bad dream”…

*** It’s my turn to support Suzie…

When I lost my dad in 1994, I was all alone in U.S.A. (my family was in Tokyo, Japan), but Suzie, Suzie’s boyfriend (Mr. S is her husband now / he was my friend at that time, and I was the match maker for them) and Ms. A (my other best friend at that time) supported me (we went to Toi restaurant in Hollywood) late night before I leave for Tokyo, Japan.

So, at this time, it’s my turn to support Suzie for her sad time.

Next day (Thursday the 24th), there were so many people (Dr. A’s relatives and family friends), so many foods (Dr. A's relatives and friends brought lunch and dinner to the house) and so many flowers (from Dr. A's relatives and friends) in the house.

I really felt that he was a really lovely man and everyone loved him so much.

Suzie and I went to Dr. A’s medical practice office and picked up the flowers (given by Dr. A’s staff and his patients) and we greeted his staff. I really felt that Dr. A had a really nice life and a wonderful career when I saw his office (his staff and his patients).

*** An amazing story!

Suzie’s relative (Ms. P from New York) told us the amazing story on Thursday.

On Wednesday, when Ms. P was purchasing the airplane tickets (for Dr. A’s funeral) for Tucson, the agent of American Airline (the agent was in Charlotte, North Carolina) cried on the phone, because Dr. A saved agent’s husband’s life and the agent was very sad to hear about the news of Dr. A’s death.

Dr. A saved many people’s lives, so his former patients are everywhere in U.S.A.

There are so many wonderful stories like this one about Dr. A.

*** Celebration of life

Dr. A’s service held on Friday the 25th at the Jewish Community Center in Tucson.

The service had started with a beautiful music by his beautiful grandchildren (Suzie’s two daughters). They played Slumber by their violins.

His six grandchildren are so cute. Their speeches were so cute and lovely.

He was a lucky man. When he passed away, he surrounded by his wife Ms. C and his four children Mr. D, Mr. R, Mr. T and Suzie, who all loved and adored him.

Dr. A was born on November 11, 1936. While at medical school, he met the love of his life, Ms. C, who he married in July 1961 and together they shared a wonderful life for over 50 years. After graduating medical school, Dr. A served as a doctor in the United States Army, reaching the rank of Major and served in Vietnam where he was awarded the Bronze Star, among other commendations.

Suzie told me that he saved Vietnamese’s lives as well. He was a very kind man for everyone in the world.

He opened his medical practice and specialized in internal medicine since 1969. He was helping and caring for thousands of patients. He also taught at the University of Arizona, College of Medicine and taught interns and residents at Tucson Medical Center. He served as a team physician for the Arizona Wildcats and volunteered at the Arizona Athletic Treatment Center. Dr. A's passion in life was helping others and caring for his patients. He volunteered his time with the Tucson Jewish Community Center, St. Elizabeth of Hungary Clinic, St. Joseph's Hospital and El Dorado Hospital.

I learned about how much Dr. A was a special person for many people. He helped many poor people’s lives without charging fees.

Dr. A’s oldest child, Mr. D’s speech was so touching and so wonderful. I learned about Dr. A through his speech. When Mr. D was age 12, he was thin and short, so he could cheat with his age for his movie ticket’s price, but Dr. A didn’t want him to cheat with his age and his movie ticket price. Dr. A was a very honest and generosity person. He taught a great lesson to his son.

Mr.D also mentioned about the quality of human being. He learned about kindness, compassion, honesty and sincerity from Dr. A. He said, “I would like to live like my father”. I think he is already like his father, because he has a wonderful career (he is a successful lawyer) and happy family (he has a beautiful wife Debbie and beautiful two sons).

My great memory of Dr. A is “his cute & warm smile”. Mr. D has cute & sexy smile from Dr. A.

Dr. A was very kind and a sweet person. His second son, Mr. R’s kindness and sweetness are from Dr. A.

He was a very organized person and he was a great cook. His third son, Mr.T has it all from him. Mr. T’s “perfect” perfectionist personality is from Dr. A. And Mr. T is a great cook. His talent of that is from his dad.

My best friend (Suzie) is also a great cook. Of course, she is a proud daughter (a youngest child) of Dr. A. Suzie has a successful life (a proud daughter, a successful career woman, a wonderful mother and a beautiful wife). It really makes sense that she is my proud friend, because she has a wonderful dad (& a wonderful mom & family & relatives).

Suzie’s speech was also touching like Mr. D. She decided to do speech last minutes, so she was not reading her note, and she spoke her feelings in the moment. It was so real and she touched many people’s hearts.

My other great memory of Dr. A is about “FOOD”. He always enjoyed his food. I love food and I always enjoy food. I believe that people who love food have a lot of energy and happy life, so when I met Dr. A at first time, I loved him right away! I can trust people who love food like him.

Yes, his best friends talked about him & food. There were so many funny stories about food & Dr. A. Dr. A was so lovely man. I am sure that people who know him loved him very much.

Dr. A ’s wife & Suzie’s mom, Ms. C is my hero. She is beautiful inside and out. She is such an intelligent career woman and a beauty queen. Her speech about Dr. A showed her wonderful & lovely life with Dr. A. It was the most special moment at the service.

Around 1000 people had attended this service and around 200 people came to the house after the service. Of course, there were so many delicious foods at the house. We had wonderful mourning time at the house.

Mr. S (Suzie’s husband) showed the movie of Dr. A’s 75 year birthday celebration (which Suzie & Mr. S made it together). The movie hit my head...“Dr. A is not around me anymore”… I shouldn’t cry for Dr. A, but I couldn’t help it at that moment. I really realized that I can’t see him in person anymore…

*** Dr. A visited me twice so far…

When I was thinking of him in my room on Wednesday morning, I saw a beautiful bird in my balcony. I have never seen that beautiful bird. Body was gray, but the head was red (Dr. A had a cute red hair).

I felt him at that moment. He enjoyed many hobbies, sports and traveling. Especially he was an avid bird watcher and poker player. I am sure that the bird (with red head) was him. He said hello to me.

On Sunday the 27th, when we (Suzie’s mom and Suzie's brothers etc) were hiking in Sabino Canyon (we walked 8.5 miles!), it was the second time that I felt him. We saw a beautiful red bird. It was so wonderful moment. I felt him again.

One of the Rabbi said at the service, “Dr. A’s death taught us to be strong”.

Yes, I agreed with him. My dad’s death taught me “to be strong”, and I am tougher now, because my two dads (my real dad and Dr. A) are in heaven.

By the way, the hiking was the best way to mourning Dr. A. I have many wonderful memories of him when I visited Dr. A and Ms. C with Suzie for Thanksgiving and Christmas many times. We always had a nice hiking time in Sabino Canyon.

At this time, I had a great conversation with Ms. C. Her philosophy of life is very intelligent & sophisticate. I learned wonderful thought from her during hiking.

I also had a nice conversation with Debbie (wife of Mr. D). She has such a lovely romantic story of her life. I really enjoyed her stories.

*** Life is about celebration

Arizona Daily Star wrote about him “Dr. A had many friends and a large family including six grandchildren who will remember him for his kindness, generosity, and zest for life”. I am very glad that I met him through my best friend Suzie.

Suzie always appreciates people and things. I really see and feel that her quality of the wonderful human being is from Dr. A.

Dr. A’s family & relatives and friends are so happy & cheerful people. I really feel that “like attracts like”.

Life is beautiful. Enjoy each moment and celebrate each moment is the key of happiness & celebrate our lives.

Happy everyday to you.

P.S. Thank you, Dr. A. You gave me so many beautiful memories. I am not going to say “good-bye” to you, because you didn’t say it in your life. I am going to say “take care” to you, because you always say it in your life. I hope to see you again. Until then, I keep enjoy my food and smile everyday like you did. Take care, Dr. A.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles May 28, 2012
Copyright © 2012 Yoko Fujimoto

Saturday, May 12, 2012

#175- A love letter to my mom

May 6, 2012

Dearest Mama,


I had been thinking of writing a Mother’s Day’s letter to you for a long time. Mother’s day is one week from today. Since I have received the wonderful letter from you for my birthday, I was thinking of “let’s write an impressive letter to Mama”. But, I couldn’t find the right words in the first line in my letter because I was thinking of “the impressive letter”. I am a writer, but I have not written an impressive Mother’s Day’s letter to you yet.

Since March, I have been very busy and I stayed up all night a couple of days within two months (I know, I should not stay up all night for my health, but I thought once a week is not bad, so I have been working hard), so I didn’t have time to write a letter to you with relax feeling. But I have been thinking of you and Masa-kun (note: my younger brother), and I have been thinking “I want to talk with Mama and Masa-kun on the phone”.

I always always really appreciate you. Like I can’t thank you enough with words, I appreciate you.

When I received your letter for my birthday in March, I just had read the novel “Daihitsuya” by Hitonari Tsuji about letters, so I enjoyed your letter twice much than usual. I think that the letter is nice. Especially, the letter from loved one is the best. Your two letters on my birthday are my treasure now.

Your letters show your personality, your beautiful spirit, your writing skill and your love for me, so I translated your letters into English and posted it in my blog as I told you on the phone. I have attached the copy of my blog on that day (note: My blog on March, 30, 2012 “A love letter from my mom”). I also attached the comment page (the comment is from Emi-san who is my friend. She is a celebrity manicurist. She was also impressed by your letter). I translated your letter into English right away after I received it, because I really impressed by your letter and I wanted share your letter and my feeling with people who read my blog. I wrote about your letter and your talent of writing in my blog (I mentioned about the song writing contest which you wrote a song for me and we won the contest).

Many people impressed by your letter. My apartment manager, Ms.R (who lost her mother last year. She was thinking of her mother through your letter) told me “I had tears in my eye”, the fashion designer who I interviewed for Senken-newspaper (American woman. Both of her parents have passed away) has sent me an email said, “It is absolutely the most loving and warm letter I have ever read, it gave me tears in my eyes”, my friend, Ms.M (who is Swedish) has sent me an email said, “I had tears in my eye”, and my friend who owns the fashion showroom, Ms.L has sent me an email said, “Your mom is nice”.

You are my proud mom!

Mama, always, always, thank you!!! Thank you for being my mom. Thank you for thinking of me always, always. You are my number one mom in the world. I am really proud that I am your daughter.

Once in a while, I am thinking about the day when we were in Urawa. When I was a little girl, you rushed into the kitchen and washed my legs in the kitchen sink because I spilled hot tea on my legs. I think that it was a miracle, because there is no scar on my legs from the burn. I really appreciate your care.

I am also thinking about the day when we were in Furukawa, when the neighbor brought the pan with hot water to our home entrance. The neighbor was almost spill the hot water into my head. Thank god, you screamed to the woman, so I was able to escape from the burn. What if you didn’t scream to the woman at that moment, I probably burned my head and face. I really think that your luck protects me.

When we were in Higashimurayama, you always walked to the train station for me (note: for my safety) and we walked to home from the station together at late night. You rescued me from the man who almost kidnapped me. I really feel that I am safe and protected by you.

I appreciate your support when I was in Newport Beach. When I was in sad time, you always gave support by phone. Thank you!!!

I can’t thank you enough. Really, really, thank you.

Sometimes, I am thinking like, “if Mama will be gone…” I know we are human, so everyone will be gone someday, but I feel sad when I think of that you will leave me someday.

I always don’t mention to you, because I feel embarrass about it. But I admit it...when I say good-bye to you and Masa-kun at the Narita Airport (note: Tokyo International Airport), twice…when I passed the gate and the airplane was leaving Japan, I always have tears in my eye. It feels like I say good-bye to you for forever.

Life is short, so I wish I could be near by you and live together. But I am not good at Japanese society and I would like to have a career in the worldwide market, so I would like to live in U.S.

But, I believe in us, we are always connecting to each other even though we live apart.

On Mother’s day, I was going to send you some caramel covered marshmallows, but I am not able to do it. I am sorry.

When I have time, I will send you some delicious food.

Please live longer for me and Masa-kun!!!

Please take care of yourself. I look forward to seeing you! I will call you on Mother’s day.

Take care,


Did you call your mom or write a letter to your mom?

If your mom is not on the earth, but your mom is always with you. Your mom is thinking of you from the heaven.

Happy Mother’s day to you.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles May 12, 2012
Copyright © 2012 Yoko Fujimoto

Saturday, May 5, 2012

#174- At my apartment in Los Feliz (Archstone Los Feliz Version)

Today, people in the United States and regionally in Mexico celebrate Cinco de Mayo.

During I talked with Ms.R (my best apartment manager at my apartment complex), I realized that Cinco de Mayo is not Mexico's Independence Day (which is actually celebrated on September 16).

How could I misunderstand the holiday for such a long time (I have been living in U.S. since 1989)? I guess, I was thinking of this day as “eat Mexican food and have fun!” and “the date is observed in the United States as a celebration of Mexican heritage and pride, and to commemorate the cause of freedom and democracy during the first years of the American Civil War.”

Today, I also realized that Cinco de Mayo means in Spanish, “fifth of May” (a celebration held on May 5)… the day of victory of the war…In the state of Puebla, the date is observed to commemorate the Mexican army's unlikely victory over French forces at the Battle of Puebla on May 5, 1862…

People want (need) to have love and peace, but why people are fighting to each other?

Because we want (need) to protect our love and peace from enemies, and we want (need) to revenge people (who are enemies)?

Why people make enemies? Why people can't love people (enemies)?

Today, I am thinking of these simple questions and answer…Yes, we all know what we need to do… “Just we need to love people and make people happy (make peace)”.

Today, after my big deadline for work (I stayed up all night), I had a delicious “Cinco de Mayo Fiesta” lunch at my apartment complex (Archstone Los Feliz / / I was not going to show the name of the place where I live for my safety, but I just would like to introduce this apartment company, how I love this nice company and how I love my apartment & my apartment manager, Ms.R. And, I trust people who read my blog. My readers are just nice! Right? If you are interested in this apartment, just call Ms.R) at the pool area.

YES! I ate Four Tacos (one beef taco, two chicken tacos and one potato taco), Mexican rice, Beans, Chips & Salsa and Soda.

I had a big lunch and I enjoyed the conversation with Ms.R, Ms.N (an assistant manager) and some neighbors. For two hours, we talked and ate. It was fun.

I knew it! #1: Ms.R (my best manager at our apartment complex) is a lovely perfectionist!

She does what I really want in this complex. She organizes the information for us and gives us the feedback for our request right away.

Last week, she has sent me a really kind email, “Hey Yoko, I hope this email finds you well. I haven’t seen you in a while and your last post on your blog was on April 15th so I was wondering if you’re out of town or something. I didn’t want to call you as I didn’t want to disturb you if you were sleeping or too engrossed in your writing. Please respond to this email so I know that you’re okay. I look forward to hearing from you soon. Thanks and have a great day!” What a nice manager! She is beautiful inside and out.

I knew it! #2: The neighbor across my place (across the pool area / She lives also in front of the pool) is also a perfectionist. She always has nice flowers in the balcony and I see her cleaning often. Today, I met her (Ms.A) and she told me, she likes to clean and she is a lawyer. She is also beautiful inside and out.

I also had a nice talk with Ms.N (the other nice assistant manager), Ms.B (she is over 90 years old, and she has a beautiful love story with her late husband), Ms.A with a dog (dog’s name is Sophia Loren! Today, she wore “Cinco de Mayo” dress), Mr.M (he is from Switzerland and he always says to me, “America has wonderful freedom”) etc…

Ms.R and Ms.N made this event nice. Red, white and green balloons made cute “Mexican holiday” feels.

A couple of days ago, Ms.N had sent us an email (she is also a beautiful woman! beautiful people make a beautiful life!) ,“Cinco de Mayo Fiesta – Archstone Los Feliz Pool Area / Hip Hip Ole! Archstone Los Feliz invites you to celebrate a joyous Cinco de Mayo! Come join in the fun at the pool area. Enjoy Latin inspired savories with your friendly neighbors. Let’s have some fun under the sun! We look forward to seeing you on Saturday!!!”

When I was going home after my lunch, I told them (Ms.R and my favorite maintenance guy, Mr.R and my favorite cleaning person, Ms.E)…

Me: I stayed up all night today and I didn’t have time to go grocery shopping, so I don’t have fresh food at home. This lunch made my day! I am so sleepy right now, so I just go to bed now.

Three of them: Oh… take some more food to go for your dinner!

Me: I don’t want to take my neighbors food…

Three of them: Get some more!!!

Oh…Ms.R was so sweet, she took me to the catering service table and I got one more plate to go.

They made my day! (Especially, after my hard working days, it was so nice to receive a kindness from people and hang out with them.)

After this lunch, when I went to the lobby to pick up my mails (again, I didn’t have a chance to pick up my mails for a week), Mr. B (a mailman) was there. I didn’t want to bother him while he was sorting people’s mails for mail boxes of 263 unites, so I was waiting for him to finish it, but he was so nice to passed my mails to me.

Me: I always amazed that you remember my name and my apartment number out of 263 unites!

Mr.B: Oh…a beautiful nice girl like you, how could I forget your name.

Oh…he made my day too.

I really love to live in this beautiful apartment which managed beautifully (actually, Archstone people are all beautiful people inside and out).

Life is beautiful. I hope you are having a beautiful day as well.

P.S. The food was from catering company, TACO EL BOTANAS (phone: 818-335-4609 / email: ). The owner, Elva & Leo will serve her homemade Mexican food for you.

P.S.-2 May 5 is “Children's Day (in Japanese, Kodomo No He)” in Japan. It is a Japanese national holiday which takes place annually on May 5, the fifth day of the fifth month. It is a day set aside to respect children's personalities and to celebrate their happiness. It was designated a national holiday by the Japanese government in 1948.

By Yoko Fujimoto
Los Angeles May 5, 2012
Copyright © 2012 Yoko Fujimoto