Musashi Mix Inq

Palliativity 165: writing on the wall – part one

Posted on October 4, 2012

I fell in love with my best friend at college. We didn't start our romantic relationship until after I had graduated and she was in her junior year, the winter of '06. But I'm getting ahead of myself:

Autumn - 2006

After my graduation back in May, we talked on the phone and g-chatted regularly throughout her summer break. Once she returned to school, communication picked-up even more. We were already closer than I ever thought two people could be. Then in October, the world pushed us into the unknown. She called me on a grey Chicago afternoon.

Back on campus, our friend had taken his life.

Autumn silence across a wire…

« • »

The following month, my maternal Grandfather died days before Thanksgiving. Shiva food-poisoning put me in the ER while the family mourned and carved turkey. My Grandmother took some of Grandpa's pills to cut the pain. This wasn't the first husband she had buried. I held her hand throughout the service. She fell asleep at the synagogue and I had to keep jostling her awake. She rested her head on my shoulder in the limo cavalcade. Hardened Cleveland soil in late-November; red cemetery mud caking my patterned leather shoes. She would die the following summer. Lung cancer. I don't know many prayers, but I can recite the Kaddish by heart…

After we returned to Chicago from the last Cleveland Thanksgiving, I shaved my head in the samurai style. Thinning hair: a parting gift from the biological Grandfather I never knew. He died suddenly when my mother was ten years old. My cousins, like their bio-Grandpa, will have hair til the day they die.

I was still in constant pain with few palliatives at hand. No lidocaine. Nothing stronger than Advil, ice and Bengay. I broke down crying one night while cooking the family dinner and realized that I needed something stronger. I've had a bottle of Vicodin every month ever since.

« • »

December came on slowly. The one thing keeping me together was that my best friend was coming to visit for the first time after we allowed the inner silence to be broken:

I Love You


next week: part two

Further reading: "writing on the wall"

Vacation :D

Posted on July 30, 2012

I'm going to be busy the next couple of weeks traveling to visit with friends and family.

This year has been huge for me, and you have been a big part of that success.

Thank you!

The 2012-2013 lineup is going to take things to another level 😀 More news to come soon!

May — 2013

I'll still be updating you regularly, but to get your full fix make sure to join the Fan Page →


Filed under: Blog, Event, family, Pain No Comments

Lost in the Desert

Posted on February 19, 2012

[ Issei • Nisei • Sansei • Yonsei • Gosei ]

We count our generations because history would otherwise forget our story.

Yamamoto family, 1925

We are an inconvenient truth; documented but not published.

We are enemies of the State.

We are still lost in the desert, tracking sand across America.

We don't know where we're going.

But we hold on to what we can; all that we can carry.

And it is the few of us who rise up and choose to remember with pride and dignity.

Me - 2016

That for their suffering, I live and breathe—

For their memory,




Palliativity 138: Running Free

Posted on December 1, 2011

I'm turning 28 in a couple of days. "Twenty-something" doesn't quite fit like it used to.

2012 is my 10 year highschool re-union, but I'm not planning on Gross-Point-Blanking my way into the past just yet.

From K-12 I went to one of the best private schools in Chicago and I am thankful for my education everyday. I was a scholarship kid of a diverse background at a school trying to fight their wealthy, Waspy image. Amen. It's a crowd that's hard to keep-up with, but you learn quickly to not stand-out— even if it's your differentness that got you there in the first place.

Today, I remain rich in family, friends, honor and history. My four part-time jobs suit me just fine: Artist, Social Media/Graphic Designer, Judo Sensei, Archivist— This isn't just me staying busy. I believe in everthing I am doing.


My school friends remain rich in money and it's hard not to feel put down at times for my lack of advanced degrees, nice car to complain about or more than one good suit. I can feel them slipping away from me in social stature, job security and how I simply must visit someplace I could never afford to go to, just for fun.

and yet…

You are here reading this story and that means so much to me. You remind me that there are more important things in life and that I'm on a mission: I'm trying to make the world a better place; one art-piece, one interview, and one child at a time.

Thank you.


p.s. these Free-runnners are amazing!

Filed under: Belief, Blog, family, film, Pain 4 Comments

Palliativity 136: “Angry Asian Man”

Posted on November 9, 2011

Decipher feat. Manifest & DJ Zo

I'd love to say this feeling is one I can't relate to…


The Gentle Way

Posted on October 20, 2011

When I'm not being an artist/graphic designer/archivist/social media curator, I am also a judo sensei. I began learning judo at age 6 from my great-uncle Henry "Hank" Okamura. He brought judo from California to Manzanar Internment Camp and then to Chicago. I was a good competitor and was National Champion a few times as a kid, but my favorite part of judo is teaching.

After my shoulder surgery at age 13, I was invited on the mat by my sensei to help instruct with my sling still on. That's when I realized that for me, judo was more than just an activity, it was a lifestyle.

The video below features the head of our club, Brett Wolf, and what we believe judo really is: