Hurtful attitudes.

In America, it seems there are still lots of people who it seems take offense to anyone different than them.
There was the recent backlash against the Cheerios commercial that featured a mixed-race family: a white mother, a black father, and an adorable little girl with a 'fro.
Ignorant bigots claimed that Cheerios is trying to push some kind of agenda, by simply acknowledging that not every household in America is some kind of 1950's Howdy Doody, Leave it to Beaver style family of WASPs.
In fact, the very idea that races "shouldn't mix" or that one "kind" of blood is more "pure" than others is, dare I say it, very similar to the attitude a certain German dictator had.  It's an attitude that is still prevalent in Japanese society, but that is not that much of a surprise with their "island" mentality and the fact that they have been a largely homogenous society since their beginnings.
But for America, a country that was built from immigrants and became the "Land of Opportunity" and a melting pot of different cultures and wears this as some kind of status symbol? It's an outdated, hypocritical, and dangerous attitude.
Of course, this isn't something I am just realizing now, of course, I grew up in America and around hurtful attitudes.
~ For example...
A couple of hurtful terms I heard being used by my FOO regularly growing up were "Schwarze" and "Mongoloid"  Of course, being young, I didn't know these words were hurtful....I got more of an idea as I got older and heard statements like "What if she brings home a Schwarze?" or "Ugh, I can't eat with those Mongoloids sitting at the next table!" and then there was that slanty-eye, ching chong ling long ting tong mockery that ensued when I tried to study or enjoy something in Japanese (or "Yipanese" as it was often referred to.) When I came home with a sense of accomplishment because I had washed dishes at work so my manager could get her office work done, I was told "Mexicans should be doing that, not YOU, why would you do that?!"
Looking back on this, I feel so sad that I was raised in a household with such negativity towards different races, or even the differently abled, and such ancient notions of castes or hierarchy.
I know I can't change the world or how I was raised, but I can change myself, and I can fill my home with positive energy and celebrate what makes us different instead of hating it.


Chinami's First Birthday

On July 13th, 2012, at 5:45 am, Chinami came into the world. And this past Saturday, her father and I and all of the people who Chinami has befriended this year celebrated her first birthday and her transition into toddlerhood.
We had a low-key BBQ at Magic Island Beach Park, under the trees and on the grass where she walked around barefoot, ate all kinds of delicious food, played with her friends, and after we had done all the grilling that could be done before it was time for Yasushi to clean up and get ready to go to work, we sang "Happy Birthday" and ate cake.
I made her cake myself using the following recipe:

  • 1 cup butter, cubed    1/2cup coconut oil
  • 1 1/2 cup water
  •  6 c whole wheat cake flour 
  • 2 cups sugar 2 c honey
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 c greek yogurt
  • 1 1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 teaspoon baking powder
  • 3 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • In a large saucepan, bring butter and water just to a boil. Immediately remove from the heat; stir in the flour, sugar, eggs, sour cream, applesauce, salt, baking powder, extract and baking soda until smooth.
  • Pour into a 16-in. x 12-in. x 2-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 30-40 minutes or until golden brown and a toothpick inserted near the center comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 minutes.

The original recipe is here: 

I covered it with two tubs of Cool Whip and sliced strawberries, yellow peach, pineapple, kiwi, blueberries, and Okinawan sweet potato arranged in a rainbow. 
We sang Happy Birthday to her, and after that she became fussy, so I put her on my back in the carrier, and she fell asleep leaning against me. 
We went home after cleaning up what we could, and we left the leftover food for our friends and neighbors who were going to stay and play at the beach with their kids. When we got home, Chinami had woken up from her nap, so we went to my neighbor's house to enjoy some cake.
After seeing pictures of "smash cake" for my friends' babies on social media, I kind of expected Chinami to be playing with the cake, smearing it all over her face, etc, but maybe because of the baby-led weaning, she knows how to eat quite well and so she simply looked at the cake and fruit, picked it up, and ate it, chewing and swallowing, completely normally, enjoying it. I even sprayed some extra whipped cream on the cake, expecting her to squish it around and play with it, she just grabbed the lump and shoved it in her mouth! I was a little disappointed but my neighbor was impressed at how well she eats.  Apparently they had thought I was introducing solids in the "conventional" way and so whenever they gave her something they pureed it, until they saw me give her a frozen steamed carrot and saw her bite it, chew it, and swallow it with no problems. So for them, seeing a 1 year old eat so "normally" was an amusing event in itself. 
Then because she had whipped cream on her hands and around her mouth, we decided to take her out and hose her down -- one of her favorite activities. She had gotten a few presents from friends, even though I had told everyone no presents were required and not to feel obligated, Chinami did get a few great educational toys, and a beach ball with a sprinkler inside of it which we fired up right away next to the little kiddie pool her Daddy had bought her, and she had a blast, walking around the sprinkler, hugging the ball, laughing, squealing, etc. 
The previous night, as a pre-birthday present, our neighbor took Chinami and I to see the Elmo musical at the Blaisdell Center. I always watch Morning Musume videos, Sailor Moon, Dr. Slump, and other Japanese videos with Chinami, but when she goes to the neighbors' house, they like to watch Sesame Street with her, and they found that she absolutely loves Elmo! And when we saw the musical, I saw for myself how happy and excited she becomes when she sees that furry red character.  She danced, laughed, became hungry and fussy, but after some puffs, applesauce, and milk, she was back in action! 
On Sunday and Monday, she took very long naps, I guess her birthday was a success!