Friday, December 16, 2016

What I Will Remember This Season

With each passing year, I feel that time is moving faster and the choices I make are becoming more important because I am older, hopefully wiser and have less time to dwell on things that take me away from what I love. It seems like just yesterday, I was the mother of two young sons, and now, those little ones are 28 and 25 years of age. I remember walking down the aisle on my father’s arm to start my new life with my husband, and today, we have been married 44 years.

Time has gone by so fast .…

So, when I think of what season, time of my life or event I want to remember, I want to remember and cherish them all. And each season has been an important part of who I am today. Writing this article has given me the opportunity to reflect on what makes a season memorable to me. And these are some of the things that have stayed in my heart from years gone by... (Read More)

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

We Were Welcomed Home

okaeri_logo-03.pngOn Oct. 14 and 15, Okaeri 2016 took place at the Japanese American National Museum in Los Angeles’ Little Tokyo. The gathering began with a networking mixer on Friday, which drew many from the Nikkei and API community, both LGBTQ and allies. Representatives from PFLAG, JACL, NCRR, Little Tokyo Service Center, Keiro, churches and many other organizations made this event a wonderful way to kick off the weekend that was to continue on Saturday. Thank you, Sean Miura and traci kato-kiriyama.

Saturday began with the planning committee arriving very early, many of us juggling a HUGE cup of coffee to help wake us up. But once we began to set up and saw people arriving to register, the enthusiasm and anticipation was palpable... (Read More)

Friday, September 9, 2016

Wisdom From Portland

I recently received a very kind note from a Portland JACL member named Herb. In his note, he talked about reading “A Mother’s Take” and expressed his amazement at my bravery. He also said, “This may be easy for me to tell you, but live each and every day to the fullest with gratitude.” His note came at a very important time for me … and here is the reason why.

I was on a plane from Dallas/Fort Worth to Los Angeles recently. It had been a very successful trip with a LGBTQ training in Shreveport, La., followed by a leadership summit in New Orleans. I was feeling good about everything that had happened on this trip...(Read More)

Monday, July 4, 2016

A Promise to Aiden




Okaeri Loves Orlando


I woke up on Sunday, and my heart broke into a million pieces. Filling the news was the massacre in Orlando. It happened to those I didn’t know, but I fought so hard to keep safe. I thought about the mothers who went to sleep unknowing and woke up finding out their sons were dead. I could feel my heart close up . . . I could feel my spirit begin to lose hope. The world just felt less safe for Aiden.
My heart shudders at the thought that someone who doesn’t even know my beautiful child would want to harm him because of the fear and judgment that is sweeping the country. But when faced with things they don’t understand, people too often allow themselves to be consumed by fear, distrust and hatred and not compassionately seek the truth.
I mourned, but I didn’t cry. All I felt was numb.
But the LGBTQ community is strong, and so thousands of us came together last night, with so many straight allies there to support us. It was a vigil organized by the Los Angeles LGBT Center in front of Los Angeles City Hall... (Read More)

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

A Mother’s Take: Living Above the Line

Recently, I received a message from a mother who asked me, “How do you deal with all the hatred that is in the world?” She has a transgender son, and so I knew her question was directed at me because I, too, have a transgender son, and there are so many states that are trying to implement laws against our children.
Her question made me stop and think, “How do I deal with all the hatred and discrimination that gains so much public scrutiny around the country?” I gave her a concise answer about looking for the blessings around me and focusing on what is positive in my life rather than focusing on the negativity that often consumes the news, but her question caused me to reflect even further... (Read More)

Friday, May 13, 2016

Finding Hope

It has been a month of highs and lows for a mother of a transgender child. I still fear that the world will not see the value that my son can bring to society. Aiden is in graduate school to be a school counselor, and he wants, more than anything, to create safe spaces for all who are marginalized, bullied and harassed. I believe he can make a huge difference in the lives of not only LGBT students, but also those students who are not what others deem the perfect height or weight, the perfect look or whatever category of perfection that tends to marginalize our children... (Read More)

Saturday, January 23, 2016

A Mother’s Take: I Love Mochi

You are probably wondering if this is going to be an article about the New Year’s tradition of pounding mochi, or perhaps making the traditional mochi soup called ozoni. I have shaped mochi into those soft pillows with sweet beans in the middle, eating the delicious treat (more than I care to count) in between the rice being cooked and pounded. I also make ozoni every New Year’s Day for my family and have for many, many years...(Read More)