I’m still trying find an o-daiko position that works for me. How far apart do I stand? How far back do I put my right foot? How much do I arch my back? Not comfortable yet. Far from it.

Some adjustments and reminders from sensei this past Sunday:

  • sink down for power
  • the bachi strike in a semi-open flying V (not parallel like in chu-daiko)
  • my hands are a good several inches from the daiko when the bachi contacts the drum face
  • strike the middle of the drum face or higher

My classmate had a helpful comment during the break. I’m so busy trying to figure out big things like stance and arm motion that I haven’t paid any attention to my wrist. I think a lot about my wrist in chu-daiko; when I move I want everything to flow.

In o-daiko, I’m probably still doing awkward stabby motions. I really have no idea. All I know is, I’m not flowing… yet. I’m super grateful for the feedback.

This week’s class incorporated acoustic modulation by striking different parts of the drum face. Again, this is a lot for me to process. But I get it, and it’s an interesting challenge.

Also, more showy arms! And more yelling. Some of the yelling is part of the piece. There’s also just straight up AHHHHHH!!! because omigosh my arms feel like they’re going to fall off.

Ching Ming

Spring has sprung! Spent a week in Boston visiting my folks post-thaw. I happened to arrive the day after Ching Ming. The next day, we went to pay our respects to my grandfather and great-grandmother.

I do it out of tradition, but really I believe that visiting a grave is for the living, not the dead. It’s a time to remember.

Things I remembered about my great-grandmother:

  • She was gentle.
  • She helped take care of me and my sister for years while my parents worked.
  • She had stylish glasses.
  • She was frugal.
  • She unknowingly stole ice cream from the Scooper Bowl every year, stocking her freezer with “free ice cream from the park” for when my sister and I visited.

In retrospect, I feel bad that I wouldn’t eat some of that ice cream because I was picky. I’m pretty sure she ate the ones I rejected, to avoid wasting food, whether she enjoyed them or not.

Things I remembered about my grandfather:

  • He always greeted us with “hola”.
  • He would study every new toy we showed him to see how it worked.
  • He liked to drink Chinese tea and read the newspaper.
  • He had a yellow canary that he found in the parking lot at work. I can still whistle its song.
  • The time he took me to Boston Common when we first moved to the US. I was afraid to cross the street and he said (in Chinese), “Don’t be afraid, if a car comes I’ll stop it with my foot!” I truly believed that he could.

Dad told us a little more about my grandfather’s (adopted) father on the way back. It wasn’t clear to me where he was born, but he grew up in Peru, and spent most of his life there. According to Dad, he had a Peruvian wife and family in addition to my great-grandmother and grandfather back in Hong Kong.

When he got old, he moved to Hong Kong and lived out the rest of his years with my great-grandmother. Dad says he spoke more Spanish than Chinese. I seem to recall from past stories that he either suffered from dementia or a brain injury. I don’t remember which, and even though I’ve met him, I don’t remember because I was too young.

I learn a little more about my family’s history each time I visit. How much more is there?

30×30 Day 15

Choosing in a moment of annoyance not to complain, because that complaint was not actionable, and would only have added negativity to the world.


30×30 Day 14

I woke up today with plans to ride my bike and catch up on a long list of to-dos piled up from my week away.

“Good morning!” Aaron said, “I was waiting for you to wake up to see if you wanted to go to Sea Otter.”

I decided to go to Sea Otter. How could I not, after he’d waited for me to wake up?

We had a great day. I can take care of my to-dos later.

30×30 Day 13

It was beautiful out today, and in the afternoon Penny asked to look for bugs in the backyard. We spotted a big fat ant crawling on some rocks. “I’m gonna step on it,” she declared as she lifted her foot.

My contribution to the world today: Shifting “I’m gonna step on it” into “It’s just minding its own business, let’s leave it alone.”

One might argue that this is flawed logic, because ants are evil creatures that invade your home and eat your beloved peanut butter. But I consider that an exception case. Let’s start with thinking about what we’re extinguishing and why before doing so.

30×30 Day 12

1a. I made sis a coffee today because she felt tired, then helped watched the little ones later so she could rest.

1b. Sis spent the day hanging out with me and driving to Somerville for lunch, despite being tired.

2a. Mom made sticky rice cakes for us to enjoy, and so she could show Penny how they were made.

2b. I wrapped them for her as she made them, and to keep her company.

Active giving is multidirectional.

30×30 Day 11

Today I ate more than I should have, even though I wasn’t hungry, because when Dad makes food with the intention of sharing, I have two choices:

1. I can share with him, and we’re all happy for a multitude of reasons.

2. I can reject his bid, forego the happiness above, and leave him to eat way more than he should.

My waistline is glad I only visit once in a while.

I’m glad to be visiting.

30×30 Day 10

I did the dishes today. It’s not exactly a rare occurrence, but when I’m staying with my parents I actually have to fight for the privilege.

I even wore dish gloves without them asking, so they wouldn’t worry about me ending up with dishpan hands.

I’m not even kidding, I have no chance of washing the dishes here otherwise.

30×30 Day 9

I was walking down Newbury St. with sis today when we came upon the new Allbirds store. I immediately dragged her inside to try on a pair of wool runners, because I believe they’re the most comfortable shoes ever and wanted her to experience them.

Sis, who has an impressive collection of shoes, including a subcollection of super comfy sneakers, agreed. Most comfortable shoes ever!

Contributing to the world, one amazingly comfortable shoe experience at a time.

30×30 Day 8

Today I went the mall with Penny, Paige, sis, and Dad. While sis and Dad shopped, I wandered the kid’s section of Macy’s with Penny, answering her many questions.

There were a LOT of things out of place. Penny pointed at a onesie with a hanger on the floor.

“Look, it’s on the floor,” she said, and proceeded to step over it.

“Why don’t we hang it up?” I asked.

“Because someone else left it there,” she replied.

“That doesn’t mean we can’t help make it better.”


5 minutes later, the entire section looked tons better.

One day at a time, one teaching moment at a time.