Pet wisdom on how to stay cool

Posted on May 18, 2014 at 9:55 AM Comments comments (0)

How to stay cool:  
1. Take it easy.
2. Drink lots of water.
3. Use your master's buckwheat cover crop to cool off.

Morning Walk - Tehachapi Ranch

Posted on April 27, 2014 at 5:35 PM Comments comments (1)

Easter Lamb

Posted on April 21, 2014 at 9:30 PM Comments comments (0)


Spring in Tehachapi -Morning walk

Posted on April 13, 2014 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

With Sakai gone to Europe, I came to Tehachapi alone. But Ana and Kurokin keep me company.  Kurokin had been locked up in the ranch house for nearly a week, so sure enough she needed some fresh air.  Ana and I went for our morning walk around the ranch, Kurokin joined us.  The cherries and apple trees are in full bloom.  I feel at home here.

Snow in Tehachapi

Posted on April 3, 2014 at 1:30 PM Comments comments (0)


We finally had some rain and snow in March and April. I took this picture yesterday while walking with Ana and feeding the horses on our ranch.  The clouds were moving in.  Ana paused for a moment.  Sorrel, one of the horses, raised his head.  It felt like Ana in an oil painting.  

Raining in Los Angeles

Posted on March 1, 2014 at 11:40 AM Comments comments (0)

It's been pouring for two days.  How we needed this! It's coming down again, as I write.  Rain or shine,  Kinchan stays put in her cozy place.  Occasionally, she gets up to observe the rain. That's plenty of exercise for a 16 year old cat.

Ana in Highland Park

Posted on March 22, 2013 at 12:35 AM Comments comments (0)

Morning walk - Tehachapi

Posted on March 2, 2013 at 11:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Boy cat looks after Mother cat - Tehachapi

Posted on March 25, 2012 at 4:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Chibi is one of two feral cats that was living with underneath our ranch house in Tehachapi when we bought the property.  Chibi, means little in Japan but he has outgrown his name and his mother, Kurokin.The  black cat curled up next to Chibi is Kurokin. Normally, Kurokin will not let Chibi near her but she is recovering from surgey and feeling either too weak to shoo Chibi away or in need of tender, loving care.  After a whole year of trying to catch these feral cats, I finally trapped  Kurokin yesterday, and took her to the vet to get her spayed. She appeared pregnant and sure enough, she was.  I am sorry about the abortion but we had to do it. 

Chibi and Kurokin last spring. They were living underneath  the
ranch house.  Chibi didn't not make an appearance until
a few months after we bought the ranch. Kurokin was
keeping her in hiding. Chibi was a complete surprise.

Chibi missed his mother a lot while she was away. I could hear the sadness in his meow.  Now that they are back together, they are inseparable.   Kurokin is doing everything a cat can do to comfort his mother.  He licks her shaved tummy and holds her  lovingly.  In just a  a couple days, Chibi appears to have matured and learned to show compassion.  In fact, he acts like  the mother cat.  We had to leave them both in Tehachapi like we always do.  It's good Kurokin has company.  Two is better than one. People and cats, we are all the same.

Kurokin - the feral cat that used to bark at us.
Now she lets us pat her on the back if she feels like it
and follows us around but always keeps a safe distant.

Taming the Wild - Tehachapi

Posted on August 31, 2011 at 2:40 PM Comments comments (0)

Kurokin and Chibi

When we bought the ranch in Tehachapi, we found a black feral cat living under the mobil home.  The ranch had been bank owned for some time before we took over, so we wondered how this cat managed without any water or food.  But soon we learned that there is a creek near the property and there are plenty of field mice, and other edible creatures.  Still, the black cat was skin and bones, and limping when we found her. 

Having a cat on the ranch helps keep the mice population down, so we decided to keep the black cat.  We named it Kurokin which means black  and gold (for her golden eyes).  We put food and water out whenever we were at the ranch, and slowly, Kurokin began to make eye contact with us, and not hiss as much.  It's scary when she hisses with her nose. It sounds like a mean sneeze.

Three months went by, and one morning, Kurokin appeared with a little kitten.  We couldn't believe it. Maybe she had more but they didn't survive.  Kurokin is very protective of the kitten, which we named chibi for being little. Unlike her mother, chibi is not afraid of us but Kurokin keeps a close guard.  Kurokin is a good mother.  I don't know what she would have done, if she didn't have this baby.  We think the father cat was one that we found dead on Old Ranch Road, the first week I came. 

Sakai bought a cat bed at Costco to prepare the cats for the cooler weather, and sure enough, they love it. We also have to fix the heating system, which is under the house.  This means, the cats will have to find housing elsewhere soon.  Sakai is going to build a cat house for them.  

When chibi is old enough, I want to fix it.  I also want to fix Kurokin but she is not easy. My neighbor tried to catch Kurokin once but she escaped. I hope to succeed. I have to.  But I am going to wait till chibi is a little older.

I am a Good Cat

Posted on July 12, 2011 at 10:17 AM Comments comments (0)

Kinchan is adjusting well to the new house in Pasadena.  Though, at first I was not sure if she would because she disappeared on us for 4 days.  I didn't listen to my sister's advise to keep the cat indoors when you introduce her to a new environment.  I called the Humane Society to see if someone had turned Kinchan in but she wasn't there.  It turns out, she was hiding under the house the whole time.  She resurfaced when she got really hungry.  Now, she goes in and out of the house, as she pleases.  She loves to climb on the Ginko tree in our yard to chase squirrels and look at the world from above. She is a small cat but she has some regal qualities.  She may soon take over the reign of Miles Street from the black cat next door.  

Just the other day, I saw a small shadow moving in my closet.  I was terrified because I knew it was a mice.  I immediately called for rescue. Noone else but Kinchan.  I brought her inside.  Sure enough, she sniffed around and smelled something good. She instinctively went into hunting mode and positioned herself right by the door of the closet.  When I came back to check on the progress an hour later, however, I found Kinchan stretched on the floor, fast asleep.  A rather unreliable old guard if you asked me, but at least she stayed put.  In the middle of the night we heard a cat and mice chase like you see in cartoons.  Kinchan used the whole house to chase the mice. We heard all kinds of noises of things being knocked over and animals screaming.  Even our dog Ana got excited.  Then everything went silent.  Next morning, we found the dead mice under the couch. It was big, much bigger than the shadow I saw. It had a long greasy tail.  One thing Kinchan doesn't do is eat her prey.  She gives it to Anachan and they both play with it, until it turns into a fur ball. But Kinchan didn't play with this mice. I asked Sakai to take it away. Kinchan deserves a piece of meat, which is what she is waiting for in this picture. 

Pasadena - Our new comfort zone

Posted on April 24, 2011 at 1:59 AM Comments comments (0)

Ana exploring the new neighborhood 

We've now been in Pasadena for two weeks.   I've been very busy unpacking our stuff, organizing our finances, making soba for a charity, and going to traffic school, and monitoring my mother's condition in Japan.  Life has been pretty intense but I cannot complain. We have a new home in Pasadena and we are more relaxed than we have been in a long time.

First the good news.  My mother beat the odds and got her lungs back.  She is breathing normally again and checking out of the hospital today.   When my sister Fuyuko told her that I moved to Pasadena, mother's eyes opened wide and she smiled. She loved living in Pasadena.

 As expected, we had a bumpy start  with Kinchan. We tried to keep her inside but she is an outdoor cat. She snuck out and went missing for awhile.  I went around the neighborhood looking and asking my new neighbors if they had seen a gray cat but no sight of Kinchan. I checked the website of the Humane Society of Pasadena and found a very similar gray cat posted on the lost cat list.  I was pretty sure it was Kinchan.  I went down to the Humane Society to see. Unfortunately, it looked like her but it was another cat.  Poor thing, it was very pregnant.

Even though many changes were taking place at home, I went to the westside to attend a charity event in Culver City, and stayed with my old neighbor, Ellen for  the night. I didn't want to take a chance driving at night on the 110 freeway.  

My old house in Santa Monica was intact but had a strangely different feeling. The garden was well tended and cheerful.  The grass looked  greener.  Ellen said they have a gardner working on it twice a week.  The old English rose bush was blooming.  So were a few of the beared Irises. The climbing rose would be next.  I know the cycle of this garden by heart.  I wanted to step in and smell the old rose but a young guy came out of the house, and that sort of put me right back in reality.  I sold the house.  It was no longer mine.  So I said goodbye to the house once again and left.

When I got home, Sakai told me that Kinchan resurfaced this morning.  I reunited with her later in the evening, after the house painters left. Kinchan was very hungry and very happy to see me. She followed me around all day.

Bird in a tree - somewhere

The big old trees in Pasadena invite all kinds of birds  - what fascinates me most are the wild parrots!  Apparently, there are hundreds of them in this area. Legend goes that a pet shop in Pasadena caught on fire and the owner of the shop released the parrots and they went wild. I never paid attention to trees and birds in the city as I have in Pasadena.

The old California bungalows are also attract the eyes.  A lot of social activity happens in the front lawns of these homes.  Children play hide and go seek, sell lemonade, run around in their bathing suits.  Grown ups read the paper in their front porch and practice golf.  It reminded me of the early days in Santa Monica. I remember there was a pair of wild ducks that would hang out in my old neighbor's front yard during the spring time.  The neighbor would put a tub of fresh water and food out for the feathery couple.  I loved that they made themselves at home.  Pasadena feels that way.  I am an older bird returning to Pasadena after 35 years, and finding my comfort zone.

Dog meets Dog

By the way, I got a call from the Humane Society today. The gray cat I inquired about had kittens. The lady asked me if I wanted to adopt a kitten.  I wish I could but not now.  Maybe later.

Our House in Pasadena

Posted on April 6, 2011 at 10:48 AM Comments comments (0)

We don't start the lease on the house in Pasadena until Wednesday, but I took my succulent and flower pots there and brought Ana along to show her the new place. 

Pasadena is a familiar place to me. I grew up here in the seventies. My family lived on Hill Street, which is not far from here. I went to Blair High school and Pasadena City College. This is where I learned how to speak English.

The house we rented is the funkiest house in the prettiest neighborhood in town.  We will be here until we find a permanent home of our own. I can't wait to rediscover Pasadena.

What attracted me most about this house is the Ginko tree.  Mark, the 82 year old manager said to me, "The tree is divine."  and it is.  It invites you right into the garden and makes you feel at home. The owners of the house love this tree so much, they don't let the gardener touch it. They have a pruner from the Huntington Library that comes to take care of the tree. There are also lemon and orange trees and a nice vegetable garden that the previous leasees left behind.  The neighbors old trees are also present. The trees create a cool shade in the garden. The transition from Santa Monica to this house is going to be almost effortless because of these trees. 

The house is an old California bungalow. It's getting a coat of paint right now. Mel's lovely wife picked the color.  Mel also put these plastic planters up on the balcony. When he visited Switzerland, he saw homes with bright geraniums pots hanging from the windows.  He wants us to plant geraniums in these planters and give the house a cheerful look.  The house has three bedrooms.  The parquet floors in the living room are coated with shiny varnish. It supposedly keeps the pet urine from damaging the hardwood floors.  I don't care much about the way the floors look but I will cover them with my kilims.  The kitchen is tiny.  There is no range, no fridge, no nothing. Just cabinets.  I have to go shopping for appliances.  My soba table will probably have to stay outside.  

Cat and Corrugated Paper - Santa Monica

Posted on April 3, 2011 at 1:45 PM Comments comments (1)

There is one member in our family that is rather oblivious to the madness of moving.  It's Kinchan. She has been hanging out on the kitchen floor a lot because the corrugated paper that is covering the newly polished hardwood floors feels good on her tummy. She gets her nails done, too. She can do all the scratching she wants until the end of next week.  In times like this, I rather be the pet cat than the owner.

Cat Nap - Santa Monica

Posted on March 30, 2011 at 8:29 PM Comments comments (0)

Kinchan found the perfect spot to take a nap - under the drying sheet.  The patio is my favorite place to dry laundry. It gets a lot of sun. My clothes and sheets smell sweet like spring.  I wonder how Kinchan will adjust to the next place.

Kinchan is on the wild side. Loves to hunt, bring back live souvenirs and drops them in the blue tub. Hummingbirds were her favorite.  The old neighbors - Sandy and Maxine would get so mad at Kinchan whenever she went into their yard to snatch away a bird that was feeding from the bird feeder.  Sandy would often call animal control.  We were fined three times and were told to keep Kinchan on a leash or indoors.  I tried bells around her neck- at one time Kinchan wore about 4 or 5 around her neck.  She jingled like a Christmas sleigh. One year, no matter how many collars (with a bell) I put on Kinchan, she kept loosing them. I thought it was Sandy pulling them off from Kinchan's neck so animal control would take her away. There was some bad feelings between us over our cat. We couldn't resolve it.  Time eventually took care of the problem though. Kinchan got older and slowed down. She is 9 years old and not as wild as she used to be. She still hunts on occasion and surprises me but would rather nap run after a bird.  

Sandy passed away about 4 years ago.  Then yesterday, I heard that Maxine passed away.  I didn't know this until my neighbor Ellen told me. I liked Maxine.  I am sorry our cat made trouble. I hope Maxine and Sandy are both in a peaceful place.  

Earthquake in Japan - Santa Monica

Posted on March 12, 2011 at 2:14 PM Comments comments (1)

Ana, wisteria, and stone sculpture

I am feeling numb from the earthquake in Japan. 9.0 in the rector scale.  It took me the whole day to reach my family. My family in Tokyo was fine but I have distant relatives in Iwaki, Fukushima where the nuclear power plant exploded.  I am concerned for their lives.   I've been in touch with family and friends from all over the world who have called or e mailed me to find out if my family was okay. In times of crisis of this scale, we feel helpless.  Someone in Japan described the shaking buildings like a trembling leaf,  and the earth like a quivering jello.  A friend in Niigata is trying to create a special ribbon that ties people together - not just the Japanese but everyone in the world. 

I've been through two major earthquakes in LA.  The first one happened when we lived in Monterey Park. My old soba cups fell from the shelves and I broke many. But we were okay.  My friends from Japan helped replace some of my broken china. In the second earthquake, the house shook so hard, I thought I was going to die.  I was scared for a long time.  My assistant left LA and moved back to Georgia. But again, we were lucky. Some people were not.

The Japanese wisteria tree  and Sakai's sculpture in the patio make me connected to Japan.  We are all tied ot  Japan in one way or another - by land, by sea, by blood, by spirit.  Today, I prayed a lot.

Patient Dog - Santa Monica

Posted on March 9, 2011 at 2:33 AM Comments comments (0)

Studio - Santa Monica

For Ana and Sakai, the day starts with a walk down to 12th Street and back.   Sometimes, they go on a walk before the sun rises.   Sakai has his cup of coffee and a little time in the studio before the walk.  Ana knows the routine. Sometimes, Ana doesn't  want to go for a walk. She starts the walk but then turns around and tries to head home.  This morning, she sits quietly and waits. Decision is hers. 

Spring Garden - Santa Monica

Posted on February 27, 2011 at 11:04 PM Comments comments (0)

Another dog day afternoon

Posted on July 15, 2010 at 11:59 PM Comments comments (0)

Pause - Santa Monica

Posted on May 22, 2010 at 12:56 AM Comments comments (0)

Ana watching the little league soccer players