Jess Kajiwara, Angel Unaware

In case you missed it, my grandfather suddenly passed away this past Friday. I wrote a short post about it on my music blog:


My grandpa, Jess Kajiwara, and I were very close and he has been an enormous influence on me. He was a troubled and conflicted man, as many indigenous immigrants are. But he was also very nice, loving, friendly, and kind. He partially raised me, and I have lived with him for over 10 years.

Losing him has been the most painful experience of my life so far. For although I have previously lost other close relatives, none that I lived with day-in and day-out like I have with my grandfather.

My heart is shattered and crushed. I knew this was inevitable and I did my best to prepare myself emotionally for it for years. Nevertheless, I am still shocked and crushed. The only comfort I have is knowing that he wants me to continue on and make him proud, to build off of the foundation that he provided for me. For although his life was difficult, it was him overcoming the difficulties that has allowed me to have a better life.

I will surely write more about him in the future, but right now this is all I can muster. I’m still dealing with the shock and grief.



Rob Kajiwara is a Asian/Native American – Hawaiian composer, writer, visual artist, professional baseball player, and human rights activist.

“The Reluctant Asian” and Identity

This was a good article about identity:

The Reluctant Asian

The writer covers ideas of cultural, national, and ethnic identity. Is one more important than the other? I think it really depends on the individual.

As someone of mixed ethnic, national, and cultural heritage, I find this to be a relevant and engaging topic. Nationally I am Hawaiian. Culturally I grew up in local Hawaiian culture, though I also have a strong Okinawan cultural influence. I additionally spent time in Asian-American settings in Seattle. The Hawaiian national identity itself is under heavy attack from the invasiveness of American culture and politics. Ethnically I am half Asian/Pacific Islander, and half Native Mexican (Nahua). So the topic of identity, and how culture, nationality, and ethnicity plays into it, is quite interesting to me and is something I think about often.

Unlike the writer in the link I posted above, I am not reluctant to identify as Asian. On the contrary, I am quite fond of my Asian identity. But Asian-ness itself is quite varied, with the Asian-Hawaiian identity being very different from the Asian-American identity, and the Okinawan identity being different from Okinawan-Hawaiian, and other Asian ethnicities being different from each other.

I think ultimately identity is something that continues to evolve over time as we get older. At least for me anyway, I’ll probably continue to learn more about my self-identity up until the day I leave this earth.

How do you identify? Between culture, nationality, and ethnicity, does one mean more to you than another? Are there other things that matter more to you in terms of your self-identity? Are there things that you, like the writer in the article I shared, identify with only reluctantly?


Revisiting Old Posts

As you can tell from my archive dates, it’s been a long time since I last posted on this blog. This blog helped serve as a sounding board for me through my formative years in college, as I sought to find myself as a young adult. I mostly tried to keep this blog to myself and a small audience, as I wasn’t ready at the time to go public.

Now, things are different, and my career is ready to move forward. My music has been published all over the internet, I have a published book, and I’ve been appointed as a special envoy and a cultural ambassador. Plus my career as a visual artist is also taking off. I’ve truly been blessed.

Revisiting old blog posts is difficult, as I’ve changed a fair bit over the years. Some of the old posts may no longer be relevant, and some I may even completely disagree with now. Nevertheless, I think the proper thing to do would be to leave them as they are, unchanged, as they are a snapshot of who I was at the time.

What I’ll do with this blog going forward, I’m not sure yet. But revisiting my old posts with the knowledge and experience that I now have will be interesting.