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.

Baba Yetu (The Lord’s Prayer)

Who says video games can’t be beautiful? The song is called “Baba Yetu,” from the game Civilization IV. (One of my favorites.) The lyrics are the Lord’s Prayer, in Swahili. My brothers, who are not exactly the most cosmopolitan (or religious) bunch, love this song.

My mom was surprised when she heard them listening to this.

“This song sounds nice,” she said. “Why are they listening to it?”

I don’t blame her. My brothers usually watch videos about sarcastic smack-talking oranges, things blowing up, and people jumping off roofs and things like that, so this is a noticeable difference for them.

My New Year’s Eve

My New Year’s Eve’s are always uneventful. New Year’s Eve is supposed to be exciting, right? At least, in my mind, it should be. But on these nights I never have anywhere to go, and I never have anything to do. I don’t know why, it just always works out like that.

Even when I was back in Seattle with my family, my dad would usually fall asleep on the couch by 10, my mom would work the night shift, which left just me and my siblings to find something to do ourselves. We’d watch videos, most notably, Rudolph’s Shiny New Year, which I think is one of the only New Year’s movies out there. (That I know of anyway.) But even then, we’d get bored before too long. I don’t know what I expect New Year’s Eve to be like, but I guess I expect it to be more fun. But coming off of Christmas, the bar has been set high, and I guess it’s kinda hard to top it.

So this year, again having nothing to do, I thought I’d at least get to spend quality time with my grandparents. But immediately my grandma went to her bedroom and shut the door, and my grandpa went to his workshop in the garage and stayed there most of the night.

“So much for that idea,” I thought.

So I ended up skyping with my siblings back in Seattle. Which was fun, up until 10 pm. Due to the time difference, that’s when they celebrated the New Year, and went to sleep right after. So for the last two hours I was alone again with nothing to do. There was nothing even good on tv. My grandpa had been watching the Country Music New Year’s celebration thingy. Yuk. I don’t hate country music, but I’m not a fan, and the idea of spending New Year’s Eve watching country music performers didn’t strike me. So after my grandpa left and I realized he wasn’t coming back I changed the channel. But still there was nothing good on.

Finally at midnight my grandpa came out, and we went outside to watch some fireworks go off around Waipahu.

So I guess I did get to spend some time with family after all. And it gave me a good opportunity to practice my resolution for 2012: look at the glass as half full instead of half empty.

Christmas blessings

Between the kids at school, kids at church, other people at church, and other people in general, I got so much stuff for Christmas. Tons of food. I hope my grandparents and I can eat it all. If not I’ll probably share it with the neighbors. Food always goes to good use.

My mom gave me an ipod for Christmas. A nice, fancy one. That was nice of her, but I already have an ipod. The one I have is a lot smaller and not nearly as fancy, but it works. My sister got not one, but two ipads. I don’t even know what I’d do with an ipad if someone gave one to me. I’d probably give it away. I guess I’m not much of an electronics guy.

Last year, my grandparents and I didn’t get a Christmas tree. We figured it was too much work, and since it’s just the three of us (four, counting Hope,) what would be the point? But this year my grandma wanted to get a tree. I guess it helps her get into the Christmas spirit, and I have to agree. So we went to Daiei in hopes of finding a small, cheap tree. And we did. We found a skinny little tree that we bought for $5. A good deal. It was a scrawny tree, but it was good for us. To show you how skinny it was, it fit in the back seat of my car. Didn’t even have to tie it to the roof.

I took down the Christmas decorations today. It was kind of sad. Usually I like leaving it up until after New Year’s. But the tree was already really dry and we don’t want to create a fire hazard. Anyway there’s always something to look forward to next year.

All in all, it was a very nice Christmas. I hope yours was too.

P.S. My 2nd graders and  I were watching a movie before Christmas break started. It was the remake of How the Grinch Stole Christmas. In one scene the Grinch says something like, “The meaning of Christmas is presents!”

The kids got mad. “No it’s not!” they said. “The meaning of Christmas is Jesus!”

“Yeah, Jesus!”

They’re good kids.