Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Hawaiian Concert Tonight!

image

Prepping the food for our Hawaiian pupu party. On the menu tonight: Spam musubi, fried rice, macaroni salad, pork sandwiches and chicken long rice. It will truly be an authentic Hawaiian experience.

Besuboru

Baseball: the great American pastime. Living in Hawaii, it’s rare that I get to go to any professional games, but last night, I found myself in the Sapporo Dome cheering on the Hokkaido Nippon Ham Fighters with a bunch of crazy Japanese fans. I believe that the season is about ready to end and I’m not sure where the Fighters are in the standings but the stands were about half-full and that could have been because it was a Wednesday night or because the team may be out of the playoff race (or maybe it was another reason altogether). But we didn’t let that dampen our spirits as we cheered our hearts out.

On the mound for the Fighters was their star pitcher Yu Darvish. From what I hear, he may be the next pitcher to break into the Majors in the next couple of years. He pitched a great game but he didn’t get much run support and if he caught a few bounces here or there, he may have been the winning pitcher instead of losing a 3-1 pitcher’s duel.

On a side note, we were having a hard time figuring out how hard the pitchers were throwing because they display the velocity in kilometers/hour. Luckily Kristin figured out a conversion formula for us and Darvish was throwing in the low 90s.

wpid-img_0370-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

Banners everywhere walking into the Sapporo Dome

wpid-img_0372-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

The sign welcomed us

The first thing I noticed when I walked into the stadium was how seriously they take cheering. I mean we cheer on our team, but these guys were organized and they waved huge flags and had trumpeters and it seemed like everyone in our section had Fighters jerseys and noisemakers.

wpid-img_0376-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

The flag wavers stand on the concourse

wpid-img_0384-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

Those plastic bats provide the noise

wpid-img_0386-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

The guy in the orange leads the cheers

wpid-img_0393-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

Not to be confused with the actual cheerleaders

If you want to get a good idea of what I mean by organized cheers watch the video below. There are about 10 cheers or so that we yelled over the course of the game. It is interesting because when your team is up to bat, everyone in the section stands throughout the entire half inning and cheers. When your team is in the field the section becomes quiet and the opposing team’s section takes over the cheering. Of course the visiting team has a smaller cheering section, but they were loud nonetheless.

wpid-img_0399-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

I don’t think anyone mistook me for the real Darvish

wpid-img_0407-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

Dural and I were matchy-matchy

wpid-img_0404-2011-10-6-02-41.jpg

Despite the loss we had fun anyway

Airline Food

Living on a small island like Oahu has many benefits. For one, nothing is really more than half an hour away. Of course, when you have to sit in a car for more than an hour, it can seem like an eternity. One drawback to living on an island is travel. In order to go anywhere significant you have to get on a plane (or boat I suppose) and that means going to the airport, making your way through security and renting a car and booking a hotel (unless you’re lucky enough to know someone at your destination willing to put you up). All this means to me is that I don’t travel very often because it’s such an ordeal. Of course, when I do travel, it’s such a special occasion.

I am currently in Japan, where I usually go once a year, with my church. This year, for the first time, we flew on China Airlines because we couldn’t find a good price on Japan Airlines. Up until now, I had always flew on JAL so I kind of knew exactly what to expect on the trans-Pacific flight. When we fly on JAL, I always get the Japanese meal because I figure I can always get an American meal on any other flight. Plus, I like Japanese food and I’m rarely disappointed. Following that mindset, when it came time to order on China Airlines, we had a choice of the eggs breakfast or the Chinese one. I’m pretty sure the flight attendant told me exactly what the Chinese breakfast had in it, but either she told me it in Chinese or she just had a thick accent. Either way I wasn’t sure exactly what I was getting. I love Chinese food, but when I opened the tray this is what I saw.

wpid-2011-09-2911-27-21-2011-09-30-11-07.jpg

So that’s what Chinese people eat for breakfast!

So what is it? Your guess is as good as mine. The only things I recognized right off the bat were the bread and the juice. The left dish held some sort of rice dish that reminded me of jook and the one of the right was small pieces of the stuff that is the cone of a cone sushi. I wasn’t sure what I was expecting, but it definitely wasn’t that.

Our next meal came four or five hours later. This time, I knew exactly what the flight attendant told me. She gave me the choice of chicken with pasta or beef on rice. Not really being a pasta guy, I opted for the rice. It turned out to be almost like a beef stew dish except there was just one thing slightly amiss.

wpid-2011-09-2916-20-05-2011-09-30-11-07.jpg

Can you spot it?

It’s not that there wasn’t enough beef, rice or vegetables. No, that part was fine. My biggest issue was the amount of fat on the beef. I guess they haven’t heard about the hazards of eating straight fat in China, because it seemed like that was all I got. Here’s a close up.

wpid-2011-09-2916-31-25-2011-09-30-11-07.jpg

Mmm, oh so yummy!

Now don’t get me wrong, I like a good piece of fatty meat every now and then, but that was a little too much even for me. At least they did have a good Diet Coke for me. That helped me to wash down my lunch.

wpid-2011-09-2916-45-33-2011-09-30-11-07.jpg

I think that says Diet Coke (or at least Coca-Cola Light)

Big D, part 2

After keeping you in suspense for several months, I decided to finish telling you all about my trip to Texas. Actually this post is mostly about the food I ate since I figured that you probably wouldn’t be too interested in the database conference I attended. So if you haven’t eaten lunch yet, this post may be a little dangerous. You’ve been warned.

So when you go to Texas I guess what you’re expected to do is eat meat. Lots and lots of meat. Not just any meat. You’re supposed to eat Texas BBQ. Last year when I went to the same conference we ate at a BBQ place called Dickey’s BBQ Pit. It was some pretty good stuff. This year we tried Sonny Bryan’s Smokehouse. Like Dickey’s this place is a chain, but don’t let that discourage you. It was lots of smoked meat and deep-fried goodness.

wpid-img_9594-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

Outside the Smokehouse on a rainy evening

wpid-img_9597-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

I had the BBQ ribs, brisket and chicken with a side of fried okra and green bean casserole

Continuing on our meaty-goodness theme, we asked a barista at one of the coffee shops where we could get some steak. We didn’t need a fancy, gourmet steak. We just wanted a place to eat a big hunk of meat. His answer? Texas Land & Cattle. Let me tell you, it didn’t disappoint. Ruth’s Chris it’s not, but it was a good piece of meat. I had the ribeye with a baked sweet potato and it was under $20 ($17.95 if I remember correctly)! I probably wouldn’t eat there every week, but for a nice dinner it was quite reasonable.

wpid-img_9606-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

I didn’t quite get the meat sweats, but I got close

wpid-img_9608-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

Our cheesy queso appetizer

wpid-img_9612-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

The main dish!

On our last day, we had a few hours between the end of the conference and our flight so we ventured down to Fort Worth. As luck would have it, we got there at the tail end of Western week so the town was abuzz with people dressed in Western regalia and doing some educational demonstrations for the kids.

It was like we ventured back into the Old West complete with people on horseback and cowboys.

wpid-img_9617-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

This is what the Old West would have looked like with paved roads, cars and stoplights

wpid-img_9619-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

Deb and some settlers

wpid-img_9622-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

I’m also sure the Old West had tons of mice riding on cats riding on dogs

One thing I did want to try were calf fries. I had never tried one before and I didn’t know when I would be able to try them again, so I figured I’d take my chances and go for broke. I also had a normal lunch of a chicken-fried steak sandwich too just to make sure I could wash the calf fries taste out of my mouth.

wpid-img_9630-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

The infamous calf fries

wpid-img_9634-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

What the inside of a deep-fried calf testicle looks like

wpid-img_9635-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

Mmm, so ono

wpid-img_9636-2011-08-10-16-00.jpg

My rather mundane chicken-fried steak sandwich (which was huge by the way)

Of course we did try to eat healthy when we weren’t eating meat, but I figured you can eat healthy anywhere. As the old saying goes, “when in Rome, do as the Romans do”. So meat it was.

One thing we really didn’t try was Tex-Mex. Maybe if I go back again next year, I’ll make sure that it’s on the menu.

Heaven is For Real

Today, Slugger and I spent the morning together. Keao had to work for a few hours, so it was just me and her at home. Most of the time, Slugger is pretty content to just kind of cruise around and play with her toys as long as she knows you’re nearby. Every now and then, she will come over and want to be carried or want to sit in your lap, but for the most part she knows how to entertain herself.

Last week, Debbie, another staff member at church, gave me a book called Heaven is For Real. It’s the story of a little boy who briefly went to Heaven and returned back. It’s a fairly short book and it’s an easy read, so this morning, while I was watching Slugger I read the book.

In the book, the little boy, named Colton, describes going to Heaven and meeting Jesus. He also mentions over and over again that Jesus really loves children. He really, really loves children. Colton also goes on to tell his parents that he met his sister in Heaven. The strange thing is that before Colton was born, his mom had a miscarriage and they never told Colton about that. He met his sister that he didn’t even know he had!

In case you didn’t know, today is a special day. Five years ago, July 28 was just another day on my calendar, no more special than any other day. Four years ago on this date I got married. July 28 now had a very special meaning because it was one of the happiest days of my life. One year ago on this date I became a father. I became a dad to three teeny, tiny girls: Astro, Gizmo and Slugger. July 28 now had even more significance.

But July 28 also carries sadness as well as elation and joy. Although we brought three girls into this world, we lost Astro too. What should have been our happiest moment also became one of unimaginable grief as well. As if anything else couldn’t go wrong, a little over two weeks later, we would go on to lose Gizmo too.

If Heaven is for real, and I believe it is, then that means that this story will end happily! One day, whenever that day is, I will be reunited with all of my girls and we will never be separated again. In his letter to the Romans, the Apostle Paul writes that, “I am convinced that nothing can ever separate us from God’s love. Neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither our fears for today nor our worries about tomorrow—not even the powers of hell can separate us from God’s love” (Romans 8:38). Along with that I believe that once we hit Heaven we’ll be together forever (along with all of our other loved ones that know Jesus). What a joyous homecoming that will be. I can’t wait for my girls to show me around and give me the grand tour. There I’ll be able to hug and kiss them as long as I want to.

But today we also celebrate too. While we remember our lost girls, we celebrate with the one that turned a year old! Today Slugger turned one and she isn’t showing any signs of being born three months early. In fact, if you didn’t know anything about her you would never believe what she went through. You would never believe she spent the first 81 days of her life in the hospital fighting for her life. You would never believe she was only 2 pounds, 4 ounces when she was born. You would never believe that she was hooked up to so many machines that helped her breathe, eat and survive. All these things you would never believe because today she looks so perfect. We rejoice at how our little Slugger has turned out and we look forward to seeing her grow for many more years.

Thank you Jesus for blessing us with three beautiful little girls. I can’t wait until we can all be together again! Daddy loves you guys!

wpid-img_20110717_135403-2011-06-17-17-34.jpg

Happy Birthday Slugger!

Big D, Part 1

It’s been a busy last couple of months for me filled with some time off the island. I went to a conference in Plano, Texas and then Keao and I took a short trip to the Big Island to introduce Slugger to her cousin and her aunties and uncles for the first time. But that’s for another post (I’m trying really hard to catch up), this one is about my time in Dallas.

A few of us were sent to the Fellowship One conference to learn about the system powering our church’s database. I know, it’s super exciting. But we arrived the day before the conference started so we decided to do a little sightseeing.

Our first stop was lunch. When I go to the mainland there are three fast-food restaurants I like to eat as that we can’t get in Hawaii: 1. Chick-Fil-A, 2. Sonic, 3. In and Out Burger. I know, some of you may think that In and Out should be higher, but truthfully, while I like their burgers, I would still rather eat at the other two places first. Plus, they just opened the first In and Out in Texas while we were there and the line reportedly stretched over a mile.

But Sonic. I love Sonic. Not only do they have a wonderfully large menu, but you get served by carhops wearing roller skates! Plus, with all the drink combinations you can order a different drink every time you go there.

wpid-img_9489-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

They even have instructions on how to eat this massive foot-long Coney Island beast

wpid-img_9490-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

I got mine covered in chili and cheese

Last year when I went to the Fellowship One conference with Cindy, we saw Cowboy Stadium from a distance but we didn’t have a chance to visit it so this year I really wanted to make sure i got to take a tour of the “House that Jerry Built”. In a word, Cowboy Stadium is massive. I’ve been to other ballparks before but this one was so huge and impressive I don’t think pictures will do it justice. It’s a sight you have to see for yourself, in person.

The first thing you notice about Cowboy Stadium is the insanely large HD video screen. It’s reportedly the largest in the world and it cost $40 million to build. To put it in perspective, Texas Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys played before, cost $35 million to build. The entire stadium cost $5 million less than the HD screen.

wpid-img_9499-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

How would you like that in your living room?

wpid-img_9505-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

A view from the owner’s box

wpid-img_9506-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

Pretending to be Jerry Jones for a few minutes

wpid-img_9524-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

How many ways can you say “win”?

wpid-img_9539-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

I wanted to spike a football, but I was afraid of the ramifications

wpid-img_9558-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

The locker of former University of Hawaii punter Mat McBriar

wpid-img_9560-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

Tony Romo’s locker (I hear you can rent the locker room to do weddings too)

wpid-img_9566-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

Do you really need to tell professional football players NOT to share razors?

wpid-img_9570-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

A statue of the great Tom Landry

After the tour we were a little tired so we headed to our hotel to take a short nap and then we headed back to Arlington to take in a Rangers game. Cindy and I attended a game last year too, but you never get tired of watching a major league game live. Plus, the Rangers did make it to the World Series last year so there is quite a buzz going on in Dallas.

wpid-img_9572-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

The Ballpark at Arlington

wpid-img_9573-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

Your better-than-average stadium fare, a BBQ brisket sandwich

wpid-img_9576-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

Home Run!

wpid-img_9581-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

The ground crew covering the field during the rain delay

wpid-img_9582-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

Apparently one guy fell down and got covered too!

wpid-img_9588-2011-06-15-10-21.jpg

The stadium quickly emptied when the lightning started

Truthfully I’m not sure who won since we didn’t stick around through the rain delay. We had traveled all night and we were tired (plus we didn’t want to be too tired for the conference). I didn’t take too many pictures of the conference since I figured that it wouldn’t be that exciting for everyone to see but I did take more pictures of food so please join me next time where I’ll show you what else i ate in Texas.

Until then, happy trails!

The other day, I was cleaning out one of my dresser drawers at home and I came across an old pile of postcards. I know, I know, in this day of Facebook, Twitter, text messages and instant communication, postcards are an archaic form of communication.

Before I got hired on staff at Hope Chapel, I helped in the youth ministry for ten years. One of my favorite “traditions” I had with the youth was sending postcards. Anytime I went off island I would try to send my MiniChurch a postcard from wherever I was and in return many of them would send them back to me. I don’t know about you, but anytime I get a piece of handwritten mail, whether it be a postcard, thank you card or even an invitation it makes me smile. Ever since I became an adult, it seems like 90% of my mail are either bills or credit card solicitations.

But seeing those postcards again made me realize how many places our youth visited and also fun postcards are. Here are a few of my favorites from both near and far.

wpid-doc013a-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

The road to Hana at Keanae, Maui

I love this one because even though it’s just on Maui, it showed that a postcard was still worth sending.

wpid-doc007-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

Paramount’s Great America in Santa Clara, California

wpid-doc013-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

Las Vegas, Nevada

I know these aren’t very exotic, but you have to admit that many islanders go there quite frequently.

wpid-doc009-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

Sent from Ketchikan, Alaska, just a reminder to stop peeing like pup

wpid-doc009a-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

A nice shot of the Rockies sent from Denver, Colorado

Still not totally unusual but now we’re getting a little further off the beaten trail.

wpid-doc011a-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

Possibly the only state with more state pride than Hawaii from Houston, Texas

wpid-doc008-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

Not a state but a district, Washington DC

wpid-doc008a-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

One of my favorite places on earth, the Walt Disney World resort in Orlando, Florida

wpid-doc011-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

This looks like Scotland, but it’s really Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

Now we’re getting a little further east and I’ve received postcards from Texas, DC, Florida and Pennsylvania. But enough of the domestic stuff. Here are a few international ones.

wpid-doc010-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

Of course this is Japan and the famous Osaka Castle in Osaka, Japan

wpid-doc012-2011-05-4-11-35.jpg

This one, from Edinburgh, Scotland, is probably my favorite because of its unusual shape

Thanks for joining me on this trip down memory lane. I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did. Now that I have a daughter, I think I’m going to start sending her postcards whenever I leave the island so she’ll have a little collection of where I’ve been when she gets old enough to read. However, you can participate too. If you’re going on a trip, I’d love to receive a postcard from you and if you give me your address, I will make sure you get one from me. You can send your address or request mine by emailing me at beiberfever808@gmail.com.

I hope to hear from you and see where you’ve been soon!