My Okinawan Stalker

I have a stalker here in Okinawa: my relative. He’s two decades older than me, and was born with down syndrome. When I first started spending significant time here, I thought he was nice, and I considered him a good friend. He helped me adjust to being in a new country and culture. He helped me set up my Okinawan cellphone, would cook for me, introduce me to people, and was generally helpful. I wanted to be nice to him since he’s my relative, and because I needed friends being in a new country, and also due to his disability.

After a while though, things began heading really down hill. He would call me a lot, and was coming over to my apartment several times every day – 6:00 am, 8:00 am, 4:00 pm, 6:00 pm. Worse, he would take things from my apartment (without asking) over to his house, and he would bring things from his house over to my apartment. My apartment doubles as my office, and I would have trouble concentrating with him coming over and changing things so frequently. Not to mention I got really tired of him coming over and ringing the doorbell incessantly at six a.m. every morning. So I started ignoring him and not opening the door. This caused some problems, since occasionally when other people came to the door, I would mistakenly assume it was the stalker, and not answer, only to meet up with them later and have them mention that they stopped by.

For those of you unaware, I live in Hawaii, though I often travel for work to Okinawa, so much so that I have my own apartment here in my ancestral village of Nakagusuku. Last year the village made me an official cultural ambassador for them as part of a cross-cultural training program specifically for overseas descendants of the village. Being a yonsei (fourth generation descendant) from Okinawa, I still have a lot of relatives here. In fact, I’m related to much of the village.

So one day I was talking with my aunt, the stalkers mom, and we agreed that she would nicely ask him to stop coming over to my apartment so much. A few hours later, I was heading out to eisaa (Okinawan folk dance) practice, when I found the tires on my bike had been punctured. This was a big deal, since my bike is my main form of transportation in the village, and the bike shop is all the way in the next town.

I realized that the stalker had very likely been the culprit, and was about to tell my aunt and uncle, but to my surprise, they had already concluded it was him. Apparently he had done things like this before to other people.

The next day my aunt drove me to the bike shop to get my tires fixed. And that night, the stalker once again punctured my brand new tires.

In addition to the tire vandalism, he had also turned off the boiler to my apartment on several different occasions.

And he stares at me. A lot. Before I just thought of it as harmless, but now it seems much creepier and possibly even dangerous.

Eventually I yelled at him and told him that I have hidden cameras installed on my apartment, and that the next time he comes here I’m calling the police. He hasn’t been back to my apartment since, though he still tries to connect with me elsewhere around the village. I do my best to avoid him.

This has been one of the worst parts of my experience in Okinawa so far. It has had a huge impact on my lifestyle while I’m in Okinawa, since I now purposely will go out of my way to avoid him, and thus has significantly minimized my interactions with my aunt and uncle, who I previously spent a lot of time with. Thus, Okinawa has gotten much more lonesome for me.

Nevertheless, I think cutting him out of my life was the right thing to do. Prior to him puncturing my tires, I thought of him as a nice, if misunderstood, relative. Now, though, I just think of him as a creepy old stalker. I don’t care if we’re related or not – I’m not afraid to cut off toxic people. It’s not that I’m even mad at him anymore, I just don’t think it’s healthy for either of us for him to be around me. He has an unhealthy obsession for me to the point where he steals my things, and tries to manipulate and control me, and there’s nothing good that could possibly come out of me renewing my friendship with him.

More on the stalker, and my other experiences in Okinawa, coming later.


Rob Kajiwara is a Ryukyuan, Nahua – Hawaiian composer, writer, visual artist, baseball player, and human rights activist. www.RobKajiwara.com

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:

http://robkajiwaramusic.blogspot.com/2018/10/jess-kajiwara-angel-unaware.html

 

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. www.robkajiwara.com

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.

Octopus’s Garden

I’m no artist, but this past summer I took a digital art class to fulfill my art requirement. Below is one of the projects I had to make. It’s a surrealistic self-portrait.

And this was a comic book cover I had to make.

And this was the animated GIF I had to make. I liked the idea of continuing the octopus/under sea theme. The image actually moves and stuff. There’s a submarine that comes in, and the octopus knocks it away with one of his tentacles. Unfortunately the animation doesn’t work here, so all you’ll see is this still picture.

EDIT: If you click on the picture, you should be able to see the animation.

And here’s a water color picture I had to do in one of my Education classes. The class was about how to teach children art. I’m really no artist, but art is kinda fun. We had to paint an under-sea landscape for this project. But as you can probably tell, I’m rather fond of the sea. And purple octopus’s.

And that’s pretty much the extent of my artistic ability.

Humuhumunukunukuapua’a

Today at work we took the kids on a field trip to Sandy Beach. We found a Humuhumunukunukuapua’a (Hawaii’s state fish) swimming wild, which is a rare sight. These guys are an endangered species, and are not usually seen in the wild (except at Hanauma Bay.)

I left my phone/camera at the school since I didn’t want it to get wet. But my coworker, Ken, took this picture of it:

Image

 

It’s difficult to make out the colors in this photo, but the Humu is a truly beautiful fish.

Here’s a photo I found on Google, which shows more of its colors:

As you can see, it’s dominantly yellow, but has a large black strip running across its body (as well as a smaller one on its tail). The pictures don’t do it justice, though. It has red stripes on it’s fins, and blue-ish lines around its mouth, and in other places. It’s truly a remarkable work of God. Seeing one of these today in the wild was a real treat.