Tag Archives: Kikka Sushi

Young Man Went West #29-D: Winter Trip Facebook Statuses, Unabridged (Pt. 4)

Day 10-11: Lunch w/Justin Todd in L-Mo, then off to the SF w/Casey Cochran. Met up w/Nate Visconti, Jake Sorensen, Jessi Bucey, Sabeen Knows Techno, Kathryn Woodworth, Anna Felver, Matt Felver, and others. Ate, skated, drank. Woke up early to catch a plane to Maui. Left the airport, met a friend, ate free food. Back to Honolulu. . .

Though Christmas had wrapped up and I was getting on a plane on the 27th, I took full advantage of the 26th in terms of seeing people and going places.  My day started with lunch at IHOP with Casey and our good buddy Justin.  Justin is a busy, busy man with like ten jobs and fifty side projects, so he couldn’t stay too long or come with us to our next destination: the City.  Casey and I took BART to San Francisco where we planned to go ice skating in Union Square with some high school friends.  Along the way from the Embarcadero station to Union Square, we met up with Nate.  Each of my friends was glad the other guy wasn’t going to skate either, for neither could/wanted to.

While waiting in a short but slow line for a chai tea latte and cannoli (sad news: they had no cannoli, so I got a random, twisty pastry), Jake and Jessi arrived.  I couldn’t hang out with them just once.  More good news for Casey and Nate: neither Jake nor Jessi were skating either.  That’s okay, my skating friends were still coming.  I was just glad Casey wasn’t going to be hanging by himself outside the rink.

Finally, Sabeen and Anna showed up, as did Anna’s brother, Matt.  The three of them just come from a performance of The Nutcracker.  I would have joined them, but $100 a ticket was a little too steep for a show.  I’ll just YouTube it.

We were nine-people strong with over an hour to kill (our tickets were for a specific timeslot), so we decided to grab some nostalgia-infused burgers at Lori’s Diner, a ’50s-style restaurant.  During our two-block journey there, Anna’s boyfriend and his buddy joined us, so we were a party of twelve going into the poor diner (the extra seat was for Kate, who was joining up with us later).  It actually turned into a party of thirteen because a friend of Anna’s boyfriend’s buddy came along.  The sheer volume of surrounding friends–from as long ago as elementary school to as recent as right then–put a smile on my face.  I was drunk off euphoria.

(Just as a guide, here’s how I group everybody: Casey–elementary-high school; Sabeen, Anna, Kate–high school; Nate, Jake, Jessi–college.  The mixing of friends makes me happy, too.)

With the high school group. Pretty background, pretty company, awkward stance.

As a server, I empathized with our waiter when we asked for split checks.  He was happy to do it, but I drew him a diagram anyway.  I was pretty happy with the diagram, actually, which included a representation of the table and the number of seats around it, the different paying groups numbered and divided by lines, with reference points for orientation, i.e. stairs are on this side, giant airplane to the right, pie shelf to the left, etc.  It was probably the smoothest I’ve paid for a meal in a group that big.

After dinner, we finally took to the rink.  Half of us, anyway.  The ice, however, was crowded with amateurs.  I’m not even sure if what I did was skating or more just standing in a forward motion.  During skate trains and newbie dodging (I imagined I was Han Solo navigating an asteroid field), my friend Juliana finally met up with us.  She’s a friend from college, so it worked out perfectly that those standing on the sideline were Jake, Jessi, and Nate.

On the sidelines. The most attractive poses for Juliana, Casey, Jake, and Jessi.

The sideliners eventually took off for a nearby bar.  After a few more minutes of ice rink traffic jam, I joined them.  Everyone else, determined to skate every minute they paid for, joined in about an hour later.  The bar we ended up in was an Irish pub about half a block from Union Square.  We got a nice little corner with a long booth and were waited on by a crazy, old Irish lady.  I think she liked me.

In pairs and groups, my friends started leaving little by little.  For every friend I reunited with during this trip, I had to say goodbye to all over again.  Eventually, it was just me and Casey driving back to Livermore from the BART station (luckily we got a ride there and didn’t have to take BART).  Okay, it was more Casey driving and me falling asleep in the passenger seat.  That Irish pub had good beer.  I needed all the sleep I could get because I had a 7:40 AM flight to catch the next morning.

For some reason, the cheapest flight back to Honolulu included a three-hour layover in Maui.  Didn’t bother me, though.  For one, I’d never been to Maui, and two, the layover was long enough for me to leave the airport (one of my requirements for having visited a place).  As my days left in Hawaii become fewer–and my off-season tip income gets smaller–the reality of completing my Hawaii bucket list seems further away.  One goal is to visit the five other main islands.  I was determined to leave the airport to check off one-fifth of an item on that bucket list.

I hesitated at the exit gate, not sure where to go, what to see, or if I had enough time to come back and stand at the checkpoint.  But then I left.  Who cares what I’m not sure about?  I couldn’t come this close to another island without leaving the airport.  Bottom line.  I pulled out my laptop and looked on Google Maps for anything nearby.  I was this close to cabbing it to Bubba Gump’s, but that was in the main tourist city of Lahain, which is on the west side.  I was in Kahului on the north side.  Granted, it wouldn’t be too long of a taxi ride, but every minute counted in this layover.  Luckily, something in Kahului part of the map caught my eye: Whole Foods Market.

It took under ten minutes and less than ten dollars to get there by taxi.  I was excited by the prospect of seeing my old friend and coworker An Qi (whom you may remember from YMWW #13) at the Kikka Sushi stand inside.  If she worked here as often as she did in the Honolulu store, I was confident she’s be behind the counter when I arrived.  And she was.

An Qi was pleasantly surprised and a little confused to see me.  She was so excited, she bought me lunch.  It had been a while since I chowed down on the Kikka Sushi lunch special.  We talked for a while outside about her lazy coworkers and how Maui differs from Oahu.  She eventually had to go back inside, so I wandered around the outdoor Maui Mall for a bit.  It was small and empty.  I got bored right away and spent the next half hour on my laptop.

The most exciting part of Maui Mall! Yipee.

Luckily, An Qi convinced her friend to drive me back to the airport at the start of his lunch break.  At first, the guy seemed a little annoyed albeit willing, but by the time we started driving, he became very talkative.  He warmed up as soon as he found out I was a Filipino from the mainland, just like him.  I told him about my current wandering lifestyle and he told me all about his past jobs and relationships, and what ultimately drove him to Maui.  During the last few minutes to the airport, he started telling me about this one flight he was on where the engines failed.  He was sure he was going to die.  I was sure that wasn’t a story you tell somebody while dropping them off at the airport.  If I were anybody else, I’d have probably started freaking out.  Instead, I laughed to myself about the morbid irony of the situation.

I parted ways with my five-minute friend, thanking him profusely for the favor.  I definitely need to return to Maui to get the full experience, but I’m counting this little stop as a visit.  And it was a great end cap to a fantastic trip home.  With almost two weeks of memories and much less money in my account, I was ready to hop on that last plane to Honolulu.

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YMWW #13: It’s Pronounced “Twenty-Ten”

Monday, January 11, 2010

(Originally posted on Facebook)

Welcome to the first post of the new year! I hope you’re all keeping up with your resolutions. I am.

As you may recall, my primary New Year’s resolution is to get a new job. I have my job rant thoroughly memorized (low pay, no discount, inability to communicate with my coworkers, general lack of appreciation, etc.), so I’m sure I’ve written it here before, or at least complained to a number of you individually. Well, behold yet another—and the most pressing—reason: the only coworkers I’ve made friends with have left or will be leaving.

A not-so pleasant picture of An Qi (we pronounce it “Angie”) and a way-too-cool picture of Justin.

Justin was the only American working at Kikka Sushi when I arrived, and naturally, my favorite one to talk to. When we would work at the same time, all we did was check out women, talk about nerdy stuff, and complain about our job. He had been there a year by the time I started, and by December, that had been too long. He worked his last day at Kikka while I was in California for Christmas.

An Qi was the other person who worked with Justin and me in the teriyaki section. She doesn’t speak English well, but she speaks it often. And quickly. At first, I couldn’t tell if she was speaking Cantonese or English, but now I have an ear for her rapid broken English. I respect her for her willingness to learn, too; she’s always asking what words mean, writing down new ones and—to my suprise—usually spelling them correctly on the first try. I give her grammar lessons; Justin taught her bad words. Needless to say, it’s always fun talking with An Qi, hearing her complain about the other Chinese people and teasing her ceaselessly about everything because she does the same. Unfortunately, she’s being transferred to a Kikka on Maui in mid-February.

Now is the time to leave.

Last weekend, I went around picking up applications for several restaurants at other nearby shopping centers. I’ve decided I want to be a server because I like being on my feet, I like food, and I want tips. I’ve heard of servers who were able to pay for all the entertainment, clothing, food, and even rent with just tips. I’ve never been able to let paychecks build up. It sounds like a good plan.

I have my fingers crossed for Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. Forest Gump is in my top three; every time I go to that restaurant, I get most of the trivia questions right. I can see myself getting pretty enthusiastic about this job. Wish me luck on the interview.

I also have applications for Old Spaghetti Factory, CPK and Macaroni Grill. They were right around the corner. Why not?

Now, I do have an application for a movie theater on file at Ward Center. Although working at a movie theater is the cliche loser path for a film school graduate, I figure such a status ain’t too far from server. Besides, I spend a ton of money at the theater already; it’d be nice to save money while seeing more films.

So, here’s to hoping the new year (okay, quite honestly, the new month) sees a change of employment. As for my other resolution, I’m keeping it right now. I plan to keep up my blog more frequently, as long as you all keep reading and responding.

Peace!

To keep with the theme of “change,” I present to you a Roxy model in winter clothing instead of beach gear. As you can see, still gorgeous. Also, her name is Torah Bright. Bright, like my future.

Don’t worry, we’ll return to bikinis with the next post.

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YMWW #9: Humpday Rumblings

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

(Originally posted on Facebook)

I know! Crazy, right? Another note, only two days later?! Lately, when I find myself in a deep train of though, I begin to plan out how I’d structure it in a blog entry. This is either the start of a narcissistic obsession or a new career path. Anyway, here are my thoughts from today, (kinda) structured for you reading pleasure.

Last Friday, I attempted to take the bus to Bishop Museum because I found out that the cafe inside was hiring someone for food prep. I ended up missing my stop, riding to the end of the line, and giving up to go back home. Now, it wasn’t a big deal to give up on the job pursuit because, well, I already have one. But being a cook for Kikka Sushi in Whole Foods Market just ain’t doing it for me. Here’s my day, five days a week:

-Wake up before 6 AM
-Ride a bike 25 minutes up and down hills to Kahala Mall
-Turn on all the cooking apparatuses (shouldn’t it be “apparati”?)
-Cook rice. A lot of it.
-Prepare soup broths
-Grill meat
-Assemble over thirty different types of teriyaki, curry, and Korean BBQ rice bowls until lunch break
-Enjoy the act of sitting for almost an hour (or leave by noon on Fridays)
-Return to work and talk to the only other English-speaking employee at Kikka while figuring out how to be productive until 4 PM
-Ride home, sometimes after grabbing food and drinks with a friend
-Work out
-Shower, rinse, repeat. . . the whole day over and again

I work hard each day, only to start from the very beginning the next morning. There’s no real sense of accomplishment. And since, as a Kikka Sushi cook, I work in Whole Foods and not for it, I don’t get the discount. On top of that, I am void of much human interaction. My coworkers choose not to and nearly can’t speak English, so they never attempt to talk to me. And I can’t say “Tofu Kung Pao” to them without getting blank stares of incomprehension, so I don’t try either. I work under a giant grill fan with an even bigger noise output, behind a sound-reflecting wall of glass, so I cannot hear the customers on the other side. Even if I could, the mall is too far away from the main tourists spots to attract the world travelers that I oh-so want to talk to. Furthermore, I seldom have time for hanging out or exploring during the weekday, so I am apparently just waiting for the weekends. . . and I never wanted wait-for-the-weekend type job! Hence my failed trek to Bishop Museum.

Now, despite the paragraph of hate the preceded this one, I don’t actually hate each my job. It gives me lots of time to think, an excuse to exercise, and the opportunity to see some good friends. However, when I take a longterm view of what I’m doing, I feel stagnant. My work days aren’t monotonous (it’s a long, non-repetitive to-do list), but they definitely lack progression; I have nothing to strive for. My whole life, I’ve had a long-term goal (make it to the next grade, graduate high school, graduate college); at this point in my life, I have none. I’m just making money, hoping to plan something awesome for the weekend. In lieu of this, I’ve started coming up with goals for which to strive.

My first goal is not actually a goal, but rather an alternative means to my real first goal: find a job in Waikiki. Although this would be a shorter bike ride (and thus, not much of an exercise), I would be able to interact with people all around the world. I’d ideally love to get a front desk job at a hostel, because people who stay at hostels, as opposed to hotels, usually have more interesting stories.

My real first goal: save up enough for a cheap car. I will do this through Kikka or, hopefully, some Waikiki-based job. It will definitely take a while, but it would be well worth it. The traveling and exploring I want to do during the weekends is completely dependent on the schedules of my car-driving friends and family members. I’ve been on this island nearly two months and I’ve barely left the city of Honolulu. My bike can’t take me out of this city. A moped couldn’t do it either. I’m not asking for much, just four wheels and an engine. Maybe some doors.

My second goal: look into writing—or even journalism— classes. I don’t know to what extent I’d want to jump into this, whether it be a single class at Kapiolani Community College or enrolling in a Journalism program at UH, but the more I write in this blog, the more I realize I’d love to do this for a living. (Now, I do not regret for a second majoring in Film Studies. As a general rule, if I am enjoying my current position in life, I cannot regret a single event in the past, since each one had to happen for me to be where I am. More specifically, I loved the Film Studies major, as it taught me so much about my greatest interest. Additionally, I always kept in mind that whatever I did as an undergrad did not necessarily have to dictate my future career.) I can’t for the life of me start writing a story—and by extension, a screenplay—but I can easily spit out personal opinions, descriptions, or ideas about life experiences. Maybe I can be a journalist for National Geographic and travel the world! Or maybe I can be a film reviewer for a newspaper, seeing films for a living! I figure I’m young enough to dream big, yet old enough to do something about it.

Goal three: meet a gorgeous yet surprisingly down-to-Earth and intelligent Roxy model, start a fantastically fun and uncomplicated relationship with her, then, after I make a ton of cash as a Hawaiian journalist, move to New York with her because we both have a zest for life and new experiences. She’ll continue her modeling and novel-writing career while I start a new blog called “Young Man Went East.” Hey, it could happen 😉

She doesn’t know it yet, but she’s been waiting her whole life to run into me.

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