I want to wish you a very happy 80th Birthday and take the time to tell you just how much you mean to me. You have sacrificed so much and worked so hard to help me(and my sisters) get to where we are today. We are the people we are because of you(and Mom). Thank you. I will never forget the times you came home from work, so exhausted you couldn't stand up. As I watched you lie on the floor in pain, your back in knots, I vowed to work harder and be a better person. And even with all that pain, pressure from work and stress, you never complained. You always greeted us cheerfully and asked us how our day was. With your busy schedule, you were gone before we woke and came home late, yet always found time to be with us(and sometimes make sure we were doing our homework :-P).
You are an amazing leader and the calm in the eye of the storm. Whenever I have a problem, I know I can turn to you for excellent advice. When I feel I can't go any further, you are always there to tell me how to push through my barriers and continue forward. Your words of encouragement and acts of 'gaman'(endurance) inspire me and help drive me to achieve and persevere. It's not just in our daily life, but in emergency situations.... I remember when we had the brush fires that came close to the house. We were all in a panic and then you came home and told us to calm down. You asked Mom to make dinner then proceeded to take a bath and relax, just as if it was a regular day. Sure enough, the fires never got close and all went well. Your attitude in emergency situations is to be admired. Even in the big earthquake back in '71, which was incredibly scary, you and Mom were prepared for evacuation within minutes. I remember running over to my goldfish bowl and hugging it to try and keep my goldfish safe. You said that was good and advised me to keep all the doors open so if there was an aftershock I would not be trapped. No matter what happened, I always felt safe because you were there. You always had an answer for everything and gave incredibly good advice(maybe I should have listened to your advice more!) and was understanding even when I didn't listen to you or take your advice. Your patience knows no bounds--remember when you tried to teach me to drive standard?I got stuck at the stop light on Meats and it was half way up the hill. I kept starting and stopping the car so many times because I let the clutch out too soon and couldn't get the timing right. You got so sick and had to lay in bed for the entire rest of the day but encouraged me to keep practicing and work on timing. Thanks Dad--I really appreciate the time and effort you put into me.
On the flip side, you have a great sense of humor well hidden in your stoic outer self. Once, when we were kids, it was raining and Leslie and I were kinda sad that we couldn't play. You came over and did the batchi dance as a gnome. You made us laugh so hard we forgot all our sadness. When I close my eyes I can see that day as if it just happened, and when life gets sad, I think of that time and I am instantly happy again. So many times you played practical jokes--some that really scared me but all with a sense of humor upon which I look back with such fondness. The time Leslie and I were watching a scary TV show where this lady opened her drapes and there was a dead body hanging in the window. We screamed and you laughed and said that wasn't scary. Then the next day I was getting ready for school and opened the drapes and you were pretend hanging there just like the guy in the show. I screamed so loud and we both busted out laughing so hard it was truly awesome. I will always cherish that moment. That and the popping out of closets and ninja tactics that you liked so much. You scared me so bad once I fell over unable to stand! I think I like practical jokes so much because of you. I also love the block strike games you played with me, Leslie and sometimes Sandra. This game is still my favorite game of all and whenever I have the opportunity to play it, I think of it fondly as if I am 7 years old trying to find an opening to strike you. Some of the advice you gave me then I am finding I still need to work on now. Especially leaving my head open because I don't use my guard hand. And that leads us to those crazy feats of physical power. I have yet to meet another person whose dad would jump off the roof and land unharmed. Who can catch a rattlesnake and bring it home to his kids, or do any number of things you do with ease and aplomb. You used to say you were superman and I really did think you were. Now I know you really are a super man. You are truly one of a kind.
Your schedule was always so busy but when it cleared, you would take us fishing. These were my favorite jaunts. Mom would make a nigiri bento and we would wake up at some ungodly hours like 3am. We would get out there, be it at the pier or at a stream, and you would set everything up for us and we would fish. Most times we didn't catch anything, but it was fun just to be out there together. I still enjoy fishing today, even though I don't go as often as I would like . Being near the ocean or a stream reminds me of those times. I think that exploring nature affinity for the outdoors and nature has rubbed off on me and I long to go on the adventures I imagined as a child. Maybe fulfilling, in part, the side of you that you never got to experience because you had us. And that gets us to your commitment and drive. I wish I had one tenth of the iron will power you have. Your ability to over come any hardship and attain any goal is amazing. I don't know where half that power comes from, but I am amazed and in awe of it. There are very few people in this world that have this inner strength tied in with gentle compassion for everyone. I have seen you be so compassionate to people you don't even know. You would go out of your way to help someone even if it had no benefit to you. You have an amazing capacity for putting yourself in other people's shoes and helping people when they need help. Sometimes to your own detriment, as Mom often says. But that is a very beautiful quality and I strive to achieve a nuturing kindness and altruism that I find in you. Thank you so much for the gift of your compassion.
Dad- I think I could keep going on but you know how I feel even if we don't talk much. Your love is in everything you do and have done for us. Thank you so much. I love you more than I can even say. Your name, Hideyo, means hero or conqueror of the world and you joke that your dad gave you too powerful a name. I disagree with that, for you are the hero of my world and the world of everyone you touch. Thank you so much for giving me such a wonderful life full of more happiness than any one person could ask for. I am truly and humbly grateful that I was born to this family and have the opportunity to call you Dad. So thank you Dad, and Happy Birthday. I wish you many many more years of joy on par with the joy you give.