Happy Valentine’s Day 2018!

My first Valentine’s Day memory was when I baked cookies the first time, I was sweet 16!
The cookies were for a man I admired, Richard Kermode, who played keyboard for Santana. I had met him when I went to see Santana’s concert. He was also in a band of my favorite American woman rock singer, Janis Joplin and played Woodstock concert (The Woodstock Music & Art Fair) in 1969.
Since my mother did not do any baking, we did not have an oven, so I asked to get a small toaster oven for our house. I had to wait to use the kitchen after we finished cleaning up dinner.
I think I started after 8 pm and finished after midnight.
February in my hometown of Nagoya, Japan, had no snow, but it was cold.


The cookies came out delicious, and I packed them to send to Richard in San Francisco.
I was so exited to go to the post office the next day, but I caught a cold, and a few days later, I got really sick with a fever. My mom thought it was because I’d stayed up so late making cookies. I got a high fever and ended up being in bed for one week.
But I got a phone call from Richard and was able to talk to him because I was sick and did not go to school. He really loved the cookies, so it made my cold go away.
When I was a teenager, I was fat (had a bulimia) and did not have a boyfriend, so this was a beautiful memory of Valentine’s Day.


Since I met Eric, he has been taking me out to Valentine’s Day dinner and giving me gifts. I usually make my own calligrahy card and a gift for him (a part of my Valentine card for Eric this year I put on the top of this blog – A heart wreath with many small hearts by water colors and Italic calligrahy).

This year, I told him I wanted to stay home, so he surprised me with a new ukulele and a card said,
“To my Valentine, Sanae…All my love on this special day and everyday! Love, Eric”.

How sweet Eric is and I really felt how much he loves me even I was diagnosed cancer twice (in 1993 & 2017), and became disabled because of the car accident I had in 2001. I am learning true love with Eric’s love. I am a lucky person to experience his love so I have a mission to get well.

Ukulele sounds were always so soothing and healing to me, ever since I went to Hawaii for the first time when I was 17 years old. Eric and I started practicing ukulele a few years ago and taking classes. Eric plays very well, but I am not so good yet. I just enjoy being with him and doing something together.


Because I was diagnosed lymphoma (Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma -DLBCL Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver)  last year, I could not practice anymore, so we stopped going to class. When the new year came, I felt I had enough strength, so we decided to try going back to class just a couple times a month. But I found that my ukulele had cracked; I had a soft case, so it must have bumped into something. It was still okay for practice, so I have been using it, but I knew I had to get one sooner or later.

Cracked ukulele

Photo: You can see a crack just around Jake’s autograph.


Eric found a ukulele specialty store, U-Space in Little Tokyo (in Downtown L.A.), so I just wanted to see what they have there.

U-Space Eric Nalu and Jason

Photo: Eric with our Nalu (she was a little shy) with U-Space’s Jason.


Jason CD

Photo: Jason’s CD!




Photo: With Jason and owner of U-Space, Patrice.


We met Jason (who is a ukulele teacher and has a CD) and the shop owner, Patrice; they were so kind and attentive. They has so many beatiful and great sounds ukulele. Of course, I loved some of the ukuleles there, so I thought I would save up money to buy one for my birthday in April. But Eric said, let’s get one with a hard case now for a Valentine’s Day gift.
I was surprised and so happy.
I promised myself I am going to practice everyday, even just 10 minutes, so I can play better with Eric.
I also think ukulele sounds help me to recover from Lymphoma smoothly.

Kohaleha ukulele

Photo: My new ukulele, Kohaleha!


Now our friends Masako and Michiyo have joined our ukulele class, and our friend Kyoko will join soon.
Would you like to join us?
Our teacher is Dan of Dan How Music on 17th Street in Santa Monica. He has no website or Facebook page, so you’ll need to contact him at Dan How <danwayn@gmail.com>.

Ukulele with Dan

Photo: With uur ukulele teacher, Dan.


Ukulele class

Photo: With Masako (right) and Michiyo (next to Masako).


We would like to have a ukulele recital potluck someday.
Hope you come!

Sanae 💖

New Year/Year of Dog 2018!

Happy New Year /Year of dog 2018 to everyone!

Nikkan San front page

Photo: Our HHP (Healthy Happy Pooches) photos were chosen to be 音Japanese Paper “NIKKAN SAN”. They are in the center, Kula is also just right side below with a yellow flower and Nalu is the third one from the bottom right.

I love dogs (and cats, but there is no cat year except tiger), so I feel very good about this year.

I also want this to be a really good year for recovery from the lymphoma (Diffuse Large B-Cell Lymphoma (DLBCL) Primary non-Hodgkin of Liver Stage Ⅳ – I got this cancer because of Hepatitis C from the blood transfusion I received after my car accident in 2001) I got last year.
I meant to write a New Year blog sooner, but Eric took a private cooking job in Aspen for one week after Christmas, so I was home with just my dog and cat family.

Being alone for the first time since I got lymphoma, and taking care of myself and my animal family (we have six dogs and two cats) on my own, took a lot of time and made me tired. I have learned not to do too much, so I did not write the newsletter and blogs.

I was able to go to a New Year’s Eve gathering at my friend, Michiyo’s house, where I had traditional Japanese New Year foods and watched a Japanese New Year’s Eve TV show. It was fun, but I felt more tired, so I decided not to go see the annual New Year’s sunrise in the mountains. I did wake up early, though, so I just went up on the rooftop of my house with my dog family to see the beautiful New Year sunrise and the still-visible super full moon.

650 NY Sunrise 2018

Poto: New Year Sunrise from my rooftop.

I missed Eric not being with me, but I felt it was a lesson for me to learn about taking care of and loving myself on my own.

After Eric came back, I was still so tired.
I realized that after I’d received the good biopsy results and then taken care of myself while Eric was away, the tension that had built up for some time in my body and mind was released. I felt like tiredness took over and I could sleep for days.  It took almost a month for me to feel all right.

Of course, I still have some chemotherapy side effects, so I am taking it easy and not doing too much (believe it or not, this is the hardest thing for me to do). But I started going to a dog training class for Nalu (our newest dog, whom we adopted last year while I was taking chemotherapy and wrote my blog “Adopting a Puppy Brought Cheerfulness to Cancer Household“) and went to ukulele class just twice (it was so much fun with Eric and Masako).

Ukulele with Eric and Dan

Photo: Regain my health back to be able to go ukulele class again.

I practice meditation everyday for an hour, and most of the day, I apply moxa over the lymphoma (liver), cook a little bit, and do a little bit of yoga/qigong.

Thursday, February 1 this year, is my 33-year sobriety birthday (I am going to an AA meeting to get my birthday cake, yeah!). It is also the day I’ll get my PET scan test again. I think it is going to be good this time, so I am not scared.
The following week, I will see my oncologist, Dr. Mead to get the results, so I will write again to let you know.

Thank you so much to everyone who has been supporting me.


With Gratitude,

Sanae 💖


Chinese New Year this year is February 16. I usually follow old Japanese calendar of February 4 as New Year, so every new year in January, I start to sink into how I feel in the new year and write down on paper what my heart wishes. I think that this is a good practice for everyone to start the year productively.

2018, year of the dog, happy new year, lunar new year, chinese new year, korean new year, Tet,, paper-cut dog

According to the Chinese horoscope, 2018 – the Year of the Earth Dog – is a good time for lifestyle changes (quitting smoking or changing residence) and for the start of new business ventures.

It’s also expected that some of us will experience short periods of loneliness or transient melancholy; however, that should nourish the most sensitive and most creative minds amongst us. For others, these moments can result in a flutter in the implementation of their life plans, which will then be delayed until the following year.

Individuals whose energy map of Chinese astrology elements shows an excess of Water and Wood will be more susceptible than others to the specific fluctuations of 2018.


What Year 2018 Will Be Like For You

  • 🐭 Rat – People born in 1912, 1924, 1936, 1948, 1960, 1972, 1984, 1996 or 2008 are members of the Rat Chinese Zodiac sign. A Rat is an underdog when it faces a Dog. But Rat is very smart. It can steal the Dog’s food at night safely. The short prediction of Rat versus Dog of 2018 is your Reward is Required a Challenge…
  • 🐮 Ox – People born in 1913, 1925, 1937, 1949, 1961, 1973, 1985, 1997 or 2009 are members of the Cow Chinese Zodiac sign. Cow and Dog are good neighbors. Cow is conservative and Dog is much more aggressive. Cow likes to have savings and Dog likes to invest. They need to find a balance point to work together. The short prediction of Cow versus Dog of 2018 is to Invest Money Cautiously…
  • 🐯 Tiger – People born in 1914, 1926, 1938, 1950, 1962, 1974, 1986, 1998 or 2010 are members of the Tiger Chinese Zodiac sign. Tiger has the leadership skill. Dog is a diligent partner. Tiger and Dog can work as a team. The short prediction of Tiger versus Dog of 2018 is Good Career Opportunity is coming…
  • 🐰 Rabbit – People born in 1915, 1927, 1939, 1951, 1963, 1975, 1987, 1999 or 2011 are members of the Rabbit Chinese Zodiac sign. Dog guards the farmland and expels the intruders. Rabbit lives underground. They can find a way to get along well. Rabbit can take this advantage to expand its territory. The short prediction of Rabbit versus Dog of 2018 is your Diligence Brings Good Income…
  • 🐲 Dragon – People born in 1916, 1928, 1940, 1952, 1964, 1976, 1988, 2000 or 2012 are members of the Dragon Chinese Zodiac sign. Dragon can be in the sky, on the ground, and under the water. It is a symbol of power. Dog is a guardian of the farmland. Dragon is far superior to Dog. However, Dog is in charge of 2018. Dragon needs to communicate with Dog on the ground. The short prediction of Dragon versus Dog of 2018 is Humble Brings Good Reputation…
  • 🐍 Snake – People born in 1917, 1929, 1941, 1953, 1965, 1977, 1989, 2001 or 2013 are members of the Snake Chinese Zodiac sign. Snakes are active when the sun is warming the ground. They hide and sleep after sunset. Dog is connected to the time from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. Dog tells Snake it is the time to rest. The short prediction of Snake versus Dog of 2018 is to Recharge and Wait for Opportunity…
  • 🐴 Horse -People born in 1918, 1930, 1942, 1954, 1966, 1978, 1990, 2002 or 2014 are members of the Horse Chinese Zodiac sign. Horse is the fastest animal for long distance traveling on the ground. Horse likes to compete with others during the day. Dog Hour is between 7 p.m. and 9 p.m. That means Dog tells Horse to stop running. The short prediction of Horse versus Dog of 2018 is the Take a Rest First and Save Energy for Tomorrow…
  • 🐐 Goat -People born in 1919, 1931, 1943, 1955, 1967, 1979, 1991, 2003 or 2015 are members of the Sheep Chinese Zodiac sign. Sheep and Dog are respecting neighbors in the farmland. Dog acts as a captain to lead Sheep when going out. Sheep receives the protection from Dog during the working days. The short prediction of Sheep versus Dog of 2018 is the Hardworking Sheep Can Bring Rewards Home…
  • 🐵 Monkey – People born in 1920, 1932, 1944, 1956, 1968, 1980, 1992, 2004 or 2016 are members of the Monkey Chinese Zodiac sign. Monkey is active, aggressive, energetic, impatient and naughty. Dog can watch the Monkey’s behaviors and stop Monkey’s bad movements. Monkey needs to calm down when staying in Dog’s territory. The short prediction of Monkey versus Dog of 2018 is to Ask Second Opinion Before Taking Action…
  • 🐔 Rooster – People born in 1921, 1933, 1945, 1957, 969, 1981, 1993, 2005 or 2017 are members of the Chicken Chinese Zodiac sign. Chicken and Dog are neighbors in the farmland. Dog can be the Chicken’s bodyguard. Dog and Chicken are connected to autumn. It’s a season of harvest. It’s a time of good income. The short prediction of Chicken versus Dog of 2018 is Don’t Miss Money and Career Opportunity…
  • 🐶 Dog – People born in 1922, 1934, 1946, 1958, 1970, 1982, 1994, 2006 or 2018 are members of the Dog Chinese Zodiac sign. Dogs together could fight for bones. Dogs usually have a conflict of interest. When the other Dog is in charge of 2018, then we need to listen to it. Or we need to deal and work with it. The short prediction of Dog versus Dog of 2018 is to Take Conservative Approach to Face Competition…
  • 🐷 Pig – People born in 1923, 1935, 1947, 1959, 1971, 1983, 1995, 2007 or 2019 are members of the Pig Chinese Zodiac sign. Pig likes an easy and peaceful life. Dog likes to manipulate the Pig. Dog brings pressure on Pig. Pig needs to be smart when dealing with Dog’s offensive behaviors. The short prediction of Pig versus Dog of 2018 is your Wisdom Can Remove Obstacles…