Visit to Hawaii for my Grandpa’s Funeral

My grandpa passed away March 19th. He was in the hospital for a month or so i think, and my mom e-mailed me earlier in the week before he passed on, to say that the doctors did not expect him to live much longer. They think he had a stroke. He was 93 years old. It all happened pretty quickly and unexpected, as my Grandma was the one who was already in the hospital since November, we certainly did not expect my Grandpa to go first.

My grandpa has always been very close with his grandchildren. He loved kids! He was a “man of few words” as my Uncle put it, but he always had a smile on his face, welcoming you. We always remember him as the one who wanted to take a nap outside when we had family parties, or alternatively would be out in the driveway wiping down people’s cars just because. He had an obsession with flashlights, and would always sport beanies even though its hardly ever cold in Hawaii!

It didn’t take much thought to know that i wanted to travel to Hawaii for his funeral. It was so stressful trying to pick the right flight … since we had to leave so quickly AND it was spring break, AND we wanted a seat for Vincent, it was $4,000+ for 3 flights. * sigh *

After that was all figured out we were really excited to see my parents (after we just saw them a few weeks ago!), my sisters, (Jill was coming all the way from Australia) and other family members. And of course spend time at the beach.


Departure Day (Night) | From SFO to HNL

All our luggage

Here is all the stuff we had to lug with us at the airport (not including the carseat), We had to wait forever for Jeff to drop us off, park in long-term parking, remove the carseat, and then catch the shuttle back. Vinny was getting inpatient. Oh just you wait little one.. we have a 5 hr airplane ride coming right up!

We thought we were being SO smart, buying a flight that was around his bedtime. OH! He’ll sleep the entire time, right? Hahahaha, wishful thinking. He played for a while, was fascinated by a new snack bowl i bought him, and a few of his favorite toys, but that wore off quickly, even the iPad (not so into it yet) didn’t keep his interest for very long. He took about a 1/2 hr nap, then he just didnt go back to sleep at all. He was in his carseat because we thought it would keep him most comfortable. BUT he could not sleep in it! Just kept waking and fussing and even when we held him to get him to sleep, he would not. Felt bad because it kept people up I am sure, and there seem to be like NO other babies on the plane! So we were that one family, with the crying baby, yes…

When we landed, my dad picked us up. We arrived home to my Mom and sister Jill waiting for us. Even though it was about 1am Cali time, Vinny got a spurt of energy and was laughing and smiling, running around the living room. I think he knew he was with his family now, not a stuffy airplane!


Day 1 | Hospital, Shave Ice, Visiting Family

Running around at 11pm

The first thing we wanted to do the next morning when we got there was visit my Grandma Okuda, but before we could, she had to be admitted back into the hospital. She was out for maybe less than a week — she was supposed to actually go back home the DAY my grandpa died (in the same hospital) but they kept her a bit longer for her sake and my parent’s sake. So we chilled at home a bit and then plan to go visit her later in the day. She looked very weak, but she was talking a bit (a little hard to understand) and kept saying that Vincent should take a nap! Vinny was making lots of noise of course.

Sitting on the piano bench

Vinny discovered the piano!

Do re mi fa so la ti do

He loved climbing up on the bench, and then when he discovered you could actually bang on it… he was in love.

Also, he liked that the piano bench opened up to reveal all kinds of goodies on the inside…, but we had to turn it around the other way so he didnt pinch his little fingers. He managed to stand UP on the bench as well.

Standing on the piano bench

There is that mischievous grin he always gets when he stands on anything he isnt supposed to be.

We got our shave ice!

He gave me a hibiscus!

Early in the morning, Vinny went out in the yard with my Mom and Dad and picked me a hibiscus flower and marched it all the way up to me on the second floor! It was cute — didnt have the camera till after the moment passed.

Down the stairs with Aunty Susan

Oh yes– so the stairs. Up and down, up and down… though he definitely needs help still going down, and an adult spotting him for going up. He will literally roll down the stairs on his butt, just for fun.

After we visited my Grandma in the hospital, we went to go eat shave ice at Matsumoto’s in Haleiwa. Last visit, we didn’t have a chance to go, so it’s bee YEARS since i had Matsumoto’s! I just had to make it a priority this time! It was so dang hot that day, so it was a perfect snack and entirely worth the wait! In fact, it makes it even more delicious when you’re sweating and so desperate for a cool treat. Poor Vincent was really uncomfortable in the heat — his ecezma was acting up and he was stuck in a stroller as we waited in the long line. He is so used to the Monterey fog.


I ordered a rainbow with ice cream and azuki beans. I think Jeff ordered a Rainbow with ice cream.

Shave Ice time!

Vincent LOVED it! He shared with Dad and he was jealous when he didnt get his turn at a bite! Luckily i brought his plastic bib – it could have got a lot more messy!

After shave ice, we stopped by to see my Aunt Lilian and Uncle Yosh who were staying at my grandma’s place. It was still really hot and humid — not sure if it was just us adjusting or of it was actually that hot.

Henry Okuda - as a boy

Jill and i looked at old pictures for my grandpa’s funeral.This one above is the oldest known photo of him.

Jerrie and Harris as Kids

This pic of my mom and my uncle  – so dang cute.

Aunty Lillian and Vincent

Meanwhile, Vinny (and dad) were just plain bored – i hadn’t thought to bring Vince any toys so he was left to his own devices which mean standing on things he wasnt supposed to stand on, tearing apart the kleenex box, and watching tv.

So hot - fan feels good!

He was so over heated, he loved that little fan. He was being so funny!

Running on ramp

And he was beyond in love with the walking ramp that was made outside!

Running Down

He would run up and down, up and down…

So funny!

peer in though the screen door, laugh, and run… I am surprised he didnt fall. Actually, he did fall a couple times but we caught him before he hurt himself to bad.

Hanging over the edge!

Then he got adventurous and wanted to climb over the railing. That is when he had to stop. And he would just cry and cry for us to let him out into the ramp again!

Hanging out in wahiawa

We went for a walk after that to calm him down.

Eating Dinner and grandma's

We had dinner at my grandma’s house. Here he is with his grandparents! Look how tired he is. No nap today.

For night-time – he cried for i think an hour the first night. Guess he was just scared/not used to the place. He eventually fell asleep but i had to tell my parents multiple times to NOT GO IN THERE! LOL.


Day 2 | Easter & the Park


The next morning was Easter! I dressed him in his plaid shorts and easter bunny bib. Grandma made a bunch of easter basket for him (even though she technically already gave him an Easter present on the mainland!)

Thanks Grandma Jerrie!

He checked it out for a little bit and of course was not interested in sitting still for a nice photo.

Walk to the park in stroller

We walked to the nearest kid park a few blocks away for some playtime.


The bridge!


Goin down the slide.

Up i go

Trying to climb up.

Great portrait at the park

Oh i’ll smile for mommy!

Climbing the bars

More climbing!

Upside down

And more monkeying!

Wow! Cool skirt dude!

Cool skirt dude! There was a birthday party going on so lots of kids on the jungle gym — made it fun for Vinny. He loves other kids.

On Daddy's Shoulders

Quick pic of the boys.


Day 3 | Beach at Ko Olina

They still have the child lock

Ok now this is funny — my parents have had the child lock on their kitchen AND bathroom cabinets since my older sisters where toddlers! Ok that is over 30 years ago! Well they were put to good use this week.

View from the restuarant

We plan to make a weekday a beach day since it’d be less busy. We went to Aulani hotel to check it out (Hawaiian inspired resort by Disney), eat some lunch, then go to the beach. We were going to just park at the hotel and walk to the beach but decided to just move the car to the beach lot after lunch since its closer access.

Disney Aulani

He got a Disney sticker from the waitress! Ooohh…

Are you dancing?

So, it was super cold today! Ugh! Dressed Vinny in a tank top, and had no warmer clothes for him… He was shivering at first! Poor guy.


Getting in the water.


REALLY getting in the water — daddy dunked him 🙁


He was not a fan.

Beach time

Oh, a pic of me, see i was really there too…

Side view

I like this side angle shot of Vinny – he looks funny. Flat head, big belly. Nakkid.

Big boy smiles

He was having fun the entire time!

Throwing sand

He knows how to play with sand!

Beach Time!

Kicking down sand castles.


Day 4 | Dole Plantation | Grandpa’s Funeral

On our last full day we decided to checkout Dole Plantation. Oh but first — when i went to get Vinny in the morning, it was so quiet – i thought he wasnt up yet. But i went to look in his crib and he was quietly poking at his stuffed bears.

Poking his Bear's Nose

OK i thought this was hilarious because 1) He ALWAYS cries when he wakes up in the morning and 2) He will throw out any toy, book, or blanket that is left in his crib for more than 30 seconds (and while he is awake). So i cannot believe he was just SITTING THERE and only POKING the bear’s noses, not chucking them out over the railings! Amazing what a new environment will do to your kid.

In his crib, not crying!

He looked so cute! and his special “hot weather” (light) PJs worked wonderfully.

Red dir

When we got to Dole Plantation, we went into the maze and first thing Vinny does is get down on his hands and shuffle all the gravel around! Weirdo!


We got him to go into the ACTUAL maze…

Forehead to gravel.

But he kept wanting to mess up the gravel with his hands, and forehead! Never seen him do this before. He left MARKS on his forehead!

Gravel Time

We were just getting into it when… he fell and scraped his knee.

Loved the gravel....

So we decided to exit — he was acting weird anyway. It had only been maybe 10 minutes?

Uncle Woody's Corn!

We thought he’d like a snack — corn! He loves corn! Oh and a photo op too!


Yummy corn! He liked it at first. Then just started crying…ugh.. it wasn’t fun. We left and went home!

Fell asleep in the car

Fell asleep on the ride home.

Zippy's Orange Bang

Zippy’s for lunch! He’s drinking some of our Orange Bang! LOVED that! Haha! he’ d cry when we took it away. Also loved the chili!

Spend the afternoon playing in the patio.

Patio Hoky

The carpet sweeper was by far the winner amongst all the patio toys.

Cat and Rocks

Followed by the rocks in the cat planter.

Oh a buddha!

And the little buddha that he loved to tip over when no one was looking.

Running to everyone

In the Patio

Walking up to everyone with the beach toy basket over his head was a cool trick.

Everyone left for the funeral before us – we took our time since we wanted vinny to get his nap in.

Flowers and picture

The service was very nice – my cousin taped  a nice eulogy from her apartment near SF. I cried of course, but not too bad.

Vinny did ok for the first few minutes (surprised) but then he saw his backpack and snacks and started crying, so he had to exit with dad.

Grandpa's Urn

Flowers for our grandpa. Thanks Mom!

Henry Okuda Program

I helped my mom design the program and thank you notes.

Playing with the microphone

Vinny liked running around after the ceremony.

Here are the photo boards we put together.

Funeral Pic board 1

Funeral Pic board 2

Funeral Pics

My grandpa and my uncle at their sign store, featured in a Japanese magazine.

The funeral food was so good! The dessert was fried/battered okinawan sweet potato. HEAVEN! Oh… is that ironic? Hah!

Grandpa, i miss you.


Day 5 | Leaving to go home | Visiting Great-grandma

Saying Bye to everyone

Saying goodbye.

Saying bye to Grandma Segawa

On our way to the airport, we visited with my 102 year old grandma at the care home. She didnt say much beyond… well, ‘vinny’ talk — single syllable ramblings. Our visit was short. But it was nice to see her, she looked ‘healthy’ as far as her weight — probably the most ive ever seen her weigh, she was always so skinny. This would actually be the last time seeing my great-grandma — she died a few short weeks after our visit.


On the airplane.

Walking the aisles

Walking the aisles with dad.

Airplane - walking around

We decided to not do the carseat on the way home — it actually turned out way better, though.. he did end up throwing a big metal toy car at the lady behind us AND spilling a bunch of milk on her at the very end of the trip. Wanted to die.


Overall a great trip to see family and have an impromtu vacation. I can’t believe my Grandpa’s gone! But he’s left a great legacy and I’ll cherish him forever. Probably won’t be back to Hawaii for at least a year….



To view all the pics from this trip, click over to my Flickr album – Hawaii 2012 trip.



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