Homecoming Kid

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 18mm, f/8, 1/1600 sec, ISO640
“Homecoming Court” Cedar Park, 2021

Today I rode my bike, Rossa, to see Koa participate in the Homecoming Parade. He’s part of the senior royal court this year so he got to ride in one of the Jeeps, wave to the crowd, and throw out candy to the kids. He was having a lot of fun as you can tell from the photo. 😊

I have never been to a Homecoming Parade before so I didn’t realize it was all about. It was actually a lot bigger than I thought it was, with most of the high school sports and clubs marching, plus the feeder middle schools and elementary schools also had marchers. I enjoyed it quite a bit!

I’m glad that the COVID vaccines have allowed us to have these kinds of activities again. Still, I wore a mask since there was a huge crowd. I was kind of saddened to see that only a few others were masked up even though the county’s vaccination rate is only at 65%. So even though my family and I are well-protected from the virus, 4 out of 10 people there were not and I suspect many of them will end up sick. 😒

Last First Day of School

Photo info: FUJIFILM X-E4, 26.5mm, f/3.2, 1/150 sec, ISO640
“Happy Senior” Cedar Park, 2021

Our youngest son is a high school senior this year, which means this is the last time I’ll be taking a “First Day of School” photo. 😢 You know, the DO grow up fast!

He’s heading back to campus with most of his friends, and he’s been told by us to always wear a mask indoors (except while eating) and to of course practice social distancing outdoors. He’s been vaccinated so we’re not too worried about him getting sick, but we want him to be safe for himself, friends, family, and the community in general.

I’m happy to be able to do some activities and not being on lockdown, but I wish everyone would mask up in public (and in schools). It’s really not that hard.

Surprise Birthday Celebration

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/4, 1/150 sec, ISO200
“Parents and Sons” Redondo Beach, 2019

こんばんは。For my mom’s 80th birthday, we decided to surprise her by having me fly to California to join the rest of the family for a birthday dinner. We had to coax her to come to my brother’s house for a barbecue because she wasn’t feeling 100%, but when she arrived, it was fun surprising her since she was not expecting me to be there. (She thought I was home in Texas)

After the surprise, we settled in for a nice dinner of ribs, sweet potatoes, beans, salads, and of course birthday cake! And we also enjoyed the beautiful sunset, which was unfortunately extra-colorful because of the wildfires in the state. 😕

I wasn’t sure if my mom would be happy to be surprised by me flying over, or if she would have preferred we save the airfare money, but she said she was very happy to see me. So, yay, it was a success! 😄 I have to say, it was nice for us three sons to be with my mom and dad on her birthday, just like old times.

またね~

Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5.6, 1/100 sec, ISO1250
“Dinner Spread” Redondo Beach, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5.6, 1/300 sec, ISO200
“California Sunset” Redondo Beach, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X100T, 19mm, f/5.6, 1/25 sec, ISO3200
“Wildfire Sky” Redondo Beach, 2019

Koa Performed with the Texas Youth Wind Symphony

"Wind Symphony" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 35mm, f/2.2, 1/125 sec, ISO640
“Wind Symphony” Austin, 2019

こんばんは。How’s it going?

Outside of school, Koa has been practicing with two music groups, the Austin Youth Orchestra and the Texas Youth Wind Symphony. Today the latter had their spring performance at Bates Recital Hall on the UT campus.

The recital hall is really awesome. Not only are the acoustics amazing, but it has stadium seating so you can pretty much see all the performers from an elevated position. In most general-purpose auditoriums, the stage is elevated, so you need to be in the middle/back rows in order to have a chance to see everyone’s face, and then you are pretty far from the stage. But at the Bates Recital Hall, everyone had a view of their student performer, even in the front rows.

Koa plays percussion, so he was moving around among the different instruments. My favorite was when he played the bass drum in “Of Our New Day Begun”. It was great! And LOUD!

There were a total of 4 pieces in several movements. Please enjoy the videos! (I just used my Fujifilm X-T10 and built-in mic, hand-held, so the quality is not the best. Also, I mainly just made sure Koa was in the videos, so apologies if you weren’t able to see your student)

Austin Youth Orchestra Spring Concert

"Austin Youth Orchestra" Austin, 2019
Photo info: FUJIFILM X-T10, 55mm, f/4, 1/150 sec, ISO3200
“Austin Youth Orchestra” Austin, 2019

For the past couple of months, Koa has been rehearsing (as a percussionist) with the Austin Youth Orchestra every week, and today they had their Spring concert. It was really fun to listen to the music today because most of the time, Koa doesn’t perform with strings. It’s a really nice change of pace!

There were three orchestras playing today, and Koa is listed as a member of the top group, but he was asked to play in the middle group as well. He said he had to do a lot of sight reading today since he didn’t have a lot of time to prepare for the middle band. But to me, he sounded great. I’m so proud of him!

Percussion is a fun discipline in the band/orchestra because they have to learn many different instruments, such as marimba, vibraphone, xylophone, bells, triangle, cymbals, snare drum, and timpani. Then there are a few other specialty instruments like the rain stick. And today, Koa said he had to switch between bass drum, snare, and cymbals in one of the pieces. Some pieces, he’s very active, and some pieces he doesn’t even have a part in. It’s very interesting.

Anyway, it was great to listen to the Austin Youth Orchestra. All the kids work so hard, and it’s impressive to hear the fruits of their labor come to life in a live concert.

I hope you had a nice Sunday!

またね〜