Tomodachi 2018

When I moved from Los Angeles to Tokyo, I thought that I would only see my friends online. Thankfully I was so very wrong because I had the great pleasure to play tour guide, spa and dine with friends and family in my new home. I feel fortunate to know these incredible humans and for them to have chosen to spend their time with me.

Here’s who rolled through Tokyo in 2018.

Xeni Jardin

January. The year started off perfect with my dear friend Xeni and a spa day. Xeni was the first friend to visit after Ripley was born and fast forward 8 years later she texts him cute dog photos. This trip I had the chance to get to know her beau a bit better and it brought me great joy to see her happy and in good health.

Allen Pan

April. I met Allen through the Los Angeles Makerspace when he was an instructor. Since then he has become a YouTube star and now runs HexLab Makerspace.

Michelle Borok

April. Michelle moved from Los Angeles to Mongolia and we’ve kept in touch over our mutual love of cats and horses and a secret postcard club. Her daughter is named Terra and loves kitties as much as Ripley does but no one rivals Michelle who runs a conference about cats. We toured around and did gymnastics at an art gallery with Kozy who recently moved to Japan.

Michelle Kozy Terra

Sebastien Slek

June. Sebastien works at Warner Brothers and was one of the LA Makerspace’s board members. He’s also French as are so many people in my life since my son started going to French school.

Mark Frauenfelder and Carla Sinclair

July. I met Mark and Carla through the wonderful world of makers and the ‘zine they created, BoingBoing. To me they are both goals when it comes to how to live a creative and adventurous life. They stayed in Tokyo for the summer to support their daughter who was doing an internship. Also, goals.

Carla Sinclair Mark Frauenfelder

Mimi Ito

October. Mimi and I have worked together at a university, nonprofit and startup and everything I know about interest-driven learning and how kids learn online I learned from her. We were lucky to see her because she landed the night before we were heading out for the Philippines. She fought her jet-lag to see us which I think is the sign of a good friend. If you need an online summer camp for kids, checkout Connected Camps.

Rich Schiavi

November. Rich and I met at Topspin and became fast friends. We tried a startup together and still remained friends after. When we traveled around for a year after Ripley was born, Rich and his wife Mina and daughter Mahina took in my dog Funston. Needless to say I never got my dog back but he’s very happy in San Diego. Rich and I stay in touch by sending each other business ideas and talking about housing in the Japan countryside.

Rich Schiavi

Jory Felice

November. Jory was our neighbor in Los Angeles and he is our savior that keeps us connected to home. He brought us our mail and Sean’s bike. You could call him a sherpa but he’s really an angel. He’s a talented artist and I miss going to meditation class with him or bumping into him at the coffee shop. Jory came for a Safecast hackathon but the best part was celebrating his birthday at the Robot Restaurant.

Jory Felice

Joseph Chiu

November. Joseph is one of the first Los Angeles Makerspace supporters and since has become a contractor for Sean’s nonprofit, Safecast. If you need any engineering done, you should talk to Joseph.

Joseph Chiu

Jo Ann

December. My MIL traveled all the way from atsui Florida to samui Tokyo. It was her first time traveling to Asia and I think it was a real eye opener for her to see how active in the community the seniors are in Japan. 

Jo Ann