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Watermark Publishing Blog

  • Mom & Pop Stores

    Like movie sets from a bygone era, small mom-and-pop stores still dot the local landscape, from quiet country roads to busy city streets on every Hawaiian island. The “newer” ones—simple cinder block structures—are themselves mid-century relics. The original plantation-era stores are truly vintage wooden buildings, well worn with age. …People fondly remember patronizing these stores as children entering a dream world filled with cold sodas, ice cakes, candies, pastries and ice cream. Popular snacks included: Tomoe Ame, milk candy, button candy, rock candy, dried abalone, Bazooka bubble gum, dried ika (squid), sour lemon and ginger chunks. Some stores specialized in shave ice or various types of “crack seed” stored in large glass jars. One’s purchase was placed into a small brown paper bag that old-timers would always lick to enjoy the last bit of salty goodness off of the insides of the bags. Some stores even had wooden porches and benches out front where customers could sit and enjoy a cold soda, ice cream or shave ice, and talk story.

    —Arnold Hiura, From Kau Kau to Cuisine: An Island Cookbook, Then and Now

    Photo: Paauilo Store, Highway 19, Hilo by Dawn Sakamoto Paiva Photo: Paauilo Store, Highway 19, Hilo by Dawn Sakamoto Paiva
  • Why Smart Men Do the Same Dumb Things

    Why Smart Men Do the Same Dumb ThingsThe irrationally demanding boss. The temperamental, uncommunicative father. The co-worker who never admits mistakes. The husband who won’t ask for directions. Why do so many men self-sabotage their personal growth and relationships? It’s not just a “guy thing,” says psychologist Dr. Rosalie K. Tatsuguchi. “It’s a ‘Musashi thing.’” And the good news is that change is possible.

    Generations of men, whether they know it or not, have patterned their lives after the legendary warrior Miyamoto Musashi, who practiced bushido, the way of the warrior. His teachings prioritized the suppression of feelings, constant wariness, isolation and the willingness to sacrifice one’s life in service of the clan lord. Followers of Musashi’s way don’t talk much. They don’t consider feelings and emotions relevant to decision making. They are perfectionists. They don’t explain themselves, ask questions or tolerate others’ questions. They are hard on themselves and those around them. Their children and subordinates often fear them. They lack closeness and understanding in their relationships. They are the type of friend who would die for another, but won’t ask about—or reveal—personal troubles.

    This warrior mindset is the basis of Dr. Tatsuguchi’s new book, Why Smart Men Do the Same Dumb Things: A Warrior’s Manual for Change, a follow-up to her previous work, Why Smart People Do the Same Dumb Things: Causes and Cures from Buddhism and Science. This time around, Dr. Tatsuguchi explains the warrior code paradigm and teaches how to differentiate between the appropriate times to be a stern samurai or be open to giving and accepting intimacy. It’s a guide to beginning the process of behavioral change and opening the door to better relationships with peers, friends and family. Dr. Tatsuguchi’s unique approach is rooted in the connection between modern scientific methodology and Buddhist principles of free inquiry and respect for the human spirit. This model of thinking will help readers realize and admit mistakes, correct them and live a more fulfilled, happier life.

    Meet Dr. Tatsuguchi at these three free events: book signing at the Mo‘ili‘ili Hongwanji Bazaar, seminar at the Buddhist Study Center and lecture at Native Books / Na Mea Na Mea Hawai‘i. See event calendar for dates and details.

    In the following excerpt, Dr. Tatsuguchi explains why she wrote the book:

    My father loved all of his six children, of whom I was his fifth. None of us ever doubted his love though he never expressed it. He worked hard, and his life revolved around the church, the community and us. He was born in Hiroshima and immigrated to Hawai‘i with my mother as the first husband-and-wife team of a Jodo Shinshu temple in the late 1920s. He was full of contradictions—good-hearted, yet self-centered and inflexible about his convictions; easily angered, but caring. He was also strong-minded, smart, honest, athletic, handsome and well liked. Although he was raised as a Buddhist minister, he grew up in a Japan that had never lost a war, and like most men of his era he had a warrior upbringing. Unlike his cohorts, he expected all of his children, including his four daughters, to get college educations. On the other hand, none of us could talk to him on an intimate, emotional level—he was truly the stoic, “silent samurai” type. We couldn’t freely tell him about anything we were thinking, feeling or doing. At home, nothing could empty a room faster than his entrance into it. We were all afraid of him. He died when I was thirty-eight years old and during that entire time, I felt close to him on just two occasions.

    Goki Itsuki Kiyomi Tatsuguchi

    Rev. Goki Itsuki Kiyomi Tatsuguchi (July 11, 1898 to August 1, 1978), circa 1916–1920, Ryukoku University
    national championship sumo team captain


    The regret over what I missed with my father led me to write this book for him and the men who are just like him—responsible, deeply caring, strong-willed, smart, honest, athletic, handsome men, who were taught to ignore their emotions and don’t know how to deal with feelings. I have met so many in my practice. Quite a few are respected or well liked, but they are often also self-centered, stern, gruff, angry, difficult to approach, lonely, bewildered and scary to their children and employees. Because of their lack of social skills, they and the people they love miss out on close and rich relationships.

    Men like my father knowingly or unknowingly follow the way of the early samurai who suppressed their feelings, practiced constant wariness, isolated themselves and sacrificed their lives because they were at war; it literally was “do or die.” It’s important to be able to discriminate when you’re at war and when you’re not; who’s your enemy and who’s your friend. It’s important to treat each differently. How many situations and people are you treating as though you are at war? How many people are you inappropriately scaring and how many relationships are you shutting down? Is it time for you to learn about your feelings and how they affect your thoughts and behavior? Would you like to be closer to your wife, children and friends? Are you able to change your mindset and drop your warrior ways when it’s appropriate?

    This book is not about trashing the warrior code paradigm, but about learning to differentiate between when you need to be a stern warrior and when you should give and accept intimacy; when you should be at war or at peace; when you should be silent and uncommunicative or share what’s on your mind. This book can teach you when and how to distinguish between wartime and peacetime modes, dangerous and friendly folks. It can help you learn how to recognize when you are truly in danger, when you are safe and how to let your guard down. To make the most of it, you will need to be able to admit mistakes, hear others out, accept feedback and make corrections.

  • Five Feng Shui Tips to Enhance Your Love Life & Finances

    Feng Shui for Love & Money by Clear Englebert (front cover) Feng Shui for Love & Money by Clear Englebert

    Feng shui is a way of manipulating energy by the conscious placement of objects in our environment. The objects we control send out messages about how we would like our lives to work. Those messages are going out whether we intend them or not. Feng shui gives us a way to send the messages we want to send. Here are a few simple, easy-to-implement solutions from Clear Englebert's new book, Feng Shui for Love & Money, to encourage positive relationship and wealth energy in your home.

    Order Feng Shui for Love & Money at our website now or look for it in bookstores throughout Hawaii. Author Clear Englebert will be on Oahu for promotional events from Aug. 28 – 31, and will also have events on the Big Island of Hawaii throughout September. See the book's events page for details.

    ● Avoid images of solitary people or things in your home. A solitary image says alone, not relating, not in harmony. One single image is not a problem, but as part of a repeated theme, it’ll be reflected in your life. If you collect solitary figurines, put them in groups of roughly the same height. If decorative objects in your Relationship Corner represent living things, it is very important that they not be singular. Don’t hang a picture of one flower—instead display a picture of several flowers. This rule is even more important when dealing with pictures of people of your own gender.

    ● Water symbolizes prosperity. The position of real water near your home is important to your finances, and if the water moves, the direction of the flow is important. The flow can be in all directions, like an umbrella, but if the water flows in only one direction, like a waterfall, the flow should be toward the front door or the heart of the home—never leading away from the house. Wavy lines represent ripples or waves on water. When that kind of design is on your front gate it symbolizes money flowing out your driveway.

    ● Yellow is the color of happiness, and pink is the color of love. Peach and coral are midway between yellow and pink. These colors say, “I’m in between, but not quite at love and happiness, and therefore available.” Fabric is the easiest way to bring color into an area, and you can pass the fabric on to someone else once you have the relationship that’s right for you. I also recommend silk flowers. Don’t use flowers that have thorns or are famous for them—so no roses. It’s not good enough to cut the thorns off the roses because roses are still famous for having thorns. There are plenty of songs associating rose thorns with love that ends up causing pain.

    ● The most powerful symbol of prosperity is an object that cost a lot of money. It can be as small as a stamp or as large as furniture. Many people put expensive jewelry in their Wealth Corner, and that’s perfect. Because costume jewelry is artificial, it would not be good in the Wealth Corner unless the jewelry is collectable and valuable in its own right. Things that look like money, but that you can’t really spend, are not recommended in the Wealth Corner.

    ● Plants with stiff, pokey leaves or with thorns, barbs or irritating bristles are bad in both Relationship and Wealth Corners. Plants with fuzzy, rounded leaves are ideal for both; the round shape is approachable and welcoming. Climbing plants can be problematic because they cling and need support, and those characteristics aren’t healthy in relationships. Round-leaf succulents are good for Wealth Corners. The succulent aspect symbolizes prosperity because the leaves are fat with water, and water symbolizes wealth. Plants with purple leaves or flowers are also excellent in the Wealth Corner. Velvet plant has beautiful soft, purple hairs and is good in both corners. Dried plants are very bad in any part of the home because they say dead.

    Clear Englebert has taught feng shui in Hawai‘i and California and consults on homes, gardens and commercial spaces throughout the Islands. He has been featured on television and in a variety of print media and has published three previous feng shui titles for a national audience, Feng Shui Demystified, Bedroom Feng Shui and Feng Shui for Retail Stores. He has also written Feng Shui for Hawai‘i and Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens, with special attention paid to the particular feng shui problems found in Island homes and solutions geared toward Hawai‘i-style homes and décor. Visit the author's website: http://fungshway.com/

  • Writing the Hawai'i Memoir Now Available on Audible.com

    Darien Gee's award-winning writing guide, Writing the Hawai'i Memoir, is now available as an audiobook via Audible.com.

    This step-by-step blueprint for starting and completing your memoir (or family history) leads writers of any experience level through a natural, intuitive writing process that can be followed at any pace, quick or slow. This guide is for anyone who has a life story and wants to share it with others.

    Narrated by Carin Gilfry, with a dedicating pule written and recorded by Rev. Danny Akaka, Jr., the audiobook edition of Writing the Hawai'i Memoir lets you absorb Darien's advice while you're on-the-go. Or, sit in your favorite chair and think of it like your own personal writing seminar!

    Courtesy of Darien, we have three free Audible downloads to give away! Want one? Here's how to enter: Tell us the one-sentence summary of the memoir you would write.

    You can tell us in any of three ways:

    • Leave a comment on this blog.
    • Post a comment on our Facebook Page (preferably where we've shared the link to this post, but anywhere on the page is OK).
    • Tweet us (@watermarkhawaii) using the hashtag #hawaiimemoir ("Hey @watermarkhawaii, my #hawaiimemoir would be: ...")

    On September 1, 2015, we'll gather up all the responses and pick three lucky winners at random. (You'll need to sign up for an Audible account and have either a smartphone or Kindle in order to redeem and listen to the audiobook.)

    Here are some examples from our Watermark Publishing and Legacy Isle Publishing memoir releases to inspire you:


    by Frances H. Kakugawa

    A coming-of-age memoir of life in a Hawaiian plantation village—now buried beneath a blanket of lava.

    My Name is Makia

    by Makia Malo with Pamela Young

    A child of Kalaupapa who grew up to carry his message of hope and love around the world.

    The Society of Seven: Last of the Great Show Bands

    by Frances Kirk

    The saga of the Society of Seven, one of the most enduring success stories in show business.

    Wayfinding through the Storm

    by Na Leo o Kamehameha with Gavan Daws

    The human story of a crisis that erupted at Kamehameha Schools and came close to destroying a historic educational community.

    We can't wait to hear your memoir ideas!

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