Daily Archive for October 31st, 2014

“Trick-or-Treat Goodies (our way)” – Year 11

Since 2004, it has become an (almost) annual tradition for me to re-post this story, usually with some sort of update at the top.

This is Year 11 of the post and I’m honestly just tired. I’m physically exhausted from a week of business travels and meetings and I’m just tired in general from what has been yet another nonstop year for me.

I won’t go into great detail about the highlights or lowlights of 2014, but I can say this: while I am indeed doing a lot less for AAJA/AAJA-LA than I have in previous years, I still continue to do a lot. Denise Poon and I helped lead the third hugely successful V3con, but more importantly, we have retired from “being in charge” and have gratefully passed the torch to a very capable team. Trivia Bowl this year celebrated its 20th anniversary and under the leadership of Denise Poon, I think it was particularly amazing. As much as I love Trivia Bowl, I took on a greater share of responsibility this year than I had in the past, and it took a lot out of me. I’m still on the National Governing Board and co-chair the Marketing and Communications Committee with Niala Boodhoo and we had a great National Convention in August in one of my favorite cities, Washington DC. I’m looking forward to a great 2015 convention in San Francisco next year.

There continue to be many joys in my life… my family and friends, and especially my Yoshi. It’s my ongoing goal to spend even more time with Yoshi after all these years of neglect from extracurricular activities. I admit this is not much of an update, but that’s OK. You can follow the day-to-day on Twitter or Facebook.

So without further ado, here’s my annual Halloween story posted in honor my Mom, who is currently traveling Asia with friends and family. I hope you enjoy it (again or for the first time).

Happy Halloween.

Joz at the pumpkin patch in 1984.  I like how my eyes are closed in this shot.  (How did 20 years go by so quickly?!)When my brother and I were kids, we learned about most American traditions for the first time either on television or in school. Since our parents had come from Taiwan to the United States only a couple of years before I was born, they pretty much learned about American holidays at the same time my brother and I did… and that was usually when I came home from school talking about something I’d learned in class.

Of all the various American holidays we’d learned about, Halloween was especially exciting because my Mom had fun with “dressing us up.” Although she claimed that she didn’t know how to sew, she always came up with costumes for us… like the year my brother was a cowboy with a little red cowboy hat and matching vest, and I was an Indian squaw complete with feathers in my hair. Having costumes meant that we were sufficiently prepared to go trick-or-treating and to come home with a bag full of candy that we weren’t actually allowed to eat, since it would “rot our teeth out of our mouths.”

My mother has a background in medicine, having gone to medical school in Japan and then becoming a pharmacist in Taiwan. Although she liked getting us in costumes and taking us trick-or-treating, she never allowed us to eat the candy we brought home because it was full of sugar and artificial flavors and colors. Since we weren’t allowed to eat the candy, the strategy was to take us out early & to give away the candy that we had received earlier in the evening. We didn’t mind having our candy passed back out again; Mom had scared us about the dangers of sugary treats and really, the candy wasn’t important to us… we just loved the costumes and going door-to-door.

One year, my Mom informed us that our cousins were planning to come to our neighborhood so we could all go trick-or-treating together. We would be going at later time than our usual “early shift.” Since our cousins actually kept their candy, Mom decided that rather than re-distributing the candy my brother and I got via our front door, instead, our lucky cousins would go home with a double-bounty of candy, theirs AND ours! That also meant that Mom would actually have to prepare treats in advance for Dad to pass out while we were trick-or-treating.

And since I was starting to have neighbor kids in the same classes with me, I started becoming concerned about exactly what candy was being given away at our front door. I still remember the day Mom returned from the supermarket, proudly announcing that she had purchased “the BEST trick-or-treat goodies” for the neighborhood kids. My brother and I excitedly went through the grocery bags but we didn’t find any Smarties, M&Ms, little Snickers bars, or even candy corn.

“Mom?” I asked, combing through the groceries. “Where are the treats?”
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