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A Happy New Year from the Okabe Family!


The Okabe Family 2020 news headline:    Kye enters the workforce!

The family celebrates Kye's new life and hopes for continued safety for both Kye and  his grandmother Evelyn, situated on opposite sides of the virus-ravaged US. Meanwhile, the Japan-based contingent of the family (Masaru & Stephanie) find daily joy while adhering to "restaurant abstinence" and other restrictions.



During the prolonged at-home time, Masaru began pruning shrubbery, ultimately cutting azaleas and their ilk to the very core. In so doing, he and Stephanie discovered a veritable zoo of swallowtail butterfly caterpillars living in the "kinkan" (kumquat) bush within reach of the dining room window. Both spent summer and autumn observing the critters day by day, extracting unanticipated delight from the slo-mo lives of these irresistible incandescent green creatures. This inspired Masaru to create a NewYear's game he calls "Where is the caterpillar?". Enjoy if you have time!  (And kindly note Masaru's Tesla, which has brought him much joy.)






A tenderfoot in matters of science, Stephanie nevertheless follows (COVID-19) vaccine development and distribution with great interest. The TV news analysis program which she and Masaru watch Sunday mornings is invariably dominated by discussion of the virus. Experts are trotted out and shown line graphs depicting the latest jump in case number. Their "analysis," one is both amused and disappointed to learn, is inevitably that we must "keep a sharp eye on next week's data."

If wisdom and joy were elusive in TV commentary, both were generated right outside the dining room window, where a backscratcher and opera glasses were repurposed in 2020 to unveil the hidden wonders of swallowtail (butterfly) caterpillars. (See below for more.) The stay-at-home year revealed silver linings!


就職先が決まっていない間にコロナが勃発したので外出もままならない状態になってしまいました。無事に就職先が見つかるのかと心配させられましたがSteven Jobsファンの快の念願がかないAppleでデータフローを○✗▲#■とかいう我々にはよくわからない仕事を見つけたようです。なんのデータなのかは企業秘密なので話せないそうです。いつまでたっても親から見て何やってるかわからん状態は解消されそうにありません。(^^;)

Kye has joined the Apple family in Silicon Valley. Hurray! We rejoice!  While he willingly informed the family of the corporate division to which he belongs, further details grew increasingly elusive. When asked what—exactly—it is that he does, the answer recalled that old spy movie retort: "I could tell you—but then I'd have to kill you." Apple clearly takes protection of product development seriously ... and Kye clearly takes protection of his role equally seriously.  :-)


What I learned from butterflies








The process of microscopic egg -> caterpillar -> cocoon -> butterfly is intricately contrived and a wonder to behold. The egg, apparently <1 mm in diameter, survives summer's blazing heat for a few days without losing water. The temperature surely exceeds 56  degrees, but the enzymes are OK. The emergent caterpillar is no less amazing, moving her body like a leaf when the wind blows to outwit predators. Neat!

 Then one day, the caterpillar disappears suddenly, having travelled to another tree where she will spend time as a cocoon. Why do these creatures move out? To avoid overcrowding? Masaru and Stephanie found one cocoon in late autumn, suspended from a nearby tree ready for hibernation. Both hope to see the moment the butterfly is born next spring. Wish the Okabes luck! (Did you find the delicate threads securing the cocoon in the photo above?) 


The 2020 news recap




May 2021 be a good year for everybody!