Two Totally New Things

With this issue, I’m pleased to say, MidWeek introduces two new features. Each offers something totally different in these pages.

The first is on religion – though not in the traditional Saturday church page way. The column is written by Jay Sakashita, who teaches religion at UH, and whose classes are so popular with students they fill up quickly. “He’s a funny guy,” says a former student now on the MidWeek staff. The son of an Episcopalian mother and Zen Buddhist father, he is far from doctrinaire and visits churches of all faiths. Thus the column name, “Misfit Spirit.”

Jay is an alumnus of UH, and received his Ph.D. from the University of Stirling in Scotland, where his research focused on contemporary Japanese religions. His work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, journals and books. An associate professor of religion at Leeward Community College and a lecturer in the religion department at UH-Manoa, he teaches several courses on religion, including those related to Christianity and Japanese religions. Jay has “no hobbies, no time to read books and absolutely no social life.” This, he adds, is his “children’s fault.” Plus his new column.

The second new feature consists of short, weekly thoughts from Alice Inoue, “A Mindful Moment.” When I first saw Alice’s samples, I immediately thought of the Rev. Paul Osumi, whose daily “Today’s Thought” feature of short nuggets of wisdom and common sense ran for many years in the Advertiser. This is a modernized version of that. And in light of Time magazine’s recent cover story on “mindfulness,” the timing seems right.

Alice, a professional “life guide and happiness expert,” has helped thousands of people gain insight and clarity in their lives. She has written five nationally award-winning books, including Be Happy!, Feng Shui Your Life! and Destination Happiness. She also has a popular weekly column in the Sunday Star-Advertiser‘s Hawaii Renovation section called “Go Ask Alice.” Alice says she loves to “help others understand life and happiness,” including at her school for adults, Happiness U, which she calls “the place to go to learn everything you didn’t learn in school about happiness and success in life!”

You can find Jay on Page 23 and Alice on Page 35.

Otherwise, some news and notes:

It’s not often that the minimum and maximum are the exact same thing, but NBA commissioner Adam Silver achieved just that in banning L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling for life. He could not have done any less or any more …

Did you see where a right-wing(nut) outfit is insinuating that there was something suspicious about the tragic death of former state Health director Loretta Fuddy in a plane crash off Molokai – allegedly because she knew secrets about Barack Obama’s birth certificate? Another example of people with too much time on their hands and poison in their hearts …

Heartening is the best word to describe helping to judge the state high school journalism contest co-sponsored by Hawaii Publishers Association (of which MidWeek publisher Ron Nagasawa is president) as well as MidWeek and the Star-Advertiser, and then attending the awards luncheon at the Pagoda. I have a soft spot in my heart for high school journalism, as that’s where I was introduced to this business. Now, as a “senior journalist,” it was great to see young people getting excited about journalism, and learning to write and shoot and edit and design. That should be equally heartening for anyone who appreciates a good newspaper, magazine or newscast – and website, blog or podcast …