My Father's Day by Faye Shigemura


Father’s Day is celebrated all around the world from March in Italy, to December in Bolivia. Most countries celebrate Father’s Day on the third Sunday in June, following the American tradition. Some countries like Korea celebrate Parent’s Day instead.

All of us have many fond memories of our fathers and mothers.  Of us three girls, Jane, Debra, and me, I think I have the privilege of having the most memories of my father because of the time spent together.

My mother was really smart. I imagine she told my father to take me along when he went to his friends’ house.  My sisters were toddler and infant at the time, and mostly it would be just me and my Dad.  He took me to the best places: His fisherman friend always had sashimi or tako at their home, and they always had a bottle of Kist orange soda for me.  I had the run of many bars, the most memorable being HoloHolo Inn on the corner of King and Dillingham. As soon as I finished my bottle of soda, I reminded Daddy that it was time to go home.  He would call me his alarm clock. He learned fast by not giving me my soda right away.

Dad was a gentle man, liked by all his friends. He was always smiling, and we never heard him raise his voice.  Mommy was the disciplinarian in the family with a mighty wooden hanger in hand.

New Year’s Day was a special time when Dad and I would go to his friends’ homes for our New Years aisatsu, but we really went for his sakazuki or two of Sawanotsuru for Dad, and I would have my fill of kanten, grapes, and kazunoko. Every year, our hanai uncle would come from Kaneohe for dinner, and play hanafuda with Dad. They would take a whole minute to discard one card from their hands after pointing to this card and that card, and mumbling some words to themselves...kottemu-ga…baka ne…aah, shimatta.

Dad took an early retirement from his job as a civil service employee at the Schofield then Ft. Shafter Motor Pool. He passed away too early at age 64.

What was Dad’s greatest gift to me? That’s a hard question to answer because I don’t remember a thing he physically gave to me except his good looks. I do remember when I was in high school, my wish was to build my own furniture when I bought my own home.  Dad got me started with a two-shelf night stand which we built and stained. 

I think his greatest gift to all of us was just being the Dad that he was. We lived in a two-bedroom duplex with 10 people, my grandparents, my father’s 3 younger siblings, and our family of five. There were days when my father would go fishing to catch dinner, and the very upsetting day when I found out we ate our pet chicken. We never heard an unkind word from him, and to us, he is the greatest Dad of all.

I sleep with him every night.  I have a blanket with which I sleep every night, frayed from too many times in the washer and too many stitches to repair tears.  I used to take it on trips with me, but now that I’m grown up and have a suitcase full of omiyage to bring home, I leave my Linus blanket at home. I miss my Dad.

Faye Shigemura

June 2016

Back to top