If You Can’t Speak English, You Can’t Cut My Hair!

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For this week’s post, I want to share a selection from my upcoming book, Sheer Determination

As I am finishing the last few chapters of this book, I look back and am amazed at some of the intolerant experiences I went through as a minority woman entrepreneur. I was committed to training and helping immigrant workers succeed at their chosen career, yet I encountered subtle and sometimes overt discrimination as I went about trying to establish my business. I want to share this excerpt with you at this post election time where everyone is feeling scared and uncertain. I want us to stand firm and commit that “WE WILL NOT GO BACK…WE WILL KEEP MOVING FORWARD.”

 Here is the selection from my new book:

 I hired Lan after she graduated from the cosmetology program at a local community college. She was a young, immigrant woman from Vietnam. On her first day of work, Lan came into the salon an hour before her scheduled time to learn English in the back room of the salon.

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Why Can’t I Get a Good Shampoo?

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Every now and then, I reflect back on some of the experiences I had when I was growing up. Many of them have shaped how I perform the services in my salon today. One of the things that frequently comes to mind is the humdrum way that salons shampoo hair. I was only sixteen and this is my recollection of what happened and why it made such an impression on me…

The initial greeting with my stylist, Lydia went fine. After that, the she took me back to an area that was lined with shampoo bowls and chairs and sat me down in he closest chair. She guided my head down to rest nicely into the groove of the bowl. Thinking, “This is great,” I succumbed to her direction. Once the shampoo process started, I could feel the warm trickle of water on my head. The warmth of the water gave me a comforting feel. Before my hair was thoroughly saturated, the shampoo was poured on my head and the massaging and scrubbing began.

I sat there thinking, “Okay it’s beginning to feel good…just apply a little more pressure with your fingertips and keep going.”

Unfortunately, no matter how much I wished for a stronger and more stimulating massage, it never happened. Instead, Lydia continued to slide her fingers lightly on the surface of my scalp, back and forth, stimulating my scalp just enough, causing my head to itch. Read more

Rudy’s Story…A Tail of Rags to Riches

To My Readers, I wrote this story for the North American Post. I wanted to share this with you because it’s my favorite story. I spent time with Ginger’s Pet Rescue, helping unload the animals that were rescued from various puppy mills in Washington state. The heart-breaking moment was when I saw the rescued dogs in the back of a large van as Ginger brought them into a parking lot of her restaurant. Each was scared and shaking so bad that we had to entice them with treats, love and patience to lure them out of their crates. One little poodle dog’s leg broke instantly as he tried to step out of his kennel. This poor dog had never been outside of his kennel in his 2 years of life. Another sickly dog had deceased puppies still inside her stomach that needed to be removed. These poor dogs needed so much medical care before they were ready to go out for adoption that I held a fundraiser in my salon, Studio 904 to raise money to help with their medical care. I am happy to say, over 100 people responded to my call and we raised $10,000 for Ginger’s Pet Rescue.

Here is a story of one very lucky dog…

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The minute my eyes connected with Rudy’s, I knew that he was a very sweet and special dog. Sitting inside a small, wire cage, his soulful brown eyes felt like they were piercing right into my heart. His caramel-colored, short hair was shiny and smooth as he quietly sat and pleaded to me, “Please, help me.” On top of his kennel was a handwritten sign that read: “Rudy – 2-Year-Old Male – Mixed Breed.”

As I glanced around the spacious room, there were rows of dogs sitting in small crates alongside about two-dozen other small breed dogs. They were all at an adoption event that was sponsored by Ginger’s Pet Rescue. The reason I decided to attend this particular gathering was to see Cesar Millan, the world famous “Dog Whisperer.”

But, back to the very beginning…This whole thing started a few hours earlier when my niece, Geri Lynn called and asked, “Aunty Kay, do you want to go see Cesar Millan at the Ginger’s Pet Rescue event? Can you call Uncle Gary to see if he’d like to go with us?”

 

When I called and invited Gary, he said, “Why do you want me to go? You know that I’m not looking for a dog.”

I don’t usually do this, but I begged him, “Oh, please, come with Geri Lynn and me; I want to see Cesar Millan. Don’t you want to meet him in person instead of simply watching him on TV performing his miraculous, dog behavior modifications?” After a lot of arm twisting, Gary reluctantly agreed to join us. Read more

Fond Memories of My First Skyliners Dance

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             Seattle, Washington – Circa 1955

As posted in the North American Post publication on June 9, 2016. Vol. 71, Issue 25

My Journey to Yours by Keiko Kay Hirai

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I stood in front of the Seattle Buddhist Church, all dressed up in my new pink sweater and full skirt with pink and grey checks. My black, patent-leather Capezio flats felt a little tight, but I didn’t care. My biggest hope was that I would fit in with the rest of the girls. Read more

This is a Popular Article!

Do You Have a Mentor- (1)

I received so many positive comments about this article (published in the North American Post a few weeks ago) that I want to share it with you. Do You Have a Mentor?, part II. If you don’t have a good Mentor like Joe, I suggest you get busy and start looking for one. I can guarantee that you will get a new outlook on life! Read more

Do You Have a Mentor?

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If you don’t have a mentor right now, you might think about searching for one. Why? Because chances are, if you find someone who is a good fit for your personality and lifestyle, you will be able to live your life with more confidence and the reassurance that you are headed in the right direction toward fulfilling your life goals.
What is my definition of a suitable mentor?
A mentor is generally someone who:

  • Has a higher understanding or knowledge than you do either in life experiences, in a certain area of expertise, or both
  • Shares your values and expectations
  • You admire
  • You feel comfortable with to share your inner-most feelings

If you find someone who fits this description and this person is willing to spend the time with you either as a friend or as an advisor, consider yourself very lucky.

Why do we need mentors in our lives? As all of us go through the process of “living life,” many obstacles and challenges undoubtedly come our way. These distractions make it almost impossible for us to clearly make our way and remain on course toward achieving our dreams. As a result, the BIG PICTURE is often lost in the process. As you know, it is easy to get an opinion from someone, but it is difficult to decipher the good advice from the bad advice when it is offered to you. Read more

How Dog Training Improves Your Leadership Skills

                             

Dog Training 101

                                Max and his friends at the Dogs Works Ranch.

This article was published in the North American Post on March 10, 2016. If you haven’t seen it, please enjoy reading it here.

During the time I was growing up in Japan, I had a dog named Shiro. She was given to me by an American soldier who was returning to his homeland. I had a difficult time training Shiro because I knew absolutely nothing about the responsibilities of owning a pet. After a lot of trial and error and hours of commitment, however, she eventually became a trusted companion whom I enjoyed spending time with. We had the most loving relationship that anyone could have ever asked for.

After Shiro passed away, I longed for another dog who could bring me as much joy. My prayers were soon answered and in stepped Yumi. She was just as special to me as Shiro, but in a different way. Yumi provided me with so much wisdom in dealing with everyday life that I was prompted to author a book about my key learnings. After several years of cherished companionship, I lost Yumi. Again, I felt like there could never be another dog to replace her and what she meant to me. Read more

Plan For an Inspiring Year + A Free Download

Creating Magical Moments

If you’re like me, you have probably made some promises to yourself about how to make this year a productive one. We’d all like a  year filled with a sense of accomplishment and personal fulfillment. Unfortunately, what usually happens is that we are bombarded by a myriad of distractions and fail to meet our goals. Weeks fade into months and months accumulate into a year… before we know it, we have forgotten all about our pledges. At least, that’s what always happens to me! Read more