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Happy New Year, everyone.

My parents left yesterday after 4-week stay over the holidays. It was great to have them here all day long every day. They struggled with jet lag at the beginning, but soon started working out in the basement (We have the state-of-art gym that my husband built). We went out for a long walk here and there, and went to NYC visiting The Metropolitan Museum and Xmas tree at the Rockefeller Center. Kyle played Shogi (Japanese Chess) every day with my Dad and Nicole learned Abacus from my Mom.

My Grandma was a wise woman, whom my Mom took care of for several years in her late years. Unlike most elderly, she stopped insisting on being right “because I know I am wrong” to Mom. She said “Thank you” often for the care she received. She never got angry, and stayed happy and calm until her last breath. I can tell my parents learned from her. They are very calm and grateful, enjoy their lives and each other’s company. They know what to do to stay healthy; eat well and exercise, but not too much to injure themselves.

We talked a lot about Mino, my Grandparents and my Great Grandma whom even my Mom never met. Mom told me about many of her childhood memories. They are the episodes so long ago, and I felt like I was listening to the bed time stories as a small child, which I will pass them down to my children for sure. I am fortunate that they are healthy enough to visit all the way to the US. Ironically, because I live so far away from Japan, I can spend time together with such a depth at the age of 48. At the airport, I cried as I hugged them tightly, drove back home crying and ate a rice ball that Mom made.

After losing Mino, we managed to survive and are living well, to everyone’s surprise. Again, we thank you all to stay connected with us for all these years. I am grateful that every day a new person arrives at hokariminoru.org to learn about Mino and his work, through a simple google search or my knitting endeavor. I cannot imagine how we would have been without the memorial scholarship fund that the ANU have founded.

I am sending my deepest regards to those who sponsored the Knit-A-Thon 2015. This year’s Knit-A-Thon had 32 knitters (up from 27 last year) to knit my designs with 32,748.7 yards (up from 19,550.5 yards) and raise $1,637.44 (up from $977.52).As of September 2015, the fund balance was AUD$108,546 (up from $100,555 March 2015), which provides AUD$4,850 scholarship annually. Including the knitting pattern sale of my designs, donations and proceeds from other ongoing projects/events that I manage for the last few years, approximately AUD$9,200 was wired to the fund at the end of 2015. Our goal is to raise AUD$127,000 to provide AUD$5,000 scholarship every year, in perpetuity. I expect it will be fully funded in the next few years and I promise that once we reach the goal, I let the fund grow by itself. I won’t keep asking for your donation. I do not treat this fund to be an endless pit that never fills up. So, please bear with me for a few more years.

I want to share a message from my knitting friend who knits like a mad women during the Knit-A-Thon.

“Yuki, three years ago I was one of those people whom you emailed because I bought patterns. I read about Mino and wanted to contribute. I think I bought all of your patterns. This was only a few months after I lost one of my best friends to cancer at the age of 53--the one I referred to in my “your arms around me” project page. What I didn’t know immediately was that on the very same day I was “introduced” to Mino and purchased the patterns, another best friend and kindred spirit to me, lost her niece who was 15--she was the same age as my son. She and her best friend accepted a ride home from a party (no drugs or alcohol/just a small gathering of good friends). The driver had just gotten his driver’s license the day before. The two girls were killed on impact when the driver lost control and smacked into a tree--this happened just blocks away from their homes. I had just met this girl a month before the accident and was amazed at how much she looked like a friend of mine from college--so beautiful! I was going to keep my eye on her as she grew up to see if they would still look alike. This is why I knit like a mad woman for Mino. We lose amazing people, who aren’t given the chance to mature to their full potential, to uncontrollable circumstances; but, we need to carry on for those who are up and coming. You are one of those people who keep energy moving in a positive direction. I’ve told you before that you amaze me with your energy and creativity. The least I can do is knit for you, and for Mino, and for as many budding scholars as I can.”

Reading her mail and I thought this is the reason why I could keep going. There will be always support for what I do and there will be always a person who would enjoy meeting Mino. Then, I received another mail from a knitter who lives in Coffs Harbour, NSW, Australia.

“Hi Yuki, I have just stumbled on one of your patterns and read the story of your brother and the scholarship that has been set up in his honour. Unfortunately today I have no money to buy the pattern/s but I have kept a diary note so that in a couple of weeks when I get paid again I will buy myself at least one pattern and will also gift at least one more pattern. I just wanted to congratulate you on what you are doing - sharing your love of knitting and designing while unselfishly donating the proceeds of that labour of love to such a wonderful project. The subject of the scholarship is also dear to my heart, as an Australian, so I really wish you well in your endeavours and with your kind permission I will also post a message to my local group ladies pointing them to one of your patterns so that they can also read (and hopefully be moved to purchase/donate).”

A knitter who came across my designs would like to be a part of the fund. Mino’s fund is very special and unique this way and I am very proud of it.

I wish you all a very healthy and fruitful year. I will write to Mino on his birthday in July again.