Mom and I both come from histories where food is a luxury so the thought of having to throw away the packages of unopened Japanese Manapua that we had intended to eat in Japan that we didn’t presented us with a real moral struggle when we landed back in Honolulu. We decided to chance ‘em and declared it on our agricultural form.
Now was our moment of truth: if our passports really were flagged, this would be the absolute end of our journey BUT (by the grace of God) we got through UNTIL we hit Customs, which is where the Manapua became an issue.
“Is it chicken or pork?” the young, local male customs officer asked us.
“The Manapua – are they chicken or pork?”
“’kay, you can go.”
(C’mon – you know it’s not going to be THAT simple...)
Final stop before being able to exit the building: an older, graying Japanese-looking male customs officer looked at our form and asked, “Who approved this?” With all three kids starting to melt down, an overweight piece of luggage and carry-ons in-tow, I pointed to the young, local officer and replied, “He did”. The older officer scowled and said “Take this back to him and tell him he didn’t do his job”. Mom and I couldn’t believe it.
I left Mom and crying kids on the side and headed back towards the young, local male officer when I was stopped by a young, angry-looking female officer who looked at our form, then at the Manapua and asked if it went through X-ray. The young local male officer approached us and asked what the problem was. I repeated the message of the older officer while the female officer asked the male officer if the Manapua went through X-ray. Angered by the older officer’s comment, the young male officer loudly told me to tell the older officer that he wasn’t doing his job. While the older officer left his post to confront the younger one, another officer grabbed our form and told us (and our Manapua) that we could go. Last I saw, the young and older officer were toe-to-toe – ah, home again.
Our first stop was my husband, Dr. Guy Yatsushiro’s office, where he completed a physical and privately interviewed mom. Although the Polizei had taken a picture of mom’s iron burn the night that it occurred, my husband took another picture to document it for his purposes.
After this, we went to the State Capitol to see Representative John Mizuno and his staff who had been trying to assist us since Germany. Unfortunately, no progress had been made in being able to get us into protective custody so there wasn’t anything we could do except wait to see Rep. Mizuno when he finished with his sessions for the day. Dazed from sleep deprivation, we were shown to a meeting room where mom fell into an immediate deep sleep.
After Rep. Mizuno and his staff witnessed that the children weren't afraid of, harmed or abused by mom or me he escorted us to our car and off we went to our first undisclosed location. Unfortunately we couldn’t just go to my house since those who may be interested know my address and good thing we didn’t: on our second day back, my husband said he returned home from work to find papers rearranged in our master bedroom and not in their proper place. Shrugging it off, he didn’t make a police report about a possible break in but had to do so the following day when his office was broken into.
Back at our hotel mom and I were still wracking our brains, churning events and oddities over and over again. Mom’s first attack occurred in October 2012 where her children had the misfortune of witnessing it; Child 2 tried to fight the attacker off his mother but was kicked across the room by him and ended up with a large, vertical, shoe-shaped bruise on his rib cage to show for it. While not physically harmed, Child 1 was traumatized by what she witnessed and spoke to me frequently about what had happened that night while I was in Germany. Both children came up with a name for their mom’s attacker – the “Scary Man”.
Child 1 drew me a picture about what he looked like and drew a picture of what her house “felt like” the night of the first attack. Thing is, that after the October attack Child 1 reported seeing the Scary Man at her school! Mom reported this but school security cameras, staff and visitor logs revealed no strangers or intruders. The kids were so fearful of the Scary Man that when mom had an “I quit” moment before boarding the plane to Japan, both kids told her that she could go home by herself – that they were going to get on the plane to get away from the Scary Man even if that meant without her. (Considering the oldest two are ages 3 and 5 that really tells you how scared they are if they’re willing to leave their own mom – who they’re VERY ATTACHED to – behind!) As the plane lifted off from Munich, the children literally cheered to be leaving the Scary Man in Germany because he didn’t have a plane ticket.
I started thinking: may-be the reason why school security cameras, staff and visitor logs didn’t reveal any strangers is because the Scary Man ISN’T a stranger at all; may-be he’s someone the kids know - someone who would have access and security clearance to be at Child 1's school. On a hunch, I started pulling up pictures from the internet and began showing them to the kids. At one particular picture, Child 2 yelled “That’s the Scary Man!” while Child 1 started shaking, hyper-ventilating and wailed “Nooo!!! That’s not him! The Scary Man is dead! That’s NOT him, I swear it, that’s NOT him!!!” and then she burst into tears while her brother insisted that it was.