Six Word Stories

Elixir thief in hell, greatly missed.
Elixir thief in hell, our Savior.
Tree gives life, man chops down.
Tree gives life, gets chopped down.
Unplanned son sunders family, plans change.
Unplanned son sunders family, plans change.
Hawking radiation from beyond our future.
Hawking radiation from beyond our future.


Hey, I’ll explain the world that I see;

The events that transpire, and why to me.

Well, I’m a follower of great Δt;

which makes what’s past out of what will be.

And I’m enslaved by cruel mean Δt;

because what’s mine is mine just momentarily.

But I’m liberated by pure true Δt;

learning takes time to forget and be free.

Yeah, I’m just me thanks to Δt;

finding in a moment of forever, harmony


Imperial Japanese Navy oiler Irō under attack on 30 March 1944, Palau, photo by United States Navy
Imperial Japanese Navy oiler Irō under attack on 30 March 1944, Palau, photo by United States Navy

Among gnarled and twisted branches, small fish on display.

During the quiet afternoon, us humans come for play.

Beneath our playground, a dark labyrinthine tomb.

This wouldn’t be our playground, but for your horrific doom.

I do not come for the fun and play anymore, if ever I visit this site.

I just come to watch the daring fish, all fighting the good fight.

A Letter to Mr. Ishikawa

Mr. Tomimatsu Ishikawa
Mr. Tomimatsu Ishikawa

This is Mr. Tomimatsu Ishikawa (2/28/1918 – 7/17/2013), WW2 veteran, fighter for soldier’s rights, and scuba diver.  He served on a fleet oiler, the Irō, during the war and was one of the few survivors when she was sunk by an American air raid as part of Operation Desecrate One.  In his later life, he advocated for the Japanese government to properly recognize and inter the remains of his comrades who had died aboard the Irō.  On March 30, 2004, at the age of 86 years old, Mr. Ishikawa dove 90 feet to the ship’s wreck and performed a memorial ceremony for his friends.  Partly, the reason for this dive was personal.  He wanted to pay respect to his friends.  The other reason for the dive was to generate media attention and broader awareness about the situation of the Irō.

Yoko and Mr. Ishikawa
Yoko and Mr. Ishikawa

The guide who helped him complete his mission was my friend Yoko Higashide.  She was very close to Mr. Ishikawa and regarded him as a grandfather.  Before her meeting Mr. Ishikawa, Yoko had limited knowledge about the shipwrecks of Palau.  She had worked there as a dive guide for two years without knowing that there were any shipwrecks.  It was only when she started working at Fish ‘n’ Fins, an international dive shop, that Yoko started to know about the WW2 history of Palau.  Even as she would lead dives to the wrecks, she always felt bad to be diving on them.  In her words, “It’s like we are playing at a graveyard”.

Me holding my letter to Mr. Ishikawa
Me holding my letter to Mr. Ishikawa

In the summer of 2007, I had the privilege to go diving in Palau.  One of the dives I went on was the Irō.  It was not the first time I had been there, but this time was different because my guide was Yoko.  She explained to me about the ship’s history and told me Mr. Ishikawa’s story.  I was inspired by his determination to return to the Irō, even though it was deep and he was 86 years old.  I asked Yoko if she could help me write a letter in Japanese to Mr. Ishikawa.  I wanted to let him know that I was an American who was moved by his mission to pay respect to his fallen comrades.  You can see my letter to him at the bottom of this blog post.  To my surprise, he wrote me back a long letter.  Although I mailed him again in 2009, that was the end of our correspondence.  For me, though, the one letter was enough.  Our lives were connected from then on.

Mr. Ishikawa praying for his comrades
Mr. Ishikawa praying for his comrades

Now, when I dive on war wrecks I am reflective of the human suffering that led the ships to be where they are.  So I do not consider wreck diving to be a leisurely activity like diving on a reef.  It is a somber activity like visiting a graveyard or the site of an old battle.  It is important to go there to remember our history.  Regarding my experience of writing a letter to Mr. Ishikawa, I think it is a truly great thing that even though Japan and the USA fought bitterly within his lifetime, he still lived to see the day when Yoko and I could be friends and enjoy scuba diving together.  I hope that I can always be a peaceful person and make him smile down from heaven.

Please read Mr. Ishikawa’s story by Yoko.  It is the second link in the Related Media below.

Related Media:

Memorial Video of Mr. Ishikawa

Mr. Ishikawa’s Story by Yoko Higashide

Returning Mr. Ishikawa’s Ashes to the Iro by Yoko Higashide

Daniel’s Letter in English

Daniel’s Letter in Japanese (Typed)

Daniel’s Letter in Japanese (Handwritten)

Mr. Ishikawa’s Reply Letter

Beer Golf

Neon Beer Pong Sign


Beer Golf is a game played with ping pong balls, plastic cups, and beer.  It is played by my friends and I as an alternative to Beer Pong, another popular drinking game that we all enjoy playing.  With Beer Golf, your entire household becomes a golf course where each “hole” is an opportunity to drink.

Necessary Equipment:

A plastic cup

Ping pong balls for all players

A permanent ink marker

Plenty of beer

Number of Players:

Two or more people*

* Update: My friend assures me that the maximum number of players is four.  Not being a golfer, I was unaware of this Pace of Play rule.


  • Use the permanent ink marker to mark everyone’s ping pong ball with a name or symbol so it can be distinguished.
  • Fill the plastic cup with beer and choose a starting location for it somewhere in the house.
  • Choose the starting location for players.
  • Choose a par for the cup.  The par shouldn’t be too hard or too easy.  More on this later.
  • Each player takes turns throwing their ball towards the plastic cup.  Both the player’s feet must be behind the resting place of their ball.  The player is allowed to lean forward.  The player is allowed to leap and take jump shots so long as they do not step over the line.  The player is not allowed to brace themselves on furniture or other objects.
  • As with golf, the person who is the furthest away from the cup shoots.
  • The person who wins the cup gets to decide the cup location and par for the next cup.  Players start shooting from the location of the previous cup.

Drinking Rules:

  • The player with the most shots to complete the cup has to drink the beer in the cup.
  • If the player who decided the cup location and par shoots above that par, they automatically lose the cup and have to drink the beer in the cup.  This prevents people from choosing ridiculous hard cup.
  • Everyone who shoots below par gets to assign drinks to other players.  They can assign as many drinks as how far below par they were.  This prevents people from choosing ridiculously easy cups.
  • Everyone has to have a beer in their hand at all times.  Rule breakers have to drink.  The only exception to this rule is if you are playing with the Caddy Rule.

Caddy Rule:

  • If there aren’t enough balls for everyone who wants to play, you can play with the Caddy Rule.  Essentially the loser of the previous cup has to be the caddy for the winner (and is no longer an active player on the next cup).  They are required to hold the beer for the player, fill the cup with beer and place it at the chosen starting location, offer advice to the player, and compliment the player when they make a good shot.

Slightly Euphoric

Om in Lotus from
Om in Lotus from

I try to use words to encompass meaning. To better describe, I use more words. Sometimes I try to find the one word that would encompass all meaning. What would that word be? OM? Maybe, if I was a Hindu. So here we are again, describing the same uncertainty that a relativist view will always but unfortunately lead to. Yet here in the hopelessness of the problem, perhaps there is an answer. Not so much a “truth” that I can know is right. This answer is a different, more euphoric answer. I know it not. But as I reflect on it, I smile and I write. The moment will be fleeting. For as each blog post begins, surely it ends. My euphoria just like my pain; only temporary. But if I really knew this, I would know a “truth”. And as I said, I bear no truths… only an answer.

Thoughts and Musings by Daniel Bank