Keiro Chats: Meet Marvin!

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Name: Marvin Inouye
Age: 68
From: Pasadena Buddhist Temple, Pasadena

What sustains your quality of life?
Exercise is important for me so I can maintain my health.
My wife and I have the means to do what we want, go where we want, and still have the mobility at this time to do it because that will not always be the case. Mobility is probably important as well.
Through traveling, I also discovered how nice onsens (hot springs) are. Since then, I’ve been going to the steam room at the gym 6-7 days a week.

What is your weekly schedule like?

Two days a week, I go to the gym to do cardio, stretching and strengthening work. I also volunteer two days a week at the Pasadena Buddhist Temple with a group called the Sons of Gardeners (SOGs). We do maintenance, repair work, and different projects around the temple. I volunteer at the Japanese American National Museum once a week as well.

I go to Pasadena Buddhist Temple on Sundays. Once a month, I get together with a book club as well, which originated from a group of parents from the high school band that our kids were in.

My wife and I do fresh water and surf fishing locally, and do deep sea fishing once or twice a year with a former student who charters a boat.

What do you look forward to each week?

Right now, since I’ve been involved with JANM and I’ve always had a love for history, so each week I try to learn something new about my ancestors and the Japanese Nikkei prior to the war, not only inside the United States but also in Japan, and what led to the war.

I also enjoy traveling the world with my wife; recently we’ve been spending a lot of time in Japan because my twin sons are working there through the Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Program. We usually spend three weeks each time, traveling and visiting relatives and my sons.

What goals or aspirations do you have now?

At some point, I hope to maybe see grandchildren in the future.

We also have a bucket list for traveling, and we are touring India in January. I also have Machu Picchu and the Galapagos Islands on my list of places I want to go.

What is the most important thing to you now, and has that changed over time?

Health has been the most important thing for me throughout the years.

What in your life has most influenced the way you live today?

My neighbor’s mother acquired emphysema when we were in middle school. Because of that disease, she could not go to her son’s [high school and college] graduation ceremonies. She would tell me, “It doesn’t matter how much money you make ever; what matters most is your health.” Hearing this from a lady with an oxygen mask on her face with tubes up her nose, it hits you pretty hard about what’s important in life.

What contributes to your happiness?

I love social dancing. I’m hoping my wife will take lessons. I also enjoy leisure reading. I feel I am fortunate to be in a position to do whatever I want to do in retirement and be financially stable.

What sustains your quality of life?

Exercise is important for me so I can maintain my health.

My wife and I have the means to do what we want, go where we want, and still have the mobility at this time to do it because that will not always be the case. Mobility is probably important as well.

Through traveling, I also discovered how nice onsens (hot springs) are. Since then, I’ve been going to the steam room at the gym 6-7 days a week. (laughs)

What is your biggest accomplishment?

Being, hopefully, a decent father to my sons, a good husband to my wife, and having a successful career as an educator.

About four months ago, I woke up on a Monday morning and read the L.A. Times. On the front page of the California section, I saw one of my former students in the photo as a kindergarten teacher high-fiving her student. That same Thursday, I went to see my grandniece play basketball on her varsity team. When I got to the game during halftime, I bumped into a former student who was there to cheer for her daughter who is also on the same team. And the following Sunday, I’m watching the Super Bowl at my friend’s house, I noticed a photographer on screen that looked like a former student. I texted him, and it was him at the game taking photos for the NFL. He was my top photographer when I retired in 2012, and his goal was to shoot for Sports Illustrated.

Within one week I was able to see so many of my former students, those people who were in your life that were affected by you, doing what they love to do. It was like an icing on the cake. You hear about six degrees of separation, but it’s more like three.

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