Memory Book for Ako

Thank you for visiting this page.

This site is dedicated to the memory of our beloved friend or family member Ako.

Please email me ( your messages, stories or comments so that I can add them to this memory book!

[Please note that because of the number of spam messages posted here, messages can no longer be added automatically from this page]

i had been having trouble reaching Talk to Ako....and in a moment of desperation ,i sent an e-mail to ,hopefully, find a way to connect...typically, i had made a mistake and evntually, i got to my s\destination. I just read on of Ako's stories for the first time...such an idiosynchratic take on the apparently uninteresting events in her workaday life. I often felt, living w/ Ako in Tokyo....that she had a real talent for writing and that she was buried alive in her job at jiji press. She'd sluff off my comments w/ a wave of her if to say...and how do i make money etc. I really believe that she was on track to establish herself as a writer. I feel really sad that we don't have more of her work...please forgive me for writing the obvious but...i'm feeling terrible about her passing.

georgecrosby <>
blue hill, me USA - Wednesday, January 12, 2005 at 10:52:44 (EST)

I met Ako in the fall of 1999, and ever since I've been enthralled with her indomitable spirit. Her humor, smile, stories and spark will be with me forever. I remember the first time I took Ako for a sail, she decided that she just shouldn't sit there without knowing how it all worked... she wanted to take the tiller and learn how to do it. A metaphor I guess for her approach to life... she didn't want to just go along for the ride, but she wanted to learn how to be the skipper and take control of her destiny, weathering whatever storms might come her way. I sorely miss her, but my memories of her bring me great joy.

Ron Petoff <>
Rockport, MA USA - Thursday, October 28, 2004 at 18:36:00 (EDT)

I hadn't heard from ako for quite a while. It was only through a letter from her mother, that i'd received this summer( a condolence letter concerning my father's death)....that i learned that she had returned to the usa. Cyptically, her mother had mentioned that..perhaps it was for the better, that chikako reside in the usa. I can't really write down all that i'm feeling right now. I was married to ako for several years...and i had known her since she was 20 years old. I had occasionally read her web site stories and had hoped that despite the difficulties we had experienced...ultimately, we'd reconnect as friends. I came upon the news this morning while once again trying to find out what she was up to. Please, if anyone would care to contact me concerning ako....please do so: I'm next going to contact her mother in osaka and await word from her. Thank you, george
george lee crosby <>
blue hill , me. USA - Tuesday, October 19, 2004 at 11:26:40 (EDT)

I first met Ako in 1999 at a company called OBS in Rockport, MA. She was hired as the Webspinner Trainee and my first assignment was to teach her HTML so we could translate a web site into Japanese. She was a very bright woman and learned the basics of HTML in no time. Soon, she was off designing her own web sites. The site "" was something that she came up with around this time period. She never ceased to amaze me. She went from the student to the master in no time at all. We always had fun in the office when Ako was around. She loved all things that were "cute"... and she had a very unique view of the world around her. She shared with me her bad time (like the time that she put diesel fuel in her car by accident) and her good times (like the time we ended up on the front page of the Gloucester Daily Times on St. Patrick's day). Ako was always brave and full of adventure. She embraced life and always kept her sense of humor. The last time I talked to Ako she had gone on to learn Flash animation and was working on Tiger Wood's web site. I was truly amazed. She went from knowning nothing about HTML to becoming a Flash animator working on a very prestigious web site. I will always have good memories of Ako...and I know that she will be deeply missed by all the people who knew her as a friend. Goodbye Ako. :(
Kendall Dawson <>
San Diego, CA USA - Thursday, September 30, 2004 at 05:27:27 (EDT)

USA - Friday, September 24, 2004 at 13:34:44 (EDT)

The day Chikako died, briefly after her accident, heavy rain fell mixed with hail and one of her friends told us she felt as if this was Chikako crying. We thought of this when we left Boston with her ashes the early morning of August 31. Again, a heavy rain had set in and Osaka when we arrived there was gray and rainy too. It was, we felt, as if this was Chikako saying she didn't want to leave Boston,the city she enjoyed so thoroughly and her friends who loved her so much. And I can't suppress the feeling that we should help her spirit to return and stay there in some way. So many people have expressed their sympathy and helping hand to us, so many attended the funeral and memorial service that we are at a loss of how to thank them all. So please allow us to use this space to express our deepest gratitude towards all of you. We will always remember you and your love for Chikako. Mami Atsuta
Mami Atsuta <>
Osaka, Japan - Sunday, September 05, 2004 at 10:27:18 (EDT)

In Ako's honor her artist friends from the Rockport Art Association Sketch Groups have started a collection to purchase a beautiful portrait of Ako that was painted by Theresa Pergal. The painting is currently on display at the association. When we have reached our goal of $1,500 the painting will be sent to Ako's parents in Japan.(The painting's worth is actually $2500, but the association is foregoing its commission.) Theresa will then (very generously) donate the proceeds back to the association to establish a Sketch Group Award in Ako's memory. This prize will be awarded annually at the Sketch Group Show which is typically held in February. This year's show will be dedicated to Ako and will consist primarily of drawings and paintings of her. Ako was a favorite model of many Cape Ann artists. Our Monday night figure group was always thrilled to hear that Ako was coming. She was beautiful, creative, dependable and a joy to know. We are all heartbroken and hope our gesture will provide some solace to her family and friends. Any donations can be sent to the Rockport Art Association, 12 Main St., Rockport, MA 01966. If you have any questions you can e-mail me or call the association at 978.546.6604
Beverly Palmacci <>
Gloucester, MA USA - Friday, September 03, 2004 at 16:05:56 (EDT)

I still can't believe what happened to you. Whenever I felt depressed, you tried to listen to me carefully and to make me recognize what I should tackle with first. Your advice was always fascinating. But let me tell you, now is the time when I need you most, because this is the most cruel experience I've ever had, Ako! Tell me how I should appease myself. I just can't imagine what you would say if you were here, but I guess you are smiling...,no,no,rather giggling mischievously and waving to all of us who love you. But please don't go away Ako. Stay with me. I'll never say Good bye to you, OK?
Yumi Katori <>
Nishinomiya, Japan - Wednesday, September 01, 2004 at 03:23:04 (EDT)

Oh Ako! Why did you have to leave us? I am so sad and shocked to hear of Ako's passing. I worked with Ako briefly at OBS in Rockport. She is an amazing woman with such insight and curiosity. We were also curious about each other, she about my faith, me about her culture. She was so intrigueing. I loved her "humph" noises as she worked on a solution to a problem.. she had a charisma that people wanted to be around. She was an amazing woman who will be deeply missed and remembered with great affection. I hope Ako's family finds comfort in reading how her life touched so many of us.
Danielle Hull <>
Denver, CO USA - Tuesday, August 31, 2004 at 11:37:45 (EDT)

The folks who knew her personally must have been really blessed. Being only familiar with her poetry I found and admired an extremely unique individual who maximized her humanness. Well best wishes to all her friends and family.
rogue <>
Chicago, Il USA - Friday, August 27, 2004 at 13:22:17 (EDT)

Goodbye Ako, our sweet, funny, mischievous friend! We will never know why God chose to take you away so soon. Perhaps it was because He knew you would make such a beautiful angel!
Tracie Lee <>
Gloucester, MA USA - Friday, August 27, 2004 at 07:18:02 (EDT)

There are moments in our lives when time does truly stand still. Such was the case when I read Christian's email about Ako. In that moment, memories of our conversations, our jokes and crazy dinners at Christian's flashed through my mind. How do you describe someone whose laughter was so infectious, whose ideas so wild yet so reasonable and whose warmth of personality so loving? Words cannot express such sentiments - at least not mine. In reading her work, you can so clearly feel that warmth of personality through her own words, see her smile as you come across a clever line and hear her laughter as she recounts a story in her life. There is a profound sadness knowing that she is no longer, yet there is some comfort in knowing that she has touched us in so unique a way.
Sunu Thomas <>
Toronto, ON Canada - Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 15:52:19 (EDT)

Ako and I met several years ago, and she agreed to fact-check my novel, which takes place in Tokyo in 1980. I couldn't have written the book without her. I was always astonished by her resourcefulness. One time, I asked her if she was a Rickie Lee Jones fan, and if so, did she recall if Jones toured Japan in 1980. I had been looking and looking on the Internet and couldn't find any information at all. She shot me back an email five minutes later and said no, she wasn't a fan, but she had checked and learned that Jones first played in Tokyo in 1985, then in 1994, then in 2004. "How in the world did you find that out? "I asked her. She replied, in typical sardonic fashion: "I can find anything because I am the best fact-checker that even Don Lee could not help hiring." What I remember about Ako was her insatiable curiosity, her boundless energy, her eagerness to try new things: poetry and fiction classes, a bicycle repair course, sailing. She was a true adventurer. I remember talking to her and saying something, and she'd nod solemnly for a couple of beats, taking it in, then burst out with a smile and that wonderful laugh of hers. Ako, Ako, I miss you.
Don Lee <>
Cambridge, MA USA - Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 14:49:08 (EDT)

Ako was always running so fast, she was always full of energy, trying so many new things, making great achievements, and always arrived with great laughs. Such a special and beautiful human-being. She left so suddenly, and I am left with such a vivid and unforgettable impression of hers mixed with sadness. It will never go away... Good bye Ako, but you will stay with us I know. I would like to send my most sincere sympathy and condolence to her family and Eric...
Ritsu Itoi <>
Tokyo, Japan - Thursday, August 26, 2004 at 02:08:49 (EDT)

Dear Ako and friends. I heard only today. I am shocked into silence. Ako and I were very alike as foreigners in the States, now 6 years ago when we met in Rockport. Both a bit lost and looking for adventure, but really looking for a place to feel at home. I returned home and found some peace. Ako has remained in my memory as a wandering, creative, lively soul with a unique talent for enjoying and embracing life. It is a great loss that she died. For me unimaginable. Therefore, she lives in my mind and heart. - Marcella
Marcella Petrarca <>
The Hague, The Netherlands - Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 16:30:35 (EDT)

Ako brightened our office for a couple of years at the end of the 1990s, hired initially as a Webspinner Trainee. Her curiosity was insatiable, and her creativity combined with her rich sense of humor made time spent with her a pleasure. On her first day of work, I remember her playing wiffle ball with her colleagues at the company picnic and immediately establishing a rapport that would last for more than ten years. I remember her honesty and diligence -- she refused to accept a paycheck for that picnic time, because it was her first day and she felt that she had not yet proven herself to the company sufficiently to get paid for picnic time. She sometimes did Japanese/English translation work for us in pretty dry scientific/technical publications, and made even that seem funny and interesting. She took delight in creating the innovative Web Rings for the Miramax anime movie "Princess Mononoke," and her lively and provocative spirit reminded me of the little woodland sprites in that movie, cropping up and rattling, teasing and tantalizing the regular mortals of the movie. She one time spoke at the Rockport Rotary club and presented her article "Getting Out of A Warm Bath" (, describing the warm bath as the welcoming Japanese culture where "I" and "you" are not clearly differentiated and juxtaposed, as they are in Western culture. She wrote: "Sometimes I feel drawn again toward the womb, but one of the big reasons I live in this country [USA] is that I somehow prefer the way that I construct myself as "I" and others as "you" clearly and separately. I often get lost, feeling as if I'm standing in the middle of the desert without anywhere to hide. But I know that I cannot take a warm bath forever." And now that she is so suddenly gone, we can only miss the "I" that was "she."
Laura Fillmore <>
Rockport, MA USA - Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 11:53:40 (EDT)

Ako. It is hardly believed that I can't hear your sweet voice and the interesting stories that you have told us, anymore. I always admired your sensibility, deep and warm understandings of human beings, your own sense of humor and your strength. Your charms were blimming over and brought us a lot of happiness and inspirations. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you all that you gave us. We all keep loving you. So, please keep staying with us from somewhere above.
Emiko Shimizu <>
Tokyo, Japan - Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 09:26:35 (EDT)

As one of her university classmates in Tokyo, I, with some other classmates have been working on getting everyone back in touch with each other, so that we can re-start our friendship we had over 20 years ago. In April about 10 of us had a small reunion, and talked about our happy old days, including about Ako. We now have a group mail that we can talk about nothing, and were waiting for Ako's participation. Ako, you went too far too soon, before we reached you again. Ako, the only thing I can do is to promise that I will keep the revived friendship alive - because that is our way to keep our wonderful memories of yours. As everyone agrees the first thing I remember about you is your smile - so friendly, calm, and innocent. I promise that I will forward the smile to the rest of this world for you. Rest in peace now. Ryoko Komatsuzaki
Ryoko Komatsuzaki <>
Tokyo , Japan - Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 03:04:08 (EDT)

Ako was my inspiration from the day we met at college in Tokyo. Which was, frighteningly, 21 years ago. We shared many, many laughs and a few tears over the years. Our friends said we were like a /manzai/ duo, the Japanese standup routine performed by two comedians. Obviously she was the charming, funny guy and I was the boring straight man. Unbelievably smart, hilariously funny, always curious, aggressively generous, at times daring but painfully sensitive, and never ever judgmental, she was the best friend one could hope for. I'm lost in the world without her.
Kay Itoi
Tokyo, Japan - Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 00:33:39 (EDT)

Atsuta-san, Thanks a lot for the happy moments that we shared during our college years. Be with us, we'll be with you. Write to us, from wherever you are...
MITAKE Naoya <>
Tokyo, JAPAN - Wednesday, August 25, 2004 at 00:17:49 (EDT)

Ako, I only knew you a little, but your infectious spirit and enthusiasm were an inspiration. I would have liked to have known you better. I would have liked you to live to be one hundred and twenty, like those little old ladies in Yokohama. Regardless of whether or not you are aware of this world anymore, you have touched the lives of many, and are with us in our hearts. Goodbye Ako.
Lance Keimig <>
USA - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 21:53:29 (EDT)

The new of Ako's disparition is terrible, barely credible. Ako had a vitality that had no limits, and she showed us all that life can be considered with depth and humor at the same time. What can be said, but this sentence that has helped me in the past: Don't cry over the loss of the one you loved, but rejoice that you met them.
nouchine <>
Boston, MA USA - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 14:46:19 (EDT)

Ako was my deepest root on this side of the Atlantic Ocean. If you read these lines, you probably knew her and her wonderful qualities. I would have so many sweet anecdotes to tell about her that it would take pages to get even started. Some memories make me smile, others bring tears. I regret not having seen her more often lately, I wish I had told her how important she was for me, I wish I had experienced one more time her profoundness and sense of humor. But at the same time, I feel that if I had been any closer, the pain would be unbearable. So my thoughts go to her family and to you, Eric, because I can only imagine how much you are all suffering. Ako had so much vitality, energy and joie de vivre that it did not occur to me that one day, I might no longer be able to call her or send her an email message. I hope that I will never again take someone’s presence for granted. This is only one of many things I have learned from being Ako’s friend. Thank you Ako!
Christian Waeber <>
Boston, MA USA - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 11:41:25 (EDT)

I was Ako's co-worker at the most recent company that she ever worked. She was a funny, and beloved person in the office. At first, you are fascinated by her smile and exaggerating hand gestures, then you realize that she is a couragous woman seeking to get the most out of her life. She does potteries, made her own cup that she always put 2 cups of tea in, she made her own silver ring and she does Yoga. As two of the asian woman in the office, we shared our understandings of life from the perspective of an asian female living in a western country. She always smiles, and yet recently she told me she is the worry kind of person, she worried about her mom, who got a stroke last December and half of her body can't move, she worried about what kind of man suites her the best, she worried about if she should stay her in the US(she thought she was alone in the US, but actually she wasn't) or go back to Japan, she worried about if she should change her job.... well yet, my dear Ako, you had so many worries, but you always put a smile on your face, and always let others feel your warmness and kindness towards them. She works hard, she was never lazy at work, yet in between, she will sneak into the bathroom, stretching her arms and legs, do her little "yoga".... Ako, Ako, I still remember the cookies you brought from Japan, the stories you told me after you came from Paris, and did you have a little descease last November? You were really sick and were lonely in the hospital. and I asked, why didn't you tell us.... Ako, Ako, Wherever you are now, you know that all of us love you, and miss you... You will never be forgotten, dear...
Lilly <>
Brighton, MA USA - Tuesday, August 24, 2004 at 10:22:24 (EDT)

I have just heard the sad news this evening about my friend Ako and my mind is awash with memories of her. I worked with her in Rockport for about 3 years and she became for me an unforgettable person. She had a beautiful soul and was a caring and gentle person. Her understanding of human nature and her view of the world through the eyes of a Japanese woman came together wonderfully in her gift for writing. She left many memorable stories. It's such a loss for those of us who knew her...I am so saddened.
Carolyn Buckley-Cooper <>
Rockport, MA USA - Monday, August 23, 2004 at 23:49:25 (EDT)

I only knew Ako for less than 2 years, but in that time she managed to change my life. I considered her one of my closest friends. What happened to her was a tragedy, but the legacy of love that she leaves behind surely is the best thing that any human being can hope to accomplish with their life. Godspeed, Ako. You will be mightily missed. Thank you for leaving all of this with us so that we can read and remember.
Randall Armor <>
Watertown,, MA USA - Monday, August 23, 2004 at 21:44:40 (EDT)