This page is dedicated to a close friend of mine, Hanako Abe. Friends called her Hana, and she was actually a girl I met via okcupid in 2020. We just hit it off immediately on our first date. San Francisco was on lockdown, but I still managed to find a nice sushi place and a couple of other spots for fun dates after that. Hana was one of the most gentle souls I've ever met... incredibly sweet, a huge love for her family and just a fundamentally happy person. Despite adversity she had realized her dream to come from Japan to the US to study and support her family.
Hana died on New Years Eve in 2020... a hit and run by a parolee in a stolen car. I was in Hawaii at the time of her death, so it wasn't until 5 days later that by pure chance the Google Discover (Google Feed) flashed me a story "Grieving mother speaks out after daughter killed in San Francisco hit-and-run crash on New Year's Eve" with a picture of Hana.
It was a really upsetting day, and surreal to watch multiple news stories, multiple videos, talking about her death. Just when I thought the tragedy of 2020 was over. I've been lucky that not many friends of mine have passed away, but it must be vary rare to learn of someone's passing via network news reports online. Troy McAlister was the driver of the stolen vehicle, and was making a getaway after committing robbery. Most of the news stories focus on this, and how Troy should have been behind bars after breaking his parole several times and the potential mismanagement by the San Francisco District Attorney, Chesa Boudin for allowing this to happen see video. There was another woman killed in the accident, a homeless woman who also happened to be near the intersection although sadly it sound like nobody could find photos of the other woman. Hana's views on the homeless in SF were very sweet. While it's probably true that Troy should have been in prison, what I know of Hana is that she had a giant heart, a forgiving soul, a strong supporter of black lives matter and she wouldn't want anyone to be angry. Really I don't want to talk about the tragedy of her death, but instead all the wonderful things I remember about Hana.
Hana the Magnificent
Hana has the most amazing lovely smile. You see it in all her photos, but it's even more wonderful in person. She grew up in a Japan in a beautiful place called Lake Inawashiro. She loves sport, she was a competitive sprinter for a while, and played some piano too. She enjoys laughing and she told me right away about how wonderful family. Her mum is a musician who plays piano and sings, her father was a journalist but got very sick. She has one older brother and one younger brother. She says they were very different but both used to tickle her when she was young.
When she was young, everyone gave her the nickname "Strawberry Motcha". That made me laugh because it matches her spirit. She says she usually doesn't remember dreams, but sometimes she had flying dreams where she flies like superman.
Hana is incredible at hugs. Physical touch is her love language I feel.
Hana says she was always adventurous and wanted to come to America by herself. And she did. She told me that she never learned to swim, and so I had plans to teach her. Actually her apartment in SOMA had a pool, so that would have been perfect. Sadly that's about when I decided to move to Hawaii, for a bit at least, and I actually was very close to inviting her to Hawaii, because I realized it would be a great place for me to make good on my promise to teach her to swim. Now I never get to teach her. It makes me very sad actually.
I did teach her just a little salsa dancing, which she loved and was immediately good at. Maybe it looked silly in my living room with me teaching her to dance because I'm 6"4 and she's tiny... 5"2, petite and cute as a button. She really was magnificent, and I'm crying just a bit while typing this, because I feel like I didn't tell her quite enough that she was magnificent.
My last text message to her was on the morning on New Years Eve, so yes, on the day that she died. I wished her a happy NYE, and she send a stunning photo of herself and her last messages were a happy message, she was excited that she was about to become an aunt... her brother's baby was about to be born.
These little pieces make it easy to be sad, because there's so much potential Hana had. She doesn't get to meet her brother's baby... and she will never get to learn to swim.
However, I do think after a death you really have to recognize how much love a wonderful person like Hana has send out into the world. To smile. I might get to write her a poem later... maybe about a bunny, because we shared Netflix and Hulu accounts and I gave her the icon of a cute little bunny.
Another incredible thing about Hana that I didn't get a chance to see is how much her friends loved her. I will try to reach out to some... in particular, one of her friends, Suki, immediately set up a gofundme page for Hana's family to come to the US and bring her body home. They targeted $60,000, which they have more than exceeded, because of friends that love her and others who just resonated with the loss of a bright happy girl.
The extra money will help out Hana's family, who have gone through very hard times and sickness, and without Hana able to send home support, I'm sure the family extra appreciates the support and love from this wonderful gesture of a gofundme page.
I wish I could have known Hana longer. We only really had a few months to date, but already I did love her because... well whether or not we were a long term match in dating.... I knew she was one of those girls I wanted to stay friends with forever. In my dreams I will teach her to swim, because I know she would have loved that.
You are the very best of people Hana. :)
Your memory will inspire all the rest of us to smile more, to be better as humans. To laugh and to make sure we tell other people who we think are magnificent... that we think they are magnificent.
Photos of Hana
There are some amazing photos of Hana on her facebook.. here's a few of my own memories with magnificent Hana.
Rest in peace little flower.