Yoshiko Ito (July 15, 1953 - June 21, 2020)


Yoshiko was a lovely soul.  She grew up in Tokyo. At 13, the family moved to the Philippines. After a couple of years they moved to Venezuela. In 1975 she matriculated at MIT while her parents settled in Beaverton, Oregon.  At MIT she earned a number of degrees (Bachelor of Science in Physics, Master of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science, the degree of Electrical Engineer, and a Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering).

I met her in 1994 in a Thai cooking course.  She invited me to MIT International Folk Dance class (Sunday nights), and despite my awkwardness that was fun.  We grew closer and before long saw each other nearly weekly, for the next 26 years.

She worked hard, so Friday evening was the first chance she had to see me during the week.  We would often go on road trips in pursuit of craft shows, interesting food, or just to get away.  She was easy to please:  These trips were an adventure and were enjoyed come what may.

As far as food, she had a near-encyclopedic knowledge of dishes and ingredients, crossing all cultures.  I loved to give her tastes of whatever I made recently and anticipated her judgment, which was rarely ebullient.  ("That was good.")  This is about the limit of what she would accept, because she was very self-reliant. I generally tried to treat her to expenses, but she always wanted to pay her share.  We had a ritual in which we would fight over the check -- I would pay by credit card, she would give me too much cash, I would pass back too much, until we oscillated towards a fair outcome.

She hated to drive, so I did almost all of that.  The few occasions when she did, I was afraid.  I couldn't help giving her driving advice.  Until about 2015 she took offense, but then she mellowed, didn't mind, and we both found it funny.  On our trips we would often walk in nature.  She was interested in birds and taught me everything I know about them.

Politically, Yoshiko was a cynical lefty.  It often bothered me when she would not take politicians and people at face value.  Sometimes, people are trying to do good, and default cynicism is destructive because it denies the potential for good in people.

But we shared a sensibility when it came to humor.  Although she did not tell jokes, she saw the humor in situations.  I came to know what she would find funny or interesting.

Yoshiko loved to make crafts.  In the long, early years it was fimo (polymer clay).  She had stints with beads, then metalworking.  She liked minitiares, and dragged me to a dollhouse exhibition.  Around 2016, roughly, she switched to origami.  She was modest and had no pretense; she just liked to create.

Yoshiko was pragmatic with wide-ranging, practical knowledge.  Many a time she advised me.

Did I mention how unpretentious she was?  She had no interest in impressing people.  She was not materialistic.  She took joy in beautiful things and experiences, without the need for proving her value.

Finally, Yoshiko was loyal and reliable.  Many a time I asked her a favor -- water my plants while I was away, take in a package, or pick me up at the hospital after a procedure.

She will be greatly missed.

(Click on a photo below to enlarge it.)


Yoshiko in the winter of 1996

Yoshiko in Munich (1997-04)

Yoshiko & Julia Vrtilek (2002-12-25)

Fimo necklace bead

Yoshiko in Boston (2003-05-03)

Yoshiko at Rock Bottom (2003-05-03)

Yoshiko at Crafts Show (2003-05-18)
Yoshiko at Cassarino Restaurant, Providence (2003-06-21)

Fimo pins


Fimo nest and "Veg Out"

Fimo beads
Yoshiko's Henna (2003-06-27)

Yoshiko gets Henna at Tangierino (2003-06-27)

Yoshiko in Newburyport (2003-11-01) 

Yoshiko at Cafe Escadrille (2003-12-06)

Fimo "fruit tart" magnet (entry in a swap)

Fimo "fruit tart" magnet

Fimo beads
Yoshiko at Verrill Farm (2004-04-10)
Yoshiko at Upstairs on the Square (2004-06-18) 

Paula Lewis & Yoshiko Ito (Lexington Metalworkers Guild) (2005-05-15)

Yoshiko's work at Metalworkers Guild (2005-05-15)
Yoshiko at Lyonnais (2005-05-21)

Yoshiko & Sidecar at Upstairs (2005-12-02)

Yoshiko at Al Forno (2006-07-15)
Yoshiko in my Kitchen (2009-12-19)

Origami dragons etc.

Yoshiko at The Fireplace (2013-05-04)

Yoshiko at Sprigs (2013-08-03)

Yoshiko's office moves (2014-05-03) 
Yoshiko dances w Denise (2015-05-24)

Yoshiko (2015-08-07)
Yoshiko at Tango (2016-03-11)
Dinner w Yoshiko on my deck (2016-05-27)
Yoshiko Birthday at Bondir, Concord (2016-07-15)

Fimo-coverd Altoids boxes
Yoshiko at Addis Red Sea (2018-04-21)

Origami "quilt"

Yoshiko at Al Forno 1 (2018-07-14) 

Yoshiko at Al Forno 2 (2018-07-14) 
Al Forno 3 Yoshiko contemplates dessert (2018-07-14)
Yoshiko's origami at Dabin (2018-11-09)
Yoshiko pruning my bush (2019-05-26)
Yoshiko at Acitron (2019-08-07)
Yoshiko dresses my rosemary bush with her handiwork for XMas (2019-12-11)

Fimo sushi plate, on a penny

Yes, there is a penny on the other side!

Yoshiko at Scutra 1 (2019-09-27)

Yoshiko at Scutra 2 (2019-09-27)

Yoshiko at Scutra 3 (2019-09-27)

Yoshiko & Minister Marilyn at Common Ground (2019-12-12)