Ippe nihei deebiru to the 42 volunteers who worked in the pigs feet soup booth at the Okinawan Festival on Saturday, Sept. 1, during the morning ( 7:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.) shift, although the 10 a.m. workers had to work until relief came after 1:45 p.m.

The family of Kanegusuku member Nancy Lee (six of them) and club secretary Henry Nagamine (representing me as president) attended the HUOA’s 50th anniversary banquet at the Hawaii Okinawa Center on Sept. 22.

Kanegusuku members will be called upon again to assist with whatever help is needed at the HUOA’s Winter Craft Fair on Saturday, Nov. 24. The craft fair runs on Nov. 25 as well.

Don’t forget: Kanegusuku Kai’s 76th shinnen enkai will be held on Sunday, Feb. 10, 2002, at Victoria Inn’s 2nd floor banquet room.

HUI OKINAWA . . . by Amy Shiroma

Noticing a lack of books on Okinawan culture at the Hilo Public Library, Hui Okinawa’s Cultural Committee recently purchased five books and donated them to the library. Hui Okinawa vice president Clifford Kaneshiro presented the books to librarian Wilma Matsumura. The five books are: “Folk Tales of Okinawa — Children’s Stories” (English/Japanese language), “Shurijo Iro Iro Chishiki — Castles of Okinawa” (Japanese), “Shirijo Handbooks — Famous Landmarks” (Japanese), “Cultural Properties of Okinawa III — Famous Landmarks” (English/Japanese), and “Cultural Properties of Okinawa IV — Famous Landmarks” (English/Japanese).

The publications are now available in the Hilo Public Library, which plans to place a book plate that reads, “Donated by Hui Okinawa,” in each book. Depending on the interest and demand for the books, the club may possibly purchase and donate more books.

With a stirring roll of drums and the booming of the bass drum, the Taishoji Taiko group opened the entertainment portion of Hui Okinawa’s annual Summer Festival on Saturday, Aug. 18, in the Honpa Hongwanji Sangha Hall. We were pleased to welcome HUOA President Jimmy Iha and President-elect Gladys Tokunaga-Asao.

The lively taiko performance was followed by the Waiakea Elementary ukulele class; hula by the Kaumana Seniors; Japanese exercise and line dancing; a medley of Okinawan songs, dances and sanshin with Grant Murata Sensei and twin sisters Marlene and Carolyn Shimamura of Honolulu; an exciting Lion Dance by three Hiloans; the Big Island Karaoke Club and the Hilo Okinawan Cultural Club. All of that great entertainment led up to the grand finale: Hui Okinawa’s eisa, which continued until the closing of the festival at 4 p.m.

Event chair Carolyn Oki said the festival was a great success, with the public enjoying the abundance of food, entertainment, crafts, genealogy workshop, etc. She thanked her committee for working so hard to make the festival a success and for extending the Uchinanchu hospitality to everyone.

Serving on her committee were: Amy Miwa, festival secretary; Bernard Sagawa, concession; Dorothy Taira, andagi; Merle Tomori and Jan Nakahara, general store; Patti Taira-Tokuuke, crafters; Alben Namihira, scrip and finance; Kathy Okunami, entertainment; Wilbert Shimabukuro, produce; Edwin Hara and Kent Inouye, refreshments; Alma Yogi, poster; Thomas Ortogero, set-up/clean-up; Conrad Hokama, photography; Clifford Kaneshiro, T-shirts; Milton Yafuso, audio; Bruce Shioji, parking; and Amy Shiroma, publicity.

HUI O LAULIMA . . . by Bobbi Kuba, Gerri Maeda and Yvonne Kearns

Sydney, Australia; Poway, California; Wilson Creek, Washington; Albuquerque, New Mexico; River Forest, Illinois; Cincinnati, Ohio; Warrensburg, Missouri; Cambridge, Massachusetts; Groton, Connecticut; Powder Springs, Georgia; Asheboro, North Carolina; Fort Walton, Florida; Lanai City and Kealakekua, Hawaii — just a few of the many places, near and far, requesting mail order copies of Hui O Laulima’s “Okinawan Mixed Plate: Generous Servings of Culture, Customs and Cuisine.”

To date, over 6,800 books have been sold through members and friends, at the Okinawan Festival and as fund-raisers for the Hawaii Okinawa Center and Jikoen Hongwanji Mission. Retail outlets include Borders bookstores at Ward Centre, Waikele and in Hilo, and Marukai stores.

The books will be on sale at the HUOA Winter Craft Fair on Nov. 24 and 25. For all Uchinanchu and Uchinanchu-at-heart, it would be a wonderful gift and addition to the libraries of friends and relatives who want to learn more about Okinawan history, culture, language as well as cookery.

Applications are now being accepted for Hui O Laulima’s Year 2002 Grants/Scholarships Program for the preservation, perpetuation, promotion and study of Okinawan culture. Cultural grants will be made to organizations while scholarships will be awarded to individuals. Applicants must be Hawaii residents. The application deadline is January 15, 2002. Awardees will be notified on February 28. Call Yvonne Kearns at 261-0197 for applications or additional information.

SASHIKI CHINEN DOSHI KAI . . . by Mel Gushiken

Six young Hawaii descendants of immigrants from Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son had a chance to meet their relatives in Okinawa for the first time this past summer, thanks to the generosity and hospitality of the people of the two districts and the Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai. The teens, who ranged in age from 13 to 17, stayed with families in Sashiki and Chinen. During their 12-day visit, they were introduced to Okinawan culture as well as the history of Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son. They visited with the mayors of the two districts, took in historic sites in Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son, performed in a mini concert at Sugar Hall, toured northern and southern Okinawa, and even camped overnight on Kudaka Island, located just off Chinen Village.


The Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai teens and chaperones with their Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son hosts. (Photo courtesy of Mel Gushiken)

The students said they enjoyed meeting new people, seeing new and different places, learning about their culture, and meeting their Okinawan relatives. (Short essays by two of the students follows this item.)

The student travelers were: Calli Chinen, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Conrad Chinen; Jennifer Gima, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Preston Gima; Jason Nagamine, son of Mr. and Mrs. Wayne Nagamine; Barry Nakamoto, son of Mr. and Mrs. Jared Nakamoto; Jeri Shimazu, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Clayton Shimazu; and Amy Ueunten, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Gary Ueunten of Kauai.

This year marks the 10th anniversary of the student exchange program between Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai and the Sashiki Cho Department of Education. That milestone will be celebrated next month with a visit to Sashiki Cho by members of Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai, who have thus far hosted 20 students from Sashiki and Chinen. The program has led to a long-term relationship between the host families in Hawaii and the students from Okinawa.

Sugar Hall was beautiful ...

Just the thought of traveling to a different country, a different lifestyle and culture is exciting enough. The first thing I noticed was the humidity.

All airports look alike, but this one was different. The people, the roads, even the cars outside — I know this would be something I would remember forever.

As for me, my trip was very educational and exciting. I saw many sights and tasted many flavors. Everywhere was air conditioned and I got to shower by sitting down and then relaxing in the hot and ice tub. I felt like Crayon Shinchan.

Sugar Hall was beautiful and the parties were awesome. The sake tasted strong. The music was nice and the dancing is fun. I didn’t really like the snakes. They were very scary. Especially the habu.

Also, meeting my relatives was great because I got to go to a nice dinner and pray at all the houses. All in all this trip, I would go again. Everything is beautiful.
— Jason Nagamine, age 17

Once in a Lifetime ...

My trip to Okinawa was a once-in-a-life time thing to me. I felt that the trip was a really fun and educational. The trip was cool to try all the different foods and see all those places.

Some place I went to was the Sugar Hall, which was really big and nice. The Shurijo castle was really big. The history in it was cool, seeing all those pictures and paintings. The mausoleum was interesting and bigger than in the picture in the tour book that we got when we first met. I really thought that the Ocean Park Expo was fun to see all those animals, but they didn’t have to put me by the big fish. They could have put Jeri, but I’m not complaining about it.

I think I’m not going to eat sushi for a while. We had that for about three days in a row. We also had a lot of sashimi, too. The Okinawa soba was really good, too. I enjoyed the different ice cream flavors. They were really good. I really liked the melon soda.

I feel that the trip was a great learning experience for me because going on an exchange program is a chance to meet with new people, see new places and try new foods while you’re there.
Amy Ueunten, age 13