To many, thoughts of Christmas include Santa, presents and shopping mall madness. To 600 seniors, however, Christmas means time for the Young Okinawans of Hawaii’s (YOH) Senior Luncheon! This tradition was established over 10 years ago and attracts hundreds of seniors each year. The 2001 luncheon was no exception. Tour buses, the cost of which was generously covered by Hui O Laulima and YOH, picked up YOH’s guests of honor from several different sites in Honolulu.

As the seniors entered the Legacy Ballroom of the Teruya Pavilion, they were greeted by over 60 young and “young-at-heart” volunteers — all of them cognizant of how much the seniors have done in their lifetime without asking for anything in return.

Our guests were provided with a special pupu offering created by Saimin House’s very own master, Geno Oshiro. Standing by at each table was a volunteer who made sure that water and tea was available at all times. Lucky number prizes were awarded throughout the luncheon — but all eyes and ears were awaiting the infamous YOH Senior Luncheon program.

A scene from Young Okinawans of Hawaii’s 2001 Senior Luncheon epic,
“Adventures of Beni Da Imo.”

YOH 2001 Vice President Jodie (Tomasa) Ching had written a short play titled, “Adventures of Beni Da Imo,” based loosely on the timeless tale, “The Wizard of Oz.” The characters were all too familiar — just a bit stranger. There was “Nabe-Man” (played byAndrew Gushiken) and “Green Onion Girl” (Jodi Ching), who just wanted to eat Spam musubi without losing their mom’s Tupperware; “Mr. Tofu Square Pants” (David Arakaki), who needed new rubbah slippahs (slippers); cute Kijimunas (Okinawan menehune played by Valerie Zukeran, Gwen Zakahi and Jennifer Oshiro); and the “Great Champuru Wizard” (Jon Itomura), who helped “Beni da Imo” (2001 YOH President Val Schmidt) use her shiny murasaki (purple) slippers to get back to her pumpkin patch.

Segued between her quest to find the Great Champuru Wizard were entertaining song and dance performances for the seniors.

YOH uses funds generated by fundraising activities throughout the year to give the seniors an opportunity to see that their legacy is alive and prospering among younger Uchinanchus and Uchinanchus-at-heart in Hawaii. Young Okinawans of Hawaii extends it appreciation to all the seniors in the community — and a special “Ippe Nihwee Debiru” to all the special volunteers and performers who contributed their time and efforts to continue this special tradition. We look forward to seeing you again this holiday season.


At last November’s Winter Craft Fair, Kanegusuku members Henry Nagamine, Ronald Oshiro, Toshi Shimabukuro, Richard Shimabukuro, Lauren Halemano, Masuo Kino and Ed Kino assisted with vendor unloading and booth numbers from 6 to 8:30 a.m.

Also, Kanegusuku members enjoyed the food and fellowship at the club’s 76th shinnen enkai, which was held Feb. 10 at Victoria Inn’s 2nd floor banquet room.

OKINAWA CITY-GOEKU SON . . . by Karen Kuba-Hori

Goeku is celebrating its 75th anniversary this year. Please mail in your shinnen enkai reservation form and join the festivities on March 9 at the Neal Blaisdell Center beginning at 6 p.m. Call Karen Kuba-Hori at 235-1243 if you have any questions or if you can donate a door prize for the party.

On a much sadder note . . . we extend our condolences to the family of Gary Higa, Sr., who passed away recently. Gary was a former president and an active contributor to the success of our organization. His involvement and love for Goeku will always be remembered.


Hui O Laulima installed its 2002 officers at a program at the Honolulu Country Club on Dec. 2. Thelma Arakawa succeeds Elsie Kawakone as president of the women’s group. Also serving as officers are: Gwen Oshiro, 1st vice president; Karen Kuba-Hori, 2nd VP; Bobbi Kuba, recording secretary; Eleanor Hu, corresponding secretary; Doris Yamashiro, treasurer; Valerie Teruya, assistant treasurer; Lillian Takata, auditor; and advisors Elsie Kawakone, Gerri Maeda, Jean Agena and Ella Teruya. The officers were installed by HUOA 2001 President Jimmy Iha.

At the installation program, donations of toiletry items were collected for women at the Salvation Army’s Women’s Shelter as well as cash for the Hawaii FoodBank.

HUI OKINAWA . . . by Amy Shiroma

Hui Okinawa held its general membership meeting in early November at the Hilo Hongwanji Betsuin Sangha Hall. The luncheon meeting was co-chaired by Thomas Ortogero and Kent Inouye, with the authentic Okinawan lunch prepared by Nori’s Saimin and Snacks. On the agenda was the election of Hui Okinawa’s officers and Board of Directors and the announcements of the year-end awards.

Carolyn Oki will serve as Hui Okinawa’s 2002 president. Serving with her will be: Thomas Ortogero, vice president; Lynn Namihira, secretary; and Alben Namihira, treasurer.

The club also presented its 2001 recognition awards. Past president Milton Yafuso’s loyalty, dependability, dedicated service and commitment to Hui Okinawa over the past 20 years earned him recognition as the “Member of the Year.” He was also honored as Hui Okinawa’s “Uchinanchu of the Year” at the HUOA’s installation banquet in January.

The “Distinguished Service Award” honorees: Yukiko Chinen,
Violet Miyashiro, Masako Uehara and Shizue Yafuso.

The “Distinguished Service Award” was presented to three members for their sustained and superior service to Hui Okinawa: Yukiko Chinen, Violet Miyashiro, Masako Uehara and Shizue Yafuso. Andrew Gushiken, Susan Kaneshiro and Thomas Ortogero were presented the “Chibayaa Award” for the fine example they set through their dedication and diligent service to Hui Okinawa.

Twenty-two Hui Okinawa members were presented the “Hatarachaa Award” for the extraordinary time and effort they gave to furthering club projects and goals last year. The recipients were: Annie Aoki, Hazel Bello, Tom Bello, Robert Chibana, Leroy Chow, Samie Goya, Edwin Hara, Jean Higa, Natalie Higa, Tom Higa, Kent Inouye, Toyo Ishikawa, Ruby Maekawa, Raymond Miyashiro, Jan Nakahara, Marvalee Nishihira, Myra Ochi, Paul Ochi, Wilbert Shimabukuro, Miyoko Taira, Kei Tamanaha and Margaret Torigoe.

“The Warabincha Award,” which recognizes service and participation in club activities by its youth members was presented to 22 up-and-coming leaders of Hui Okinawa: Elizabeth Alonzo, Preston Chibana, Roanne Chow, Royson Chow, Jonathan Hara, Ann Inouye, Steven Inouye, Erin Irie, Kevin Kaneshiro, Gerrie Morishita, Jaime Morishita, Casey Nagamine, Tyson Ochi, Brandie Saito, Scott Saito, Dana Shimabukuro, Jessie Shiroma, Katie Shiroma, Theone Suzuki, Owen Tomori, Allyson Yafuso and Marlene Yafuso.

Hui Okinawa’s youthful “Warabincha Award” honorees.


Clarence Uehara has been elected president of Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai. Serving with him are Todd Hondo, 1st vice president; Bob Yonahara, 2nd VP; Ed Ige, Jr., 3rd VP; recording secretary Janet Miyahira; corresponding secretaries Jan Matsushita (English) and Nancy Kiyabu (Japanese); treasurer Colleen Takamura; assistant treasurer Mark Miyahira and historian Koki Tamashiro. Wendy Tamashiro, Ty Yoshimi, Patrick Miyahira and Donald Shimabukuro will serve as MOKK’s auditors, and Alan Arakawa, Michael Hondo and Koki Tamashiro as the club’s advisors.

The Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai, which recently held its 24th annual Maui State Okinawa Golf Tournament, has scheduled its second Okinawan Festival for Aug. 23 and 24 on the grounds of the Rinzai Zen Mission in Paia.


Last November, several Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai student exchange host families were joined by Hawaii descendants of families from Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son on a trip to Okinawa organized for them by Barbara Maeshiro of Trans Pacific Tours. The trip commemorated the 10th anniversary of the student exchange program between Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai and the Sashiki Cho Board of Education, which was started in 1992.

One group began their travels in Hong Kong and Shenzhen; the other group in Okinawa. The two met up in Okinawa, where they toured Naha and northern Okinawa.

Later in the week, they visited Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son, located on the southeastern side of Okinawa. While in Chinen Son, they had an opportunity to visit Kudaka Island, located offshore from Chinen Son. Everyone enjoyed a performance at Sugar Hall in Sashiki Cho. The performance finale featured nine young ladies from our tour group performing the hula to KZOO Radio announcer Keiko Ura’s song, “Okage Sama de,” which she wrote for the Okinawan Centennial Celebration. We also had the privilege of listening to the sanshin music of Choichi Terukina Sensei, who, in the year 2000, was named a “National Living Treasure” of Japan.

During the evening, a reception hosted by Sashiki Cho and Chinen Son was held at the Kosei-nen-kin Kyuka Center. Some of the students who participated in the student exchange program over the years were reunited with their Hawaii host families. The trip also gave Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai members an opportunity to visit with their Okinawa relatives.

Hawaii Sashiki Chinen Doshi Kai members took a souvenir shot at the historic Shurei no Mon.