September 6, 2000
18th Annual Okinawan Festival
Every Labor Day weekend, the Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA) hosts its annual Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park. From Saturday morning to Sunday evening, the park transforms into a sea of festival-goers enjoying the exhibits, entertainment, and good food of Okinawa.
Okinawa’s culture is relatively new to me. I remember going to a HUOA dinner when I first met Kyle (whose ancestry is Okinawan), and thinking how incredibly interesting their culture was. Since then, I’ve watched him play in his Okinawan Club softball league, and we’ve also been to Okinawa to visit long-lost relatives. I’m familiar with Okinawan foods like bittermelon and pork, and with the colorful dances and music of the island country that is now a part of Japan. I’ve learned to recognize Okinawan names, and even understand the different readings they have in Hawaii and Okinawa (like the common -shiro names in Hawaii are -gusuku in Okinawa.) We even laugh thinking that our children will be O.J. – you know, “Okinawan-Japanese!” Learning about my husband’s heritage and culture has been interesting and eye-opening. I think it’s similar to the identity the local culture in Hawaii creates for itself. I mean, we’re still “American,” but we’re “different.”
We spent this past Sunday helping the Itoman Club with the children’s game booths. We spent over four hours in the ring toss booth picking up rings, dodging the flying rings, counting rings, and handing out more rings. It was tiring but fun.
The highlight of our day was the oki dog. Using the popular shoyu pork from Okinawa, the oki dog is a hotdog and chili, wrapped in a soft tortilla with shredded shoyu pork and lettuce. Yummy! We also had some nmu muchi-deep fried mixture of mochiko, yam and sugar. It’s full of oil, but so ono. It’s almost like Uncle Lani’s poi mochi that’s sold outside Wal-Mart, except with yam instead of taro.
Although we talked most about hitting the food booths, I think it’s great to spend a day at an event like the Okinawan Festival. Having an appreciation for the different people who live in Hawaii is one of the most valuable aspects of living here. Certainly there were many people of Okinawan heritage at the festival, but there were many others who gathered because of curiosity, interest, or just to enjoy a day with their neighbors, friends, and community.
Susan Sensei’s English Lesson #45（スーザン先生の英語講座 その45）
For two years I taught English in Japan, and was “スーザン先生” to my students in Ikaho town, Gunma Prefecture. I will try and introduce new words and phrases for the Japanese visitor to Hawaii. Here is this week’s situation:
“Two adults, please.”
“May I see a seating chart?”
|Loco Girl’s Profile（ロコ・ガールのプロフィール） Born in Hilo, I grew up going fishing with Dad, shopping with Mom, and trying to be a good “big sister” to a younger sister and brother. A Waiakea High School and the University of Hawaii at Manoa alumni, I taught English in Japan for two years on the JET Program, and am now employed at PacRim Marketing Group, Inc. I love doing a lot of things-shopping, reading, lettering, making jewelry & crafts, watching Friends-and that’s just the start of my list! I like being busy, and am active with the JET Alumni Association (JETAA) and the Honolulu Junior Japanese Chamber of Commerce (HJJCC.) My family and friends are, of course, very important to me, and are why I live a very typical, happy, local-style life in Hawaii and will never leave!|