Sunday, February 28, 2010

Celebration for Native Hawaiian Arts in Hilo

The artistry and creative talents of local artistisans have really skyrocketed over the years.  From simple carvings and woven pieces, the artworks now available are masterfully done and would make a statement in any home or business.  This event showcases wonderful work.

Native Hawaiian artists will once again display their work near the Edith Kanakaole Stadium on the corner of Kalanikoa and Piilani Streets (in Hilo on Hawaii Island) beginning April 2 through April 10.

The newly formed "grass roots" organization now called PIHA (Perpetuating Indigenous Hawaiian Artists) invites all to experience the feeling of "aloha" by viewing individual freely expressed arts made by Native Hawaiians. PIHA's mission is to encourage Native Hawaiian development through the arts and their goal is to increase the number of participants.

Just a year ago, a small group of Native Hawaiian artists of Keaukaha began to gather participants for this exciting event. Nearly 50 Native Hawaiian artists displayed their arts at the Prince Kuhio Plaza and this year, participation is expected to surpass that number.

Opening ceremony will start at 12:00 noon on Good Friday April 2, 2010 followed by entertainment. A fundraising effort of a silent auction takes place on Wednesday, April 7 for the organization. The exhibition will open daily at 12:00pm and will continue simultaneously during the Merrie Monarch Festivities.

For more information contact: Terri L. Napeahi,

Images courtesy of PIHA

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Journey into Waipio Valley

Bishop Museum Offers Historical Tour

Bishop Museum is offering an exclusive, guided tour into the historical Waipio Valley on Saturday, March 20, 2010.  Guided by cultural resource specialist and master storyteller Tom Cummings, the tour will allow participants to visit with a family who cultivates taro, visit the sacred Pakaalana Heiau, and trek along the Waimanu trail. 

Waipio Valley resident Byron Thomas will also lead the group and provide stories on areas associated with Hawaii’s alii.  Oral histories indicate that as many as 10,000 people may have resided in this fertile valley at the time of Captain Cook’s arrival in 1778.  Currently, only 50 people live in the Valley.

Cost for this special experience is $195 for Bishop Museum members; $210 for nonmembers.   Air travel is not included.  The Hawaii Forest & Trail will pick up participants at the Airport beginning at 8:00 a.m. and pick up participants who are already on island at Honoka‘a Park at 9:00 a.m.  

The complete itinerary and more information are posted at

Reservations are being accepted now!  This guided tour is very limited.  To make a reservation, please call Courtney Chow, Director of Membership, at (808) 848-4187 or by email at

Bishop Museum’s mission is to study, preserve, and tell the stories of the natural and cultural history of Hawai‘i and the Pacific.  To learn more, please visit

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Hawaii's Big Adventure Island

I really love the Big Island (aka Hawai‘i Island).  Maybe it's because my mom is originally from Hawi - a small former plantation town in the Kohala district, and we would visit relatives every year and take trips to different parts of the island.  It was always an adventure then and the island continues to offers adventures today.

Outdoor adventure is practically everywhere you look on Hawai‘i Island. Hikers can walk in sand and snow and across a steaming volcanic crater—all in one day. Campers can pitch their tent on a beach, in a lush rainforest or on a high-desert lava plain where the rocks are actually purple. Snorkelers can float among sun-spangled reefs teeming with a rainbow of reef fish, and scuba divers can go deep for a meeting of the minds with manta rays—at night. And those who love the bird’s-eye view can board a helicopter or flight-seeing plane and cruise above this incredible landscape.

And all that is just for starters. Hawai‘i Island is overflowing with untold adventure.  Here’s one for you.

Lava Love – Kīlauea, the world’s most active volcano, is home to Hawai‘i Volcanoes National Park, ( which is such a natural and cultural treasure that it is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the state. More than 150 miles of trails take trekkers through lava tubes, fern rainforests, lava fields carved with ancient petroglyphs, and to remote campgrounds down by a rugged seashore or up the sometimes snowy summit of the world’s most massive mountain, 13,677-foot Maunaloa.

Kīlauea is also home to Pele, Hawai‘i’s tempestuous volcano goddess. Since March 2008, visitors to Halema‘uma‘u Crater at the summit of Kīlauea have stood in awe at the voluptuous plume of steam that suddenly appeared, rising in a seductive hula from a small (but growing) vent in the crater floor. And at night, sometimes an orange glow from the vent hints at what passionate Pele may bring. Park rangers at the crater-side Jaggar Museum are a fountain of knowledge about the eruption.

Meanwhile, miles away down-slope, molten lava continues to pour into the sea in a dramatic show of steamy fireworks. Visitors can watch it all at a viewing area that requires only a short stroll.

How long will the eruption last? No one knows but back up near the summit, at the park visitors’ center, rangers can tell explorers all about trails, campgrounds, guided hikes and Hawaiian cultural activities. Respected tour companies also offer interpretative drives and hikes through the park.

And down the road, visitors can explore the Kazumura lava tube system—the deepest, longest, tallest known lava tube system on Earth, on a guided trek.

For more information on Hawai‘i’s Big Island, visit

Photo courtesy of HTJ,

Monday, February 22, 2010

April 3 Maui County Agriculture Festival

Saturday, April 3, is the date for the third annual Maui County Agricultural Festival.

Taking place on the luau grounds of Maui Tropical Plantation in Waikapu, this is a must-attend event for those seeking to learn about local agriculture and its vital role in creating a sustainable future for Maui. Presented through a partnership between Maui County Farm Bureau and County of Maui, Office of Economic Development, the Ag Fest seeks to raise awareness about the business of agriculture, so we can keep agriculture alive on Maui. Festival hours are 9 a.m. 4 p.m. Admission is free.

Festival highlights:
• Victory Farm:  Our food depends on seeds, livestock sunshine, water, rich soil, and dedicated farmers. Wander a farm to learn about Maui’s crops.
...and Maui's livestock aid farm management, provide high-quality protein, and keep managed lands green. Come and appreciate our animals. Sponsored by Maui Cattle Company.
• Taste Education:  Great chefs opt for great flavors fresh from local farms. Feast on lunch or tastings; stick around for demonstrations from seafood prep to cooking with canoe crops. (Fees apply.)
• Grown on Maui:  A farmers market to connect you with the farmers who grow your food; discover also value-added products, equally vital to Maui's sustainability - such as taro chips, pickles, brewed coffee. Sponsored by The Alexander & Baldwin Foundation.
• Food Booths:  From humble crop to satisfying meal - Enjoy Maui Cattle Company all natural hamburgers, chow fun, Roselani ice cream and more.
• Keiki Activities:  Carrots carousing and cabbages grinning, kids learn when at play. Have fun with barnyard games and petting livestock; plant tomatoes or create wearable art. It's get-your-hands dirty time!
• Wellness/Health:  How can you fix a quick but nutritious meal for the family or incorporate more fresh foods after the Festival? Stop by for demonstrations and information.
• Ask the Farm Doctor:  For nascent and pro farmers, representatives from agricultural colleges and other agricultural allies provide hands-on answers.
• Culinary Contests:  Share your own best recipes based on fresh ingredients and find out how they compare. Emcee Alakai Paleka herself will be tasting, while keeping an eye on the judges.
• Composting:  When recycled, organic waste and nutrients can turn into fertile compost. Learn how to make compost at home with kitchen scraps and garden waste. It is fun, easy, and responsible.
• Literary Resources:  Stock up on ag books with an on-site book store courtesy of Barnes & Nobles, which will donate ten percent of profits to Maui County Farm Bureau's Ag Foundation, a 501(c)3 established to operate educational programs for Maui's youth.
• Story Telling:  Learn Hawaiian agriculture words and phrases with KPOA Radio Morning Manao host Luana Kawaa.
• Farm Tours:  Learn more about Maui's agri-tourism sector and the farm tours available over the weekend and all year long.

For more information, about Maui Tropical Plantation …

For information about Maui County Farm Bureau …

Photos courtesy of Maui Tropical Plantation 

A place where you can visit to find fresh produce on Oahu is Waipahu Festival Marketplace

Friday, February 19, 2010

SHOUT! The Mod Musical is up next at Diamond Head Theater

A Hawai‘i Premier

Dates:  March 19 – April 4, 2010
Directed & Choreographed by John Rampage
Musical Direction by Alethea Train

SHOUT! flips through the years like a musical magazine and takes you back to the music, the fashion and the freedom of the ’60s—with tongue planted firmly in cheek. Everything from the period is recreated—from the fashions and the dances, to the music and the hair. A non‐stop journey through the infectious and soulful pop songs, such as “To Sir With Love”, “Downtown”, “You Don’t Have to Say You Love Me”, “Georgy Girl”, and “Windy”, which made household names of stars like Lulu, Petula Clark, and Dusty Springfield.

Tickets may be purchased by phone at (808) 733-0274 or in person during Box Office hours. Tickets are also available online.
Individual tickets are priced at: $42 (Diamond Head Circle), $32 (Section A), $22 (Section B), and $12 (Section C).

For more information about Diamond Head Theater, click here.

For more information about Hawaii, visit

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Rainforest - flower shop

This bouquet was sitting in my car today. When I stopped at a traffic light, I took the photo with my new BB Bold ... it really doesn't do it justice but it's a bit sharper than it would have been if I had used my old BB Curve.

Rainforest does gorgeous floral arrangements of all sizes and shapes.

The shop is located at Kiholana Square (they were at Ward Warehouse a couple of years ago).

Click here for more information.

Below are a couple of photos that I copied from their webpage ... the one on the left gives you an idea of what the bouquet (above) looked like in the vase and on the right is another example of their work.

For more information about Hawaii, click here.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Jewish Film Festival in Honolulu starts March 6

Award-winning filmmaker will open the 8th Annual Jewish Film Festival. March 6

Jewish and Japanese cultures meet in two films in the exciting lineup of works from Israel, the U.S. and Canada.

WHAT: The Eighth Annual Temple Emanu-El Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival
WHEN: March 6-18
WHERE: Doris Duke Theatre
INFO: 808-532-8700
ADMISSION: $8 general; $7 for seniors, students, and military; $5 Academy members.

Filmmaker Lynn Roth will be at opening night of the 8th Annual Temple Emanu-El Kirk Cashmere Jewish Film Festival to introduce her film The Little Traitor, starring Alfred Molina. The film won the 2008 Audience Award for best feature film at the Los Angeles Jewish Film Festival. Roth will also lead a discussion following the film.
Presented by Temple Emanu-El and the Honolulu Academy of Arts, the festival is the largest since its 2002 debut, with six feature films and one short film—all of them Hawaii premieres.

For more information, visit the website:

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Animation Studio opens in Honolulu

A new animation studio opened in downtown Honolulu recenter.

Hawaii Animation Studios - 1132 Bishop St.
Suite 200, Honolulu, Hawaii, 96813

Hawaii Animation Studios was developed as the vision of three professionals with a long history in the industry: John Morch, Jeff Bell and Dan Krech.

Capable of creating both long and short format productions, Hawaii Animation Studios is gearing up for a number of groundbreaking projects and expects to bring a multitude of foreign opportunities and partnerships to the island.

To date, Hawaii Animation Studios has been able to attract such widespread and sought
talent as: CG Supervisor, Remington Scott (Two Towers); Production Manager, Chris DiGiovanni (The Incredibles, Finding Nemo and Horton Hears a Who) and Art Director, Jon Lomberg (Illustrator for Carl Sagan).

With such distinguished individuals in senior roles, Hawaii Animation Studios has been able to help grow and foster young talent on the island.

For more information, call 808-590-0599 or visit

Monday, February 8, 2010

Hina Matsuri: Japanese Dolls from the Tsuji Family Collection

Opening at Honolulu Academy of Arts
Feb. 11 - June 6, 2010
Gallery 20

Just in time for Girls Day (which is 3-03-10), the Academy presents three sets of dolls from the Edo-Meiji (1868-1912) periods. The Tsuji family collected the dolls in the early 20th century and donated them to the museum in 2002. This exhibition is the Academy’s way of thanking the Tsuji family for its generous gift and of offering the community wishes for an auspicious spring season.

For more information, visit

Pictured: Empress Doll
Japan, Edo period (1615-1868), ca. 1854-1859
Porcelain, papier-mâché, wood, hair, silk, cotton, metal, glass, pigments
Gift of the Tsuji Family, 2002

Photo from Honolulu Academy of Arts

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Superbowl Sunday at Like Like = small lunch crowd

We were looking for 'local' food so decided to go to Like Like Drive Inn. Luckily, today was a good day to have lunch there ... it wasn't as busy as it normally is ... because today is Superbowl Sunday. Not being football fans, we were out and about and not getting ready for the 'big game.'

Like Like Drive Inn is a family-owned restaurant located at 745 Keeaumoku Street (near the Ala Moana Shopping Center), about a 5 – 10 minute drive from Waikiki.

It is open 24-hours offering a reasonably-priced menu ... and family-friendly with no dress code.

Photo by Sandi Yara

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Chinese Lion Dance

Hawaii's Plantation Village always celebrates Chinese New Year with a Lion Dance.

The Chinese were one of the seven ethnic groups that came to Hawaii to work on the sugar plantations. The Lion Dance is a cultural legacy that has stood the test of time.

Video by Sandi Yara

Photo of the day - HPV's Fishpond, Hawaiian Hale and Sugar Mill

Hawaii's Plantation Village's fish pond is often used for kids to participate in 'catch and release' fishing. I once saw a boy catch a 6" catfish in this pond ... it really surprised me since the pond is quite shallow.

Today, I went over there for HPV's 'Relive the Plantation Days' event to ring in the Chinese New Year and it looked a lot like this.

In the photo, the Hawaiian Hale with the thatch roof is in the middleground and the top of the old Waipahu Sugar Mill stack towers over the trees in the background.

Photo by Sandi Yara

Hawaii's Plantation Village - The Tour

I have a special bond with this small, non-profit attraction in Waipahu.  I know the 'story' it tells because my dad worked for 50 years (as a carpenter) at the sugar plantation in Ewa. During my time, growing up on the plantation was idyllic ... lots to do at Tenney Center with its olympic-size swimming pool, track and baseball field, 6-lane bowling alley, tennis court, hardwood-floor gymnasium, Tenney Tavern with burgers and fountain drinks and more.  Hawaii's Plantation Village keeps the memory of this huge and important era in Hawaii's history alive for others to understand and appreciate.  Kamaaina and out-of-state visitors are encouraged to stop by and take the tour that reveals how our multi-cultural roots came to be.

Keeping the heritage alive at Hawaii’s Plantation Village - (the tour)

The era has passed but history buffs know that sugar cane was king in Hawaii for over 100 years and Hawaii’s Plantation Village (HPV) offers a snapshot of what life was like during this formative period.

Similar to visiting other museums, the best way to tour the village is to take a docent-led tour. There is no audio-tour and this is actually good news because most of HPV’s docents have personal experience with life on a sugar plantation and they will offer insights and tell ‘real’ stories of what it was like to grow up on a plantation in Hawai‘i.

The tour starts with a walk through the quaint Goro Arakawa Exhibit Room where you will be introduced to plantation life, circa early 1900’s. You’ll see photographs of a ‘contract’, picture bride, family photos and ledger sheets. There are artifacts like a bull whip, ‘bango’ tags, field worker’s clothing, cane press and more. The newly installed exhibit, “The Portuguese in Hawai‘i” is also on display featuring their history in Hawai‘i, music, clothing, achievements and more. Throughout the exhibit, you are shown the harsh realities faced by the immigrant workers.

Once exiting the museum, you walk through ‘time tunnel’ that transports you back in time. Here, is where the walking tour begins and where you have a chance to explore the collection of 32 original and authentically replicated plantation structures such as workers’ homes of the various ethnic groups, community bath, Chinese cookhouse (on the State Register of historic buildings), barbershop, social hall, Inari Shrine (also on the State Register of historic buildings) plantation store and more. The buildings are furnished with over 3,000 personal artifacts. Nowhere else can you find so many cultural backgrounds blending and contributing to the integrated way of life we know today as Hawai‘i.

Hawaii’s Plantation Village’s volunteer docents lead tours at the start of each hour, Monday through Saturday at 10:00 am. The last guided tour is at 2:00 pm. General operating hours of the Museum are Monday through Friday from 9:00 am to 4:30 pm. Saturday hours are from 10:00 am to 4:30 pm.

Rates valid until June 30, 2010

Adult (general) ... $13.00
Senior (62+ with ID) ... $10.00
Kama'aina/Military (with ID) ... $ 7.00
Youth (4-11 years of age) ... $ 5.00
Children (3 years and under) ... Free

For more information about the Village and the significant period in Hawaii’s history that it represents, visit

Hawaii's Plantation Village - Timeline

Keeping the heritage alive at Hawaii’s Plantation Village – Part 1

Hawaii's Plantation Village (HPV), located in historic Waipahu, is living history museum and ethno-botanical garden that showcases plantation life during a time when sugar production was Hawaii’s leading economic activity. This was a significant period in Hawaii’s history, spanning over 100 years.

Sugar Plantation Workers Immigration Timeline, 1852 – 1965

1852 200 Chinese laborers arrive from Hong Kong to work on the sugar plantations.
Between 1852 – 1884, 25,256 Chinese laborers are imported and working on the sugar plantations.

1868 First group of Japanese contract laborers (148 men) arrive.

1878 First Portuguese arrive from Madeira.

1881 A group of Germans arrive.

1884 Five shiploads of Portuguese arrive. Between 1878 - 1884, 9,471 Portuguese workers arrive. The numbers remain small as travel costs to import Portuguese from Europe prove to be too costly.

1885 Mass government-contracted labor from Japan begins. Between 1885 - 1924, 200,000 Japanese immigrate to Hawaii.

1900 Okinawan immigration begins.

1900 First group of Puerto Ricans arrive.

1903 Korean immigration begins. Approximately 7,843 Koreans arrive until the Korean government stops emigration in 1905.

1906 Filipinos immigration begins. By 1916, 18,144 Filipinos have arrived.

1907 A shipload of 2,250 Spaniards arrive from Malaga to work the plantations.

1924-36 Continued Japanese immigration (about 100 per year).

1945 Second wave of Filipino immigration workers arrive.

1965 Third wave of Filipino immigration workers arrive.

Between 1852 and the end of World War II, nearly 395,000 workers came from different countries to work on the sugar plantations: China, Portugal, Japan, Puerto Rico, Philippines, Okinawa, Korea.

At the time of Hawaii’s statehood in 1959, one in every twelve persons was employed in the sugar industry by more that 30 plantation

The immigration of laborers was the genesis of Hawaii’s multi-cultural society.

Hawaii’s Plantation Village opened in 1992 and is a non-profit educational organization. It is located 18 miles / 35 minutes from Waikiki on Oahu’s leeward coast.

For more information, visit

Top photo by Sandi Yara
Bottom photo courtesy of Hawaii's Plantation Village

Friday, February 5, 2010

Hawaiian Master - Charles W. Bartlett, 1860 - 1940

While residing in Manoa Valley on Oahu in the 1920's and 1930's, international artist Charles W. Bartlett, painted watercolors depicting life in Hawaii ... considered to be some of the finest art of the period.

A small collection of Bartett's work is on display throughout the public areas of the Aqua Waikiki Wave hotel (and in guest rooms). When the hotel was totally renovated and upgraded in late 2006, the interior designer created giclees of a selection of Bartlett's Hawaiian prints and they include:

  • “Duke-Waikiki, 1920”
  • “Lei Day Hawaii, 1923”
  • “Hawaiian Fisherman, 1919"
  • “Catamarans, 1923”
  • “Hawaiian Mother and Child, 1923”
  • “Surf-Riders Honolulu, 1919”
Anyone interested in seeing his beautiful Hawaiian works can stop by the Aqua Waikiki Wave, located at 2299 Kuhio Avenue (next door to the International Market Place) and enjoy his great style.

Photo courtesy of Aqua Hotels & Resorts

Waipahu Festival Marketplace is amazing

The opening of the Waipahu Festival Marketplace in late 2007 was met with great anticipation. This project was developed to revitalize an area that had seen tough times since the closing of the Oahu Sugar Plantation in 1995.

Situated in a well-known part of Waipahu town, Waipahu Festival Marketplace occupies the former Big Way Supermarket site, across the street from what used to be the famous Arakawa’s department store and below the landmark Waipahu sugar mill smoke stack. The new wooden structure was designed to blend in with its surroundings so it has a definite ‘plantation’ look to it which is perfect.

The air-conditioned marketplace features over 20 vendors selling fresh, island produce and fruit, ocean and fresh water fish and seafood, tropical flowers, food, crafts, and more. It doesn’t look like they have any available space but, occasionally, a new vendor moves in – such as the recent addition of Sushi on Wheels. In addition to the ‘regular’ tenants, a number of kiosks in the marketplace are set aside to accommodate emerging entrepreneurs.

The vendor stalls and layout will remind first-time visitors / shoppers of farmers or open-air markets ... check out the photo gallery that follows.. It’s crowded with people doing their daily or weekly shopping. Prices are mostly hand-written and posted. And it has the unmistakable aroma of a marketplace.

Waipahu Festival Marketplace celebrates Hawaii’s cultural diversity in the products that are available for sale and the entertainment that it offers. It is a project of the non-profit Waipahu Community Association.

Address: 94-340 Waipahu Depot Street
Phone: 808-677-6939
Hours of operation: M-F 8 am-6 pm, Sat 8 am-5 pm,
Sun and Holidays 8 am-3 pm

Photos by Sandi Yara

For more information about Hawaii, click here