Friday, September 30, 2011

The First Half of September 9月前半

On Saturday, September 3rd, there was an event called Couture Hawai‘i at Maui Arts & Cultural Center (MACC). It featured latest runway collections of aloha wear and couture fashions from well-known Hawai‘i designers: Anne Namba from O‘ahu, Maggie Coulombe from Maui and Bernard Foong of Wailea in addition to vintage Alfred Shaheen apparel. The University of Hawai‘i – Maui College’s Couture Club student collection will also be shown.  

AND my Maui auntie, Emi Azeka, the gifted milliner (a fancy way to say hat maker) presented her fabulous art pieces there as well. I was there as one of her helpers that night. Her work is called Chapeaux Emi (chapeaux is a French word for hat designer).  Her hats are all handmade, and all are one-of-a-kind!! I was so glad because she did well in terms of sales, yet what was most satisfying for me was to see people's faces change as they witness their beauty in a mirror.  Some were hesitant to try a hat maybe because they believed that they don't look nice in a hat, but as soon as they put one on, their face was lighten up and I could see sparkles in their eyes.

Emi's hats are made that way. They bring out people's natural beauty and let them be who they are, not to change them to someone they are not.

9月3日(土)に、マウイ アーツ アンド カルチュラル センター(MACC)にて、コウチャーハワイというイベントがありました。(コウチャーとは日本語でファッションデザイナー関連といった意味です。)そこでは、ハワイを代表するデザイナーたちの最新のアロハウェアとファッションがランウェイを歩くモデルさんたちによって発表されました。



Here is a picture of me wearing one of Emi's vintage Panama hats (I don't own it, but it was nice to wear it all night :) It is a beautiful art form and is unfortunately on the edge of extinction because there are less people who can weave like that. One of Emi's hats was woven in 1940's! She blocks them and shapes them into hats. These hats remind me of my grandpa who was a bamboo weaver in Japan. (He did not have a student, so his knowledge and skill were unfortunately not passed on.)


The team of the night!
From Left: Emi's friend, me, Emi, and April

I never knew that there was this old bulging behind the Queen Ka'ahumanu Center after living on Maui for 10 years. I wondered what this was and posted the photo on facebook. Then, some of my friends answered me right away. (This is one of moments when I think "Wow, Facebook!")  It was Maui Pineapple Cannery. The mall used to be owned by Maui Land and Pineapple.  One of my friends wrote, "See the roof layout. Those are windows that allow light in, but I bet they face north (he was right). That is a cool style, don't make em like that anymore. Now we just work under florescent lights." At age 28, I finally understood why icons (symbols) for factories on maps often had this zig-zag looking roof! I never knew!!

カフルイにあるクイーン・カフマヌ・ショッピングセンターの裏にこんな建物があるなんて、マウイに10年も住んでるのに初めて知りました。一体何かしら?と思い早速フェイスブックに載せてみたら、3人のお友達がすぐにコメントしてくれました。(こういうとき、フェイスブックすごいな!と思う。)この建物はマウイ・パイナップル・キャナリーだったそうです。昔はマウイ ランド アンド パイナップル社がショッピングモールを所有していたそうです。ある友人のコメントによると、「ほら、屋根のレイアウトを見てごらんよ。外からの光が入ってくるようにデザインされているんだよ。でもきっと北側を向いてるはずだけど。(当たってる!)いいスタイルだよね。もうこんな風には作られてないからね。近年では蛍光灯の下で働くだけさ。」とのこと。28歳にして、初めて、なぜゆえに小さい頃から見てきた地図などに描かれた工場の印がギザギザの屋根をしているのかを知りました!!いやぁ勉強になったなぁ。

My friend April grew these mini tomatoes and gave me. They were very yummy, tasted like the sun.


Our neighbors gave these avocados. He has been giving us so generously, and this time, he left them on the grass like this. I discovered them in the morning and felt warmth in my heart. Don't they look like eggs?


I learned that vapor could be very hot and burn you in a science class when I was an elementary school student, so I knew, but for the first time, I burned myself with steam when I was cooking. I accidentally put my right wrist over the little hole of the hot boiling pot lid. 


When I took the above photo above, the thing was kind of bubbly and soft, and I enjoyed touching it gently :) My friend told me not to let it break, so I was careful.


And it looks like today. You can kind of see it, but it's healed pretty much. Our bodies are amazing, aren't they??? I was so amazed; I couldn't help to take photos of the healing process!


Izanai Yosakoi Classes on Maui マウイでのイザナイよさこいクラス

On September 10th, I started to hold Izanai Yosakoi classes for people on Maui at Upcountry Fitness Maui in Haiku (next to the restaurant Veg Out).
Address: 810 Kokomo Rd. #108, Haiku, HI 96708-5072
Phone: (808) 575-7334
(By the way, you don't have to be a member of the gym to take this class.)

I decided to lead this class since I had been asked to teach for a while and also to contribute to the late Suga Kunitomo - my dear Japanese dance teacher who founded Izanai Yosakoi movement all over the world and passed away this past June.

"Izanai" means to invite, and "yosakoi" means good world has come, so it is a dance for peace to bring harmony. Yosakoi is an annual dance festival originated in my hometown, Kochi after the World War II. Japan lost the war and had not much left (material wise), but we had our bodies to dance and simple instruments to play. People got together and started to dance to revive their spirits. This is how this dance festival was created. I have been dancing Yosakoi since I was a little girl. I was fortunate to have met Suga in my teenage years, and I fell in love with her work right away and started to study at her dance studio.

You do not have to be an experienced dancer to dance Izanai Yosakoi. Izanai Yosakoi is for everyone. I say it again. It's for EVERYONE - all ages, all genders, and all whatever it might be.

Here is a picture of me (almost 8 years old) dancing Yosakoi on 7/28/1990.
The classes on Maui are FREE with donations welcomed to cover the studio rental fee. 

It is NOT a weekly class. It is held every other Saturday afternoon from 4:30 to 6:00 pm. The dates for year 2011 are listed below. (The dates for year 2012 will be announced later.)

We are learning a piece called "'94." It's called "'94" because it was choreographed by Suga in 1994.  You can watch the video below. This particular video was taped this past August at the annual Yosakoi dance festival in my hometown, Kochi, Japan. I have many fond memories with this piece. I wasn't dancing with Suga in 1994 yet, but I learned this piece when I was in high school, and used to perform at various events and festivals.

Suga and her dance group have been participating the Honolulu Festival since the very first year (17 years ago), and this dance piece was the one they did in the first year of the Honolulu Festival, so they are going to dance this piece again at the upcoming Honolulu Festival (March 2012) to honor Suga's work.

If you cannot join us at the festival but are interested in just joining here and there, please feel free to drop in anytime.

If you are interested in dancing with us at the Honolulu Festival next March, please come as regularly as you can. (I won't be able to hold any make-up classes later as I will be very busy around the time.)

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me through this blog (leave a comment below).
If you know anyone who might be interested, please send a link of this blog entry.

Thank you for your kind attention, and I look forward to seeing you there and dancing with you!!!!

Some of our Maui Izanai Yosakoi dancers!
We happened to be very colorful that day.


I think this was taken in 2001.
Photo taken by my parents.



At a nice venue called Karuport in Kochi.
Photo taken by my parents











Sunday, September 25, 2011

Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance マウイでのヒロシマ・ナガサキの追悼式

I was going to write about the first half of September, but I would like to go back to the beginning of the August a little bit.

On August 6th, there was a wonderful program at University of Hawai`i - Maui Campus called Hiroshima-Nagasaki Remembrance.  Maui's Izanai Yosakoi dancers were asked to perform. This program has been organized by residents of Maui (mostly non-Japanese people) for many years, and they invite a different guest speaker every year and bring awareness of nuclear weapon, radiation to Maui community in the hope of not repeating the sad mistake ever again.

Since I was a college student, I have been asked to perform at their program. This year, I did not have to dance by myself. I had 6 dancers to dance with!

We as dancers put our intention out to pray for those who passed away from the bombs as well as for this who are currently struggling with any nuclear disaster.  We did even more so due to the earthquake in Japan this past March and Fukushima radiation issue.

It was always our honor to perform, expressing our prayers through movements.

(More photos & a YouTube video available below Japanese texts.)

Maui's Izanai Yosakoi dancers with a special guest, Yuko from Japan!

8月6日にハワイ大学マウイキャンパスにて、「ヒロシマ・ナガサキ リメンバランス(追悼)」というプログラムがあり、マウイのイザナイダンサーズたちに演舞の依頼がありました。このプログラムはマウイに在住のアメリカ人の方達が毎年企画・運営してくださっているもので、毎年違ったゲストスピーカーの方が呼ばれ、原爆について放射能について、そしてあの悲しい歴史を繰り返さないようにとマウイの方々に無料で開かれているものです。




Friday, September 23, 2011

The Second Half of August 8月後半

I loved this scene. I stayed there for several minutes.
Red, blue, and green.
There were lots of meetings is how I remember the second half of August. The meetings were about my students, about the new school year, about the new curriculum and standard, and so on... Every day was packed with something that had to with teaching. I couldn't squeeze anything else. August was enveloped in a color of school, school, and school.


Coconut juice - love it!
ココナッツジュース おいしいよ!
On Saturday mornings, I try to go to the farmers market in Kula as often as I can. I can get yummy, organic veggies cheaply (maybe not as cheap as some parts of the mainland, but it's cheaper than buying at stores).


August was a birthday month for a daughter of my dance teacher, Sarala. She turned 7! I found her a gift at Maui Whole Child Play and Learn. It is a cute store across from the Makawao Library. It used to be ran by my friend, but now a new owner runs it, and she drew this beautiful drawing on a paper bag and gave it to me.  I have known Sarala's daughter since she was 6 months old, and I used to babysit her, and now I'm living in the same house (with separate living unit), so she is like my niece or little sister. It was something to see her welcoming her 7th birthday... Wow, she has grown so much.

8月にはサララ先生の娘の7歳の誕生日月でもありましたから、彼女にMaui Whole Child Play and Learnでプレゼントを買いました。このお店はマカワオの図書館の真向かいにあります。以前は友人が経営していましたが、今は新しいオーナーさんが経営しています。こんなすてきな絵を包装紙に描いてくれました。サララ先生の娘はまだ生後6ヶ月の頃から知っており、よくベビーシッティングもしていましたし、今は同じ家に一緒に住んでいるので(二世帯住宅みたいな家)姪っ子のような、妹のような感じで、もう7歳になるんだなぁと思うと何だか感慨深いものがありました。

I used to work at Maui Language Institute as a student assistant. I'm still in touch with the director of the program, and I happened to be in her neighborhood one weekend, so I called her, and she was about to bake lots of loaves of banana bread!! I joined her baking party. (There were lots of banana bread as you can see in the photo.)  They were yummy, too :)

私は学生時代Maui Language Instituteで3年半ほどアルバイトをしていたのですが、そのときからお世話になっている先生と今でも付き合いを続けています。8月のある週末、その先生の近所に用事があったため電話をしてみたところ、とても一人では食べきれないほどのバナナを頂いたらしく、バナナブレッドを作るところだから一緒に作ろうとのこと。ほらね。写真で分かるようにすごい量のバナナブレッドを焼きましたよ!おいしかったなり!

And I've been slowly working on something that is exciting but cannot be announced yet. When the time comes, I'll let you know.

Okay, this blog is slowly but surely catching up to the current time.
The next one will be about the first half of September.



Monday, September 19, 2011

The First Half of August 8月前半

August 1st, the new school year began.
Until the 3rd week or so, it was an intense period of time.
I worked at school until late and came home and worked more.
(But there are no compensations for extra hours and the salary went down, and the health insurance went up...)

I have a very, very sweet group of children this year (again), and they are all adorable and hard working.
I am grateful to be their teacher and hope to do my best always.



Some of you may remember that I had a childhood friend, Hanae visiting me during the past March. In mid August, I had another childhood friend whom I've known since 2nd grade visited me. This year has been interesting and beautiful visiting my childhood with two wonderful friends.


We went to a lava tube in Hana.
It was dark inside, but we had mighty flashlights, so it wasn't scary.
I was in the same class with her only a couple of years, but we somehow clicked and maintained friendship over the years. She is working in Tokyo, and we shared our memories of childhood and we reported each other what we had been doing for the past several years. Although we hadn't seen each other for a long time (more than 7 years), we could immediately go back to our childhood and felt like we just saw each other yesterday. Maybe it is one of the privileges of having a childhood friend.


When we went to Hana, I stopped by Hotel Hana Maui to
say hi to my friend who works there, and she treated us
with this yummy smoothies just like when I took Hanae there.
Of course, we went to to Haleakala.
In Lahaina, taken by Taka-chan.
I didn't even know she was taking a photo.
I hope she had a relaxing and meaningful time here on Maui.
This is a cute, small thief pretending to be a Santa made out of clay.
Taka-chan's mom made it for me and gave it to me when I was
still in elementary school. For all these years, I kept it, and
for soem reason, I had brought it to Maui, so I showed it to Taka-can.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Second Half of July 7月後半

On the day I came back to Maui from the mainland, there was a ceremony for Suga on top of Haleakala with the people who have known her. Suga's older son, Yuichiro was on the island, taking care of Suga's belongings left on Maui. He dedicated a beautiful dance for his mother.

The photo above was taken at that time. Like dragons, like Suga, the clouds were dancing.



Izanai Familiy
Shaun's kite

Ty's son, Shaun has been on Maui since May, and I could take time to hang out with him. He learned how to kite surf in Mexico. He's working at a farm on Maui and kite surfs whenever possible.


Shaun setting up the kite
Shaun out in the sea

My girlfriend Lita and I went for our annual summer Hana camping. (Here is the last year's blog entry about it).


A ballerina made out of paper napkin by Terry Hill at

Lita going for it. I love that she has her own machete and can cut a coconut for us to eat. She is so cool. Proud to have a friend like her :)

Our clever rain proof camp table setting. How about that?
I got sick after I got to the camp site.
I slept almost all day in the car like this.
I loved the view from "the bed."
But I recovered pretty well by the time we left.
I could ride this bicycle to make fruit smoothies.
Go Lita, Go!
I camped these friends this time.

And finally, the day came - the day to go back to work. I knew that I wouldn't be able to anything else once it begins, so I tried to get as many things as I could get done.

The first day of school was August 1st. The first day back for teachers was July 26th. I worked day in day out without stop between these two dates!!



My classroom
Making a mail box for the students
This closet was packed with things from the previous teacher's
teaching materials. I did not know what were in this, so I took everything out
and organized them all.

And the new school year began.
I will write about August in the next blog entry.