Champuru.net: Prayers and Support for Japan

With images of the devastation in Japan fresh on my mind, I stayed up until 4am that morning to see what nature would bring to our shores. The tsunami was not nearly as powerful as the one that swept through Japan, and although there was some property damage, Hawaii was very fortunate not to suffer any loss of life. I don’t think I have ever felt as close to the edge of disaster as I did that night.

(Via Champuru.net.)

Myron of Internet-Okinawa and O-pop trio Wizus

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Myron of Internet-Okinawa was fortunate to meet O-pop trio Wizus in Okinawa. I wrote about the trio more than a year ago and at the time they had rearranged their name from wiz-us to the hiragana ういずあす which they’re still using today. To learn more about the trio, be sure to check out their YouTube channel (the clip down below is their single from April 2009, “Ashita e”), website, and blog (with lots of candid pictures of the trio).

And be sure to check out Myron’s awesome photos from Okinawa on Flickr.

New year get-together and fellowship dinner

Happy New Year to the Okinawa Minyo Kyokai Derek Ichiro Shiroma Kenkyusho and Jane Kaneshiro Sozan Kai who will have a New Year get-together and fellowship dinner this Friday night at the Jikoen Hongwanji Mission. I’ll be there and I’m hoping to see some of you there too. 🙂

(Nifee deebitan for the invite, Derek-sensei!)

Update: Ukulele Picnic 2009 in Hawaii

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I posted an entry a couple of weeks ago about the upcoming Ukulele Picnic 2009 in Hawaii concert and it looks like we have a time slot for Keith Nakaganeku and BEGIN’s Masaru Shimabukuro. The special collaboration between these two amazing musicians is set to take the stage from 3:10 PM for a 15-minute set.

Another act worth checking out (well, they’re all worth watching but this artist crosses over to J-pop too) is Ayano Tsuji who is scheduled to perform at 4:45 PM. A popular song of the artist’s, “Kaze ni naru” from the Studio Ghibli film “The Cat Returns,” can be found below.

(Nifee deebitan for the update, Keith!)

Utage Restaurant & Lounge

One of the great things about running a blog is that you meet people (via comments, email and IRL too) from all-over the world. And, at times, old friends from right in my backyard. My friend Tadashi (who rocked a pretty mean guitar back in the day) has a restaurant called Utage Restaurant & Lounge that has Okinawan food and is located in the Dillingham area (yup, this is in Hawaii folks).

Check out their website for more info (time/days of operation, a Google map to get you there): Utage Restaurant & Lounge.

Okinawan music and dance performance: ‘Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo’

Norman Kaneshiro-sensei emailed information on an Okinawan music and dance performance his group has lined up for March 28, 2008, a Saturday. Titled “Loochoo nu Kwa, Children of Loochoo,” the performance featuring the talented members of Ukwanshin Kabudan will be held at the Maui Arts & Cultural Center (<rant>for those like me who are irritated by websites that resize your browser’s window, this is one of them</rant>). Ukwanshin Kabudan has a blog too! Way to go, guys. 🙂

For more information, download the poster and/or the synopsis (includes the artists’ profiles).

Community: Congratulations to Kenton Odo, June Nakama and Calvin Nakama

There’s a nice story by Steve Murray on Midweek.com (‘SHAMISEN’) on the accomplishments of three musicians from Hawaii who are “the first foreigners to earn a master’s certificate in the Okinawan shamisen.” Definitely worth a read. All three musicians will be performing in Hawaii on Tuesday, November 27 as part of the 14th annual TOBE! Uta Sanshin 2007 concert. Read here for more info. Congratulations guys, we’re all very proud of you!

Three new videos from the 25th Okinawan Festival up at Champuru.net!

If you enjoyed the 25th Okinawan Festival vlog Donna posted to Champuru.net a few days ago, you’re going to love that she has three, count ’em three new videos up.

Enjoy! And be sure to leave a comment for Donna too. 🙂