#OkinawanEats #OkiEats

Uchinanchu are lucky to live Hawaii as we have many Okinawan-owned restaurants and businesses. During the pandemic, many of these businesses have been hit hard so let’s do our best to help them and others too. The Okinawan FEASTival website has a list of places to support and keeps a Google Sheet with up-to-date information for what’s open or closed.

Here’s an excerpt from their website:

We are extremely lucky to have so many Okinawan dishes regularly available for us to eat. Not just for a special week but ALL YEAR. Okinawan dishes were not on regular menus but added on by request. The owners thought Okinawan food would not sell. If we don’t regularly order these dishes, then it will prove it’s not worth it to keep on menus. 😦 We need to prove that wrong! 

https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/okinawan-dishes

I’ve been fortunate to have visited many of these places in the past so it’s definitely time to make my rounds again. Maybe I’ll see some of you out there. 🙂

Honolulu-Naha Sister City 60th Anniversary (Hawaii)

History of Okinawan immigration begins in January 1900, when the first 26 migrants from Okinawa arrived in Hawai‘i to seek better lives for themselves and their descendants. Now Hawai‘i residents of Okinawa ancestry number approximately 50,000, one of the largest ethnic groups in Hawai‘i.  Okinawan workers faced significant discrimination when they arrived, but they successfully created a life for themselves and their descendants. Okinawans (Uchinanchu) are proud of their distinct culture, independence, and legacy in Hawai`i. The Hawai‘i Okinawa Center is one of the largest cultural centers in Hawai‘i and the annual Okinawan Festival is one of the largest ethnic community events on O‘ahu.

Link to article

Sixteen rainbow shower trees were planted at the Patsy T. Mink Central Oahu Regional Park (it’s actually across the street from the Hawaii Okinawa Center HUOA). The grove of rainbow shower trees can be found near the southern entrance of the park and hopefully I’ll be able to share a photo of it one day.

One thing I have wondered is why rainbow shower trees (in Okinawa they have the golden shower trees). Although I wasn’t able to find its significance in Okinawa, the tree has cultural importance in Thailand and the Philippines.

Event: 3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th

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3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th
A Celebration of Okinawan Culture with Drums, Lions, Music, and Karate

Kapi’olani Community College and the Office of Student Activities are pleased to present the third Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 5:30 to 9 pm, on the Great Lawn (center of campus). The outdoor festival brings together ‘ono food prepared by Kapi’olani CC culinary program and the spectacular art form of taiko performed amid the beauty of Diamond Head under the stars. The program begins at 6 pm. The event is free and open to the public, with ample parking on campus.

Performers include Chinagu Eisa Hawai’i, Hawai’i Okinawa Creative Arts, Hawai’i Taiko Kai, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate and Urizun Minyo Group. This year’s festival also features special guest performers from Okinawa, including Daiichi Hirata, acclaimed producer, choreographer, and musician, as well as members of Requios, the 2012 World Eisa Competition winner.

Eisa is a form of dance and drumming unique to the people of Okinawa. Originally performed as part of a religious function honoring those who have passed, modern Eisa is an exhilarating combination of singing, chanting, dancing and drumming. In Okinawa and Hawai’i, Eisa continues to be performed at Bon Dances. This year’s festival will feature contemporary styles of drumming, with Okinawan taiko, karate, lions, and contemporary folk music.

“The first two festivals have been described as ‘magical’ and we hope to continue that tradition in our third year,” said Shari Tamashiro, Kapi’olani CC Cybrarian, and one of the coordinators of the festival. “We’re also very pleased to have celebrity chef instructor Grant Sato and Kapi’olani CC’s famous culinary program managing the food booths.”

“The bringing together of Island People, Daiichi Hirata from Okinawa and Kawika Napoleon from Hawai’i, was so dynamic. . . it brought forth a sense of joy and pride from within,” said Dorene Niibu of Windard CC.

“When I think of Eisa Fest, I think of it as the first major event of the summer,” said Jonathan Wong, faculty member at Kapi’olani CC. “To me, it signals that summer is here and what better way to start the summer off with a bang than with drums, food, music and stars.”

Enjoy an evening under the stars. Bring lawn chairs to sit on, blankets, and jackets. Up to date information on program, schedule, parking, maps, and food items on sale will be posted at http://www.facebook.com/eisahawaii. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the event.

To see videos of the 2nd Eisa Festival, go to: http://bit.ly/17quWKz. For photos, go to: http://smu.gs/Z4Mpbj.

Event: Special Eisa Concert: Naha Daiko & Chinagu Eisa Hawaii with Singer Ikeda Suguru

Chinagu Eisa Hawaii is a local eisa drum group that I have been a fan of for some time. They perform a contemporary style of eisa. The symbol of the group is the kanji “kizuna,” which means strong emotional bonds. For the group, it represents the connection between generations of drummers, between Okinawa and Hawaii, between East and West, and the connection that you have with your culture as an individual.

The group formed in 2008 and first performed with their sister group, Naha Daiko of Naha City, at the 2010 Okinawa Festival and have sent students to train in Okinawa with them. Naha Daiko is a professional eisa group from Okinawa.

Saturday, September 8, 2012 (2:00pm and 6:00pm) at Mamiya Theatre

(via Shari T.)

Event: Lecture-Demonstration by Sekiyu Chinen

Jimpu Kai USA Kin Ryosho Ryukyu Geino Kenkyusho, Hawaii Shibu, under the direction of Cheryl Yoshie Nakasone, is proud to present a series of lecture-demonstrations by Mr. Sekiyu Chinen, a guest artist from Okinawa. Having studied uta-sanshin, dance, and kumiwudui under Master Kin Ryosho for almost forty years, Mr. Chinen is one of the last performers of Shuri-style kumiwudui in Okinawa. He would like to share his passion for Okinawa performing arts with the people of Hawaiʻi. The lecture-demonstrations are free and open to the public. Donations are welcome.

The lecture-demonstrations are scheduled on these dates:

Thursday, July 12: Hilo Nichiren Mission, 6:00 PM

Wednesday, July 18: Hawaii Okinawan Center, Serikaku Chaya, 7:00 PM (download flyer, PDF 157 KB)

Sunday, July 22: UHM Music Building, Room 36, 10:00 AM

Sunday, July 29: Maui Okinawan Cultural Center, 10:00 AM

(via Char)

Event: Suruti Chibarana -Striving Together-

Maui Okinawa Taiko and Jimpu Kai Maui will have a joint anniversary recital on Sunday, 24 June 2012, at the Baldwin High School Auditorium. The recital, which starts at 2:00pm, celebrates Maui Okinawa Taiko’s 15th anniversary and Jimpu Kai Maui’s 10th anniversary.

Tickets are $12.00 for general admission and $10.00 for seniors 55 and over and children 12 and under. For more information, call the Maui Okinawa Cultural Center at (808) 242-1560.

Download the flyer (JPG, 103 KB)

(h/t Char Gima)

Event: Washita Ichiman | Our Itoman: Okinawan Songs and Dance

Two shows (2:30 PM and 7:30 PM) on Saturday, 9 June 2012, at the Doris Duke Theatre (Honolulu, Hawaii). Tickets can be purchased online at the Honolulu Museum of Arts’ website:

The cultural heritage of the 500-year-old Okinawan fishing village Itoman comes to life when Ukwanshin Kabudan presents Washita Ichiman: Our Itoman. Tomoko Uehara (lead vocalist for Rinken Band) and dance master Atsuko Tamagusuku (founder of Udui Fukura dance company) make a rare appearance outside Japan to perform the songs and dances of their childhood.

Link

Also check out Tomoko Uehara’s music available on iTunes.

Event: 2nd Eisa Drum Festival in Hawaii

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WHAT? 2nd Eisa Drum Festival

WHEN? Saturday, May 12, 2012

TIME? 5:30 pm to 9:00 pm

WHERE? Great Lawn, Kapiolani Community College

Kapiolani Community College and the Office of Student Activities are pleased to announce that the 2nd Eisa Drum Festival will be held on Saturday, May 12, 2012 on the Great Lawn at the center of our campus.

Program will begin at 5:30 pm and conclude with a grand finale at 9 pm. Food sales will begin at 5 pm. The event is FREE and open to the public.

WHAT IS EISA? Eisa is a form of dance and drumming unique to Okinawa. The Eisa Drum Festival seeks to celebrate and develop an appreciation for this little known form of drumming in Hawaii. There will be a spectrum of Eisa, ranging from traditional dances to contemporary styles.

WHY IS THIS FESTIVAL SPECIAL? The festival will feature the largest gathering of Eisa drummers in Hawaii, all uniting for a spectacular grand finale. We hope to have over 100 performers all drumming together. There will be a gathering of the Shisa (Okinawan Lion Dogs).

There will also be a special guest performer. The acclaimed artist, choreographer, director, and one of my favorite performers Daiichi Hirata is traveling all the way from Okinawa to participate in Eisa Festival!

Performers include: Chinagu Eisa Hawaii, Hawaii Eisa Shinyuu Kai, Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko, and the Young Okinawans of Hawaii with Paranku Clubs of Hawaii, Taiko Center of the Pacific, Urizun Minyo Group, and Kawika Napoleon.

Enjoy live music under the stars. Bring lawn chairs to sit on, blankets, and jackets. Parking is free. Alcohol is strictly prohibited. Parking Map of campus.

FOOD! The majority of the food on sale will be prepared by Chef Grant Sato and Chef Dave Hamada of KCC’s culinary program. Special desserts provided by the KCC Slow Food Club. There will be rafute, kabocha, miso eggplant, special bento, yakisoba, andagi and more! Check out the Okinawan sweet potato bread pudding and “Goya Popper.” Full list of items for sale and descriptions will be posted shortly at www.facebook.com/eisahawaii

Up-to-date information on program, schedule, parking, maps, and food items on sale will be posted at www.facebook.com/eisahawaii

The 1st Eisa Drum Festival was a truly magical event. We were blessed with amazing performances and an incredible crowd. To see videos and photos from the 1st festival, please visit: www.pigsfromthesea.com

(h/t Shari)