“Miracle City Koza” World Premiere at the Hawaii International Film Festival

https://miraclecitykoza.com

This is amazing. Ahead of its Okinawa premiere on 1/21 and even its Japan premiere on 2/4, the Hawaii International Film Festival “HIFF” holds the prize of presenting the world premiere of “Miracle City Koza” on 11/7! What’s even better is that in addition to a one-day in-person screening, the film will also be available online to audiences in the USA from 11/10 to 11/28 with English subtitles. Tickets can be purchased from hiff.org on 10/15 (HIFF Ohana members) and from 10/18 for the general public.

Read our previous post introducing the film and view the trailer below.

“Miracle City Koza” Trailer

The last film from Okinawa to screen at HIFF was “Okinawan Blue” (Kokoro Odoru) in 2019.

Himeyuri and Hawaii Exhibit Opens

The special exhibition “Himeyuri and Hawaii” had its opening on 10/1 and will run into 2/27. The exhibition is in two parts: “Himeyuri and the Battle of Okinawa” and “Himeyuri and Hawaii” and is available online in English and in Japanese. Having visited the Peace Museum in the past and learning about the horrific events, we feel the importance of bringing this story to as many people as possible. Here’s an excerpt from the website:

Out of the 240 Himeyuri students and teachers who had been mobilized, 136 lost their lives. Many of these casualties occurred after the Deactivation Order was given. […] The Battle of Okinawa was unprecedented for a land battle in that more than 200,000 perished including one-quarter of the native Okinawan population.

https://himeyuri-and-hawaii.com/chapter1/p3/

Himeyuri and Hawaii Special Exhibition

The Himeyuri Peace Museum will hold a special exhibition from 10/1 to 2/27/2022. The special exhibition is called “Himeyuri and Hawaii“:

In 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa, the Himeyuri Student Corps were mobilized as assistant nurses. This exhibition, “Himeyuri and Hawaii,” is an examination of the various relationships that exist between Himeyuri and the people of Hawaii over the years, even as it tells the story of the Himeyuri students.
Herein you will learn about the Himeyuri and the ties that they—and their homeland—share with Hawaii.

https://himeyuri-and-hawaii.com

Just to highlight the special part of this exhibition is that they’re using a special Twitter account, a special website (using dot-com nonetheless), information is also available in English, and you’ll be able to view the special exhibition on their website.

2nd Okinawan FEASTival

We’re so happy to see a return of Shari’s Okinawan FEASTival! This year it’s running from September 1st to the 14th and there’s a lot of food 🍱 and drink 🍺 to be excited about. 😋

From the opening of American Cafe in 1923 to today, there has been over 350 Okinawan owned restaurants in Hawaii. Most of the original restaurants have closed but there is a new generation operating today. In the spirit of Yuimaaru (communities supporting one another, especially in times of need), we are asking the community to help support these local Okinawan owned restaurants. This year, FEASTival is teaming up with the Okinawan Festival! Festival will be virtual this year at okinawanfestival.com on  September 4th & 5th.

https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/about

Be sure to check out the website’s FEASTival Specials page as there are limited time specials that can be pre-ordered. Be sure not to miss the handy text-only timeline version Shari created so you won’t miss out any specials.

New HUOA Merch for the Okinawan Festival

It’ll be a virtual festival again this year but we can still show our support by purchasing from the Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s official store shophuoa.com. On Friday, September 3rd at 8 AM Hawaii time, they’ll be selling all new festival merchandise and t-shirts so be sure to set your alarm so you don’t miss out!. They may have already given us a sneak peek at what may be coming with the announcement of the 2021 festival design contest winner.

2021 Virtual Okinawan Festival

The Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s (HUOA) popular Okinawan Festival will sadly be virtual again this year but we’re still excited for it. They also have a t-shirt design contest going on that ends July 19th (check out their website for more details). Looks like for this year they’ll even be doing smaller in-person events and we loved the Okinawan FEASTival from last year so it’s great that they’re continuing it. This year it will take place on September 4th and 5th so be sure to subscribe to their YouTube channel to catch the virtual festivities.

We learned a lot in 2020 as we created our first ever Virtual Okinawan Festival. This year, we will continue our virtual format for the continued safety of our community. HUOA will continue to strive to bring you the best our culture has to offer with all the entertainment, singing, dancing, interviews and fun videos from the comfort of your own home. We will also be celebrating Okinawan FEASTival and encourage you to pre-order food from your favorite Okinawan-owned restaurant.  

In an effort to elevate the experience, we will also have a number of drive-through food orders and small in-person events. Be sure to check with your HUOA club and this website for more details.

https://www.okinawanfestival.com

They also have a presale for this year’s festival merchandise at https://shophuoa.com. Presale ends July 24th so don’t miss out!

(h/t JTB USA Honolulu)

HIFF Eat.Drink.Film 2021 Showcase Series

Shogen 尚玄

No, we’re not getting a film from Okinawa but we do have an actor from Okinawa who is starring in director Yoshida Kota’s Sexual Drive. Fashion model and actor Shogen stars in the film and many may recognize him as Raye Penber from the 2015 Death Note TV series. He has an impressive filmography and is currently in the Philippines to finish filming Gensan Punch.

A Japanese triptych about sex, aphrodisiac foods and secret desires.

via IFFR 2021
“Sexual Drive” trailer

Sexual Drive will be available for streaming from June 10-20. It’s not my kind of film but I’ll likely watch it for Shogen.

Hawaii’s KIKU-TV RIP

You may have heard a rumor that KIKU will stop airing Japanese and Filipino programming soon.

Unfortunately, the rumor is true.

Starting Monday, June 28, 2021, KIKU and other stations owned by RNN National, LLC will air ShopHQ 24/7.

via the station’s FB page

Definitely sad news to hear that KIKU-TV will no longer show Asian programming. The station brought us NHK’s Red & White Song Festival every year (well, up to 2019’s edition of the show) as well as NHK’s Taiga drama (probably how many saw Ryukyu no Kaze — yes, in spite of how Japanese it was). There was a time when they also broadcasted Okinawa’s folk music red & white song festival (Shinshun Minyou Kouhaku Uta-gassen). The channel will definitely be missed.

Freshly Made Spam & Egg Onigiri at Potama

Potama Waikiki

I recently went to check out a restaurant chain from Okinawa that has a location in Waikiki (Honolulu, Hawaii) called Potama (short for Pork Tamago Onigiri). In Okinawa, pork usually refers to pork luncheon meat that’s made by Hormel (Spam) or by Tulip. Hawaii has a similar popular local food called Spam musubi that’s readily available at convenience stores and some restaurants so I was curious to eat at Potama which is made fresh after ordering and includes an egg (tamago) with several topping choices.

The Potama Waikiki is located in the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Waikiki Food Hall which is a couple minute walk from the center’s regular food court. Before heading out to the restaurant, I had already picked out a few choices that were exclusive to Hawaii only to learn that only a limited menu was being served for now (likely due to the pandemic). The Hawaii-exclusive items are: Loco Moco, Garlic Shrimp, Fried Green Tomato Wasabi Tartar, mochiko chicken, and mac salad (the last two items aren’t onigiri). Sadly, none of these were being offered. Outside of the Hawaii-exclusive items, the ones that feature Okinawan food is next on my list and while they do have Abura Miso (andansuu) they don’t have Goya Tempura (we’ve been told it’s coming). So if you do head out there, be sure to check out their current menu on the Waikiki Food Hall page instead of their official website.

I ended up getting the regular Po-tama (yeah, I know it’s basically a Spam musubi with an egg), Andansuu (Abura Miso), Cheese Ketchup, French fries, and iced green tea drink. I’ll definitely be checking the place out again when they have more menu items available. I’m looking to try their Goya Tempura, a couple of the Hawaii-exclusive items, mac salad, Sanpin Tea with Shikwasa drink, and either the iced or hot coffee if it’s from Chatan Coffee. Gori did a review of their Makishi location on his YouTube channel.

Gori (Garage Sale) Visits Potama Makishi

Follow Potama on Twitter. Potama’s website (available in English).

#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. 🙂