It's Time For Obon!

This month marks the beginning of the Bon Dance season in Hawaii. From July through August at Hongwanji's across the islands, families flock to dance the night away. Traditionally Obon is an annual Buddhist event for commemorating one's ancestors.

 It is believed that each year during Obon, the ancestors' spirits return to this world in order to visit their relatives. To guide the spirits, lanterns are hung in front of houses, obon dances (bon odori) are performed, graves are visited and food offerings are made at house altars and temples.

Here we dance with loved ones under the hanging lanterns donning colorful kimono and enjoying delicious saimin and andagi. The best part of the Obon season is that all are welcome and encouraged to participate - regardless of religious affiliation (and level of dance ability). Our trick is to find the best dancer in the circle and jump in next to him or her and follow what they do. Most have been dancing for years and are more than happy to show you the moves and translate the song for you. The songs and dances are fairly slow paced and easy to pick up (much slower than the Electric Slide for comparison).
 
So when the music begins and you hear the beat of taiko drum, jump in and don't be shy! For a full list of the Bon Dance schedule check the newspaper or online at www.Staradvertiser.com    

The Wildest Show In Honolulu

The Wildest Show in Town at the Honolulu Zoo began it’s Summer concert series last week. Every Summer for the past 20+ years the Honolulu Zoo has been opening it’s gates to the public for one of Honolulu’s most anticipated events. Every Wednesday at 4:35pm The Honolulu Zoo welcomes guests of all ages to listen to local artists playing along with the sounds of the resident animals. For a $3 donation all can come kick back and listen to local artists  perform on stage under a big banyan tree with a sunset backdrop.

There’s a coloring booth, a weekly Ukelele giveaway and a huge grassy lawn for kids to run around and dance to the music. Family and friends can be seen with their blankets and lau hala mats, plate lunches and coolers. Each concert winds down just as the sun sets below the horizon of Waikiki beach yards from the zoo entrance. It’s a truly magical time and one that shouldn’t be missed.

For more information and a schedule of this Summer’s performances go to http://www.honoluluzoo.org/wild.

 

 

Team Olukai Wins The Ka'iwi Challenge

It was a great start to the weekend with light winds for the 51 mile sailing canoe race from Kaanakakai, Molokai to Kailua, O’ahu on Saturday. Marvin and Team OluKai (Marvin Otsuji, Joe Sawyer, Butch Keahiolao, Scott Wagner, Keone Miyake and Kalani Vierra) took a 6 seat plane from Kauai to Molokai, rigged the canoe and towed into the Kaiwi channel to start the race at 2:00pm. From start to finish, Team OluKai was able to hold the lead and finish off Saturday with a victory. It did not come easily with the Maui Jim canoe Tui Tonga challenging the team. After a half hour dual, Team OluKai broke away and gained sailing a minute ahead of the next competitor.

On day two, OluKai switched out a couple team members, adding Lauren Spaulding, and Keone and Mahea Botello. The race proved to be just the opposite of day one. The teams raced off the beach with team Hui Nalo and Kamakakoa jumping out to the lead. After rounding Moko Manu Island, Team OluKai began to surf their way into the lead. By the second hour, the race was called due to lack of wind. At this point, Team OluKai had forged their way to a half-mile lead and was declared the winner on Sunday.

Due to Coast Guard rules that canoes must be off the water by dark, crews ended up towing both days for part of the way.  Team OluKai now has four first place wins and two second place wins for the 2014 sailing series, currently the lead over the entire fleet!

On July 26th, OluKai will be gearing up to sail from Hale’iwa to Kalapaki Beach and will be looking to add a fifth victory to this years 2014 sailing series.  The final race of the 2014 Sailing Series will take place September 6th at the Kauai South Coast.

 For any additional information regarding the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA) you can visit their website here.