Winner For the June Contest


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 Congratulations to kandi4kiwi,

You are the winner of my June contest “Name Thet Pokémon.”

Would you like to join in on the fun too? Follow me on Instagram @ smile.make.others.happy

Now to think of a theme for this months contest.

See you on Instagram!

Our Travels to Kansa, Japan-Bikes, Tempozan Harbor Village & Spa World


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Day 2

Got up at 6:30 a.m. and threw a load of laundry in the washer before breakfast. With a group of 8 it’s wise to do a load a day (thankfully  the vacation rental had a washer and an area to hang clothes outside on the roof top).

Cooked breakfast at home to save money. Brought the ingredients from Tamare  Grocery store. Super cheap ( compared to Hawaii prices) and fresh! The store opens at 9:00 a.m. (the one in the Dobutsuenmae shopping mall). You know the store is going to open soon because a horde of people begin to gather in front of the rolled up gates.

Since Tamare’s is located inside a mall (more like a covered street) there are no parking for cars. Instead there is bike parking. Many people in Japan don’t drive cars, and a lot of the homes don’t have garages or car ports, so a lot of people ride bikes, walk or take the rail system (train or subway) where ever they want to go. I was amazed by how well they ride their bikes in crowded areas without getting into an accident! (at least I didn’t see one while we were there). There were mom’s with little ones on the back and front of their bikes in seats skillfully making their way through crowds while the little ones watched the people and world go by. You know when a bike is coming because you’ll hear the bike bell giving you warning or the squealing of the breaks as they slow down or stop. There is usually a bike parking area at the exits to the train or subway. It’s rare to see a bike locked unless the person is going to be gone for a long period of time.

Our First Attraction 

After breakfast we were off to Osakako to the Tempozan Harbor Village. You know you’re getting close  when you see the HUGE Ferris wheel 🎡

Our  first stop was the Kaiyukan (Aquarium). We’d brought the Osaka Kaiyukan Pass and this allowed us to get into the aquarium for free, no standing in the long line to buy tickets. The aquarium has a huge tank that houses a whale shark, and other marine life from the deep ocean 🌊 with many smaller exhibits representing different oceans or bodies of water around the world.

They even had a display of the skeletal remains of a Megamouth.

They had a dolphin tank which was small and made me a little sad, because being from Hawaii, I’m used to seeing them and other sea life swimming free. However I believe that aquariums serve a purpose, they help to bring awareness, to teach us that there is a whole other world of life, filled with beauty beneath the waves that we must respect and take care of. At the end of the walk around the tank (at least 4 stories) is a touch tank wher you can touch a ray or small shark (those with no teeth). It was an interesting feeling. The rays felt like a wet inner tube and the shark felt like wet sand paper.

Restaurant Ganko 

After our visit to the aquarium, it was time for lunch. We walked over to the Tempozan market area where you can find the food court area on both the first and second floors. We chose to eat at Ganko on the second floor because it had something for everyone. It’s Japanese food, and they sat us in the tatami mat area. We had to remove our shoes (we’re used to this, we remove our shoes before entering a home in Hawaii) and place them in lockers. We ate a lot! We were a bit worried about the cost, but to our pleasant surprise it only cost $130 for the 8 of us! The service was good, the portions were good, and the food was ono (delicious)! Everyone left full and satisfied!

Other uses for the Osaka Kaiyukan pass.

Our daughter and her boyfriend went to the petting zoo on the second floor of the Tempozan market and showed them the Osaka Kaiyukan pass and was given a 100 yen discount. (She doesn’t remember the cost 😕)

The whole family got a 100 yen discount to ride the huge Ferris wheel 🎡 (general admission is 800 yen, ages 3 and up). You have to show the tickets in order to get the discount (if 8 people will ride then you need to show them 8 passes). As you go up you can see Universal Studios Japan across the bay.

It was a bit nerve racking being up so high, on a Ferris wheel, but the view was nice because it was a clear day and you could see far.

2nd Half of the day-Spa World

We left Tempozan Village around 4:30 (16:30) and headed back home to drop off our bags and grabbed our swim things and walked the 5-8 minutes to Spa World.

We got there around 5:45 (17:35) and the person at the customer service desk (who spoke a little English) informed us that the water park area wold be closing at 7:00 (19:00). After showing the people at the front desk your tickets (you purchase them from a vending machine), they inform you that there is no money exchanged in the area (except for the lockers), so you are given wrist bands with numbers on it and if you want to make a purchase you show the wrist bands to the person who notes it in a tablet or hold it to the item in the vending machine to make a purchase. These wrist bands are only given to the adults in the group and when you are ready to leave you go to the vending machine on the first floor to check out. You get your bill and an exit ticket for each person in your group.

Once you are checked in you are directed to the shoe locker area where you leave your shoes before heading to the dressing area. (This is standard practice at the onsen/bath houses). Next you go up in the main  elevator to your designated floor. This month the ladies were on the 6th floor, the Asian themed area where the lockers and baths (onsen, suanas, etc.) are located, while the guys were on the 4th floor where the theme was baths from Europe. They change bath themes every month. (Next month the ladies will be on the 4th floor and the guys on the 6th). Once changed you get on a different elevator to go to the 8th floor. These elevators don’t stop on the 6th floor if you’re on the 4th and visa versa.

The water park has two big slides, but you have to pay 500 yen per ride or get the 1500 yen wrist band for unlimited rides. They have an outside area with hot tubs and a river like area that goes around the hot tubs where you can swim or float on tubes. You can see the Tsutenkaku Tower from outside.

When they closed the water park area we headed to the onsen areas on our floor, designating a time to meet up again. The baths were vey relaxing, and you could get a massage (extra cost), or rest in one of the rest areas, one had a television. When you are done there’s three different areas to bathe. They provide body soap, shampoo, conditioner, scrub towel, and toothbrush (and razors in the guys area). In the change area they have a vanity room where they provide brushes, face lotion, hair spritzer, blow dryer, and hand lotion.

* note it is customary to drink milk after a visit to the onsen/bath house. There are vending machines in the locker area with milk, and other vending machines with other drinks.

The cost for 1 person is 2,400 yen (12 and up) for 3 hours, and 1,300 yen (under 12), from Monday to Friday.

We had a quick satisfying dinner there before heading home for a good nights rest!

Our Travel to Kansai, Japan-AirAsia, Rail Passes and More


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Day 1

AirAsia

We booked our flight from Honolulu to Kansai (KIX) Japan on AirAsia after our friends suggested we try it. They had used AirAsia and had no problems. It was half the cost of the next cheapest airline which was great! The original price was $129 one way, which came out to $258 RT. Our total for the RT came out to $350 because we added things on, the dinner going was one add on (we didn’t buy the dinner for the return flight thinking we’d eat before the flight and most likely be sleeping 😴 for most of the flight). They don’t have extra dinners if you decide you want one during the flight, but they do come round (3 times during the flight) with the snack cart (instant ramen, chips, candy, and drinks) if you do get hungry and want something to munch on. The dinner was small, but the taste was good. Luggage  was another add on, pre-pay or it’s $100+ per bag and if it’s over 20K (44lbs.) you have to pay extra for that too. They also weigh your carry on luggage 7K (15lbs.). We also got the “Hot Seat” (it has more leg room but the width of the seats are the same. The Hot Seats go fast so we ended up sitting all over the plane. Three of us were in the “Quiet Zone” ( children 10 and under not allowed in this area) behind the first class, one in the middle of the plane and the other four in the back of the plane. Think of AirAsia like a flight from back in the 80s, no video screens on the seats in front of you, or hand held devices to rent to watch movies or listen to music 🎼 or headphone slots in the arms of the chairs to listen to music 🎶, and you have to pay if you want a pillow or a blanket, we brought our own. “Just the bare necessities” as Baloo the bear would say. Which is how probably how the keep the cost for tickets low.

Check in was done by Hawaiian Airlines employees who they  contract the work out to. It was quick, considering there were 8 of us in our group.

Despite the bathrooms on the left side of the plane being out of commission, and the difficulty in understanding the stewardess and pilots due to their heavy accents it was a pleasant flight. The crew were cordial and we landed 35 minutes ahead of schedule.

At KIX (Kansai Airport)

Customs

was a breeze considering the last time we flew into Tokyo there was a long zig zagging line that took over an hour to get through. This time it was less than 30 minutes. It could be that our flight was the only one that landed at that time.

Luggage

The area was crowded but everyone waited patiently for their bags to roll out onto the belt. That was about another 20 minutes of waiting.

Money Exchange

We changed our money in Japan because it was a better exchange rate, 108 yen to the dollar 💵 Unfortunately you could only change $1,500. Thankfully we learned that you can go to the banks, most hotels, the major train 🚂 or subway 🚇 stations, and malls to change money. We just kept an eye out for them and noted where they were for later transactions. Just keep in mind that not all the machines have the same exchange rate. The first one We used the exchange rate was 104 yen per dollar while the second one was higher at 108 yen per dollar. Every yen counts!

Pocket WiFi and Line App

Before leaving for Japan another friend told us about the “Line” app. Most of the people in Japan use this app. that you down load and can talk, text, and face time people in Japan or the U.S. for free as long as you have a WiFi connection. When we landed in Kansai we turned off our data, picked up the two pocket WiFi units we had reserved before leaving for Japan, punched in the passwords and snap we were connected, enabling us to communicate with each other and our friends in Japan!

Rail Passes

The final thing we did at the airport was to buy the Osaka Kaiyukan Pass, and the 1 day Osaka Amazing Pass at the counter. It’s easy to find it has the posters of the different passes. You get unlimited access to the subway lines, and free or a discount into different attractions.

Next was finding the correct train to catch to our vacation rental . The workers are efficient and don’t shoot the breeze, they answer your question as quickly and politely as possible and are on to help the next customer.

With the help of the person at the JR Line who directed us to the Nankai line, and the Nankai clerk pointing us in the right direction we got onto the correct train headed to the Shin-Imamiya station. It helps that there is a different color for the different lines.

Once we were in Shin-Imamiya we followed google that lead us down the wrong street, so we had to turn around and head back to the beginning, stopping at a police box (about the size of a twenty by twenty room) to ask for directions. We showed the office the address of where we needed to go and he drew us a map with landmarks to guide us. Fifteen minutes later we arrived at our home for the next ten days!

Airbnb

Since our last trip to Japan (Tokyo) in 2014 there has been a lot of trouble with vacation rentals in Japan. New laws were implemented and Airbnb revised their policies.  Now when searching for vacation rentals they will usually have a picture showing that they are certified. That’s reassuring.

The vacation rental we stayed in was big enough for the 8 of us, with two toilets 🚽 one on the first floor and another on the third where the bedrooms were. The rooms were air conditioned, which was nice because it got hot in the evening. Our host was great with communication, and the house was near many attractions which we were eager to go and explore!

Oathbringer


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By: Brandon Sanderson

Pages: 1242

Genre: Fantasy

Oathbringer is the Third book in the Stormlight Archives series. It continues the with the main characters learning more about their powers, as they come face to face with dark forces that will take them to the brink of their sanity as they deliberate on what is right, who to trust, and who to love. There’s a twist in the plot that I didn’t see coming, and a revelation about the Parshmen. Will there be a fourth book? Most definitely, because there are too many things unresolved.

I gravitated to the writings of Brandon Sanderson after reading the Robert Jordan “Wheel of Time” series that Brandon Sanderson completed at the request of Robert Jordan’s wife after he passed away. I was a bit hesitant and skeptical about finishing “The Wheel of Time” after Brandon Sanderson took over, but my desire to know how the series ended helped me to push my reluctance aside. I’m glad I did. B.S.’s Voice was similar to R.J.’s while adding his own. He kept the flow of the story intact.

I stepped into the World of B.S. with the insistence of my son who jumped first reading the “Mist Born” Series. He enthusiastically encouraged me to read the series and sent the books to me calling/ texting me each week to see if I had begun reading the books. Once I began I was hooked! Now, my son and I talk about the books and contemplate on how the stories will unfold. He had read more of the series so it’s hard for him to not give away the plot. Now I know how he felt when I didn’t give away the plot to the WOT.

Now it’s on to “Elantris” at the insistence of my son, before I return to complete the “Wax and Wayne” Saga.

Happy Reading!

Merlin


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By: Stephen R. Lawhead

Pages: 445

Genre:Fantasy, Historical Fiction

The Second of Five books in the Pendragon Cycle. This book follows the life of Merlin of the Faery Folk of the land of Atlantis as he narrates what his life was like from his birth, his years spent with the elusive Hill Folk, his short marriage that ended tragically which caused him to remove himself from the world of men, to return as the maker of Kings, who saved an innocent new born Child from being killed by his uncle, to the climactic event that ended with the sword of the future King of Britain embedded in stone.

This is the third time that I am reading this story. I like it because it shows Merlin as a more human character with a family, his failings, his fears, tears,  and his belief in Heavenly Father.

I hope you will enjoy this book 📚

It Happened As Predicted-Halema’uma’u Explosions


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Update

Since my last post: https://smilemakeothershappy.com/2018/05/08/no-school-due-to-seismic-activity/

There are now 21 fissures in the Leilani Estates subdivision, with fissures 17-21 active.

Last week Wednesday (May 9) there was a informational meeting at the Hawaii Volcanoes 🌋 National Park theater for those in the Volcano community, and anyone else interested to hear from the Park management and Scientists on what to expect with the lava lake in Halema’uma’u draining from the crater. You can watch the video of that meeting here: http://Naldo.tv/vod/ (Kīlauea Volcano: East Rift Zone Meeting, May 9, 2018)

I was most interested in the section about the prediction on what was going to happen at Halema’uma’u Crater because our house is about 5 miles from the crater. At the meeting they predicted that due to the lava lake receding below the water table the walls of the conduit have become unstable causing rocks and debris to fall into the conduit which would seal it up blocking the steam from escaping. This would build pressure resulting in an explosion. The following evening at 10:00 they closed the park until further notice.

Explosion 💥 

The anticipated explosion happened yesterday (May 15). I noticed a gray column of smoke on the way down to Kea’au to drop our daughter off. When I came back up it was no longer a column but a huge ash plume!

It was scary indeed! Why am I heading toward the ash cloud? Because our home is a half mile from where I took thei picture and I needed to get there to make sure my mother in law and everything else was okay.

The plume rose high into the sky and the winds blew it south ward. My husband took a video of it from the Ka’u side of the HVNP.

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All Quiet

By early afternoon Halema’uma’u quieted down. The huge ash plume was not visible any more, but the sky was a dark gray.

This morning on my way back home the sky was clear and no sign of the plume. There are smaller explosions but nothing like the huge cloud from yesterday.

What we do have is a heavy VOG (Volcanic Smog) lingering because there are no trade winds to blow it away from the islands. The air smells like New Years Eve on O’ahu, or rotten eggs for those of you that haven’t experienced New YeRs Eve on O’ahu. This means the air purifiers are all on the keep the air breatheable.

New Development 

This afternoon I ran into our friend who had been in Pahala (the town south of HVNP (where most of the ash went). She said that on their way home they saw a crack across Hwy 11 in front of the  entrance to HVNP. (This hwy runs through HVNP). HVNP reports that a magnitude 3.5 earthquake located 0.1 miles beneath the summit of Kīlauea volcano was the cause of the structural damage to buildings in the park and roadway.

A Community Coming Together 

Despite living in a rural community, the people here are great at helping each other out! The Volcano community has 3 Facebook pages dedicated to different aspects of life in Volcano, keeping each other informed of the happenings in the area, and where to find the help you need. Yesterday the Volcano CERT (with police escort) went door to door in our subdivision passing out informational fliers.

Are We Moving? 

Unless Civil Defense tells us to evacuate we aren’t moving. People say it’s crazy to live on an active volcano, but it’s no different then someone who lives on the east coast or gulf coast where they have destructive hurricanes, or the people who live in the mid United States who have devastating tornadoes. Every are of the world has its natural disasters.

Am I scared? A little, but I am not going to live my life i fear. I remember the talk given by President Gordon B. Hinckley, “If Ye Are Prepared Ye Shall Not Fear.” Https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2005/10/if-ye-are-prepared-ye-shall-not-fear?lang=eng

Until my next update, keep smiling 😄

The Winner for the April Contest


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Congratulations to Charlie (freckled.fashionista),

You are a winner again!

There will Be NO contest this month (May) due to our oldest daughter graduating and all the prep for it.

Next month is my Birthday month and it’s going to be fun! Everyone can enter even if you won this month!

Here’s a hint at what June’s contest will be.

Follow me on Instagram to enter the contest! (smile.make.others.happy)

See you next month!

No School due to Seismic Activity


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Wednesday May 2, as I drove our youngest daughter to her morning dentist appointment, she commented, “Do I really have to go to school? It’s a half day, by the time I am done with my appointment and we drive all the way out to Kapoho they’ll only be two hours of school left.” Yes, she’s ready for summer break. My plan was to drive her to school and wait there. She was disappointed to hear that, she thought she’d get out of going to school.

As it happened, I got a text from our daughter’s school saying that school was closed due to elevated levels of  seismic activity in the area. Our daughter was happy that there was no school, but concerned for her school at the same time. I told her with the elevated seismic activity they probably closed the school just in case a tsunami was generated since your school is right across the street from the coast line.

Thursday morning around 8:00 a.m. the Civil Defense message that the low magearthquakes were continuing along the east rift zone in lowere Puna, causing cracks in the Pohoiki Road. They closed the road between hwy 132 and Leilani Avenue, and our daughter’ School was closed for another day. The Civil Defense also said that there was a possibility of an eruption in the area, and advised motorist to be alert for roadway damage.

Meanwhile up in the Volcano area, earthquakes in the 4.0 magnitude range were being felt. We live about a 10 minute drive from Halema’uma’u Crater were the lava lake was quite active. They evacuated visitors and closed the park due to strong earthquakes.

We got a call from our daughter’s school saying school would be open on Friday. Civil Defense deemed it safe to reopen.

Thursday evening while having dinner with our friends from Japan at Liko Lehua our youngest daughter showed us a live video of lava spewing from the cracks in Leilani Estates, and Civil Defense was evacuating people from the area. It was an amazing, scary, and sad sight to see. That was the start of the media frenzy as reports from all over started to fly in to cover the story.

Friday started with a jolt as a 5.6 magnitude earthquake shook our house followed by a huge 6.9 magnitude quake that was felt all the way on O’ahu, and generated a small one food tsunami causing the currents around Hawai’i island to be unstable. A couple stores had to close for a few hours because they had to clean up after things had fallen from shelves due to the quakes.

I got a text from our middle daughter saying they were being evacuated from their classes to the pool area because ceiling tiles in the classrooms were falling and there were cracks in several areas of the buildings. While they were at the pool the big quake hit and the covering over head was shaking a lot so the evacuated to the football field.

Saturday early morning around 3:15 a.m. an earthquake jolted us from sleep. That evening about 15 minutes before we arrived home a 4.1 magnitude quake hit. It must’ve been right under us our friend said because it felt like the Hulk had slammed into the side of our house. He swore it felt just as big as the 6.9 quake from the day before. He was helping one of the widowed sister from our ward clean up. The Shaker had knocked a lot of things off of her shelves, and broke one in the garage. My husband our 2 daughter’s and I went over to help with the clean up too. In times of disaster people should be helping one another.

Some things that had fallen from our shelves.

 I was angry when I heard about people looting homes in Leilani Estates! These people are already dealing with the possibility of losing their homes, and now they have to worry about people going in and stealing from them. Sad! Thankfully  there are a handful of people who stayed behind to watch their homes as well as those of their neighbors to prevent people coming in to steal things. There is goodness in the world!

Yesterday and Sunday were  quiet, no big quakes, but the concern now is air quality due to the elevated levels of sulfur dioxide in the air. There are now 10 fissures in Leilani Estates spewing lava, and 31 homes have been consumed by the lava.

We are still waiting on word from our daughter’s school as to when/if their school will reopen at the campus or at another site. I will update this post when we find out.

Until then we pray for everyone’s safety!

May Day is Lei Day in Hawaii


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May 1st is the Lei Day holiday in Hawaii, we celebrate it by wearing and giving Lei ( garland usually worn around the neck ) made of flowers, ferns, vines, shells, ribbons, etc..

How did this holiday start? It began as an idea of a poet Don Blanding who wanted a special day where people could display the beauty of the Hawaiian tradition of lei making. Later a writer, Grace Warren suggested that the holiday be on May 1st, and on May 1, 1928 the first Lei Day was begun. The tradition is continued till this day.

People adorn themselves with Lei made in various ways. The Kui style is the simplest, using a needle and thread the sew flowers into a necklace strand. Hili, is done by braiding flowers, ferns, vines together. Haku, also uses the braiding technique, but instead of braiding the items together you insert the items into the braid that could be ti leaves, raffia, ribbon, etc.. Humu, is the style my aunty used when making Lei Hulu (feather Lei) for hat bands. You lay the feather or other material onto a piece of fabric and sew it down. Wili, is the quickest for me. You Place the flowers, ferns, etc. onto a base and wrap it into place with raffia, vines, ribbon, etc.. Hilo, is the common method of making ti leaf Lei by twisting two strands of ti leaves together, adding strips as you go until you reach the desired length. During the May Day celebrations there are many places you can go to to watch a demonstration or participate in making a lei.

My husband’s grandmother’s papale (hat) with lei hulu.

Lei Day Programs

Throughout the islands many schools will be having May Day programs. These range from the simple to the eleborate. When I was in kindergarten I was chosen to be the Princess of Molokai. It was a simple program.

Princess Victoria Ka’iulani Elementary May Day.

Years later when our son was chosen to be May Day King and our niece May Day Queen it was a more eleborate program.

 

Princess Victoria Ka’iulani Elementary May Day

During the May Day program classes or individuals perform followed by the court.

There are Lei that represent each island. Starting with Ni’ihau, Lei Pupu (shell) that come in shades of white, pink, and beige only found on Ni’ihau. Kauai, Lei Mokihana, a green berry with a pleasant fragrant. O’ahu, Lei Ilima, a paper thin yellow flower. It takes hundreds of flowers to make one lei. Molokai, Lei Kukui (this tree has tiny white blossoms). Lana’i, Lei Kaunaoa, a vine that grows on the sandy beaches of Lana’i. Mau’i, Lei Lokelani (a delicate pink rose) brought to Hawaii in the 1800s. Kaho’olawe, Lei Hinahina. Hawaii island, Lei Red Ohi’a Lehua. Unfortunately there is a disease that is attacking the Ohi’a trees called “Rapid Ohi’a Death.”

This is a picture of a healthy Ohi’a blossom.

The Giving of Lei

When someone presents you with a lei it is a show of love, respect, appreciation, congratulations, to say farewell, or it reminds them of a special memory shared. When presenting a lei to someone who is hapai (pregnant) it should be open ended, it is believed if you give a closed lei to someone who is hapai the baby’s umbilical cord will wrap around the baby’s neck. Also, it is bad manners to refuse a lei (unless you’re allergic).

My favorite lei is the Pikake (peacock). It’s a tiny white blossom with a sweet fragrance that brings back precious memories.

May the fragrance of the abundant flowers, ferns, and vines of Hawaii bless you with the love of the lei giver, that will become a part of your special memories, or make you smile as the fragrance permeates your mind with beautiful memories of your past. 

Merrie Monarch Festival


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For a week every year the hula students from around the world turn their eyes to our Hawaii island for the Merrie Monarch Festival. They watch, or come to participate in this exciting, hula competition.

History

The first Merrie Monarch competition was held in 1964 (the year I was born). It was to attract tourists to Hilo town that was hit by a tsunami. Originally the competition was sponsored by the Hawaii Chamber of Commerce. In 1968 aunty Dorthy (Dottie) Thompson (served as Festival chairperson) and uncle George Na’ope (one of the Festivals original creators) worked together to make the event the center for cultural revival as well as a place where serious kumu hula could bring their students to compete.

The Festival is named in honor of King Kalakaua, who was known as the Merrie Monarch. King Kalakaua was inspirational in reviving the Hawaiian culture. In 1883 at his coronation celebration hula was preformed. King Kalakaua stated, “Hula is the language of the heart and therefore the heartbeat of The Hawaiian people.” He would be pleased to know that hula continues to thrive and has been embraced by people all over the world!

Not Everyone in Hawaii Hula (dances)

okay, let me clarify the above statement, “not everyone in Hawaii is a practitioner of hula.” However if you’ve gone to school in Hawaii, chances are that you’ve learned at least one hula, especially if your school had a May Day program. I learned my first hula in elementary school, it was a hula noho (seated dance) but I don’t recall which one it was. Unlike my younger sister I wasn’t interested in learning hula. My interest was in martial arts. I learned a hula, “Ka Makani Ka’ili Aloha,” from my aunty kumu hula Lei Malama Leleo to dance for my husband for our wedding reception. After the reception I stopped going to hula.

I finally became a serious hula haumana (student) ten years later when my husband, and the request of my aunty Lei began playing music for Halau Ke Kiai A O hula under the tutelage of kumu hula aunty Brenda Kapi’olani Hao, with aunty Lei and alaka’i Corina. My aunty Lei said to me, “You’re here with your husband at all the practices, you may as well learn the hula,” and I did. My martial arts training helped me to be able to memorize the hula quickly since it was similar to kata, only with music.

(Aunty Lei Malama Leleo and Aunty Brenda Kapi’olani Ha’o)

A year later my aunty Lei asked my husband to come and play for her sister aunty Malia Serrao and her daughter Kumu hula Kau’i Serrao in Ewa Beach. Well, where my husband went so did my son and I. My husband ended playing music, and I ended up dancing for Na Malama Polynesian Dance Studio too. We look back on those five years of being in two different halau and marvel and how we had the stamina to do everything, and manage to keep everything straight!

(Kau’i Serrao, Aunty Malia Serrao, Mr. Mossman, my husband Karl, and kumu Paul Hanohano)

Watching From Home Vs. Watching it Live

In 1994 my husband, son and I traveled with Halau Ke Kia’i A O hula to Hawaii island to watch the Merrie Monarch competition live. The Mana (spirit) of hula was so overwhelming! It was spectacular! My husband was also blessed to be one of the recipients of a Beautiful Ilima Lei by one of the dancers as they came off the stage and exited the stadium. To be there is to be infused with all the Mana of the dancers and musicians! It was a once in a life time experience for us. Now we enjoy watching the festivities from home, the Mana of the dances are still there, but a little muted. I’m still moved by the beauty, percise movements, and love that the participants have for the dance! To me, every Halau is a winner, for they carry on the traditions of our ancestors in the Kahiko division, and excite us with New interpretations of the auwana performances.

Return

It would be over 15 years before I returned to hula. I found a halau in Volcano taught by kumu hula Ab Valencia. I was looking for a non-competitive, very little performing halau. I just wanted to learn to carry on the tradition. When I stepped into kumu Ab’s halau I knew it was the one because it felt like coming home. kumu Ab taught, “Hula is Life.” I was able to learn from kumu Ab for 3 years. Before his passing he told us, “not all knowledge in learned in one halau.” In essence giving us his blessing to move on and find another halau to learn more hula.

I have yet to find another halau, it will happen in its own time. I will know if it is the right place for me, because it will feel like coming home!

Minoaka! La Maika’i!

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