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Archive for the ‘Hawaii’ Category

hibiscus 1

 

Hawaiian style morn

Seven blooms on the 5th day.

If only twas May.

8-5-17

Sacramento, CA

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As soon as I took a seat in the waiting room, a man looked at me and this is our conversation:

Man: Where were you born?

Me: Born and raised in Hawaii.

Man: Hawaii. Those people are the most negative.

Me: Negative?

Man: In Hawaii, what do you say to people when you leave?

Me: Aloha?

Man: What do you say when you meet someone?

Me: Aloha?

Man began to explain his views on how these two words were soooo native-like and I wasn’t even in a grass skirt with a bone through my nose.

I was called in for my appointment so I looked at him and said, “Aloha.”

I wish I had said the following:

  1. There’s another meaning of Aloha. We say Aloha when we want to say Butt Off, Idiot.
  2. I was born on one of those newly found planets.
  3. On a bed, on clean sheets.

 

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Hawaii residents…another end to one of  our Hawai’ian history. Journalist Lawrence Downes’ mother is from Pepeekeo.

As a child, on sleepless nights, I felt comforted by the sounds of the sugar cane trucks hauling cane, feeling I wasn’t the only one awake. This has ended.

Sounds of Old Plantation Days

I miss the sound of the cane trucks tonight

Hauling cane through old sugar towns.

Not the bounce and rattles of the empties,

As they head back to the fields

Over the twists of narrowing country roads.

It’s the dull muffled thump of trucks

Laden with tons of fresh cut sticky cane

That pass my silent, sleepless nights.

I’m not alone on these nights,

In company of faces sitting high

In darkened cabs, the glow of half-burnt cigarets

Hanging from their lips like summer lanterns.

frances kakugawa

 

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brookdale2016_booksIt was an honor to have been invited to present two sessions at this conference attended by inspiring people from across the United States who are making a difference in our 50 states, working with caregivers and family members who are raising children without their parents.

Whenever I’m on the road, the magic word becomes “Hawai‘i.” What joy to meet three very special people with Hawai‘i connections in Denver this past weekend.

So here we are, the Hawai‘i Foursome: Dr. Matthew Kaplan of Pennsylvania State University, PA; Terri Byers, Director, and Lani Sakamoto, Supervisor, at the Executive Office of Aging, Honolulu; and me.

brookdale2016_hiconnection

Dr. Kaplan spent many years at Hawaii Pacific University and now works with Space and Places to build meaningful inter-generational relationships.

Thank you, Mary Asenjo, Carmen Mendieta, and Melinda Perez-Porter of Brookdale Foundation Group for your continuous interest in my work.

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To friends on Oahu, would love to see you during my coming visit. I’ll be at Ward Warehouse:Native books on August 17 and Sept 3rd:

11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Will be reading Wordsworth, It’s in Your Pocket on Aug 17th and I Am Somebody: Bringing Dignity and Compassion to Alzheimer’s Caregiving on Sept 3rd. Will be signing books on both days.

To my Hilo friends, I’ll be reading Wordsworth, It’s in Your Pocket at Basically Books at 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept 10th. Am looking forward to seeing some of my former students who plan to be there. Book signing, too.

Now, to my Kona friends and former students, I’ll be giving the keynote address at the Hawai’i Community Caregivers Network conference at the Sheraton Keauhou on Sept 9th.

My first teaching job was at Konawaena High and Elem School. I taught Kindergarten.

During the first week, a child brought in one of those Life Science books and knowing it was too difficult for five year olds, I showed the illustrations and ad-libbed the text. Arnold ( I still remember you, Arnold) turned to look at his classmates and explained why I was not reading the book,”Her young yet, she don’t know how to read.” Being young, I had to prove I could read so I began to read the text and soon lost all their attention. Having proven my reading abilities, I went on and had a wonderful time. I still remember their names, as I do all the students I’ve taught. Hope some of my students still live in Kona, would love to see them.

 

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The Sea Meeting Pele

He explodes

Into a million

Molecules

As her fiery tongue

Laps into

His undulating loins,

Sizzling and burning

Every ecstasy.

frances kakugawa

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swim book
This review is from: The Three-Year Swim Club: The Untold Story of Maui’s Sugar Ditch Kids and Their Quest for Olympic Glory (Hardcover)
The amazing part of this review is, author Checkoway emailed me to thank me for my review and we have even made plans to meet in Sacramento. I can’t believe this. I’m still flying high. To members of my book club, shall we select this book for our next round of titles and I assure you, I will invite the author to  join us over our monthly dinner.
Here’s my review:
I sent this email to all my nieces and nephews and to their children:
I highly recommend this book to all of you.
I see why my publisher recommended this book to me. I feel we all need to read this to see how it was with the Japanese Americans way before you and I were born. I also think people born on Maui ought to read this book, along with the non-Maui born residents, so they will appreciate and honor the history of that place.

It’s about Soichi Sakamoto, swimming coach who trained plantation kids to go national by letting them swim and practice in the ditches on Maui. Interestingly, I grew up with his name Sakamoto, Keo Nakama, and others mentioned in this book, yet they were in their prime before I was born so they had become legends by the time I could read. Then the story continues after Pearl Harbor. This is a touching part of our history if you are Japanese from Hawaii, Okinawan, Haole( Caucasian), or  just a human being. I’m sure you’re one of these…ha.
Sakamoto ended up at UH as swimming coach. Won’t tell you if his dream of sending one of the kids from the ditches to the Olympics ever became a reality.

In the book, the author mentions how people were named by their character. One swimmer was called Halo Hirose…pronounced hallow because sometimes he seemed to act as though his brain was filled with too much space.
Reminded me of how my own village Kapoho folks were also called. Our Uncle Jun was called Pe-lute, a Filipino word meaning throwing up from drinking too much. One man was called ke-sha…train in Japanese because his teeth protruded like the front of a train and these became permanent names. So one doesn’t have to be from Hawaii or from Maui to be able to find one’s own history in the story.

At the end, one is left with this feeling that one’s own humanity to another is still, why we are here.

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