Sunday, August 24, 2014

Obon Festival

The Obon Festival is coming to a close for the year.  I always think of summer and Obon as a very special season, a joyful time to express gratitude to those who have come before us.  I have friends, neighbors and relatives that are Japanese.

Obon is a  Buddhist tradition that honors one's family ancestors and appreciate their sacrifices in life. These ancestors are said to visit their relatives during the festival. Families gather at their relative's grave and clean the sites. A show of reverence to those who came before  is such a touching display of  acknowledgment and respect. 

The colorful Obon celebration, features exuberant Taiko drummers( one of my favorite parts), and local food booths as well as the Bon Odori, a folk dance to welcome the spirits of the deceased. Dancers are meant to set aside self conscious thoughts and dance without ego or concern of how they look.

Regardless of religious affiliation and culture, all are welcome.  I always feel comfortable and enjoy from the side lines the circle of colorfully and traditionally dressed dancing participants. I know all are welcome, but, I still have not gotten up enough nerve to step into the circle yet. I honestly enjoy sitting in the temple in quiet contemplation for a little while during all the merry making outside.

 Many participants wear the light cotton summer kimono called the yukata, or the happi coats. Young and old, formally trained and folks just winging it, all gather in rings around the central raised platform called the yagura. The songs of the folk dances often tell stories of traditions of fishing and farming. Even though I do not understand the words, the spirit of joy is obvious.

Come as you are to Obon, honor your loved ones and be grateful for the joy in our lives.

With Much Aloha,

Thursday, August 7, 2014

" Have a Good Hurricane"


It's been a roller coaster this week as two hurricanes have been marching their way across the Pacific towards Hawaii Nei.
Our Aloha greeting today was " Stay Safe", and I even heard,  "Have a Good Hurricane"...which actually sounded appropriate at the moment.

Storm Prep was the Hot Topic of the week, with some folks cleaning out the shelves in the stores and others complaining about the diehard hoarder attitude that hits Hawaii every time there is even a remote chance of a natural disaster.

I had a chuckle with a mainland newscaster poking fun at our "whateva" point of view. 
I was wondering who he interviewed. The long  lines at Costco were prompted by a Hurricane special on gas with people arriving well  before the doors opened. It made more sense to me to drive a couple blocks and get gas for a few cents more with no lines.

Typical Hawaiian Hurricane Shopping List 
50# bag white rice: check
2 flats of bottled water: check
cases of beer: check
batteries: check
and Hawaiian currency, lots of toilet paper, : check

 I waited a bit late to get D batteries , and there were none left Upcountry today. I was told they were flying some more D batteries in from Oahu and they would be available in the afternoon. I gave up and figured  10 flashlights at home was enough anyway. Shelves were very, very empty and most folks took their few days of prep quite seriously

I made a great soup today, did a few other preps, and am all set.

We all were quite hopeful that this system would do the normal fizzle out in the colder Hawaiian waters. The wind sheer usually tears hurricanes apart prior to landfall. When Hurricanes turn into Tropical Storms, we all breathe a little easier.

Iselle is hanging out off shore on Big Island and we on Maui have been feeling the outer bands of high winds and alot of rain. Our wonderful large volcanoes on Hawaii island, Mauna Kea and Mauna Loa are what I have always considered the Guardians. High winds hitting the mountains causes all kinds of disturbances. Wind rips down the slopes and and water builds up in the streams overflowing  causing flooding.

It's interesting to have updates on my phone, FB, TV with every expert and advisory and satellite pictures flooding the airwaves. The wet and brave live reporter in Hilo is giving a blow by blow description of rain and wind with the Coqui frogs chirping away in the background. It's a little bit humorous listening to her trying to figure out what else to say about the circumstances as the frogs are almost as loud as she is.  I am hitting overload. These newscasters must be exhausted.

 If I stand on my lanai, I know it's real deal storm, and we'll all feel much better when the morning comes and it moves up the island chain. We'll see what daylight brings.

May the night pass swiftly with no significant damage, and may all stay safe and sound. 

Aloha, Cherie