15th Annual Honolulu Festival Friendship Gala to Support Cultural and Educational Programs

March 14, 2009 Saturday
7:00-9:00 p.m.
Honolulu Convention Center
* This is a fundraiser. Tickets are $85 ($35 tax deductible)

Come and enjoy the delicious tastes of Hawaii’s famous restaurants. The Friendship Gala promotes friendship, understanding and international goodwill among the people of Hawaii, Japan and other Pacific Rim countries. Attendees are offered a unique insight into the cultures of the Pacific through dance, song and the regional cuisine by some of Hawaii's most famous chefs.

The Friendship Gala, a fundraiser for the Honolulu Festival Foundation, will be held on the evening of Saturday March 14 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m. at the Hawaii Convention Center. Admission to the Gala is $85, of which $35 is tax deductible. You will be able to purchase tickets through our Online Shopping website, by calling our Hotline (808)596-3327 or inquiring at your hotel concierge. Parking will be available at the Hawaii Convention Center for $5.

The Friendship Gala is a fun party where guests can taste a variety of foods of Hawaii’s famous restaurants and enjoy the entertainment of Honolulu Festival’s participating performers for a good cause. Some of the restaurants that will be representing the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival Friendship Gala are: Alan Wong’s Restaurant, Roy’s, Chef Mavro, Nobu Waikiki, Tango Contemporary Cafe, 3660 on the Rise, beachhouse at the moana, Ruth’s Chris Steak House, Hakone at the Hawaii Prince Hotel, Mariposa, PF Chang’s China Bistro and Twist at Hanohano. These are all popular restaurants representing Hawaii’s elite culinary scene. The menu includes appetizers, main entrees and desserts created specifically by the chefs for the Honolulu Festival.

Delight yourself and attend the Friendship Gala!

Buy tickets for the Friendship Gala!>>

14th Honolulu Festival Report

Honolulu Festival Foundation


Obama Girls to Participate in 15th Annual Honolulu Festival

Talk about Inauguration Fever! The news these past days have been all about President Obama's Inauguration. And of course he being from Hawaii makes all of us very proud. He is the first president to be born in Hawaii and the first to be of African American ancestry.

There is another "Obama". Obama is a city located in Fukui Prefecture, Japan. “Obama” means “little beach” in Japanese. It is on Wakasa Bay, north of Kyoto and Nara, and was once the capital of Wakasa Province. Population 33,000. Fishing was primary industry however has now turned to tourism. Lacquerware is popular. Beautiful temples and bay.

The city of Obama has received much publicity because it shares its name with that of U.S. President-Elect Barack Obama. It began when Obama as a Senator gave a 2006 interview to Japanese television network TBS where he noted that, when passing through customs in Narita Airport, an official looking at his visa said that he was from Obama. The Obama City Hall heard about the interview and the mayor, Toshio Murakami, sent Senator Obama a set of the city’s famous lacquer chopsticks, a DVD about the city and a letter wishing him the best. As Senator Obama's presidential campaign progressed, more local businesses began to organize primary parties and put up "Go Obama!" posters, sell "I love Obama" T-shirts, and produce manjū (a type of Japanese cake) with Senator Obama's face on them. A statue of Obama has become a popular tourist attraction.

The hula troupe called Obama Girls was created in January 2008 by hula instructor Chikako Shimizu. They are a group of approximately 15 housewives in their 30’s and 40’s.

They participated in Hawaii’s Pan Pacific Festival in June 2008 and are hoping to attract more spectators at the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival due to Obama having won the presidential election. Look forward to the Obama Girls' performance!

Honolulu Festival


New Year’s ‘Ohana Festival presented by the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii

What a wonderful way to start out the New Year! Last week Sunday was the annual ‘Ohana Festival at JCCH and Mo’ili’ili Field. The Festival celebrates all things Japanese. It is a great opportunity for families to experience the Japanese culture whether you’re Japanese or not. But for those of Japanese heritage and wanting to pass down the traditions to your kids, this event is a must! Admission to the event is free, however crafts and multicultural food booths sponsored by Japanese prefecture clubs cost extra. The food was great! KC waffle dogs, Hiroshima okonomiyaki, Iwakuni sushi, Okinawa andagi and andadogs, Hawaiian roasted corn, shave ice and cotton candy and much more.

Cultural displays included bonsai (Japanese art of miniature trees), Origami (art of folding paper), Shuji (art of calligraphy) and Ikebana (art of flower arranging).

There were two stages set up for entertainment. I enjoyed the taiko performance. There was also a mochi pounding demonstration, Okinawan dance and a karate demonstration. The children enjoyed Kikaida, hard to believe that this Japanese hero is 61 years old. What was so neat is that all the kids knew the Kikaida song and were willing to share their talent with all of the spectators.

Even our own Honolulu Festival Foundation set up a booth to sell 15th Annual Honolulu Festival T-shirts and eco bags.

The ‘Ohana Festival was a day of fun and activities for the entire family.

Honolulu Festival Foundation
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii


Blue Hawaii LifeStyle - Live Healthy, live Aloha!

It’s the New Year and it’s a time when everyone is making resolutions. I guess the main topics of New Year’s resolutions are focused around staying healthy and looking good. I’ve been talking about the lifestyles that we have here in Hawaii that may be a bit unique in my Let’s Talk Story column as well as in my blog corner for quite some time now. Unique because we are so fortunate to be blessed with great weather year round and beautiful beaches. And unique also because we have an enriched history of our Hawaiian ancestors and the immigrants from all over the world such as Portugal, Japan, Korea, China, Mainland U.S. The immigrants came to develop the sugar and pineapple industries. All of this led to a diverse blending of cultures, foods, and a more laid back lifestyle…surfing, fishing, hula, Hawaiian music. This does not mean that Hawaii is laid back all the time. We work very hard to make a living. Businesses and industries are run similar to those in other large cities in the world. But I also think that living in Hawaii, many of us tend to lead healthy and active lives during our personal time.

I would like to introduce a store located in the new area of the Ala Moana Center near Nordstrom on the second floor that promotes just that, the healthy and active lifestyle found in Hawaii. It is called Blue Hawaii LifeStyle. What got me interested in visiting this store was their acai bowls. Acai (pronounced ah-sigh-ee) is a small berry that grows on the Acai Palm indigenous to the rainforests of Central and South America. This mighty fruit is known for its health benefits-full of antioxidants, amino acids and essential fiber and fatty acids. Acai can be found in Hawaii in juices, frozen fruit bars, vitamin supplements and frozen smoothies. The acai bowl that is found at Blue Hawaii LifeStyle is a frozen smoothie made from acai berries, blueberries, raspberries, marionberries, banana and organic soy milk. It is topped with bananas, berries, granola and honey. It is delicious and refreshing, perfect for breakfast or lunch. The Small Acai Bowl costs $6.75 and is very filling. I felt energized after eating the acai bowl, not like those heavy lunches where you want to nap right after you eat. Is it all in my mind? They also serve a regular bowl for $8.75 which would probably be good to share with a buddy along with their panini.

Blue Hawaii LifeStyle’s motto is “Live Healthy, live Aloha!” Aloha has so many meanings. I think it means loving the things that are important around you and incorporating that into your lifestyle. For example, if you’re in the service industry it means to take care of our customers with genuine kindness. Personally it means to take care of yourself, your mind and body. Stay healthy by exercising and eating the right food. Aloha also means to take care of our ‘aina, our land, “that which feeds”. Blue Hawaii LifeStyle is a great example of this Aloha. This health specialty store has a juice bar/café serving baked goods, salads, sandwiches, coffees, teas, smoothies, organic and natural juices, and deep sea water. And the shelves are full of island made products such as spices, dressings, bath and body products, ceramics, books and music CDs. Their employees are very friendly and professional. They are knowledgeable about the products mostly made from Hawaii grown ingredients.

Blue Hawaii LifeStyle is very dedicated to green living, taking care of our ‘aina. All the items used in serving their foods are compostable and recyclable. Cups and utensils are corn-derived therefore compostable. Their carry out bags are made from 40% post-consumer waste paper therefore using recycled material. And to top it off, the flooring is made from earth-friendly cork. They are a leader in living green. Hopefully more Hawaii companies will follow them in these practices.

Founder/CEO Michael Zhang’s mission is “to establish Blue Hawaii LifeStyle as the globally recognized representatives of the healthy, active lifestyle of Hawaii.” He has plans to expand to mainland China by the fourth quarter of 2009. "Beginning in Shanghai's Xintiandi Shopping Center, we will continue the expansion to Beijing, Shenzhen and Guangzhou, bringing our concept of the active, healthy lifestyle found here in Hawaii to a new demographic." So Michael is also our goodwill ambassador promoting Hawaii. Great for our tourism industry.

I encourage all of you to visit Blue Hawaii LifeStyle and try their Acai Bowls. One more thing, they sell an all-natural skin care product line called Honey Girl Organics. Billie, one of their staff, was kind enough to give me a sample of their Face and Eye Crème. This crème is made of organic honey harvested from bee hives on the North Shore of Oahu. Unbelievable. This line of products is designed with antioxidants and anti-aging nutrients that are to prevent tissue damage, stimulate new cell generation, tone, tighten, and soften your skin, giving you a fresh, youthful appearance. I know, sounds like many other cosmetic advertisements. But I have a feeling that Honey Girl may be the magic potion that I have been looking for all these years. I am still in the experimental stage so I can’t guarantee that it works 100%, but I must admit that my face felt softer, moist and supple immediately. And I noticed that it even made my lips feel smoother. I intend to report back to you as I continue to experiment with Honey Girl’s product line.
My apologies for getting sidetracked. Please visit Blue Hawaii LifeStyle. You will be surprised by all the products made in Hawaii promoting a healthy and active lifestyle with aloha.

Blue Hawaii LifeStyle
URL: www.bluehawaiilifestyle.com

Honolulu Festival Foundation


Doraemon, Japan’s Anime Ambassador, is coming to the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival!

Doraemon is a character in a Japanese manga (cartoon) series. Doraemon is a robotic cat who travels back in time from the 22nd century to befriend a young boy named Nobita Nobi. This series of cartoons for magazines, television and movie was created by Fujiko Fujio, the pen name of two anime artists, in 1969. The main theme of the story is about Doraemon helping Nobi in his everyday struggles at school and at home. Nobi is always asking Doraemon for advice in dealing with his problems. Doraemon has a large pocket from which he produces many gadgets from the future. Nobi, looking for an easy way out, gets Doraemon to produce a gadget that will solve his problem quickly. Of course that leads to bigger problems such as the gadget being misused by Nobi’s friends. But the story usually ends where “the bad guys” are taught a lesson.


The plot line is simple but has appeal to many because the moral lessons are about values such as integrity, perseverance, courage, family and respect for elders. Environmental issues such as pollution and deforestation are also subjects.
Doraemon was selected as “The Cuddliest Hero in Asia” in the special issue of Asian Hero in TIME Magazine in April 2002. And to top that off in March 2008 Doraemon was appointed Japan’s first “anime ambassador” by Japan’s Foreign Ministry. This was done so that people in other countries will deepen their interest in Japanese culture, such as the anime culture. Doraemon is Japan’s anime culture icon. His character is used in television commercials and various promotions. Doraemon toys and novelties are very popular in Japan. His many gadgets are sold at toy stores throughout Japan.
The Honolulu Festival is looking forward to have Doraemon part of the Festival. Schedule of events are to include showing the Doraemon movie at the Hawaii Convention Center on March 14, Saturday, and March 15, Sunday. The children will definitely enjoy that. Stay tuned for detailed information on Doraemon’s appearances at the 15th Annual Honolulu Festival!

Honolulu Festival Foundation