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

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