Honoka`a Still Holding on to Culture

honokaa.jpg     Honoka`a’s Uruma Okinawa Club celebrated it’s Shinenen Kai on Sunday at the Honoka`a Hongwaji Hall.  For us, this is the third year we have had the privledge to be part of the entertainment, along with dancers from Ryusei Honryu Ryuko Kai.  Hilo’s Kobudo Taiko also was featured.  Although the majority of attendees were 60 and older, their strong affection of their culture and in keeping up what their parents left them have brought them back to celebrate like this once a year.  The club was started in the late 1930’s, and seems to have emerged from the immigrants on the plantation getting together at different houses to play sanshin and talk story.  We heard some interesting stories, but it seems like all had one thing similar.  The sanshin was the center of their identity and gatherings.  It meant so much to them and was treasured as part of their everyday life.  Just as in Okinawa, the sanshin helped to get through the hard times, as well as announce and celebrate the good.  For the descendants of the Honoka`a immigrants, the sanshin speaks to their hearts and brings back nostalgic memories that they enjoy everytime they hear it.  It calls them back to their childhood, and comforts them by bringing visions of their parents back.  “The sanshin is not just an instrument, its a voice that speaks to our soul”