It was an eventful day, beginning with stress, worry and unsettling anticipation as all hawai`i awaited the arrival of the predicted Tsunami which was created from the 9.0 earthquake in Chile. Almost everyone in Hawai`i was alerted and shaken from sleep at 6am, with sirens that was the first real alert of the pending danger to come. Luckily, the Tsunami turned out to be only a few feet with non significant strength to do damage across the island chain.
With that out of the way, Kohala Okinawans went forth with their annual New Years gathering at the Hawi Jodo Shu Hall. The only set back and missing attendance was the Hilo group who had to cancel. However, Young Okinawans of Hawai`i members from Honolulu, Aaron Hoo and Lawson Kita brought smiles and excitement with the Shisa Mo-i. This was a rare treat for the Kohala members. Ukwanshin leaders, Norman Kaneshiro and Eric Wada provided music and jikata for the local dancers, Lois and Tah Ajimine. “We were so overwhelmed and thankful” said Mrs. Nakamura(91) of Kohala. “Its been almost 20 years since we really had live Traditional Okinawan music.” Many older members commented that they were happy to see live Okinawan entertainment that they had not been able to experience since their issei were there. The songs and dances brought back nostalgic memories and many talked to about the plantation days and started to remember the “old days” “I never thought I would hear those songs again” said one older member.