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May 2008

Kama`aina Lifestyle................Holoholo............

HAUOLI LA HANAU to some of the brightest hoku/stars in our Pacific NW skies.

One guy we all love (unless you saw him as da villain in the movie Karate Kid II in which case you probably hate him) just turned a monumental forty-nine years young!

Yuji Okumoto, movie star/owner of the Kona Kitchen Restaurant & Lounge (one of Seattle’s most popular Hawaiian hangouts) is da Man! In the Japanese culture, the 49th birthday is very special, kinda like the first birthday for our keikis is for us Hawaiians. It’s a huge event where protocol requires, among other things, wearing a special red hat and a kimono and stuff! Yuji is all for protocol except for the red hat....Yuji wore his favorite LA Lakers cap!!! The pahty for Yuji at the KK was totally awesome!

Mo’ birthdays: turning 50 (auwe, pooah tings, dey almost old huh?) were the Traveling Man from the Hawaii General Store’s (HGS) Travel Service Terry Uemura and Gregg Porter, the NW Hawaii Times sta rreporter-of-all-things-musical!I don’t know what kine water they’redrinking but they are about the youngest looking 50 year old guys I’ve ever seen.

Terry’s gang had a blast of a party at the Ginger Palace restaurant (by the Seattle airport)...in attendance were lots of Terry’s Travel Agent peers (like Anderson Travel’s Marti Anderson and Pleasant Hawaiian Holidays Greg and Carl Doern and All About Hawaii’s Bill Gilmore and Judy Jolly)...lots of friends there too like KC Huggins, Ki`apu Wolfe, Julie Farmer, Jolene Kang, Mark Knight and the Manatad sistahs (Dina, Lucy, Laura)....HGS’s Gail and Sara brought their beautiful 3 year old twins Kate and Lainie.........Dickie Kinimaka and Peter Tabali played some nice music for the pahty....twas good fun! Mahalos to the Ginger Palace’s Phil Tran for the great food!

Also celebrating a Hauoli la Hanau in April was Janel Tabali who’s much, much younger and definitely much, much prettier than Yuji, Terry or Gregg! I ran into Janel celebrating with her son Kupono and hub Peter Tiga Tabali Jr.

I don’t know how they keep doing it but congrats to Sharmayne Schilling and her Lokahi Ohana Hawaiian club as their Spring 2008 Ho`olaulea was one of the best I’ve been to! I don’t remember seeing soooo many people sitting in the stands watching the various Halaus do their dances...I mean the stands were totally packed!!! Great show once again........

Okay....if you work at a golf course like the Bartoces brothers (Brad at the Lynnwood links and Jason at the Lake Ballinger course) what do you do for recreation???

Of course.....you go play golf!!! I was hitting white balls at the Lake Ballinger course (ummm, some folks call it golf but I’m not so sure that’s what I was doing, was more like seeing how many balls I could hit into da watah) when I came across the Bartoces gang: father Tom Bartoces (originally from Puunene, Maui/Baldwin HS ‘67 guy) and his sons Brad, Jason and Matthew.....really nice family....and those guys were playing real golf (like the balls were going straight and den in the hole)! Auwe, I’m so jealous.........

I want to extend get well wishes to two of my favorite Hawaiian musicians in this area: Rod Lopez Sr (fabulous ukulele player) and his son Rod Lopez Jr (Hoku award winner/great singer/guitarist; currently with the Pacific Warning group)! Ironically/unfortunately, both gentlemen suffered serious heart ailments within a few weeks of each other! I wish them both a speedy and complete recovery.........

How do you say “Mahalo” to someone you don’t know whose unselfish act saves your life? In 2005, Irma Naki`i Kuenzli, the lovely wahine from Nanakuli (but now resides in Sequim, WA) whose beautiful voice has charmed hundreds in the Pacific NW area, was diagnosed with failing kidneys. Irma, her husband Mike Kuenzli and Sam Naki were “Naki`i”, the popular singing group from Sequim, WA. Her condition slowly worsened and she was placed on the national list for a kidney replacement. In early 2008, she was considered for a replacement operation but Irma’s doctor wanted to wait for a better matching kidney. In April, Irma’s husband Mike received a call stating that a living donor wanted to donate a kidney and Irma turned out to be a perfect match. The operation was performed on April 8, 2008 and so far so good. Irma is doing well though she will be in a period of adjusting to the new kidney for a while! The donor has elected to remain anonymous so Irma will never be able to do the thing she wants to do most....to meet her benefactor, to hug her and to say “Thank You”! I met with Irma and her ohana from Hawaii in a neat little apartment in the Baroness Hotel (adjacent to the Virginia Mason Hospital) where Irma and Mike remained until she went home to Sequim. Irma says Mahalo to all for the prayers and good wishes.....Irma can’t wait to sing again! A sad side note: Sam Naki died last August so for now, it will just be the Mike and Irma singing duo........

Gotta go............until next time......a hui hou e malama pono.................Danny

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