@Seawalker mentioned that we’re about due for a food post. I think food posts get about the second most comments right behind Ala Moana Center memories. Two things that MLCers cherish the most.
The other night I was having a bowl of Vietnamese pho with my daughter and I was telling her that pho is a new thing for us. When we were growing up, we only had saimin. The local kine like Hall Saimin, Saimin House, Tanouye’s, or the Chinese kine you get at the chop suey joints. I think pho didn’t become Hawaii mainstream until around the 90’s? I didn’t start eating it until just about 5 years ago! How’s that for a late bloomer?
Then it got me thinking of other “new” foods and the closest thing we had during our small-kid-time days.
Okay, the bologna sandwich is a bit extreme. After all – we did have one or two sub sandwiches restaurants around town. Remember Mr. Subs at Pucks Alley? And I think Magoo’s used to sell sub sandwiches too. And there was a little place in Kailua called Bread of Life where they sold awesome sandwiches too. And can’t forget the legendary pastrami sandwiches from Lyn’s Delicatessen in Ala Moana center.
But now you have the Vietnamese Banh Mi sandwiches. And Subway sandwiches and Auntie Pasta’s meatball sandwiches.
And speaking of Lyn’s Delicatessen – when we ate Italian food – we had spaghetti. We didn’t have all these different Italian restaurants manned with Vietnamese cooks. If we did want something close to real Italian food, we had to go to Waikiki. Trattoria comes to mind.
How about beef curry. Growing up we had one kine curry – the kine made from the Schillings curry powder in the glass bottle. Then came the little curry cubes. Not the same. Then came the Japanese curry like the kine at Coco Curry House or the one Zippy’s puts on their katsu curry. Not the same.
I remember when I was small and my dad took me walking around Waikiki, by the zoo. We walked by Queen Surf and the curry from the concession stand smelled so ono. Beef curry is one of those things that taste better when eaten at the beach, from a round styrofoam bowl with a huge scoop of rice underneath it. Hard to find beef curry made from Schilling curry power nowadays. Most are the cube or package kine.
When we drank coffee, we had a choice of black – with sugar and/or cream. And that was it. And it was coffee from a percolator. It would be either strong or bitter. But most times, both. Today’s coffees don’t even resemble coffee. Do these fu-fu drinks even have caffeine in them? How do the guys expect to grow hair on their chests drinking this stuff!
Just like in today’s world, we too had soda. But our special treat was a slush. A majority of the time it was strawberry. And if we were really lucky – like it was our birthday or something – we’d get a scoop of ice cream added to make it a slush float! But now there is the smoothie. Costs almost about as much as a plate lunch and contains just about the same amount of calories.
I remember back when I was in high school and I was working with this guy from California. Typical Cali guy – surfer, health nut, organic – you know the kine. Anyway, he told me one day “Let’s go get a smoothie”. I said “What the hell is a smoothie?”. Then he proceeded to take me to Vim & Vigor where he ordered a smoothie with some kind of protein powder added and some peanut butter and banana and other stuff. I had a taste and said “I’ll pass” then went to another store and got me a…, wait for it…,
One more – Dim Sum.
Who called it dim sum? We had manapua, pepeau, half moon, pork hash, and rice cake. That was it. Okay, jin dui for dessert. But that was all we had to choose from. We didn’t have shrimp dumplings or steamed soup dumplings. We didn’t even know what a dumpling was! Add chicken feet, taro root dumplings (there’s that word again), spring rolls, beef noodle rolls – none of that stuff. We had manapua.
Life was so simple back then.
What other foods can you think of that we didn’t have growing up? Or foods that evolved into something barely reminiscent of what we ate back-in-the-day. Maybe some of these places were around all the time but we just didn’t venture out as much? Nah, lots of new stuff nowadays as compared to small-kid-time. What can you think of?
A few weeks ago we attended Gratitude – a dance event to show appreciation to Howard Furukwa and Blake Nuibe of Hawaii Booking Services. They were the one who made it all possible for our local bands to play at gym dances, nightclubs, weddings, etc. Six of the many bands that Hawaii Booking Services represented played at the Gratitude gig: Greenwood, Johnny’s Rock Society, White Light, Odyssey, New Experience, and Homemade Jam. It was awesome. Mahalo to Robin Kimura of Greenwood and Candy Fujioka of the Ala Moana Hotel for making this all happen for us MLCers.
On my table at Gratitude, I had a couple of my social club members and their wives. Friends that I hadn’t seen for a couple/few years. Friends that I grew up and shared many memories together with. This dance event was a perfect excuse for us to get together to catch up, joke around, bump into acquaintences, and reminisce of the good ol’ days.
And you know what – by the end of the night – we still had more catching up to do. And somehow, I was elected to plan the next one. Maybe this time I’ll try to get more old club members to join us. Perhaps at the next big multi-band gig?
Do you still get together every now and then with your old social club members? Sometimes, all we need is a reason or event to see each other and catch up. But as MLCers, sadly it’s happening less at weddings and more at funerals.
Just in – The Beat coming up in November with a special guest band direct from Las Vegas! JAMM
And the always popular Funkshun!
I remember during small-kid-time when my mom used to drag me to Star Market in Kailua, to keep from being bored – I used to wander to the “toys” section. That’s right, the supermarkets all had a small toy section – although most of them were birthday party favors and such. But hey, when you’re small – toys are toys!
On a trip to Vegas, we stopped by a Dollar Tree store where I found a wall of dollar toys – a little better than the supermarket ones but they reminded me so much of the toys that I used to stare at and wished I could buy some. My mom always knew where to find me.
See if you recall some of these toys.
Let’s see – what else was there; Parachute men. Super balls. Jacks for the girls and plastic jewelry. Plastic harmonica. Soap bubbles. Marbles. Toy whistles.
What other toys do you remember wishing you could sneak in the wagon along with all the other groceries?
Have you been watching the 2016 Summer Olympics? What’s your take on it?
Me, I hoping that that men’s volleyball with the local boys get to stand on the podium. Women’s gymnastics – that’s always exciting. And at the edge of my seat at times. The USA girls are so muscular! And then there’s the MLCer from Uzbekistan – Oksana Chusovitina. I give her credit. Way to represent us MLCers! I just had to cheer her on.
The swimming with Michael Phelps, track with Usain Bolt. And the men’s gymnastics – individuals. When the Brazil guys took the silver and bronze medals. They were so emotional, so proud to be able to place in front of the home crowd. It’s good to see all the hard work and hours of training finally paying off.
Then next summer Olympics will be in Tokyo in 2020. Who’s up for a road trip? We can start saving now.
Want to check out some vintage aloha shirts? Get down to Ala Moana center before August 25 and visit the Fashion Annex. It’s located in the old Lululemon store – mall level on the old Nordstrom wing. But it’s open only between 12 noon and 5:00.
I happened to stumble upon this display and just had to take some pictures. See, I have this thing about old “kabe” shirts. I love to collect them and wear them.
Looking at the shirts on display is like taking a trip back in time. Like seeing this original palaka shirt.
And a bit of history about the shirt.
But what I was really excited to find was the original “kabe” shirts. Back in the 1920’s and 1930’s – Japanese men made printed shirts for themselves from Kabe crepe material imported from Japan. The ones that I look for have Japanese scenery on them. Something similar to this:
Here’s a kabe shirt that’s on display.
Notice the double stitch shoulders and the pleated back. And if you look closely, you can see the crepe-paper like textured material.
Man, I remember back in the 70’s when girls use to take their dad’s old kabe shirts from the closet, put them on and tie the bottom of the shirt around their waist and wear them to the beach. Little did they know that those shirts would be worth $700+ today.
Their mom’s probably bought their shirts for their dad from downtown back-in-the-day.
Then getting into the more “modern” times – like the 70’s, remember when Surfline was popular and shorts were actually short?
And check out this vintage Lightning Bolt surfboard.
Remember wearing these shirts to intermediate school?
And how about some of these shirts.
Back-in-the-day, so many aloha shirt makers. Today – their garments are treasures.
I encourage you to suck it up and make that trip to Ala Moana Center before August 25 and check out the Fashion Annex display. Note that it’s open only from 12 noon until 5:00 so time it right. It’ll be worth your time, I promise. If not to see the shirts, there are muumuus and other dresses too. And a Surfboards Hawaii tanker and a Country Surfboards big wave “stick”.
There’s even an old OTS TheBus shirt on display.
One day when I get around to taking pictures of my vintage shirt collection (albeit it’s a small collection), I’ll try to share them here. Anyone have some old kabe shirt lying around that you want to sell for cheap? 😉
I just went to my 40th high school reunion this past Saturday night. But first, let me share some history. Growing up in Coconut Grove in the older part of Kailua, I went to Kainalu Elementary School and Kalaheo Intermediate School. Yes, Kalaheo was just an intermediate at that time and was in the process of converting to a high school. If I had stayed at Kalaheo beyond my 9th grade year, I would’ve been in the first graduating class of Kalaheo High School.
But I wanted to graduate from Kailua High School – like all of my brothers did. So I got a district exception to take Japanese language as Kalaheo only offered French and Spanish. When I got to Kailua for my 10th grade year, I didn’t know many of my classmates. I did know some of my brother’s classmates who were seniors so I kinda hung around with them. And my friend’s sister was a junior so I could hang around with them too. During my sophomore year I did meet a few of my classmates, but not too many. And during my junior year, a lot of my friends who were a year younger than me transferred over from Kalaheo so I hung around with them.
In other words – I didn’t know too many of my classmates.
So when the 10th year reunion came around, I skipped it. And same with the 20th.
Then one of my classmates used to work with me at The Advertiser and she was active in the reunion committee so she talked me into attending the 30th reunion. Truthfully, I just needed to know that I would recognize at least one person there if my coworker went. So I dragged Paula along and we actually had a pretty good time. I saw some friends who I spent 3 years with while we were all in the same architectural drafting class. And I saw the girls from the Cherie Amies social club. It was nice to catch up with everyone.
But this time – for my 40th reunion – Paula said that she’ll stay home and let go on my own. And so I did. Was I scared? You betcha. But I knew that I’d regret it if I didn’t go so I went for it. Plus, I had connected with a number of classmates on Facebook over the years so seeing them there IRL (in real life) was almost like we knew each other from small-kid-time.
After I checked in and put my name tag on, there was a table with old KHS memorabilia which I immediately gravitated towards.
Check out those prom pictures
And our yearbooks
And I forgot all about our school newspaper.
Thank you Layne Luke for sharing all your KHS treasures with us!
After going through all the goodies and snapping pictures left and right, I recognized some people standing around and started up a conversation with them. Yeah, we didn’t hang around together during high school, but we knew each other and that was good enough for us.
We had a great prime rib buffet dinner thanks to one of our classmates who works at the venue. Thank you Michele I. And we had some classmates providing the music on stage. Even had door prizes! I scored a huge cooler bag and a nice Mid-Pac Country Club polo shirt.
There were some alumni promoting the Kailua High School alumni program where they had shirts, stickers, magnets and other KHS logo items for sell to benefit a scholarship fund. The girl from the alumni association said how she was a ’72 grad from Kailua – so I just had to go talk to her about the Hawaii ’72 group and I invited her to become a part of the group – as Hawaii ’72 doesn’t have a member from Kailua High School. Gotta represent, right? Found out that I knew her sister too who was a year older than me.
We had classmates come up to share stories. We took time to recognize and remember our classmates who have passed on way too soon. And of course, we sang our alma mater.
And before we knew it – the night was over. I drove home with a warm, fuzzy feeling. It was so good to see my old classmates – even though I didn’t know too many – but to see them all doing well. I think the Spirit of ’76 did good.
There was some talk about possibly a 60th birthday reunion.
But I still couldn’t get over the old memorabilia. It brought back so many memories. Like this last issue of the 1976 school year Surfrider newspaper.
Do you attend your high school reunions? If so, which ones did you go to? Do you plan on going to future ones? Any interesting reunion stories to share?
Shauna’s (Mis)fortune or perhaps a better prize? blog entry touched upon good and bad luck and favorite numbers. Some of her readers contributed versions of their superstitions.
KAN mentioned not carrying pork over the Pali highway at night or whistling at night. Ynaku listed a Big Island version of not carrying pork over Saddle road at night or vacuuming at night.
Opso share how he got major scoldings from his grandparents for sticking his chopsticks into a bowl of rice. I’ve always heard of this one but never saw it until my uncle passed away. After the funeral, we went to his house and my auntie had us all offer incense at the butsudan. And right there in front was a bowl of rice. The rice was shaped into a mound and the two chopsticks were stuck in – pointing straight up. After I saw that, I NEVER poke my chopsticks into my rice. It gave me chicken skin when I saw it.
BC listed one that many of us didn’t know about: Never empty a pot of water in the sink by pouring away from you because that’s how they bathe the deceased. Always pour the water towards you or to the side.
HNL2LAS listed about opening an umbrella in the house, cutting fingernails at night, and never looking into a mirror at night in the dark. After a weird nightmare the other night and using the bathroom, the mirror at night thought crossed my mind. After turning off the bathroom light, I just headed straight back to bed. Did not look back towards the mirror. Doubt if I ever will anymore.
The Dork Knight touched upon a couple more funeral related superstitions. Never pass food chopstick to chopstick because that’s how bones of the deceased are transferred. And never make round musubis (but he didn’t know why). Snow chimed in and shared with us how she actually saw round musubis at a funeral.
Ynaku remembered a Filipino custom where the people used to wash their hands in vinegar water – a cleansing ritual after touching the dead.
Hemajang shared one that I never heard of – when you get a fish bone stuck in your throat, make a cross (x) with your chopsticks on top your chawan (rice bowl) and sip tea from each quarter space of the crossed chopsticks. Anklebiters was taught to drink chazuke (tea/rice) to dislodge the fish bone. He said that one always worked for him.
And 9th Island Girl wanted to know the origin of why one should never point in a graveyard. I was told never to point at a graveyard and if I did, I should bite my finger – which I do.
So with Shauna’s blessing, I thought we could explore more superstitions – albeit for good luck, bad luck, or just because.
I remember my mom telling me not to cut my fingernails at night. When I asked her why, she didn’t know for sure but said maybe it had to do with the old days when kerosene lamps were used for lighting and since the lighting was so dim, it wasn’t a good idea. Makes logical sense to me.
Here’s a few others:
Poking food with your chopstick – bad luck. May be similar to the chopsticks in the chawan, but logic tells me that there’s more chance for the item of food to slip off the chopstick and drop.
Never pour for someone backhand (palm facing up) – bad luck. My friend told me how he got scolded by a nisei for doing that. He said it’s a dead man pour.
Always give odd number of things – I believe this stems from Japanese culture. Odd numbers are good, even numbers are bad. I’m guessing that this has to do with the number 4 in Japanese culture as being a bad luck number.
Don’t turn the calendar before the first of the month – bad luck. My Filipino friend shared this one with me. When I asked her why, she said she didn’t know, that it was something that her mother told her.
Never step on a grave – bad luck. I think it simply has to do with respect.
Always eat the food offered after a funeral – even if you’re not hungry. Again, I think it has something to do with respect for the deceased.
Always include money when giving a wallet as a gift – good luck. The theory is that if you include money in the wallet, it’ll never be empty of money.
Never give a pregnant person a lei that’s tied – superstition has it that if the lei is tied, the ambilical cord will wrap around the unborn child’s neck.
Never light more that 2 cigarettes with one match – aka Three on a Match. My friend told me that this superstition has to do with war time. When you light the first cigarette, the enemy will spot you. When you light the second cigarette, the enemy will take aim. When you light the third cigarette, the enemy will fire.
Always tape a coin on a knife when giving it as a gift. This one gets complicated because the receiver is supposed to give a knife with a coin taped on it back to the giver – or something like that. The coin is supposed to symbolize sincerity and that the person receiving the knife shouldn’t take it as a threat. Returning the favor is to signify that the recipient acknowledges the sincerity of the gift.
Never blow out the flame on incense – shake the incense until the flame goes out.
Never throw away rice – otherwise you’ll become poor.
If you spill salt, throw some over your shoulder. To ward off bad luck.
If you see a big moth in your garage, that means someone close to you will die soon. However, I like to think of it as someone deceased is visiting.
Never look at a night marcher.
If you see a rock that resembles a face – leave it alone.
Never take the last one of something – aka The Old Maid syndrome. My father-in-law will not take the last one of something. For example, if there is one piece of tofu left, he’ll cut it in half and eat one half. Then he’ll cut the leftover half in half again and eat one half. And repeat the process until the piece is too small to cut. Then he’ll leave it.
A doctor that Paula used to work for said that the chicken isn’t the one who takes the last piece. It’s the one who takes the second to the last piece.
How about some Las Vegas superstitions:
Rub the Buddha’s stomach at California Hotel – brings you good luck.
If you’re a first time crap shooter and you’re a male – don’t tell them. First time male crap shooters are considered bad luck.
If you’re a first time crap shooter and you’re a female – announce it. First time female crap shooters are considered good luck.
Do you have any superstitions that you can add? Do you have any ideas where some of these superstitions stem from? What about your own personal superstitions – especially when it comes to Las Vegas?
Hanafuda – The Japanese card game using karuta cards. Translated, “hanafuda” means “flower cards”
I never did learn how to play hanafuda. I often watched people play it and they would say that you simply had to match the pictures. Certain ones were worth different points and the ones that were worthless were called “rubbish”.
In Hawaii, the game was sometimes called Sakura or Higobana.
But it is also popular in South Korea where the cards are called “Hwatu” and the most common game is called “Go-Stop” or “Sutda”.
The game itself has many variations such as:
Hana Awase – Hiyako Variant
Did you used to play Hanafuda? If so, think you still remember how to play the games? Or like me, did you used to just like to take the cards out the little wooden box and mess around with them? What kind of memories does the hanafuda cards bring back to you? Perhaps watching your parents play with the uncles and aunties or your grandparents trying to teach you how to play? Share your memories with us about Hanafuda.
Remember small kid time – and our parents would send us to Summer Fun? Either the Parks & Recreation kine or YMCA kine.
Actually, I don’t have much to say about it because I never went.
When I tell my friends that, they reply with astonishment “What? You never attended Summer Fun?”.
Nope. Never did. Probably because my family couldn’t afford it. Plus, my mom was a stay-at-home mom so there was never the need. And it’s not like I missed it. We had our own summer fun – coming and going as we pleased, doing what we wanted to do – which was mostly playing. And getting into mischief every once in awhile.
And just about every summer we’d pitch a pup-tent in our front yard under the mango tree – right on mom’s pokey Japanese grass – which poked right though the goza mats we had inside the pup-tent. And the best part was when we’d get a rare summer rain – and we’d run directly into the tent. There’s just something special about sitting inside of a tent when it’s raining.
But for those of you who did attend summer fun, tell me what I was missing. Playing sham-battle, doing arts and crafts, going on excursions, camping at Camp Erdman, trading part of your home lunch with your buddy.
When our girls were small, they attended the YMCA Summer Fun program. It cost us a big chunk of money, but they had fun learning how to swim, going on walking excursions to Waiakalulu falls and bus excursions to Waimea Falls park, and sleep-overs at the YMCA. Daughter #2 even continued on to become a Junior Leader during her early teenage years.
Did you go to Summer Fun during small kid time? What kind of things did you do at Summer Fun? If you stayed home like I did, what kind of things did you used to do during the summer time? Have any funny Summer Time stories to share?
@Mark Shelby had suggested this topic and I thought that it might just fit in. Thanks Mark.
If you noticed that I was MIA on MLC this past week, I have an excuse – I was on vacation in Japan. Tokyo, Kyoto, and Osaka. It was awesome. Maybe more about that later.
But while we were in Osaka, we were shopping around the Tokyu Hands store. And what sounded like local music was playing, but I wasn’t sure of the song. Then when the next song played – I knew that golden voice – it definitely was Mackey Feary. Then as I was browsing around the store, another song comes on and Paula texts me “Seawind“. And after we met up, we hear Loyal Garner.
Mind you – this was in a huge department store in the middle of Osaka, Japan.
But getting back to the topic – back in the 70’s, there was a emergence of local talent. What local bands come to mind?
For me, and prolly a lot of other MLCers – first band that pops into mind is Cecilio and Kapono or just C&K as they are better known. I bet everyone had this album, cassette, or 8-track tape.
This album takes me back to the high school days – packed in Dean’s car heading back from the North Shore all burnt out from a day of surfing. Especially, “Sunday Party in the Country”. Listening to that in the shadows of the Koolaus as we drive around Kahana bay.
And who can forget “Waimanalo Blues“? It’s timeless. And the album cover.
I had a special affinity with this album cover. It’s at the taxi stand close to the home I grew up in, in Kailua. It’s where the black jitney cabs used to park. I’ve passed it a hundred times. In fact, I used to cut my hair at the shop next door.
And one more – these 2 guys used to play at the Territorial Tavern on Bishop Street.
I bought this album for “Days of my Youth”. But I ended up liking the whole album.
Then later, I was turned on to this song:
There was so much local talent back then. And not just “covers” of radio songs. But original music.
Okay, I’ve opened the door for Hawaii’s local bands back in, IMHO, the best decade for music. What other bands do you remember? Maybe you went to catch them at local bars. Maybe you had their album for the turntable and a tape for the car. Maybe hearing a certain song takes you back to a special time – like hearing “About You” and thinking of slow dancing at your prom. Share your special memories with us.
Rodney Lee is a Baby Boomer - and proud of it. Rodney started the Midlife Crisis blog back in the days of The Honolulu Advertiser and ran it for about 3 years. After The Honolulu Advertiser shut down, Rodney decided to continue his blog here at Midlife Crisis Hawaii. New blog entries are added every Monday and Thursday.
So join Rodney as he reminisces about the good ol' days.
Midlife Crisis Hawaii - where the memories live on.