Chinese New Year 2016 in Honolulu-The Year of The Monkey

 

I Had such a wonderful day in China Town today. It was the celebration of Chinese New Year. The year of the Monkey. My grandson Nico’s year.

It has been at least 40 years since I attended the last one. Same old, same old. “Oh I so want to go down and see the celebration” but I just always put it off.

Not this year. My family was going down and I was invited too so I went! Here is the proof in photos.

IMG_4308Some of my family

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IMG_4251These three are my favorite. There were so many of these toys, tee shirts and food lining the streets. We strolled all morning and spent lots of money.

IMG_4315I could not figure out what this was and I had a hard time understanding the Chinese man’s accent. He was patient and kept repeating until I figured it out. Red Dates!

IMG_4301So hard to choose. All was freshly cooked and smelled so good.

IMG_4312One of my favorites. Char Siu. Bought to take home

IMG_4310Can you tell we are in China Town?

IMG_4316This is one of the most popular bakeries in China Town. You have to get to it early or this is what happens.

Odds and Ends Along the Way

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A tip of the hat to my dear friend

chinese New Year 2016 - 61My daughter couldn’t resist all of the colorful cartoon items Inside the bookstore

IMG_4276At last what looked to be an authentic Item. When I went to check to see how much it was I was told it was being used by the fortune teller and not for sale. Sigh.

IMG_4300Guan Yin Goddess of Mercy. There is a wonderful blog that tells you all about her at https://lol8.wordpress.com/2010/04/03/dreams-on-her-birthdays/

IMG_4282And what is Chinese New Years without a Lion Dance. Here the lion hesitates. Should he enter the smoke?

IMG_4285But then his companion catches up to him and says, don’t worry little buddy I’ve got your back

IMG_4283And little buddy feels brave and stands tall and into the smoke he goes

IMG_4264These are other members who also participate in making the lion dance. They all wait their turn as the dancers change out quite frequently

chinese New Year 2016 - 44Here you can see them changing out. Notice the woman with the blue arm sticking out towards the green lion. She is offering him money for good luck. This is also how the club makes their money.

IMG_4294Oh the lion is so happy to have been fed.

IMG_4274So my daughter feeds the lion too. We can all use a bit of luck.

IMG_0391And I can use all the luck I can get.

IMG_4333Then these little lions came along. I could not resist following them as they would stop and wag their tail end.

IMG_4339The little lion makes it up the stairs and heads to this woman who definitely wants good luck for her business. See all those red papers on her desk? She has been feeding many lions and she must be feeding them well as the lions don’t give those papers to just anyone.

IMG_4342And there he is giving her another good luck paper

IMG_4330And these are the little children who are dancing that lion. They start from a very,very young age.

So what a wonderful day I had. I loved the banging, drumming and all of the commotion. I watched the smiles on all of the old Chinese people’s faces and wondered just what memories were going through their minds. For me I loved seeing all the different nationalities co-mingling. I thought what a wonderful island this is that we all celebrate and enjoy each others differences. That is why I can honesty say “Hawaii No ka oi.” (Hawaii is the best)

I Can See Clearly Now That The Vog Is Gone

FullSizeRenderLos Angeles has smog and San Francisco has fog and Hawaii has vog. You are looking at a photo over looking Pearl Harbor. If you have really good eyesight you might even be able to see Diamond Head in the middle back part of the photo.

Vog is sulfur dioxide from the volcano that mixes with other gases and emits a type of pollution into the atmosphere. When the winds blow from the Big Island of Hawaii towards Oahu the above photo shows the results. People start complaining of headaches, sinus conditions and coughing.

IMG_1613Ah, but when the trade-winds come back they blow away all the vog and your eyes clear up, your headache goes away and you can see forever.

Tuesdays at Bishop Museum

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My mind has become very dull. I need to challenge it. By dull, I mean giving children’s tours at Bishop museum has made me complacent. Giving adult tours always keeps me on my toes.

Fridays at Bishop have an abundance of docents and none want to give up their public tours. Not many want to do the children’s tours either. So when the museum re-opened their doors on Tuesdays I jumped at the chance. I knew I would once again be able to do regular adult, public tours.

After the museum had closed it’s doors on Tuesdays, for financial reasons, a way was found to once again welcome the public back that week day.

Kids aren’t my thing. As I had said my brain was starting to atrophy having to talk down to them. When I did get to substitute on Fridays and do adults I was finding I was having a hard time describing artifacts and culture in a more mature way.

Now having started in the last part of 2015 on Tuesdays I am once again researching and trying to switch my tours up to a more interesting subject to keep adults interested. I am not complaining. I love research but the funny thing is I’ve discovered I miss the kids. So starting the first of January we started booking them once again now on Tuesdays.

Guess who is able to do both children and adults? Me! With mixed feelings I have started back with the kids with the provision that I still get to do one public tour each week along with the kids. My brain is being challenged. I do realize now that it takes just as much work to keep the kids interested as it does adults.

Today on my children’s and adult tours I stopped to talk about the Hale Pili. I always ask the children what they think this particular Hale (house) was used for. You can read about it in this past post https://kareninhonolulu.wordpress.com/wp-admin/post.php?post=524&action=edit

Today with the adults it was interesting as they asked questions I was not prepared for.

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It was a simple question and one that I could not answer. So I had to do research. Someone had asked me where did the adult children who married go when they needed their own houses. Hmmm. Well I knew families did stay together but just how?

What I found was they added on a hale or house in the compound where the parents lived with other families or they built a large Hale to accommodate everyone.  I found this quote from the book ” Arts and Crafts of Hawaii” on page 77,  amusing. “…some persons had no houses but lived on the hospitality of others,” and he refers to such person contemptuously as “o-kea-ili-mai (drift gravel) and “uni-pehiiole” (stone to throw at a rat).” Even back then they had the problems with unwanted guest.

On further research I found hales had one door. It was a very low door so that you had to crawl into the sleeping house. This had a purpose. When winds would blow it helped to keep them from wafting through the dwelling. Also in the middle of the sleeping hale was a small pit to keep a fire burning throughout the night. Though it helped to heat the area its main purpose was to keep spirits that roamed during the night out of the house.

There were many common areas too that everyone shared so it was just a matter of one or two houses being needed for sleeping. Cooking was done by the men, women ate together with the very young children in their own hale, and men ate together in theirs. They had hales for fishing equipment, working on household items such as kapa, baskets and mats.

I never thought about this but it makes sense. They did not have problems with bugs or pest coming into the sleeping hale at night because they did not have any. It was not until the Europeans and whalers started to arrive bringing pest and illnesses with them.

The larger introduced animals also meant big problems as they started to eat the grass off of the Hawaiian’s dwellings! They also ate the grasses and leaves used to make the hales. It gave new meaning to being eaten out of house and home.

I am so happy to be back to the public tours and having this one simple question has given me much to add to my bag of tricks so to speak. I know the kids will really enjoy hearing about the cows eating the houses. Oh those kids they laugh at the darnedest things.

Information about the Hales comes from the book “Hawaiian Culture”page 198-201

Be Careful What You Wish For

I’m getting old! I want to totally retire. Cutting down Bamboo, taking a pick to the yard  and dragging green waste from back to the front of the house made my knee swell.

As I would sit in the house no longer able to stand I would think, wouldn’t it be nice to lay in a hospital bed recovering from something or another and just read and knit?

Now don’t tell me there aren’t some of you out there who have not wished for the same thing. Yes, laying in a bed having my breakfast brought to me and watching what ever crummy program was on TV while knitting a pair of socks appealed to me.

Well finely I got it! At the beginning of 2015 my knee got so bad I could hardly do the museum tours anymore and could not stand longer than a few minutes. And guess what? Joy of joys my doctor said it was time to replace my knee.

The appointment for the surgery was made I packed my book and knitting and off I went to the hospital. I was not worried, not apprehensive just smiling. I could not wait for the 3 days in the hospital to just relax and kick back. Well maybe not kick back as my knee might not be able to do that for awhile but relax for sure.

Waking up from surgery I was up and walking within a few hours. Oh the doctor was pleased and so was I because the pain was tolerable and I thought, “Oh this is going to be a breeze.” In fact I must admit there never was really any pain other then stiffness and swelling.

But it seemed every half hour they were shoving pills in me and then I started getting so sick I could not function. Oh but I could walk with the aid of the walker and the therapists were ecstatic. The reading went out the window and it was too uncomfortable to even pick up my knitting needles. So much for a pleasant rest.

What in the world was I thinking. I was having major surgery and if I was going to have to be in the hospital there was a reason. Definitely not to vacation.

Well it seemed the doctor was so pleased with the ability I had to walk so well that he sent me home in two days. But I’m sick I told the nurse I feel horrible. She just sat stoically and made out a list of pills I was to take for pain (that I was not having)to take me with me upon discharge.

So this is in March. I was bound to my bed for six weeks. Sleep was non-existent and I could barely eat a piece of fruit. I was so sick. But no pain mind you. After a couple of trips to emergency and never figuring out why I was so sick the last thing I was going to do was write in my blog. So that was my life knitting and reading. Ha! Tis to laugh.

By August I was finely able to get into my car without pain when I bent my knee. I could finely sit at Starbucks without the cold a/c locking up my fake knee, and I was no longer sick. To tell the truth though I was glad enough to leave Starbucks as the place is so uncomfortable. But my friends wanted to meet there so I tried.

IMG_2280The swelling in my knee finely went down this month. I can now do a squat and am able to go up and down stairs with no pain. Best of all I can give 3 hour tours without having to sit down every half hour.

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This was the view from my upstairs bedroom window day and evening

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The field was just 3 houses up the street from our house. I just loved it. But because of my knee I had since moved down stairs and my view now is of the house next door. Yeah, blocking the air and nothing to look at.

To continue on with my year. It’s now June. I’m doing dishes and my grandson comes in the house and tells me to go out and look at field and mountain. “Not now Nico. I’m busy.”

Then I smell smoke. Nico neglected to tell me one thing.

IMG_3118The Hill was on Fire!!!

Three houses away the fire was heading down towards our block. My daughters brother in law is on the roof of the house with a hose trying to hose down the weeds of the the house that belonged to a widow and her girls. They were not even home.

IMG_3116The firemen turn on the hydrant in front of our house as the fire draws nearer.

My daughter and I are in the house fighting with the four dogs trying to get their leashes on them as they are going nuts. I’m not much help because my leg is still stiff and sore and I can’t bend to get them to get their collars on. Finely we get them taken care of  and in the car. We manage to get any important papers and prepare to evacuate.

IMG_3117Though the fire looks to be raging they are actually getting it contained. Through the night the firemen worked on spontaneous flair ups but these wonderful guys got it all under control. Our house smelled like a burnt out log for days. That was OK it was better then it BEING a burnt out log.

Now  it’s August and my knee and therapy are in control. I’m fine, so my Eye doctor said I was well enough to have my cataracts removed. So one eye was done in August and the next in September. I was not able to be fitted for glasses until December so Reading was not all that easy. But oh the world was so much brighter.

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So here it is January 2016 and I’m hoping for a much, much quieter year. Also to be more regular with my blogs. I’ve decided to make them much shorter as I tend to blab on to much but make them a little more frequent. I hope that your new year will be a good one and remember, be careful what you wish for or you just may end up like me.

Cooking from the garden

  

I’m watching Venetia in Tokyo.  I love this program. Actually it is Venetia at home. Today she is showing how to cook lemon verbena chicken now I need to go by the
plant.

I’ve been so busy knitting and sewing that I have totally neglected the garden but this is a good push for me
First she cooks the chicken skinless inside of a wok filled with two bars of butter. I can’t remember what you call that. 
First she cooks the chicken skinless inside of a wok filled with two bars of butter. Can’t remember what you call that,anyway, she coats the chicken with salt and pepper and flour and puts it into the wok and cooks it until its Golden brown on both sides. After it’s cooked she empties the butter out of the pan and then put in some lemon juice and lemon verbena covers it and lets steam for about a minute and that’s it I have got to go get the lemon,a wok and lemon balm.

  So what has been happening with my family. I went to a hula competition that my children were in well two of my grandchildren.

The photo above was taken at the Hula Oni e. If you’ve been reading my blog long enough you might have seen other photos of them. Well they’re growing up pretty quick. 

The competition is so beautiful but my favorite part is when they dance the Kahiko. These are the old historical dances. 

 
The above photo is my grandsons he is second to the left. They took first place in their division. 

NowI’m getting ready for Halloween and I’m starting on some Allen Dart patterns. These are little hamsters dressed up for Halloween I’ve got two done and three to go.  

   
  

When They Call, You Must Go

This is an experience I had years back when Hawaiian Hall at Bishop Museum was undergoing restoration. I love these experiences and enjoy sharing them. I hope you enjoy it too.

 

The sun was out, and the whole Koolau range was in view. Sun and blue skies equal no people at the museum. As I stood in the main entrance a few people passed into the Kahili room. Maybe a couple viewed the art in the vestibule.

In the quiet I heard someone singing. Now you have to remember that lots of people have had ghostly experiences in this hall and I was not sure what I heard. But the sound was definitely there. Then it became muffled. I didn’t want to trudge up the two flights of stairs to check what was going on. The only people who had ventured to the upper exhibit area was a very pleasant Hawaiian couple.
But I still heard the singing and it was coming from above. I called over to security and told them to look into their cameras to see if someone was singing in the photo gallery.
“Yeah, someone is, let me get one of the security over there.”
Now I could hear the singing clearer and it sounded like chanting. The young guard came through the main doors and headed up the stairs. Soon the chanting became louder and I was curious. So I ascended the stairs also.
The doors to the exhibit hall had been closed and now one was ajar. I knew that they were supposed to be opened. I entered and saw the guard talking to the male of the Hawaiian Couple. The woman was in a corner, arms raised in supplication, moving gracefully,chanting. I approached the guard who was now in a mildly heated conversation.
The Hawaiian man was being told that he could not be chanting or singing or doing anything in the museum without permission and that they had to leave.
In the past there have been demonstrations and even artifacts have disappeared and the guard was worried that this could be some kind of demonstration. The gentleman was stating that the things of the museum were part of his ancestry and he gestured around the room.
The woman was still chanting as the discussion went on and then the security received a call from the office asking what was status of the situation. He stated that a woman and man were singing and he was trying to get them to leave.
I on the other hand saw that they were chanting as I had seen many times before in the museum. I did not feel that they were protesters but that they were paying their respects. Although other chanters always requested permission before doing so.
After a time the woman finished and came over to us and started speaking Hawaiian. I only understood a word here and there but, really, had no idea what she was saying. When all was said and done it was explained that she had come to say a prayer or a pule. At least that is what I think she said.
They were from the island of Hawaii. The woman said that she had been called by the spirits of her Kupuna or ancestors. They had been appealing to her to please come to the museum as they were being neglected and hid away. She said that she came to reassure them and to honor them and help them to be at peace. Now she is telling me this in half English and half Hawaiian so I am not sure that I got it all correct. I just knew that maybe my boss, Kealoha, would arrive soon as he would know how to interact.
Really the chanting was beautiful and she was graceful and kind. And I guess when it comes to the Hawaiian culture my heart goes out to that community for all the suffering that has taken place in the past. I knew that once Kealoha arrived  he would make it all well.
I mentioned that though nothing was wrong with chanting and that what she was doing was fine they just needed to make arrangements and then I explained to her why the room that she was in was so changed. She was upset at seeing all of the artifacts, that were once in the room, were gone and it was now just paintings. She felt that was why she was being called. I told her that the room had been restored to its original condition like it was when the Museum opened in 1898.
I told her that many things were going to be different once all restoration was finished and that much more of the Hawaiian artifacts were going to be brought out that weren’t displayed before. She was very happy to hear that and asked if she could go on to the other exhibit areas. I said it was fine as long as she didn’t chant and that Kealoha would be in soon and she could talk to him.
As I got  back to the main floor many people had arrived and so I announced that I would be doing a tour and people began to gather. As I started to talk, Kealoha and the Hawaiian couple entered into the Kahili room. Soon sounds of chanting could be heard. All the heads turned. I explained what it was and let them listen for a while which they did with much appreciation.
As I was into the middle of my tour the coupled left and nodded as they headed out the door. I felt good, I believe the kupuna, also, felt good, and certainly the visitors enjoyed witnessing a bit of the Hawaiian culture. I love it when that happens.
The ancestors had called, they were heard and she answered.