Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Back to Normal

"We are what we pretend to be, so we must be careful what we pretend to be."
- Kurt Vonnegut

"The ordinary acts we practice every day at home are of more importance to the soul than their simplicity might suggest."
- Thomas Moore

Friendly sprinkler! (Below)

"With age come the inner, the higher life. Who would be forever young, to dwell always in externals?"
- Elizabeth Cady Stanton

"New Year's Day: Now is the accepted time to make your regular annual good resolutions. Next week you can begin paving hell with them as usual." - Mark Twain

Now that the hoopla is dying down, we look around us and settle back to our routines. There was a fire at Cafe Duck Butt (My favorite back-street bar sign!) and the cheer leading squad from my old alma mater, University of Hawaii at Manoa, won MTV's "RAH!" reality show. . . Here in Hawaii, we have a happy reprieve from the icy, slippery "hard landing" of the post-holiday crash elsewhere, and it only STARTS with the glorious weather (all photos above are current). Sunday will bring the fanfare and distraction of the annual Mo`ili`ili New Years Festival sponsored by the Japanese Cultural Center. Mo`ili`ili is a sweet little neighborhood mauka (mountain-ward) of Waikiki, and her "local-Japanese" population has been an important part of the ethnic fabric of Hawaii for over one hundred years. These are our friends, coworkers, neighbors & family members. And theirs is our local comfort food. So this will be a neighborhood-type fair with familiar (to us) sights and flavors, not an "exotic" cultural event. Japanese visitors to our shores oft feel that they are visiting an earlier time and place as they experience something of the "old Nihon" from which the plantation-era Japanese people came. Certain customs and manners remain richer in Hawaii's Japanese community than have survived modern Japan's frenetic pace of change. . . Though Japan was one of the first Asian nations to adopt the familiar "western" calender, the so-called "Chinese" or Lunar New Year (which comes along weeks after January first) is still a meaningful time of reflection & celebration. That's right; we get TWO New Years! And we DO celebrate both, making the interim period both a recovery from Christmas time, and a happy anticipation of fireworks, parades, and holiday foods. Expect MANY pictures of lion dances and firecracker smoky streets on this blog in coming weeks. Through the inevitable stresses & challenges that life contains, let the celebration continue. Each dawn in a new day, a new life. . . especially when you're walking through the years here in Waikiki . . . .
A L O H A! Cloudia