Alan Suemori

Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

If you wander along the backroads of Wai‘anae Valley, there is an unpaved country lane that will take you to a quiet farm that is always filled with the soft music of laughter and activity. In a secluded corner of the farm within the shoulders of a towering mountain hillside incongruously sits a fishing boat, as if a great tide beached her deep in this ancient valley during a once-in-a-century storm. Guarding the boat are a slender lychee tree and a mango tree that are still too young to bear fruit or provide shade. Together, the mountain, the boat and the two trees keep each other company in the sunlight, like a quartet of old friends who have finally reunited after a long separation.

“My son once told me that all he needed was a boat, a lychee tree and a mango tree to make him happy,” says Linda Fujikawa, a much-beloved and highly decorated professor of Japanese language at Kapi‘olani Community College, who recently retired after a 30-year career in teaching. “With a boat, he could always be on the ocean and he’d never be hungry with a lychee tree and a mango tree.”

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