Shara Yuki Enay
Vol. 26, No. 23, Dec. 2, 2005

Writer’s note: It’s getting harder and harder every day to make ends meet in Hawai‘i. It seems like everything’s going up — the price of gas, the cost of a home, even Zip Pacs . . . everything but my paycheck.

I believe that everything in life happens for a reason and that somewhere in the stars, there is a story out there that I was meant to cover before moving on from the Herald — a story that leaves me lost for words, that alters the way I view life and people in general, one that clearly defines who I am. And just as important, one that justifies to my relatives why I constantly hoard massive take-home plates at the conclusion of every family function so I can save a few bucks until the next payday comes around.

Three weeks ago, I got my story . . .

On Nov. 11, Veterans Day, over 100 people — young and old — crowded into the modest Kamoku Street “home” of Hawai‘i’s 100th Infantry Battalion veterans, where they patiently endured a long, snaking line more characteristic of a Huli-Huli Chicken sale than a book-signing event. Some folks, like 100th veteran Shigeru Tsubota and his wife Mieko, lugged 10 books up to the table for the author to autograph. Gifts for friends and relatives, they explained. Others waited to have their picture taken with the author, or instructed their grandkids to “Call me when you get close so I can bring the books over.” One woman even instructed the family dog to save her place in line while she mingled with friends.

Whichever method was employed, it was all for the same purpose: to meet and get the autograph of Graham Salisbury, the author of the remarkable book, “Eyes of the Emperor.” After more than two hours of signing, the award-winning author had autographed so many books that only a few drops of ink were left in his brand new Gel pen.

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Shara Yuki Enay Birbirsa is a former Hawai‘i Herald writer and columnist, who has held numerous positions since leaving the Herald. She was a writer for Hawaii Business magazine, spent six months in Ethiopia working as a volunteer teacher and also worked in community development on the island of Läna‘i. She now works at American Savings Bank, where she is responsible for communications and employee engagement.



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