On Sunday, Feb. 21 the Hawaii United Okinawa Association, Central Pacific Bank Foundation and Sun Noodle distributed free boxes of noodles to the community.

Under a rainbow in Waipi‘o, 10,560 servings of noodles were distributed in the Hawaii Okinawan Center’s parking lot. On Sunday, Feb. 21, the Central Pacific Bank Foundation, Sun Noodle and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association held a drive-thru pick-up event in a united effort to share “Kariyushi Family Packs” with the community. HUOA village-club representatives picked up noodle packs and redistributed them to those they knew were facing hardship due to COVID-19, especially senior citizens who live alone and are afraid to go out.

Sun Noodle Hawaii President Ahmad Yu informed the Herald that “500 cases were distributed statewide (O‘ahu, Hawai‘i, Maui and Kaua‘i).” With 24 servings in each “Kariyushi Family Pack” that’s 12,000 servings of noodles! Each family pack included a variety of Sun Noodle ramen, saimin, Okinawan soba and yakisoba. Yu and Hidehito Uki, CEO and founder of Sun Noodle, delivered and helped to distribute the free noodles to happy club volunteers who would then drive them to the homes of seniors in need.

As Keith Amemiya, executive director of the CPB foundation, cheerfully loaded noodles into trunks of cars in the drive-thru, he stopped for a moment to tell the media that CPB wanted to help people having a hard time, and therefore the noodle distribution was made possible by the foundation’s $12,500 sponsorship.

Although 12,000 servings of noodles is not nearly enough to provide for the whole island, HUOA President Patrick Miyashiro feels good about keeping yuimäru — collective community support — alive. Many other organizations are banding together to do their part to reach out to those in need during this era of COVID-19.

Some HUOA member clubs distributed a box to various households while others, like Hui O Laulima, broke apart the family packs to make smaller noodle bags to deliver to senior individuals who live alone. With each bag packed with care — right there in the parking lot, working out of two open car trunks — a tag was attached with a message: “Through the generosity of Sun Noodle and Central Pacific Bank [Foundation] may you have good health and a long life! Chibariyo!”

This event is just the beginning for HUOA with the theme “Chimugukuru Tïchi – All Hearts Unite as One.” A box filled with noodles, delivered with aloha is priceless. Everyone who received a box, will have opened it and read the special note enclosed, “COVID-19 has taught us that the Okinawan spirit of yuimäru is alive and well. Together, we at the Central Pacific Bank Foundation, Sun Noodle and the Hawaii United Okinawa Association would like to share this family meal pack with you and hope that it warms your heart. We know that these are tough times for many, but together, we will get through this.”


The prestigious Hawai‘i International Film Festival, known for introducing moving, hilarious and beautiful Pacific-region movies as well as global films to U.S. and western audiences, is accepting entries for its 41st year. A “must attend” (Entertainment Weekly) “premiere American showcase for Asian cinema” (Hollywood Reporter) which has launched careers of dozens of new directors over its four-decade existence, HIFF has premiered game-changing independent and international films such as Minari, Jojo Rabbit, Parasite, Shoplifters, Roma, Moonlight, The Imitation Game, Carol, The Host, Departures, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon and many other groundbreaking cinematic works.

The festival has also promoted, showcased and helped develop Hawai‘i-filmed, Hawai‘i-artist-helmed and/or Hawai‘i-themed movies including those created by locally raised Japanese American writer-directors (for instance, Christopher Makoto Yogi, Destin Daniel Cretton and Anne Misawa), by Asian Americans raised in the islands and by Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander auteurs (such as Vili Hereniko, Ciara Leinaʻala Lacy, Justyn Ah Chong, and other established as well as promising artists).

“August at Akiko’s” by local filmmaker Christopher Makoto Yogi was nominated by HIFF for its emerging filmmaker award, the Kau Ka Hökü Award, as well as its Made in Hawaiʻi Award, when it showed at the festival in 2018. The New Yorker later hailed it as one of the best films of 2019. (Photo from the “August at Akiko’s” website)

The 2021 festival, to be held from Thursday, Nov. 4, through Sun, Nov. 21, will be exhibited in physical venues on Oʻahu island and online locally in Hawaiʻi as well as online nationwide. Exciting events such as movie screenings, talks and Q&As will occur in-person in Honolulu theatrical and outdoor locations, as well as over streaming online in the continental U.S. and Hawaiʻi. HIFF will continue its four-decade+ focus on “contemporary Asian, Pacific, and North American cinema, films produced in Hawaiʻi, outdoor screenings and our Student Showcase and Daniel K. Inouye Youth Initiative for filmmakers under 18 from Hawaiʻi,” according to the Film Freeway site of the festival where submissions should be made (see the below URL).

“We encourage filmmakers to submit works from any genre,” that HIFF announcement continues. “We are especially interested in feature films, documentaries, short films, series, Hawaiʻi-themed films and films by indigenous Pacific filmmakers.”

Deadlines for the 13 main categories of Narrative Feature; Documentary Feature; Narrative Short; Documentary Short; New American Perspectives; Series; Pacific Islander Showcase: Features; Pacific Islander Showcase: Shorts; Made in Hawaiʻi Features, Made in Hawaiʻi Shorts; Kau Ka Hoku; XR Showcase; and Hawaiʻi University Student are Friday, May 21 (regular deadline) and Friday, July 16 (late deadline), 2021.

The 2021 deadlines for the Student Showcase (K-12) category is Monday, Sept. 13, and for the Daniel K. Inouye Institute Future Filmmakers category is Friday, Sept. 17.

For additional 2021 festival rules, filmmaker awards, descriptions of categories as well as entrance fees for films submitted in each category, see [Filmmakers will be notified by Monday, Sept. 27, of submission acceptance.]

Past recipients of the HIFF Lifetime Achievement Award given out at the festival include Ann Hui, Quentin Tarantino, Ang Lee, Zhang Yimou, Koji Yakusho and Maggie Cheung. Additional guest speakers have included visionary Hong Kong Director Wong Kar Wai (Chungking Express, 2046, In the Mood for Love); Korean American actor Steven Yuen (Minari, Burning, “The Walking Dead” TV show); Maöri comic writer-director and performers Jemaine Clement (Gentlemen Broncos, Men in Black III, “Flight of the Conchords” television series) and Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok, Boy, Hunt for the Wilder People, What We Do in the Shadows); outré South Korean director Park Chan-Wook (The Vengeance trilogy including Oldboy, Stoker, Thirst, The Handmaiden); Japanese actor Ken Watanabe (Batman Begins, The Last Samurai, Letters from Iwo Jima); animé auteur Satoshi Kon (Paprika, Millennium Actress, Perfect Blue); and U.S. actress Elizabeth Moss (The Invisible Man, the TV show The Handmaid’s Tale).

The mission of the Hawai‘i International Film Festival, created by film-festival curator, film producer and TV writer Jeannette Paulson Hereniko in 1980 as a way to introduce especially Asian cinema to the public for the East-West Center, is to “enlighten, empower and entertain through the medium of film…[as] paramount to being an integral part of Hawaii’s arts and culture community,” according to HIFF.

The festival additionally serves as “a creative hub for individuals interested in cinema culture, either as a casual fan or for career development. The organization that puts together HIFF also extends its outreach to schools via offering free screenings at their campuses for middle- and high-school students statewide, and also via a filmmaking workshop for youth in partnership with the Daniel K. Inouye Institute. It also sponsors events such as panels and seminars (for example, the yearly Sound x Vision seminar that explores music in film) as well as an annual “town hall” discussion between local filmmakers and content creators.


The Gift Shop of the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawai‘i, which specializes in vintage and artisanal-cultural products, is offering an extended spring sale, with 40% off on all items in store from March through April, says manager Ken Yoshida.

Lacquerware on sale at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii Gift Shop featured in March at 40% off. Store hours are Wednesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. – 1 p.m. (Photo courtesy JCCH)

In March, to celebrate Girl’s Day and International Women’s Day, the store will feature beautiful used ningyö (Japanese dolls), shiny deep-colored lacquerware, large Japanese or Asian style plates and diverse patterned tea sets, as well as new hand-crafted jewelry. In April, ahead of the summer Obon season, the Gift Shop will showcase elegant kimono, obi and yukata as well as other works of traditional Japanese fabric arts, mostly gently used. All these gorgeous items are eminently photographable for Instagram or other social media, Yoshida adds.

The store’s hours are Wednesday through Friday, 9 a.m. through 1 p.m. Social distancing is required within the shop (with a maximum of 3 customers at a time, which might increase depending on the latest state and city/county regulations). Masks must be worn while in store, and temperatures and contact information will be taken prior to entering the shop.

Spruce up your kitchenware, dishes and closet by selecting these unique and well-crafted items reflecting the artistic traditions of Nippon. JCCH members get 10% off everything, including books on Japanese American history — such as those on AJA internment and race-relations in Hawaiʻi, and on Japanese culture such as animé — which might make entertaining, educational spring-break reading for your grandchildren, kids or teen relatives…or for you.

For more information, see


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