Kristen Nemoto Jay
Time sure is flying by, am I right? I feel like it was just yesterday when my husband and I were camped out early and stayed late at the Hawaii’s Plantation Village’s bon dance festival last year – the first bon dance that was held on O‘ahu since the pandemic shut it down years prior. It also feels like yesterday when that very issue was my first official issue out on stands as The Hawai‘i Herald’s new editor. A lot has changed and morphed, yet has remained the same in many ways. Though I have experience as an editor in a past role, like anything when it comes to starting a new job, I learned a lot about myself and the community that we serve. I learned that there are so many more stories out there, we haven’t even begun to scratch its surface. I learned that our Hawai‘i Herald community is filled with amazing people who are open to sharing their thoughts and ideas, along with their hearts. I learned that learning will always be consistent, especially for myself and this paper, as change and evolvement is the only constant, I think, that we can count on in this life we live. I also learned that people, in their core beings, are good and just want to be heard and loved in this world. I can’t think of any greater joy and honor that we here at The Hawai‘i Herald have than to help share those stories with all of you.
It’s befitting that my one-year anniversary as editor falls upon the cusp of the Obon season – a time when we honor our parted loved ones but make room and acknowledge for new memories to unfold. I mentioned in previous Dialogues to some of you reading this that I had to say goodbye to two loved ones these past two months. A beloved aunt, my father’s sister, who passed due to complications from cancer in February; and then my best friend who succumbed to her battle against depression in March. It’s been an emotional rollercoaster, as you can imagine, where many of my days were spent grieving and barely able to get out of bed. I thankfully had the comfort of close family, friends and co-workers to help me during this time; especially Summer Nakaishi, our staff writer and digital media editor, who held up most of the March and April issues on her own (along with having to move into a new house and take care of two little ones!). It’s acts of kindness and love such as this that make me continually see the kindness and love of my late aunt and best friend. They reside in those moments, therefore they are still present in my life. If you have lost someone dear to you, whether recently or in the past, please know that your loved one is still with us. Their physical bodies may not be here, but their spirit remains. As we gather to celebrate Obon season, with our traditions of family, community, ono food and, of course, dance, may we see our loved ones in the spirit that lives on in the tiny yet beautiful moments of life. A child donning their first bon dance moves with their family. A bite of the very first andagi made for the Obon season. The hypnotic and thunderous beats of the taiko, one that has been beating the same rhythm for centuries. Our loved ones live on in all of us and in those moments that we continue to share with each other.
As the fleeting of time and change is the only constant that we can count on in this life, may we all enjoy those tiny and beautiful moments that make us all here on earth so precious. Happy Obon season, everyone! Hope to see you and be a part of your dedication to your loved ones very soon.