Kristen Nemoto Jay

Kaua‘i has such a special place in my heart. My first trip there was for work, when I was in my late twenties, on assignment to write a couple of stories for a travel magazine company. I was in awe of its lush greenery every turn I took in my rental car on its mostly one-lane roads. A nice respite for my eyes and anxiety level when my usual morning commute to Waikïkï, at that time, was filled with eyesores of concrete and smog from the morning’s traffic. That first trip concluded with a quick stop at a local hardware store to buy a new phone charger where I then received great directions from an employee to Hamura Saimin and then the airport (I’m terrible at directions even though both locations were very close to where I was) in case my phone was still not juiced up after I ate my bowl of saimin and barbecue sticks. Though I was embarrassed by my lack of knowledge of the area — especially the airport, as I was on my way off the island that afternoon after a wonderful four days of “work” — the local worker shrugged and didn’t give in to the temptation of making fun of this O‘ahu-an for not knowing where up or down was. Not saying a friendly face on O‘ahu or anywhere else wouldn’t help me, but there was something about my encounter with that person that made me love Kaua‘i even more. “No worries,” he said. “We’re all new to one place at one point in time.”

Our 10th annual Kaua‘i issue shares stories about Kaua‘i-ans who were each once new to a place or adventure, but gained the knowledge and insights to making their own path in life. Our cover story features how Shelter Lodge, a premier fishing destination located in Juneau, Alaska, became “Hawai‘i’s number one Alaska fishing destination.” Though Kaua‘i-an and lodge manager Kenji Yamada has learned about the family’s business since he was a kid, he loves that no two days of fishing are alike and how he learns something new all the time. Jonathan Ota, Tip Top Motel and Tip Top Cafe’s fourth-generation owner, shares his excitement for the 107-year-old family business now that COVID-19 restrictions have been lifted and things are slowly coming back to a new normal. Freelance writer and contributor Colin Sewake writes about his connection with the Momohara ‘ohana, Kaua‘i natives and long time subscribers to The Hawai‘i Herald, who shared how their matriarch of the family, Doris, loved to read Sewake’s articles as her primary contact between Japan and Okinawa. When she passed away last year, the family reached out to Sewake soon after to plan a trip back to Okinawa to let Doris’s ashes have a final resting place inside the family’s haka (tomb). Columnist Camaron Miyamoto interviewed Bianka Tasaka, a longtime leader and advocate for the māhū community on Kaua‘i. Tasaka shares her brave story about how she finally learned to be herself after she graduated from high school and that accepting who she was helped open doors to so many opportunities for herself and those around her who felt they were unseen and unheard.

Thank you, reader, for supporting this issue and its stories, which was also made possible with the advertising support of the following people and businesses: Bill Fernandez, Hui Makaala of Hawaii, Hosoi Garden Mortuary Inc., Kaua‘i Kookie, Kaua‘i Sotozen Temple, Konohiki Seafoods, Mayor Derek Kawakami, Representative Dee Morikawa, Representative Nadine Nakamura, Senator Ron Kouchi, Tamashiro Market, Tommy Oi and Tom Shinsato Realty, Inc. We hope you all enjoy our special Kaua‘i issue and also hope to visit again one day soon!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here