Karleen C. Chinen
This page — the one you are reading right now — is usually the last page of the issue that I work on every other week, probably hoping that it will magically fill itself up. Hah, dream on!
With this issue, I’m especially glad that it is the last page my attention is focused on, because with all of the stories in and copy-edited and laid out, I now have the benefit of looking at the wide swath of stories and realizing that it contains a really good mix — something for every interest. Sometimes it’s hard to see that when we’re starting into a new issue. But here, we’re got diversity in age (100 to 34), historical periods (sugar plantation era to World War II to the Hawaiian renaissance to climate change), occupations (swim coach, physician, Army veteran, artist, sushi-makers, navigator and educator) and geography (Wailuku, Pä‘ia, Pu‘unënë, Lahaina). Yes, I’m very happy with the stories in this, our fourth Maui edition.
When I was growing up, the two islands our family traveled to most often were Maui and Hawai‘i island. If you recall, my dad was born and raised in East Maui. He left when he was drafted into the 299th Regiment of the Hawai‘i National Guard, which, along with the 298th Regiment, morphed into the 100th Infantry Battalion in the weeks following Japan’s attack on Pearl Harbor. I often wonder whether he would have left the island if not for the call of Uncle Sam. I know that he enjoyed going back to visit his friends and old stomping grounds on Maui. To this day, those visits to Maui form the basis of “snapshots” that remain embedded in my consciousness.
This occurred to me as I Googled the Rinzai Zen Temple while typing the list of advertisers below: Is it Paia Rinzai Zen Temple, or just Rinzai Zen Temple, I asked myself. The photo that popped up on the screen took me back to a visit from my small kid days. In his young days, Dad knew the minister — I think his name was Oshiro — and used to hang out at the temple, which has always had a sizeable Okinawan membership. I don’t think Dad was ever a temple member — just friends with the bonsan. But I remember that wide, wooden veranda, where we played while Dad and Mom visited with now-older minister and that big lawn where we chased each other. That old temple is gone — it burned to the ground one night. A new temple was built, but I still remember and marvel at the memories and beauty of the old wooden temple.
Another snapshot memory: Dad’s 100th Battalion Dog Company veterans gathering at the Makawao Veterans Cemetery to visit and decorate the graves of their fallen brothers from World War II. There were so many veterans back then. Sometimes I stare at the photos I took of them in their 50s, so young and healthy. Most of them are gone today. I remember that tall flagpole and I remember how peaceful that cemetery felt in the cool, crisp Upcountry morning.
I remember us driving down Haleakalä Highway when it was the only road to Upcountry, unless you took the back road from Pä‘ia or other East Maui communities. That view of Central Maui below always set my heart aflutter — the green leaves of the sugar cane stalks dancing in the breeze, the calm ocean beyond and that perfect blue sky. This is heaven on Earth, I told myself.
They’re all good memories of happy and simpler times and a reminder of how these snapshot memories make me feel as we send this issue to press . . . but not before we send our heartfelt thanks to several special people for their help in making this Maui issue possible: Melissa Tanji, Colleen Uechi, Lee Imada, The Maui News, Deidre Tegarden of the Nisei Veterans Memorial Center, Alan Suemori, Taryn Yogi, the Polynesian Voyaging Society and Keith Arakaki of the Hawaii Swim Club. We also thank the following businesses and organizations for their tremendous advertising support. We are still hoping to find a high foot traffic retail outlet to carry to Herald on Maui. If you know of anyone who might be interested, please call me at (808) 845-2255, x. 118.
Mahalo nui loa, Maui!
Maui Okinawa Kenjin Kai
Maui’s Sons and Daughters of the Nisei Veterans
Nagamine Photo Studio
Paia Rinzai Zen Mission
Pine Isle Market
Pukalani Terrace Center
Seki Machine Works
Shore to Shore Realty
Komoda Store and Bakery
Tasaka Guri Guri
Tiffany’s Bar & Grill