The 18th Annual Honolulu Festival hosted the Friendship Gala at the Hawaii Convention Center on Saturday, March 3, 2012.
This is a place where the popular local restaurants of Hawaii gather and offer various gourmets, which the guests can enjoy and interact with the participating groups of our Honolulu Festival.
The following were the 10 participating restaurants:
- 3660 on the Rise
- Nobu Waikiki
- Chef Mavro
- Nanzan Giro Giro
- Ruth’s Chris Steak House
- Wolfgang’s Steakhouse
- Le Bistro
- Prince Court Restaurant
- Honolulu Coffee Company
There were many dishes that incorporated local foods of Hawaii including salad, meat, fish and dessert, which the guests were enjoying the dishes as if it is a full course meal. They tasted delicious which satisfied everybody.
The Chinese lion dance was performed to celebrate the year of the Dragon. It is one of the Chinese traditions to bring a good fortune. Their vigorous energy was spread throughout the venue as the dragon danced on stage.
Speaking of the celebrations, the city of Honolulu and Nagaoka City has officially signed a sister-city agreement this year. Also, the Nagaoka Fireworks will be held once again. The big barrels of sake from Nagaoka City were brought to celebrate “Kagami Biraki” which is a Japanese traditional opening ceremony. They were broken up by a wooden mallet, which the guests from all around the world were able to witness such a traditional practice of Japan.
Furthermore, Kumiko Yamada who is a Japanese entertainer performed her song on stage which was followed by the dancing performance of Sonoda Gakuen High School. In addition, Manoa DNA played Hawaiian music and also Sugaizanairen performed the yosakoi dance.
Kuniko Yamada is also a member of the “Star Mixed Chorus” which is a chorus group that supports cancer patients and their families. She shared her own experience and tribulation with breast cancer. Also, she sang A Joyful Blue Bird which is a song that she has written. Her kind words created a family-like atmosphere which some of the guests were in tears.
Sonoda Gakuen High School couldn’t attend last year due to the Great East Japan Earthquake yet, the students performed lively this year. Most of the audience commented “their dance gives me energy”.
Moana DNA played their Hawaiian music with a beautiful sound of guitar, accompanied by a hula dance by Sarah Kamalei, who was invited as a special guest. They performed a song called Aloha You ~Kizuna~ which goes “everybody is bonded, everybody is a family”. After the show, a big round of applause was given which filled the venue with a warm atmosphere.
The last performance was given by Sugaizanairen. The founder Suga Kunitomo had passed away on June of 2011. She was the one who always shouted “ARIGATO GOZAIMASU! (THANK YOU!)” in a bold, cheerful voice on stage. Unfortunately, her presence was absent this year. In addition, Sugaizanairen is a group that has been participating in the Honolulu Festival from the first to the present. It was their will to join every year which Suga Kunitomo participated during her short remaining life.
They performed the powerful yosakoi dance with a message of “making a better world”. The adults and the children were enjoying with a chant of “yosakoi! yosakoi!”. We hope that the people of the world will be united as one for world peace.