The Friendship Gala was held on March 6, 2015, on the first night of the Honolulu Festival at the Hawaii Convention Center. The Best Contribution Award was held just before the party in showing respect to our long contributors of the participating groups at the Honolulu Festival. The award was given by President of the Honolulu Festival Foundation, Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku. The guests were queuing in front of the venue around 18:40 even though the opening was scheduled at 19:00. All the participants entered into the venue around the same time, where it was very crowded and lively. There were 5 fancy local restaurants proudly preparing and serving the dishes. These restaurants included: MW Restaurant (Desert) Morimoto Waikiki (Fish Cuisine) Ruth’s Chris Steak House (Steak) Roy’s (Duck Cuisine) Yatai Sushi (Sushi) Each restaurant was supported by our volunteers. This year was the first time for the sushi restaurant Yatai Sushi to participate in the Friendship Gala. It serves fresh and delicious sushi which was very popular that the guests made a long queue. While the guests enjoying their luxurious dishes, The University of Hawaii March Band performed for the opening party. They excited the audience with their smooth movements and steady formations along with the rhythmic sounds. Sophia University Cheerleading Team “EAGLES” appeared on stage with beaming smiles. They performed vigorously and speedy with various beautiful movements. Their acrobatic and skillful performance excited the audience. Mr. Harufuku greeted everybody during the formal opening. Also, the governor of Hawaii, David Ige gave a congratulatory speech as one of the invited guests of our festival. Followed by the formal opening was the stage performance by the ukulele players, Honoka and Azita from the talented group, Ukulele Super Kids that won the Hawaii Junior Ukulele Competition. They played impressively with a vibrant sound which unexpectedly amazed the audience since the performers were still young and small. Next was the singing performance by the famous Hawaii female singer, Raiatea Helm. Her beautiful voice and melody warmly surrounded the entire venue. The special dancing team Un Bijou performed a fascinating dance on the stage which brought a unique atmosphere . The selected dance members from Sonoda Gakuen High School entered the stage wearing a light blue colored T-shirt. They danced in high spirits!! The other students from Sonoda Gakuen High School have gathered to show their support by cheering loudly while the team was flying and jumping on the stage. The vigorous performance and the youthful energy of the dancers brought an excitement that they could not take their eyes off the stage. The hula dance was also performed in a pleasant groove. The guests seemed to be enjoying various performances. Finally, everybody was invited on the stage to dance with others for the finale. At the end of the day, everyone left the venue with a smile of satisfaction. The purpose of the Friendship Gala is to build friendship and to promote international goodwill between the people in Hawaii and the people in Asia Pacific region. The participants may learn unique cultures of different regions through dance, music and food in the Honolulu Festival.
Educational School Tour2015(21st)
The Educational School Tour was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on March 6, 2015. This is a tour for the local students to see the behind-the-scenes of our Honolulu Festival, where approximately 1,500 students from kindergarten through high school experience and learn various cultures. Also, it focuses on the field of “education”, which is one of the themes of the Honolulu Festival along with the “cultural exchange” and the “environment” for the next 20 years. There were 20 performing groups from all over the world which they gathered to present their unique cultures toward the children and welcomed them. The “Japanese Mascot Characters”, “Child Book Reading”, “‘Oli ‘Oli Walker Riding Experience”, and “Polynesian Culture Center” were added as this year’s new programs at the Educational School Tour. The children were formed into small groups and visited each booth with the assistance from our staff members and volunteers. The students and the children were intrigued to see a huge head of the “Daijayama”, which was displayed and prepared for the Grand Parade. The huge flaming Daija (huge snake) was brought from Omuta City, Fukuoka Prefecture. According to the Japanese folktale, Daija was the god of water that kept agricultural farmlands from drought and prevented the children from getting sick. When the Daijayama’s cart passed through, the children shouted “Yoisa! Yoiyasa!” They even took pictures for each other’s despite of their little embarrassment while shouting out loud. The unique musical instrument and face painting at the booth of the Jaran Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Dance Company had received a lot of attention. The children enjoyed having their face painted! Also, the members from the Alaska Native Heritage Center Dancers wore traditional costume and fur boots and told the Alaska legends, stories and culture through Alaskan native dance. The children listened to the explanations of the meaning behind each musical instrument, cultural costume and face painting which they learned various aspects from different cultures. Furthermore, HAENYEO in Us, Jeju National University from Korea was dressed as a woman diver. They introduced the diver tools in both English and Korean by using illustrations and quizzed the children. The children got excited when they received a famous tangerine chocolate from Jeju, which was a prize for the quiz. Also, there were cultural activities from Japan such as sado (tea ceremony), ikebana (flower arrangement), and wadaiko (Japanese drums). Moreover, the host dressed formally in a kimono and performed the Japanese tea ceremony. Meanwhile the children observed the preparation for the green tea. At the same time, they were a bit overwhelmed by its formality. Normally, the Japanese ikebana is formal and inveterate. On the other hand, Sogetsu-ryu encourages uniqueness and freedom which is an unorthodox approach to its performance. This way, it is simpler for the children in learning the concept of “wa” or harmony. The taiko drum represents the static and dynamic part of the Japanese culture. The children were excited to see and listen to the taiko drum. After a powerful performance by TAIKO KOZO, they picked up the drum sticks and experienced the instrument. In addition, its unique rhythms and movements made them delightful. Also, there were many other exhibitions and performances such as Taiwanese drumming dance, Ainu folk songs, Japanese sword fight, Japanese mascot characters and Polynesian traditions. Also, the children had an opportunity to ride on the JTB’s trolley called the ‘Oli ‘Oli Walker. Foremost, they enjoyed and learned the uniqueness of different cultures. Some of the children commented, “It was fun. I definitely want to come back next year.” The Honolulu Festival continues to provide ample of opportunities for the children to experience and learn various cultures. We will continue with our annual Educational School Tour and keep contributing for the local children!
The Best Contribution Award 2015- In Honoring Our Devoted Participants2015(21st)
The Honolulu Festival held an award ceremony called the Best Contribution Award in honoring those devoted participants who have contributed for many years. We would like to express our appreciation to everyone who came to Hawaii from overseas for building friendship through cultural exchange. Thank you very much for representing the essence of Honolulu Festival to the world. A total of 29 participating groups were given the award! Also, the award ceremony was held at the Hawaii Convention Center on Friday, March 6, 2015 which was presented by Mr. Tsukasa Harufuku, president of the Honolulu Festival Foundation. Furthermore, 14 participating groups who participated in the ceremony took pictures with President Harufuku to commemorate their special moment.
“Share Your Voice” Project 20142014(20th)
The “Share Your Voice Project” is an educational collaborative project between the Honolulu Festival and Kapiolani Community College which was held for the fifth time. There were a total of 70 participants including the students from Bunkyo University, Nagasaki University in Japan and the staffs of the Honolulu Festival Foundation. Everybody played their role to make the project successful. The opening to the public was on March 8 and March 9, 2014. The objectives for the students were to report about the Honolulu Festival by their own words and interact with various people and cultures from Japan and Pacific Rim. This can improve one’s cultural awareness. Furthermore, the scene of the festival was shown online in real-time which is significant in promoting worldwide. The students were divided into three teams: -Team Reporter; Those who were in charge of streaming on Ustream and Youtube. -Team SSN; Those who were in charge of the social media such as Facebook and Twitter. -Team Headquarters; Those who were in charge of monitoring and editing videos. The Team Reporter struggled with using professional equipments, yet they managed to interview many of our participants at the Stage Performance and Craft Fair which were broadcast in live. At first, some of the interviewers looked nervous and awkward. However, the interviews were successful by each creative idea which was impressive. The Team SNS carried cameras and took pictures of various events. Also, they interviewed many participants to deliver the excited atmosphere in real-time. In addition, some of the students in the Team HQ were in charge of editing videos. They checked the contents then worked on adjustment and created logo. Afterwards those videos were uploaded on Youtube, which gives an opportunity to watch for those who missed them on Ustream. Furthermore, those who were in charge of monitoring videos were also monitoring each team and sharing information with the Team SNS to upload each video on time. Furthermore, each student took responsibility as one of the members of the Honolulu Festival Foundation and shown contribution, even though the project was assigned as part of their coursework. The students were successful in reporting about the uniqueness of different cultures and they were able to understand and value each culture. We will continue to cherish the cultural exchange and offer learning opportunities for the young generations through the Honolulu Festival! The 20th Annual Honolulu Festival: Live stream Channel-1 Channel-2
The 20th Annual Honolulu Festival Time Capsule Ceremony(2)2014(20th)
[ Messages of Students ] We would like to introduce some of the messages that were written a decade ago by the local students. << BACK
The 20th Annual Honolulu Festival Time Capsule Ceremony2014(20th)
The students left their messages inside a time capsule during the Honolulu Festival a decade ago. They were invited to the “Time Capsule Ceremony” to reveal each one. It was held as a celebration for the 20th anniversary of the Honolulu Festival on Saturday, March 8, 2014. [ Interview ] The 1st Time Capsule Project Participating Student Reece Matsumoto Reece is one of the students participated in the 1st Time Capsule Project a decade ago. Currently, he studies Accounting at The University of Southern California which he is out-of-state. Hence, he couldn’t attend the ceremony. With his family’s permission, we were able to conduct a phone interview. Honolulu Festival (HF): You wrote about your family’s Christmas tradition along with your drawings. What do you want to be doing 10 years from now? Reece Matsumoto (RM): In 10 years, I want to be a business consultant. HF: So you are planning to obtain a degree in Accounting and become a CPA (Certified Public Accountant), then work as a business consultant? RM: Yes. HF: That’s great! By the way, there will be over 11,000 students participating in the 2nd Time Capsule Project this year. Do you have any message for them? RM: Of course! Pursue your dreams and be proud of yourself, your culture and your heritage. HF: Thank you for your kind words! How is your campus life in California? RM: I like the climate in California very much. It doesn’t get too cold or snowy. I have classmates from China, Singapore, India and all over the world. At the same time, I’ve seen various foreigners in Hawaii so I didn’t feel strange or special about them. HF: That sounds interesting! Thank you very much for your time! RM: Thank you for choosing me for your interview! NEXT : Go back to ten years ago! “Messages of Students”
The 20th Annual Honolulu Festival Company Aloha Shirt Exhibition Contest2014(20th)
We held a special event called the “Company Aloha Shirt Exhibition Contest” for 2-days on March 8 and March 9, 2014 in the Hawaii Convention Center. The entrants were the 24 companies that do business in Hawaii. There were 27 aloha shirts displayed in the venue. They will be evaluated based on the design and the number of votes from the visitors. In addition, there were 3 aloha shirts from the famous local band called Moana DNA. Also a special recognition award was presented by Kona Bay. Each award was divided into 5 categories: My Choice In My Closet True Hawaii The Coolest Aloha Special Recognition Award by Kona Bay My Choice – The designs that you wish your partner to wear (regardless of gender). First Hawaiian Bank Hilton Hotel Lawson USA (Convenience Store) In My Closet – The designs that you wish to wear and keep in your closet. Delta Airlines Lawson USA (Convenience Store) Nippon Travel Agency Hawaii, Inc. True Hawaii – The designs that make you feel of Hawaii. Kintetsu International Hawaii Company (Travel Agency) First Hawaiian Bank (150th Anniversary Shirt) Nippon Travel Agency Hawaii, Inc. The Coolest Aloha – The coolest designs! Lawson USA (Convenience Store) First Hawaiian Bank Waikiki Beach Resort and Spa Marriott Hotel A Special Award presented by Kona Bay Nippon Travel Agency Hawaii, Inc. Comment: Its design reminded of the vintage aloha shirts of the 50’s. It is an opened-collared shirt which was the popular style in the 60’s and its buttons are uniquely designed. Also, the design of an old-fashioned red hibiscus adds the retro flavor to this aloha shirt. Overall- Top 3 Lawson USA (Convenience Store) First Hawaiian Bank (150th Anniversary Shirt) Kintetsu International Hawaii Company (Travel Agency) Congratulations to those who were awarded! We would also like to appreciate those companies that participated in our exhibition! “Be proud of yourself, proud of company and proud of Aloha!!”
“Share Your Voice” Project 20132013(19th)
The “Share Your Voice Project” is an educational collaborative project between the Honolulu Festival and Kapiolani Community College. It has been launched since 2010 which will be held for the fourth time for the festival.
“Share Your Voice” Project 20132013(19th)
The “Share Your Voice Project” is an educational collaborative project between the Honolulu Festival and Kapiolani Community College. It has been launched since 2010 which will be held for the fourth time in the festival. In addition to the students from the Japanese language class offered at Kapiolani Community College, there were volunteers from Nagasaki University in Nagasaki Prefecture and Hair Art College Kinami Gakuen in Aomori Prefecture as part of their study tour. There were nearly 70 volunteers that participated in this project. [ Read more ]