<–May 25               Saturday & Sunday, May 26-27, 2012                   Memorial Day –> 

Buckie Shirakata / Hawaiian Hospitality バッキー白片

A tanka for this weekend

Memorial Day.

Mixing with watered flowers

Sweet morning dew rain.

Wet spaces between the years

On father’s Punchbowl marker.

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After class on Friday, I rested and read a text on Japanese religious traditions and finished reading In Godzilla’s Footsteps.  In the evening, I went to Friday night services at Chabad – Chabad of Hawai’i – http://www.chabadofhawaii.com/ – which is near the convention center about a mile from here.  Lots of singing and some circle dancing, the rebbe spoke about counting people – that everyone counts and can be perfected;  they use the Art Scroll sidurim.

I returned to Tokai to set up Departures – a DVD we borrowed from Fujikawa-Sensei – on a young men who participates in the preparation of the dead using Buddhist rites.  A few of us enjoyed the DVD, although I couldn’t get the sound well set up.

I woke up early and watched a DVD on the 442 unit of the 100th battalion – the most decorated unit and battalion in US military history.  Composed mostly of Japanese-Americans, the 442 continued to suffer great loses while also facing great prejudice from other soldiers and officers.  442 was produced by a Japanese film studio and includes a documentary celebrating the remaining veterans in a city in France that they helped to liberate.

John and Marissa kindly picked me up and brought me up Pali Highway to attend the Shabbat services of Congregation Sof Ma’arav.  There was a pretty heavy rain as we went up the highway, but when they let me off at Temple Emmanuel before 9 am, it was only misty.  They were on their way to a swap meeet at the Stadium.  Marissa wanted to buy t-shirts for her special education students and then go to the Special Olympics at the University of Hawai’i.

Congregation Sof Ma’arav – http://sofmaarav.org/ are a lay-lead community composed of a diverse group of university professors, professionals, and retired people.   One tradition that we might consider is the congregation’s joining in saying the prayers along with the maftir reader.  While waiting for the 9 am Torah study to begin, I had the opportunity to take a look at Temple Emmanuel and two Buddhist shrines in the neighborhood.

One of the congregants, a retiree from Waterbury, Sally Morgan, who is also the first cousin of our former Willimantic neighbor, Ann Shupack, volunteered to take me up to the Punchbowl, the National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific.  It is in a crater above the city.  I sent some time walking around the cemetery, snapping photos of the memorial histories of world war II battles, especially in the Pacific war, and giving space to those we were visiting their loved ones. 

National Memorial Cemetery of the Pacific



The walk down the hill to town was warm and about 3 miles.  I needed a nap when I returned, but first went to the beach to cool down.  John and I met while Kevin was practicing in the field behind Tokai and talked with Gary, who had spent a good deal of time in Japan with the army and is a registrar at high school now.  We discussed the conflicts between the people of Okinawa and the Army.

When Kevin’s practice was over, we went to get take out from Gina’s B-B-Q – http://ginasbbq.com/ – Best Korean in Honolulu and returned to their house for dinner and conversation.  I ordered Fish Jun, which came with 4 sides of vegetables.  Marissa has been involved with the Special Olympics at the Univerity of Hawai’i and was at a dance.  Kevin drove me back to Tokai for 9 pm.

I did some laundry.  Unfortunately between the washing and the drying I fell asleep and woke up at 11:30 – late for attending the study session at Chabad.  I did stay reading and working on these webpages, looking into the life of Buckie Shirakata, of whom someone had written on YouTube had become a naturalized Japanese citizen after being raised in Hawai’i in the 1920s, and watching old Law and Orders shows.

In the morning I went for a swim after 8:30 and then prepared to go to the 10 am Chabad service.  I had trouble staying awake but the service was conforting and Rabbi Itchel Krasnjansky spoke well about being chosen on Shavuot.  Rabbi Krasnjansky invited me to sit next to him and we had good discussions with other visitors from the DC area about reconstructionism, the need to maintain purity of religion, and life in Hawai’i and Connecticut over a dairy buffet with salads, fish, and kugel, and chaiim at the table.  Chabad has been in its current location near the convention center for 2 years and Rabbi Krasnjansky and family have been in Honolulu for 25 years.  The building was the former night club attached to the hotel and had a Hawaiian theme.

We stayed for mincha and then I walked back to Tokai, via some shopping at Don Quijote.  Relaxing while watching Tora Tora Tora – a relevant film several levels, being that on Shavuot the Torah was given on Mt. Sinai, that we are just miles from Pearl Harbor here, and that it is Memorial Weekend.

If you have any questions about this website, please contact David Stoloff – stoloffd@easternct.edu .


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