Finally getting around to talking about my own experience at the Okinawan Festival.
Wife and I met daughter and her boyfriend at KCC. We’all took the bus shuttle to Kapiolani Park. First thing, we went look’n for food. I looked for a shady spot under a tree amongst other locals while wife and daughter went to buy food. We each had the delicious andagi, champuru and half-chicken. My daughter really liked the champuru! I think she’s sold on coming to the Okinawan festivals from now on. Kau kau hit the spot but, boy, was it hot!
Saw Drusilla’s wonderful mom, Jeanette Akamine, in the tent signing her grandson Grant Sato’s cookbooks. Said hello. Was good to see her. And there was Daniel Arashiro, her brother, not my cousin, standing behind me. Introduced my daughter to them.
From there, we went to the VIP tent. I was looking for Choko Takayama (Okinawa Hawaii Kyokai President). He was sitting there talking with retired judge Herbert Shimabukuro. I joined in. Introduced my wife and daughter. They stayed for a minute, then left. Don’t think they were interested in engaging in conversation with three old guys.
Judge Shimabukuro asked me my name.
“I’m Rodney Inefuku,” I replied.
First thing he asked, “Do you know Raymond Inafuku?”
“Oh yeah. He’s my uncle. My Dad’s older brother.”
It wasn’t a surprise that he knew my uncle, I’m guessing, because my uncle Raymond was very active with the Haneji Club, and I’m sure Judge has been active with the club a long time also. I mentioned that my Dad was Ronald Inefuku, but the judge didn’t know him. I thought, See, Dad, all you did was play golf and drink beer, and the only people who know you are your family and your golfing buddies.
Well, anyways, the three of us, the Haneji bunch (Choko Takayama is originally from Taira village in Haneji, my cousin Yasuo Inafuku’s next door neighbor), sat around and talked for about 45 minutes or so. We had a great time.
I told the judge the story I made up about how the Okinawan donut, “andagi,” got its name. “When this Portuguese cook was showing two Okinawan guys how to make malasadas, he suddenly ran off for his ship, which was leaving, saying, ‘Gotta take my kitchen stuff — and da gi (karate uniform).’ The two Okinawans looked up, ‘Say wot? You call this andagi?'”
Judge Herbert laughed and said, “That’s a good one!”
We talked about when Okinawa was sending tribute ships to China, one of the main tributes was sulfur, which they got from Tori-shima island, which is north of Okinawa island proper and west of Amamio-shima. I told him that of all the tributes that Okinawa presented to the Chinese government, the Chinese probably valued sulfur the most because they didn’t have a good sulfur source and needed it to make gunpowder and explosives.
Takayama-san said, “You know, the oldest person was a 110 year old man from Tori-shima.”
Takayama-san then stood up, and Judge asked him, “Oh, are you going?”
Takayama-san said, “No no, I’d rather be talking to you guys.”
So I enjoyed this time talking to Takayama-san and Judge Shimabukuro. It was the highlight of my Okinawan festival. It was what I came for.
Went to the Culture tent. Bought two books: Beginner’s Guide to Genealogy Research — Okinawa and 2010 Short Stories IV.
Found my wife watching the entertainment at the bandstand. A karate group including Barbara Maile Chinen was performing. At first, I looked around but didn’t see her, so I called her on my cell. She answered, “Look to your left.” She was standing 20 feet from me. Sheeesh! Modern technology. I wondered if anybody noticed me and wife talking to each other on our cells — 20 ft from each other. Felt kinda dumb.
But it was hot. I did what I mainly came to the Okinawan festival for, eat and talk to Choko Takayama, so we decided to leave. Went home and ate the rest of the andagis — with coffee.