Monday, June 27, 2022 |
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LIHUE — The idea behind warabi ashibi, translated to mean “Children at Play,” is to keep things exciting and fun, said Karen Kuba-Hori.
Consider it done at Hui Alu (Okinawa Club) Warabi Ashibi.
“The children are always on the move and doing things to keep them busy,” said Kuba-Hori, state Warabi Ashibi director of Honolulu.
The day camp runs through today at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall.
“We have 32 students this year,” said Gloria Hiranaka, director of the Warabi Ashibi. “This is about perfect because we had the Hui Alu festival, recently. To take care of the festival and this camp would be crazy.”
Children, or parents, interested in learning more about the Okinawa culture are treated to hands-on activities and presentations by leaders coming from Honolulu for the three-day event.
Activities involved culture, ju-jitsu, and making of an Eisa Odaiko, or taiko used in dancing.
The students have learned about samba, an Okinawa instrument used in dancing, and they’ll start learning dance.
Today, the students will do flower arrangements, and give a lunchtime performance for parents before wrapping up the three-day camp by making ice cream.
Instructor Grant Sandaa Murata’s introduction to Okinawa started with a map and some discussion on the physical attributes of the island, switching to a hands-on activity with the kan kara sanshin, a three-stringed instrument fashioned after the Okinawa sanshin.
“This originally came from China,” Murata said. “After being introduced to Japan, it found its way to Okinawa. During the war years, the Okinawa people loved their music so much, they learned to make the instrument using cans. ‘Kan kara’ is the Okinawa term for can.”
On the other side of the room, students got help from parents and volunteers in fashioning an eisa odaiko using a plastic utility bucket.
“They’ll learn to play this during the dance phase,” Kuba-Hori said. “And on Thursday, they’ll perform with dance for their parents.”
Hiranaka said when Warabi Ashibi made its debut on Kauai in 1996, Bernie Sakoda was the director during the days the event met at the Kukui Grove Park and Pavilion (replaced by the Costco store).
Sakoda was followed by Max and Kathy Miyashiro as directors before Gary Ueunten took the helm as director.
“We really have to thank the County of Kauai for allowing us to have this event at the convention hall,” Hiranaka said. “We also have a lot of volunteers to thank for making this successful.”
Kuba-Hori said the Kauai program is able to do more because of its resources and volunteers.
“As an example, the flower arranging can be done using bamboo,” Kuba-Hori said. “On Oahu, we don’t have bamboo, and if we did, we don’t have the volunteers to prepare the bamboo. Kauai can do a lot because of the resources and the volunteers.”
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