Students get hands-on with plants

LIHUE — Everything planted in the Kauai Community College gardens is for the purpose of teaching said Brian Yamamoto.

Students from the Okinawa Prefectural College of Nursing who recently arrived for a two-week stay, were treated Friday to some of the plants during an ethnobotany session.

Yamamoto ignited the students’ curiosity with a hands-on session on harvesting and using shampoo ginger.

“This is called awapuhi in Hawaiian,” he said. “It’s one of the ingredients used in the Paul Mitchell line of shampoo.”

At the root of the ethnobotany lesson was the tasting of different types of manju, a baked, or steam morsel, which has its roots in China.

Yamamoto said like other cultural Japanese and Okinawa items, the manju was adopted from the Chinese, and came to Hawaii with the Japanese immigrants who were brought over to labor in the plantations.

The manju came with the original Japanese had azuki bean filling, but once here, pineapple and coconut fillings were adapted as fillings.

These were only part of the two-week trip for the Okinawa Prefectural College of Nursing who are here to learn about the United States and local healthcare system while engaging in cross-cultural activities.

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