Taste of Japan

LIHUE — The Kauai Museum Japanese Cultural Festival had a cool new twist Saturday.

“Shave ice? They want us to do shave ice,” said John Constantino, a Kauai Museum board member. “This is the first time we’re doing shave ice.”

Constantino got help from Kauai Community College’s Nelson Batalion in setting up the shave ice machine during the museum’s event, which unfolded to a waiting throng of people who were entertained by the Joyful Noise taiko ensemble.

“I just came from spending a couple of hours with the Hawaii State Teachers Association at the Cop on Top fundraiser for Special Olympics Kauai,” said Janice Bond, who was eager to take in the sushi demonstration by KCC culinary arts instructor Steven Nakata. “I also want to see the Japanese artifacts they have on exhibit.”

Chucky Boy Chock, who recently unveiled the artifacts from the Haaheo, said the second Kauai Museum building was transformed into a Japanese village featuring artifacts and items from the Japanese people during the plantation days era. These include several kimono, recreated building fronts — including a take-off of Yoneji Store — and a church.

“Last month, this was a Portuguese village showing a lot of the items brought over by the Portuguese when they arrived in Hawaii,” Chock said. “This month, the village has been transformed to show the items the Japanese people brought to Hawaii and its impact on Hawaii lifestyle. The exhibit should be up through the end of the month.”

Bond said she had original immigration papers from some of her relatives, and was anxious to speak with museum officials about the documents.

A special gift section took up a corner of the museum’s courtyard where select Japanese items were featured. The atmosphere was brightened by players of hanafuda, a Japanese card game, as Charlie Perreira tended to weaving his fishnet.

Other performances included Kyle Chew playing a shakuhachi, or Japanese flute, the Kauai Okinawa sanshin group performing on the instrument which is the core of Okinawa music, and accompanying dance using the paranku, or Okinawa hand drum.

Outside, guests could indulge in a variety of crafts, including origami, or Japanese paper folding, and floral arrangements offered by members of the Kauai Family and Community Education group as a service project.

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