F-I-R-S-T C-L-A-S-S ...... are the words that best describe everything Punahou School did in their Labor Day 2006 weekend in Seattle! Much more than the magnificent 15 wins-1 loss record the Punahou wahines volleyball had in winning the first Emerald City Volleyball tournament; even better than the great 23-16 victory by the Buff & Blue football team over Washington State's 3d ranked Eastlake HS in the Emerald City Football Classic at Qwest Field, I was awed by how classy the Lahui a Punahou (people of Punahou) were! From President Jim Scott, the tall, handsome and distinguished Hawaiian guy who wandered around in his Aloha shirt attire stopping to talk to any and all (until you talked to him, you would not have guessed that this was the Punahou Schools President...really neat guy) to athletes like volleyballers Liz Kaaihue and Larissa Nordyke to football star Micah Ostrowski....to coaches like Kale Ane and Kanoi Downing and Jim Iams...to parents like Kala Kaaihue (Liz Kaaihue's Dad who also has three sons playing professional baseball) to the Punahou staff like Leela Goldstein, Laurel Husain, Lissa Schiff and Doug Rigg plus a whole bunch of Punahou alumni from this area who made it all happen... everyone was so classy! Capping the weekend was the fabulous All Islanders Luau in the UW Dempsey Center featuring great food from Bobby's Hawaiian Style Restaurant in Everett, great Seattle entertainers like Island Flavor and Brudda Dem and Lei Delossantos' Hula Halau plus Punahou's Alumni musicians led by Pal Eldredge....then came an extra special bonus when world renowned Hawaiian entertainer Danny Kaleikini made a surprise guest appearance, entrancing one and all with his great voice and hauntingly unique nose flute (Danny Kaleikini was there because his grandson is on the Punahou football team). It was a great weekend! Mahalo and a hui hou Punahou....come back again.............soon!
By the way, one cute Hawaiian wahine who was NOT playing for Punahou is Keilani Cruz (a Senior outside hitter for the Curtis HS volleyball team). Keilani is the daughter of US Postal Service guy Ray Cruz (whose Dad Roman Cruz is a past President of the 50th State Club in Tacoma )...
I want to express sincerest Mahalos to the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association (WIAA) for sponsoring the Punahou trip to Seattle! To the guys and gals of the WIAA staff who worked so hard to make it all happen: Todd Stordahl (Event Coordinator), Leah Francis (Finance Director), Andy Barnes (Assistant Executive Director), Mike Colbrese (Executive Director) and my special buddy Darin Hanson (Director of Marketing). You all were great and it was a pleasure to work with you....thank you from all of us in the Hawaiian communities here and back in Hawaii!
Brand new Hawaiian theme place just opened up in downtown Edmonds, WA but auwe, talk about tacky kine name: the place is called "A Very Taki Tiki Bar & Grill" at 518 Main Street...got lots of TV's for those addicted to sports (like my wife Kathy) and pretty good, inexpensive food for those addicted to food (like me)......fun place......go visit........
Speaking of new (and gooooood): Grant Oura from Kahului, Maui is the new Chef at the KonaKitchen Restaurant and the food just got even mo' bettah than used to be (was always good)! Try his Chicken Katsu Curry.........really, really ono..............
I don't know of a more fitting way to honor someone than as happened a few Sundays ago on the shores of Lake Washington...the waters were calm though a slight breeze gently rippled the surface of the lake...it was a sunny, warm Seattle morning, the only sound being the soft lapping of waves on the shore...then Kumu Hula Onie Rendal, who came all the way from the Tri-Cities area in Eastern Washington just for this event, began her chant, walking with Aunty Maile Baker down a slight incline to where Kikaha O Ke Kai's brand new outrigger canoe waited...in a Hawaiian ritual as old as time itself, Kumu Onie blessed the canoe "Manu" (named in memory of Manu Baker, an Icon of the Pacific NW Hawaiian community who left our world a year ago)....six paddlers moved the canoe into the water, then paddled out into the lake for the wa'a (canoe) Manu's virgin voyage....a hundred yards off shore, the paddlers stopped, turned the canoe toward shore and raised their paddles into the air, responding to chants from Kumu Onie and her entourage of dancers...the "call and response" protocol of chants continued between the paddlers and the hundreds of people on shore until the paddlers dipped their oars into the lake and paddled back to shore, the blessing ritual completed! It was awe-inspiring, chicken skin stuff..........
Kathy and I bought "season tickets" for the U of Washington's 2006-2007 Winter Sports season, a real bargain as the $25.00 tickets lets you in free to all the UW Winter Sports games except Men and Women's basketball. Basically we got the tickets so we could follow the UW Women's volleyball team (2005 NCAA Champions, currently ranked #4 in the nation) but especially the two young wahines from Hawaii who are key players on the team (Tamari Miyashiro, a 5'7" redshirt freshman from Kalani HS is the starting Libero while junior Ashley Aratani (even shorter at 5'5") is the starting Defensive Specialist). Wanna see really gooood volleyball? Go watch these ladies..they're tough...we watched them sweep (3-0 both times) the 6th ranked Stanford and 8th ranked U of California teams!
Remember: go get involved in our area's Hawaiian community activities! Next up is the October 7, 2006 Lokahi Ohana Fall Ho'olaulea at the Chief Leschi school complex in Puyallup...I hope to see you there...... gotta hele on...........malama pono e a hui hou.........Danny
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