Category Archives: culture

Hokule`a: World Wide Voyage

The Hokule`a and companion ship Hikianalia set sail on Wednesday, May 29, 2013 on the World Wide Voyage which will take 4 years and go around the world. The pair of canoes will travel a total of 47,000 miles, visit 26 countries and enter 85 ports. On their first leg of the journey and for the next 12 months, both vessels will travel around Hawaii. The vision for the World Wide Voyage is to Malama Honua, or Care for the Earth. The crew and vessel will carry this message on their journey, "to become a catalyst for positive change in Hawaii by constantly learning from and nurturing relationships worldwide that share the values of and responsibility for, caring for island Earth, her oceans and children, while honoring our heritage and perpetuating our culture. " Although we may not be on the canoes master navigator Nainoa Thompson talked about us (the public) as being the  "third canoe" able to share in the World Wide Voyage. The Hikianalia is equipped with all the technology to transmit ship to ship via wifi and from ship to shore with 4g. Further out, beyond the reach of land based communications, the vessels will communicate via satellite. The primary sites to stay in contact with Hokule`a and Hikianalia are: The slideshow above was during the press conference and the launch of the two vessels on May 29, 2013 from the Marine Education and Training Center on Sand Island.

Memorable Moments of 2012

As I look back at 2012 I can honestly say it was a good year. The year of the Dragon was a dynamic year with lots of changes going on all around. It was the confluence of many events that came together in 2012 and will set the course for 2013. Here are some of the memorable moments of my 2012, in somewhat chronological order:
1. The first Civic Hackathon resulting from CityCampHNL was held in conjunction with the City and County of Honolulu.
CityCampHNL Hackathon
2. Unconferenz 2012 was  memorable not only because of the topics and attendance (Tim O'Reilly, Jen Pahlka, Kirk Caldwell, Kym Pine, etc.) but it also debuted Code for America to the Honolulu community.
Unconferenz 2012
3. Geeks on DaBus was the culmination of an idea that sprung from CityCampHNL and the Civic Hackathon. We used DaBus app and converged on Kaka`ako to talk transportation with Mayor Carlisle and folks from TheBus.
Geeks on DaBus  
4. Transparency Camp and the folks from Sunlight Foundation. I never thought Washington D.C. could be so much fun.
Transparency Camp 2012
5. Getting the chance to visit a floating hospital on the high seas is always a memorable event. Here is a helicopter landing on the USNS Mercy in the waters off O`ahu.
Embark to USNS Mercy
6. Visiting Midway Atoll for the 70th anniversary of the Battle of Midway was incredible not only for its historical significance but for the experience of seeing thewildlife reclaiming the island.
Midway Atoll
7. This large golf ball shaped radar has become a regular feature in the Pearl Harbor view plane. Few get to visit and tour the insides of the SBX.
SBX-1 Tour
8. Have you ever felt like you are part of a bigger movement? I felt that way when attending the Code for America Summit. Open Government and Open Data is making great strides thanks to the efforts of CfA.
Code for America Summit 2012
9. Visiting South Korea was an awesome experience. I have a much deeper appreciation for Korean culture and people. It is a place I will return to soon.
Korea Ceramics Tour 2012
10. We capped the year of Open Data with a demo day called Hon*Celerator. It was a code contest of applications built around data from and This is just the beginning...

2012 New Year Calendar

New Year 2012 Historically, I usually get my new year calendar out at the beginning of the year. This year I had enough people nudge me by asking when my calendar was going to be ready. So in lieu of Xmas cards, here is my 2012 New Year calendar. I usually hand printed copies out personally since I find the face to face meaningful but in the off chance that I don't see you in the coming weeks, you are welcome to download a copy and print up as many as you wish. You might recognize some of the photos. The top photo is a sunrise shot of Diamond Head taken from the Kewalo end of Ala Moana Beach. It's usually when I finish my morning run that the sun just peaks over the horizon. The photo on the bottom left is a zen brush painting of a stylized character for dragon. 2012 is the year of the dragon so you can expect 2012 to be a dynamic year. In the middle is our daughter Mochi, sometimes referred to as Princess Mochi. She is half pug, half Tibetan spaniel. She welcomes me with all her heart when I come home. On the right is a ceramic piece my wife  Rochelle did of the Hindu deity Ganesh. He grants success, prosperity and protection against adversity. He also places and removes obstacles to keep us in check. I hope you enjoy this year's calendar. For my next blog post I am thinking about the top 10 things that made 2011 memorable. What made it on your list?

Chinese Landscape Masterpieces

This show at the Academy of Arts is a must see on so many levels. Granted I don't find myself writing about art very often and even on this occasion I will attempt it at a very superficial level. Chinese landscape art for me is mesmerizing. Nature is depicted in such grandeur and although humans are an integral part of the painting, they play a very small role. Majestic landscapes transport me to a different time and place. I find myself looking deeply into the painting enjoying the finer and finer details. You can view these works up close and afar. Masterpieces of Landscape PaintingOn the tech side I encountered something new for a major exhibit at the Academy, QR codes. This might have been started at previous shows at the Academy but it was a first for me. Usually there are no photographing allowed in the exhibit but an exception is made for the QR codes. I shot 10 different codes and they take you to the following links:
There is one introductory video by Stephan Jost, Director of the Academy of Arts and 8 video podcasts. (The video numbering seems to have missed #8 and I was unable to find it on the Academy Youtube page.) If you plan to visit the exhibit, I would suggest watching these first. The only thing about reading a QR code and loading a video is the Internet connection. I wasn't able to connect to the Academy wifi and viewing a video on 3G is slow. Nevertheless, I thought it was innovative of the Academy to incorporate QR codes and video podcast into the exhibit. It offered a chance to get more out of the displays, almost like having your own personal docent. The show continues to Jan. 8, 2012 but plan to go a couple of times as you will want to spend some time gazing at these masterpieces.

Estria Graffiti Battle

Estria International Graffiti BattleEstria International Graffiti BattleEstria International Graffiti Battle The Estria Invitational Graffiti Battle took place in New York City, Los Angeles, Honolulu and culminates in a final competition in Oakland, CA on Oct 8th. This past weekend 12 graffiti artist converged at the Academy of Arts at Linekona and over a period of 7 hours gave birth to their creations. Appropriately the word for the competition was Hanau (birth in Hawaiian). This was revealed to the artists at 12 noon, all at the same time. They each then had to come up with their lettering and design concepts on the spot. It was both creative, intense and a joy to witness. The series of photos above show Kawika Samson take a blank canvas and create one of the winning designs. Another winner was Katch and his train car that nearly jumps out of the canvas. Both Katch and Kawika will represent Hawaii in the Graffiti Battle finals in Oakland. The driving force behind this graffiti movement is Estria Miyashiro. He has been a champion for hip hop art for the better part of 20 years. Through competitions like this he has helped to legitimized graffiti as an artform. The Estria Foundation's mission captures the goals of the man and the organization:
The Estria Foundation shifts the social consciousness on critical human and environmental issues through education, art projects and community events around the globe.
Through the foundation, Estria hopes to raise the awareness of the public by showcasing artists behind the hip-hop scene. Graffiti that appears on buildings, freeways, walls and public spaces is still vandalism and the stigma of rebel/outlaw art still sticks. That said, it doesn't take away from the talent these artists have. It's great to see programs like this that demonstrate successfully the transition to legitimacy.

Aimi – Ebisubashi Bridge, Dotonbori

Ebisubashi is a central bridge and major attraction in the heart of Dotonbori. We crossed this bridge everyday during our stay in Osaka. Each time there was something new to experience. From here you can access all the restaurants in the area. Don Quijote is about one minute away and the iconic Glico Man looms over everything. In the evening this bridge is known to be a pick-up place where young people rendezvous. Nearby are the Love hotels, but that is a different story. During the day you will run into typical Osakaites scurrying from one shop to the next. You might also find street performers testing out their material. Ron Mizutani showed us a video he and Greg Lau took of a dance troupe practicing their moves on the Ebisubashi crowd. Unfortunately that footage didn't get into the video segments that were run on KHON about Osaka and Kyoto. On this our last day in Osaka, we happened on a street performance by a musician named Aimi. I find these chance meetings most memorable, nothing planned, pure serendipity. She happen to be playing what was to be her last song of the afternoon. With iPhone in hand, this is what I captured.  I love her passion and expressiveness. Who knows, she might be the next big J-pop star. Regardless, it was well worth the experience.

Yodobashi Camera

If you are into electronics, cameras or gadgets in general Yodobashi Camera is the place to be. Knowing my geeky interests, @Sophielynette cued me on to Yodobashi. There are about 21 of these stores scattered around Japan, each one consisting of multiple floors of electronics gear. The one we went to in Umeda was 8 floors, jam packed with everything electronic you can think of. I recall mentioning to Bert Kimura, one of our guides on this excursion, that it was an assault on the senses. There were racks stacked full of gear, signs pointing you in every direction and people everywhere. You could get lost in there and your family would never find you. I was impressed with the vast assortment of gear on display. But it wasn't just the assortment, it was the depth. For example I happened onto the section of the store featuring telescopes. Yodobashi not only had a vast selection of telescopes and binoculars but in addition they had microscopes and scientific accessories. I couldn't even think of a place in Hawaii that sells microscopes. The camera department is the signature section of the store. It's a photographers heaven in there. Dallas Nagata White asked if they had the Leica M9 and sure enough, there it was. My measure of a store's worth is the amount of tripods they carry. Not just any tripod, I am looking for quirky Gorillapods. Yodobashi had tiny little tripods, big huge tripods and this rack full of Gorillapods. Okay, I am done gushing over Yodobashi. We had to pry ourselves out of there and get Dallas to the train for the airport. If you want more on our Osaka adventure check out Dallas' excellent photo gallery and Mari's delicious foodie video. You can also check out my Flickr set of our Day 3: Osaka. ** Mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines who sponsored this trip on their inaugural flight from Honolulu to Osaka, Kansai.

Day 2 in Kyoto

Day 2: KyotoOn this second day in Japan, we hopped a train to Kyoto and ventured out on our own. This shot was taken at Daitoku-ji Temple at the Daisen-in. This building was where Sen No Rikyu's tea room was on display. Unfortunately no photographs were allowed. I did snap of this shot of the rock garden which I found quite pleasing. I won't speculate on the meaning of the rock formations but leave that for your interpretation. If you have some insight, please share. You can see more photos of Daitoku-ji in my Flickr set of Day 2 in Kyoto. Soen Ozeki is the head abbot at Daisen-in whose poetry was displayed throughout the hall.

A song of Gratitude The whole family, harmonious and devout. Aware of debts to our parents and ancestors. Revering Nature, grateful for society. Always humble, learning from others. Able to give, demonstrating kindness. Making one's motto: "A bright life." Overlooking other's faults, correcting one's own. Moderate in speech, not getting angry. Gentle, kind, honest. Let's appreciate the joy of life. Patient. Peaceful. Not getting angry. Careful in speech. This leads to a long life. --Soen Ozeki