The familiar strains of bon odori music was the only invitation people needed during the Lihu‘e Seniors Mothers Day program at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center on Tuesday.
“We’re celebrating the mothers with a dance showcase of the different cultures,” said Janice Bond, a member of the Lihu‘e Seniors. “We have Filipino dance, line dancing and Japanese dance.”
The showcase, attended by dignitaries like Outstanding Older American Kamahine Kaui, introduced in the Older American recognition program as Henrie Rose “Loke,” retired U.S. Army Gen. Myron Dobashi, retired Chef Guy Higa and others.
The showcase included a “healthy” box lunch that was promptly greeted by Lihu‘e Seniors’ President Pam Jardin and distributed at a rate of “one person from each table picking up the lunches for all those at the table.”
“I don’t like to use my English name,” said Kaui, who plays and sings with other Kaua‘i kupuna at the Aloha Craft Cafe in the Lihu‘e Plantation building. “And, I don’t know where ‘Loke’ came from. I’m just known as ‘Kamahine.’”
Alan Villaflor, a dancer and choreographer for the Bailes de Jose dance troupe and the Kaua‘i Filipino Community Council’s Miss Kaua‘i Filipina scholarship pageant, invited everyone to learn a new line dance sequence while waiting for the delivery of the box lunches.
“The lunch is not late,” Bond said. “The programming ended early.”
Veronica “Aunty Vernie” Sakaguchi said the line dancers are heading to Hilo on Hawai‘i Island for the Hilo Roundup on June 14-17. “Everybody’s going to be there,” Sakaguchi said. “We’re having workshops, and everybody dances with each other. It’s a lot of fun.”
Sakaguchi said she also teaches line dancing for anyone wishing to learn.
“I’m at the Lihu‘e Neighborhood Center on Mondays from 8 to 10 a.m.,” she said. “And I do the Koloa Neighborhood Center on Thursdays, again from 8 to 10 a.m.”
The bon odori that wrapped up the morning of cultural dances is a chop suey of dancers, drawing performers from the different cultures together as the music invited people to dance and work up an appetite for the box lunches.
The Kaua‘i Buddhist Council said the bon dance season will be back following three years of not having the events because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The first of the eight participating Buddhist temples will be the Kapa‘a Hongwanji Mission that will host its bon dance on June 9-10 with opening ceremonies with the Rev. Majima starting at 7 p.m. on each night.
To help people participate, the Kapa‘a Hongwanji Mission hosts bon dance practice, where people can learn bon dance or refresh their moves with instructor Pearl Shimizu on Mondays at 6 p.m. in the church’s social hall.
“The Lihu‘e Seniors will be doing this again in June for Father’s Day,” Bond said.
Dennis Fujimoto, staff writer and photographer, can be reached at 808-245-0453 or email@example.com.
Source: The Garden Island