Ku Holo Komohana / 2007 Voyage to Japan
Nomozaki, Nagasaki, and Fukuoka (May 7-19)
May 7-11 Nomosaki and Nagasaki
Ua ha’alele makou i Nomosaki, kahi a makou i noho ai no ho’okahi po wale no, aka he po keu a ka maika’i no ia. He kauhale lawai’a ‘o Nomozaki, a ua ho’okipa ‘ia makou e na ‘ohana lawai’a ma ke ‘ano o ia wahi, he kamau sake ‘oe, he ka’ana mele ‘oe, he pulehu ‘oe. Ho’omakaukau ‘ia kekahi mau ahi pulehu ma ka pahale(ma kahi o ka 7-8 ahi) a noho pu’ulu na kanaka a puni kela ahi keia ahi, a pulehu ‘ia ka ‘ai e kekahi wahine, ‘o ia ka hoakipa o ia ahi. Ma ia mau po’ai i ka’ana ‘ia na mo’olelo like ‘ole o ia wahi a no ka holo ‘ana mai Hawai’i a i Iapana. Ua hula mai kekahi mau haumana, a ua hana pahu taiko lakou kekahi. Ma ka ‘ai pu ‘ana ua pi’I maila ‘o Nahiku i ka lani lipo e kuhikuhi ana i Hokupa’a me Hokule’a, a ua pihoihoi ka po’e i ka ‘ike ‘ana i ka hoku ma ka inoa ho’okahi o ka wa’a ‘o Hokule’a.
We left Nomosaki, where we had stayed for just a night, but what a night it was! Nomozaki is a quaint fishing village. There we were greeted by the native fishermen and the townspeople, with the traditional fanfare of a toast, an exchange of song, and a feast. The feast was done in their style, that is to have several different hibachis going, and a host cooking and serving those sitting around the fire. In these circles we shared many stories of that village and island, as well a those of the voyage here.We were treated to dancing and taiko drumming, and as the night wore on, The big dipper appeared in the sky pointing the way to hokupa’a and hokule’a. They people were in awe that they could see the star and the canoe that both shared the same name.
In just a short day, not even filling 24 hours, we left for the next port. With us came a reporter and two camera men.
Taiko. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
Hibachi. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
Ma Nagasaki, ua ho’okipa ‘ia makou ma ka uapo, a ua hele mai na po’e ma na haneli e kipa ai i ka wa’a a e launa ai me na holo kai. Ua Ninauele ‘ia ‘o Kalepa, Kana, me Ka’iulani ma ka nuhou ma ka wa’a, Ua kipa mai ka Meia hou, a ua kipa pu mai na haumana e ‘imi ana i 10,000 pulima no ka paipai ‘ana i na po’o o na aupuni like ‘ole o ka honua e ha’alele i ka hana kaua ‘ana me na poka nukelea. A ua ha’awi pu ‘ia he leka ia lakou mai na haumana kanji o Nawahiokalani’opu’u. Ua pihoihoi no lakou i ka ‘ike ‘ana i ka ‘olelo Hawai’i i kakau ‘ia ma o na hua asia. Ua ikaika hou a’e ka pili o ko Hawai’i me ko Iapana.
At Nagasaki we were greeted on the wharf, and people have been turning out by the hundreds to visit the canoe and meet the crew. Kalepa (Chad), Kana, and Ka’iulani were interviewed live on Japanese news at the canoe, the Mayor stopped by, and we had an extra special visit of students from Nagasaki that have been busy gathering 10,000+ signatures encouraging world leaders to strive for peace and end the use of nuclear weapons of mass destruction. Also, to those same students, a letter from students of Nawahiokalani’opu’u was presented. This is a letter written in Hawaiian through kanji characters. They were overjoyed to receive and read through the letter. The ties of friendship between Hawai’I and Japan seem to be growing stronger every day.
‘O kekahi hana i pa ho’i i ka na’au o na po’e a pau, ‘o ia ho’i ke kipa ‘ana i ka hale ho’ike’ike o ka poka nukelea ‘ia o Nagasaki nei. Na na hoa holo kai e ho’o’ike’ike mai i ko lakou mau mana’o ma kekahi blog e a’eÖ.
One of the events that touched each and every crew member was the visit to the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb memorial museum. It was a deep and touching experience, and the crew members will be sending blogs to express their feelings as they are able to sort them out, words are hard to come by to describe what was seen, but the amazing peace loving and forgiving spirit of the people of Nagasaki is what stands out the most. This is for another blog...
na’u me ka ha’aha’a,
Paddlers greet the canoe. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
Crew member Uchino with welcomers. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
Captain Baybayan and crew greeting school children. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
Captain Baybayan with the Mayor of Nagasaki. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
Captain Baybayan signing peace petition. Photo by Kaimana Barcarse
May 11 Taku's report
”One Ocean One People”
May 11 Crew Changes
As a voyage is a dynamic and living thing, change always has to occur. In that light here is a quick update on the crew evolutions:
CREW MEMBERS LEAVING
Boy Luethje: An experienced sailor, awesome cook, and all around great guy, Boy left the escort boat Kamahele, and is headed back home to Hawai’i.
Tomoki Oku: A highly skilled professional, and one of Japans finest captains in a long and honorable sea-going tradition. Tomo boarded the escort boat Kamahele for the Itoman-Kumamoto leg, then transferred to the Hokule’a for the Kumamoto-Nagasaki leg. At Nagasaki he flew out to Hokkaido to train cadets aboard sailing vessels Kaiyou Maru and Nippon Maru.
NEW CREW MEMBER
Duke Kaneko: A businessman and Japanese beachboy, Duke has been instrumental in scheduling and caring for the wa’a ‘ohana in Nomozaki and Nagasaki. He boarded Hokule’a in Kumamoto and is on board until Fukuoka.
Reflections on Nagasaki, Kimo Lyman
5/8/07 Nagasaki – Midway thru the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Museum, at the Appeals of the Atomic Bomb Survivors display, the tears came freely. Prior to that it was possible to maintain a somber composure as one viewed the facts and the artifacts – August 9, 1945, 11:02, incredible physical damage, a full-sized replica of “Fatman,” fused glass, a schoolgirl’s lunch box with blackened rice, silhouettes seared on different surfaces from the flash, the cloud – all these and more could be witnessed as yet one more example of man’s inhumanity to man. And one could hear in the mind the rationalizations one was raised with, how this horror saved American lives and hastened the end of a brutal war. But it all fell apart in the face of the stories of the survivors, the cries of the parents for their lost children and the newly orphaned children completely bewildered, lost in agony and suffering. Our current national drama, i.e. our obsession with 911 and the war on terrorism, pales in comparison to this atrocity. The numbers alone – 73,884 dead, 74,909 injured and thousands more suffering to this day the effects of radiation poisoning – speak volumes to the intensity and magnitude of the bomb (small by todays’ standard!) and to the insanity of those responsible for its use. If all the world’s leaders, current and future, could be coerced to come to Nagasaki and experience the museum, tour the beautiful park that now stands at the hypocenter and meet the people who reside here, perhaps they would return home and realize the futility of the concept of “enemy.” Perhaps they could understand that their kuleana is not just their people and their nation but all people and the entire world. Maybe then we could begin to dismantle all the bombs and then all the weaponry and actually begin a voyage toward true world peace.
Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum.
A bas relief in front of the Nagasaki Atomic Bomb Memorial Museum.
May 12 Fukuoka
Honolulu, HI - Hokule’a and the escort boat Kama Hele are docked at a marina in Fukuoka, on the northwestern end of the island of Kyushu. They arrived at their 6th stop in Japan at about 5:30pm, May 11.
Fukuoka Welcome. Photo by Hawaii Tourism Japan
Hokule’a captain and navigator Chad Baybayan says they worked on Hokule’a this morning, cleaning and prepping her for the next leg, as well as organized the education program and prepared for the arrival of the new crew. In Fukuoka, the crew will be participating in a youth seminar and a seminar on astronomy, make courtesy calls to the prefectural government, and hold workshops at local schools.
Hokule’a and Kama Hele will depart Fukuoka on Thursday, May 17th, weather permitting. Their next stop will be Oshima in Yamaguchi prefecture, from where the 2nd largest number of Japanese immigrants came to Hawai’i, and which has a museum honoring the immigrants.
Hokule'a in Fukuoka
May 11-13 In Fukuoka
Eia makou ma ke kaona o Marinoa, ma ke kulanakauhale nui ‘o Fukuoka. Ua ho’ea koke makou i ane’i ma o ka loea nui o na ho’okele Kepani, ua ho’opokole ‘ia ke ala e hiki aku ai i Fukuoka. I ka ho’ea ‘ana mai i Fukuoka, ua kau ke ahiahi a no laila, ua ho’opa’a maika’i makou i ka wa’a a me ka moku holo pu, a ua ho’omaha koke no ka po.
Here we are in the city of Marinoa within the much larger city of Fukuoka. We made great time from Nagasaki due to the expertise of our Japanese guide captain who shortened our path considerably. We arrived at Fukuoka in the early evening, secured the wa’a and escort boat to the dock, and called it an early night.
I kekahi la a’e, ua ho’omaka ka nui hana. Ua ho’oma’ema’e pau loa ‘ia ‘o Hokule’a, a laila ua malama ‘ia kekahi Semina no na keiki ma ke kula holokai e wehewehe ‘ana i ke kumu i holo loa ai makou a ho’ea ma ke one o Iapana nei. Ua ho’ike pu ‘ia na lalani hoku i ‘ike ‘ia ia makou e holo ana. Pihoihoi ho’i ua po’e la. A ma hope pono a’e, ua malama ‘ia he pa’ina e aloha ana i ka po’e holokai. Ua ho’okipa ‘ia makou me na mele, na hula, a me ka ‘ai. Ua keu a ka ‘olu’olu ka po’e Kepani.
The large workload for the next day started early. Hokule’a was treated to a full scrub down and re-organization of her load. After lunch a presentation was given at the planetarium for the seafaring school, explaining the reason for this sail to Japan, and sharing with them the stars used to get here. Interest was high amongst the students and others attending. After the presentation, we were treated to a reception welcoming us to Fukuoka. We were welcomed with great song, dance, and food. The hospitality of the people of Japan remains unrivaled.
He wa ho’oponopono mea pilikino ka hapa mua o keia la. Ua ho’oka’awale ‘ia ka wa e holoi lole, ulu hou i na ‘ukana, a hele i ke ku’aihele no na pono e like me ke kopa, ka pauka niho, a pela hou aku. No ka ‘aina awakea, ua lawe ‘ia makou i ka ‘aina ma kekahi moku nui a ‘olu’olu, ua ‘ono no ka ‘ai, aka ua keu a ka ‘ono ka launa ‘ana me ka po’e. Ma ia manawa ho’okahi o ka ‘aina ‘awakea, ua malama ‘ia kekahi ho’ike’ike ma kekahi kula he ho’okahi hola me ka hapa kona mamau ma luna o ke ka’aahi. Ma ka ‘auinala ua hiki i ke kaiaulu ke kau maka’ika’i ma luna o ka wa’a. A ‘o ka hanana hope o ka la, ‘o ia ho’i ka pu pa’akai ‘ana me kekahi mau ‘ohana Hawai’i e noho ana ma Fukuoka nei. A ma ka hale ‘aina kepani kaulana hea makou e ‘ai ana? Ma Sam Choys ho’i! Kupaianaha ka ‘i’ini nui o ka po’e Kepani i ko Hawai’i! He pili ‘opu ho’i!
The first half of today was a personal day given to catch up on laundry, stock up on toiletries, write letters, and re-organize our belongings. For lunch we were treated to a lunch tour where we experienced good food, and great company. At the same time as our lunch tour, our faithful captain and some other crew members were busy giving a presentation about an hour and a half away via train. In the afternoon, tours of the wa’a were given to the public. And the last event for the day is a dinner hosted by some friends of the wa’a. This dinner will be held at a favorite restaurant here in Fukuoka… Sam Choys! It is amazing just how much of a desire many Japanese have in sharing our culture. A sharing with food is always a good thing.
I ka ‘apopo, e hui ana ‘o Kalepa me ke kia’aina, a e ho’i ana ‘elua holokai i Nagasaki e ha’iolelo ai ma kekahi kula ha’aha’a. Ma ia kula e ha’i’olelo ana maua no ka holo ‘ana o ka wa’a mai Hawai’i a hiki loa i Iapana nei, a e ka’ana ‘ia ‘ana na leka ‘olelo Hawai’i i kakau ‘ia ma o ka hua asia me na keiki o ia kula. A e a’o ‘ia ana na mele nane e pili ana i ka holo kai.
Tomorrow, our captain Kalepa, will be meeting with the governor, and two crew members will return to Nagasaki (2+ hours away by bus) to present at a grammar school there. We will share the stories of our journey here and also share with them a letter written in Hawaiian through Kanji by the students of Nawahiokalani’opu’u. We will also share with them some of our songs and chants written to teach about seafaring and navigation.
‘O ia ihola, ma ka pokole, na hana i hana ‘ia i na la i hala iho nei. Nui no ka hana i koe, a ke ho’oko ‘ia nei me ke kokua a kako’o o ‘oukou e na ‘ohana e!
That is our short take on the events of the past few days. There is a lot of work and sharing to be done, and it will all be completed with the aloha and support of the families and supporters that are responsible for us being here.
na’u me ka ha’aha’a,
Crews for Next Leg
Hokule'a: Captain Chad Kalepa Baybayan, Kala Baybayan, Timmy Gilliom, Chadd C. Paishon, Atwood Makanani, Maka'ala Rawlins, Takuji Araki, Heidi K. Guth, Anela K. Benson, Kiyoko Ikeda, Derek Ferrar (writer), Monte Costa (photographer), Dr. Cherie L. Shehata (medical officer). New crew members includes those from the island of Kaua’i who are involved in the building of the voyaging canoe “Na Mahoe”: Dennis J. Chun; Imaikalani P. Aiu; Stephanie M. Beeby; Kaimi C. Hermosura; William K. Kai; Van K. Warren.
Presentation Team (traveling by land): Ka’iulani Murphy, Kanako Uchino, Kaimana Barcarse.
Yanmar Escort: Terry Hee, Ah Lun Yung, Kazu Nishimura.
Kamahele: Michael Taylor, Lee Taylor, Erik Norris, Kepa Lyman, Michael F. Cunningham, Mel Paoa, Mona Shintani, Mas Yoshida (Photographer).
Departing Crew: Sam Monaghan, Kimo Lyman, Ka'iu Kimura. Some from the island of Hawai’i will be taking the opportunity to go to Hiroshima on a personal journey to visit the land of their ancestors.
May 14 Genkai Island Visit
The residents of the fishing community on Genkai Island were displaced by a 7.0-magnitude earthquake in March 2005, and began returning to the island just this last March to live in temporary housing, while the government is building a new housing development for them.
Genkai Island (offshore island to the right), from Shikanoshima, at the mouth of Hakata Bay.
The construction sprawls up the front of the island’s steep central hill, with huge dirt cuts and concrete abutments, while the temporary housing buildings are clustered on the waterfront with local-style fishing boats docked in front. In addition to the earthquake, the Genkai people have seen their fishing catches decline dramatically in recent years, so they’ ve really been through a lot of hardship.
About a hundred residents stood by the dock clapping as the crew arrived in a small shuttle ferry, followed by a reception line of handshakes and polite bows accompanied by greetings of “konnichiwa” and “aloha.”
Next we were led up steep stone stairs climbing the hillside to a beautiful old wooden Shinto temple that had been in danger of collapsing after the quake, but the people gathered donations and shored it up with new beams. Hanging inside were beautiful paintings on wood, some of which we were told were a hundred years old or more. One of the paintings depicted an event that occurred around 1900, when a steamship sank near the island, and the islanders rowed out in their fishing boats in large waves to rescue the passengers. Another showed a historical battle between Shogun Tokugawa and a king of Kyushu Island, who crewmember Taku Araki said was an ancestor of his.
Chadd and Kamahele skipper Mike Taylor were shown how to perform a series of bows and claps at the altar to seek blessings from the shrine’s god, which Taku said was a hawk deity, for a continued safe voyage.
Next we were treated to an “oishi” (ono) lunch of local “buri” fish, both sashimi-style and cooked in sweet shoyu sauce, then escorted to the community hall, where we were shown a video about the earthquake and reconstruction, and the adorable kids from the small local school played taiko drums, sang and performed on the traditional koto and samisen stringed instruments.
Crewmembers reciprocated with the ‘Aiha‘a Hokule‘a, a hastily choreographed hula from Kaimana Bacarse and Ka‘iu Kimura, and, by request, Chadd singing Aloha ‘Oe.
At the end, the event’s local host, Takeharu Matsuda, told the gathering: “Although our islands are far apart and of different size, we are all islanders. And although we cannot make a physical bridge between our islands, today we have built a bridge in our hearts that will join both our islands from now on.”
In return, Chadd told the Genkai islanders that “sailing on your ocean helps us remember the great lessons that the ocean teaches us, but it also helps us remember our love for our island, just as you are returning now to your island because of your love for it. And when we return home, we will continue to remember this day by telling the story of our visit to your beautiful place.”
May 14-17 Dr. Cherie L. Shehata arrives
Once we got off the the connecting flight there was someone from JAL, with a sign with all our names on it, quietly trying to direct us to the gate. We made our connecting flight to Fukuoka with little difficulty. On our way to Fukuoka, we also had a chance to fly by Mt Fuji, which is magnificent. I think that all the passengers shifted over to the left side of the pain to get a look, I managed to get a picture of it as we passed by.
Now there is an interesting story about that connecting flight (this the point, one of many, where I digress). You see my brother's wife, aya, graduated the weekend before I left. At graduation my brother's friend's girlfriend's mother and aunt (did you follow all of that? diagram it if not), was also there. They had flown in from Japan that weekend just to see her daughter graduate. We politely said hi, and bye after the ceremony, and assumed that we would never cross paths again. So i thought. On my flight over we ran into each other, and said hi to each other as if we were long lost friends. They too were on the same flight and connections to Fukuoka. (Cue the "it's a small world" Disney music). _@_@I had a good laugh with it.
We land in Fukuoka, we are greeted by a wonderful women from the Japanese Tourism Bureau, who greets us, has to vans waiting to pick us up and deliver us to the canoe. Now keep in mind, i had intended to fly over to Fukuoka, get on the canoe and depart to the next destination. Lo and behold, I was majorly wrong. We drive through the bustling town of Fukuoka, with neon red billboards, small cars, and suit-wearing bicycle riders. They whisk us to the Fukuoka Marinoa Hotel, which overlooks the marina where Hokule`a is docked. They have rooms ready for us, and this is no small peanut room. Beautifully decorated, with simple Japanese taste. Bathrooms to die for with a elegant showers and tub. Let’s not forget the heated toilet seats either (and the ever stressful moment of finding the flush lever). I take a wonderfully hot shower, and go down to eat curry udon at one of the shops near the hotel (did I mention there is an outlet mall right next door). I curled up in my warm down comforter, and slept like a baby.
Today we woke up bright and early, like 2:45 am Japan time. We set our alarm to the wrong time zone, alas, and felt a bit groggy (but seriously who am I to complain). We realized the error of our ways when it was still dark out, and immediately rectified the situation by going back to bed. We woke up about 3 hours later, sun fully up, and welcoming us to Fukuoka. Unable to battle the inevitable, i just got up and showered to get ready for our first crew call. We were unable to find any breakfast places nearby open to serve us food, so we went the trustworthy am-pm which is the equivalent of 7-11, and picked up food. I would not make that mistake twice. So I had a bento and apple juice for breakfast, ahhh.
At the crew meeting we had shifts, tasks assigned, and the itinerary for the next few days. Today we would have to do some canoe work. Get our bunks assigned, wash dishes, arrange the deck, and prepare for tours. There were several locals who stopped by curious at the oddities that we were. Imagine this wooden vessel, docked amongst high tech boats and yachts. Then we are being approached by men in suits, and women in cute outfits with pinpoint heels...and they want to get on the canoe. We gave the tours on the boat, many were just in awe...or perhaps shock._@We even had one guy dress up in his aloha-shirt that he bought in Waikiki years ago, took a ferry-train-boat ride from 100 miles away, just to visit the canoe. Truly amazing. The people here are so kind to us and seem to care for you as family. Tonight, for example, we were trying to order food from a menu written in Japanese, with no pictures, and no plastic food display out front. This couple sitting next of us looked over, and said do you need help, and basically ordered our entire meal for us. I was trying to remember what I had so that I could write the name, i think it was minnojya yaki or something. Aya please help me remember. It was a flour based dish that you cook on a stove in front of you, with vegetables chicken, that makes a super thin pancake style dish. Whatever it was, it was wonderful.
Tonight a group of Japanese school children get a tour of the canoe, and even sleep over. Tomorrow is open showing of the canoe to the public, which I am sure will be filled with long lines.
I should be going to sleep now.
Konichiwa, Morning everyone.
Today has been another day of adventures in Japan. I almost forgot to tell you about the ferris wheel that we road yesterday. Apparently it is the 2nd largest in the world, and it happens to set right on top of our hotel, literally. I am still working on the specs, but it's big, nuf said. Nice view of the canoe and the city could be seen from the top.
We also ventured out into Fukuoka on foot, finding another shopping mall. You would all be proud, i have this rule. No buying anything here that I can get a home. Plus there is a limit of what we can carry on the canoe. We ran into this crepe shop, and had a crepe banana chocolate ice cream cone first thing in the morning. It was decadent yet worth each bite. Heidi and Kaiwi, two other crew members were along with me. We have been trying to get vending machine coffee, because that seems to be the thing to do. A nice hot piping cup of joe. However, several attempts were made with no success. The first attempt at getting coffee produced only a cold can of coffee. The second meant we were ushered out of the restaurant because it was too early.
In the evening we made dinner for the crew and marina to think them for their hospitality. It was full of singing, laughter and even shows. Somehow they make all the rookies perform prior to sailing. Now the definition of rookie varies depending on who you talk to. Some say it is your first time voyaging. Others say it is when you arrive for this particular voyage. Whatever the rule, they made me participate. It involves putting on some show for the crew, and in this case the guest of honor. Our group decided we would do some local stuff and some japanese stuff. 3 guys were on string struments, 2 on percussion (the oh so versatile and coveted cracker bucket), and the rest were dancers. The customs involved a white bandana made from hotel room towels, and kimonos- which we snaked from the rooms, and also double as robes. We sang sakura, and another japanese song, while some one played the taiko cracker bucket. It was a sight to be seen. Lots of laughter, rolling on the ground, and tears of joy.
May 17 preparing to depart
Today we prepare to sail to our next destination. We have crew call some time around 1:30 am and sail around 3-4 am. Alas, our luxury stay has come to an end. I bid my bed, shower, tub, heated toilet adieu. I greeted my bunk, my swimming pool mat (my bed), and the back of the canoe, with a warm heart felt welcome. I have to arrange all my stuff in the hull of the canoe, with my bunk-mate.
May 18 Kanmon Strait
Planes trains and automobiles, actually, bus, subway, train, express train, taxi, and foot-mobile. Today we were determined to make it to Kanmon Strait, to get a view of the area we would be traveling to by canoe later today. It was probably the most modes of transportation I have ever taken in one day to get to one place.
We woke up and met at about 8am today by the Pier, Kaimana and Kyoko had a plan for us. Bus coupons and all in hand. We made it to the bus stop, took a short ride to the subway. Meandered through bustling people trying to make it work, and found the ticket dispenser. Kyoko managed to guide the 13 of us through the seemingly simple task of inserting coins, pushing the right button and getting a ticket. Of course, it took us about 10 minutes to finish the process when it should have taken us about 1 minute. We each proudly held our tickets in hand, as a child would hold a lollipop, and made our way to the subway.
We boarded the subway and rode to Hakata. At Hakata we transferred to the express train, I thought it was the bullet train, but it was one level less, it only went about 300 km/h. We then made it to Kokura, where we transferred to a regular slow-poke train. This train took us to Mojiko, our almost final destination. Apparently Mojiko is one of the older train stations, a supposed "tourist attraction" although I think we were the only ones to be honest. From there we realized we missed the bus to Meikar Shrine, and would have to wait another 1.5 hours before the next one would come. Hence, our final mode of transportation, a taxi, was taken to the Shrine, which sat right on Kanmon Strait.
The Shrine was simple yet beautiful one, which sat on the strait, with a huge bridge crossing over to the other side. The vessels and barges passing through seemed to rip passed each other, which was a source of both awe and fear. We spent about 45 minutes there, during that time the tides changed rather quickly and dramatically. Apparently, there is only a very short window for vessels to pass through the straights, and during that time it is a complete made rush/race, otherwise the tides pull and make it difficult for safe passage.
We then caught a taxi to a restaurant near the train station, and had a private room upstairs, with the low tables, and sitting on the floor type of set up. It was an elegant parade of food. Green tea, in cute blue and white cups, fresh sashimi, miso soup, fried fish, picked vegetables, shoyu, and dipping sauce for the fish. We were all stuffed by the end of the day that we wanted to take a nap on the floor.
Right under the restaurant was an ice cream shop, which Kaiulani dragged us all to. Everyone got icecream, and Terry even tried the "Flesh banana icecream". Content with a good meal, dessert, the day had to end and we needed to head back to the canoe.
We took our train, express train, subway and bus back to the canoe. Made it in time for the crew meeting, announcing our departure tonight.
It has been fun in Fukuoka, and our adventures are sure to continue. Everyone, crew, hotel management and staff, the marina, the people of Japan, have been so generous with us, and kind.
Take care everyone
Kanmon Strait separates Kyushu from Honshu. To reach its next stops at Oshima and Hiroshima after leaving Fukuoka, Hokule'a had to pass through the strait and enter the Seto Naikai, or Inland Sea. The Kanmon Bridge, 783 yards long, crosses the strait to the city of Shimonoseki in Yamaguchi prefecture on Honshu; car and rail tunnels go under the strait. The tidal flow through this narrows is strong, so small vessels time their entrances and exits to the tides.
May 18, a view of the Kanmon Strait
With departure from Fukouka on a 24-hour hold today, a group of about a dozen of us – including Ka‘iu Kimura’s mom and dad, who arrived a few days ago to meet up with her and go visit relatives in Hiroshima – ventured on a field trip to check out the tricky Kanmon Strait we will be passing through tomorrow.
To get there, we traveled by bus, three trains – one of them a superfast express (not quite a bullet train, but close) – and finally taxi to reach the district of Mojiko in Kokura city at Kyushu’s northern tip. The journey would have been quite bewildering if it wasn’t for the guidance of our navigator for the day – Kiyoko Ikeda, who arrived from her home in the mountains near Tokyo a few days ago to join the canoe for the legs to Oshima Island and Hiroshima. Through her work at the East-West Center, Kiyoko has done a lot to help organize the education program in connection with the voyage.
As we wandered around the train stations with lost expressions, I couldn’t help feeling a sense of irony that I was amid a group of accomplished wayfinders who have no problem raising a distant island out the of sea, but get hard time raising a subway station out of the city.
After whipping past rice paddies and country houses (and yes, a Costco) on the express train, we got to Mojiko station, which the stationmaster told us is the oldest train station on Kyushu, and it still has a lot of classic charm. It was a nice change from all the super-modern malls around where Hokule‘a is docked in Marinoa.
From there, we caught taxis to the Mekari Shrine, which is located right under the big bridge that joins Kyushu and Honshu across the Kanmon Strait. With the bridge looming overhead and fishermen casting off the concrete seawall, we visited the beautiful shrine dug out of a rock bluff, with its curving copper roof and carvings of a dragon and sacred birds in its wooden eaves, surrounded by the scent of jasmine from nearby bushes.
Each year at Japanese New Year’s, the Mekari Shinji festival is held at the shrine, during which priests gather wakame (seaweed) – which symbolizes long life – from the waters of the strait. According to a sign at the shrine, there are imperial records that date this practice as far back as 701. A.D.
In front of the temple, stone stairs lead down to the water for the wakame ritual, and a carved-stone toro (lantern) pillar juts up out of the water, something Kiyoko said is quite unusual.
At the top of the stone steps leading up to the shrine is an offering box and a big brass rattle-style bell hanging under the roof, with a thick rope dangling from it. Kiyoko showed us how to throw a 5-yen coin into the box, then ring the bell and pray with folded hands for good fortune. The 5-yen coin is considered lucky, she said, because the word for it is goen, and in Buddhism, “goen” also means to have a connection to something or someone from your past lives. “Like when people ask why I’m involved with Hokule‘a,” she said, “I say, ‘goen.’”
There were also small white pieces of paper with writing on them tied to the branches of bushes around the shrine. Kiyoko said those were fortune-telling messages that people buy. If the message is good luck, they keep it. If it’s bad luck, they tie it to the tree and leave the bad luck behind at the shrine.
The strait itself certainly did look unsettling. It’s about a quarter-mile wide, looking pretty much like a river, but with huge ships zipping through it at full speed, sometimes three and four abreast. We even saw a submarine going through when we first got there.
On the far bank, a big lighted sign shows the current tidal-flow conditions. During the 45 minutes we were there, the flow changed by three knots on a dropping tide – from 1 knot from the West to 2 knots from the East. The whole scene certainly made us understand why Kalepa has been taking such care in planning Hokule’a’s journey through the passage. As Chadd Paishon explained to me yesterday, “It’s just not like anything we’ve had to deal with before.”
After our visit to the strait, we headed back to a restaurant next to the train station for a tasty lunch of deep-fried fish at tatami-style tables, and some ice cream from a stand downstairs. Terry especially enjoyed his flavor, “flesh [fresh] banana.”
Back at the train station, we bid aloha to Ka‘iu who left with her folks to catch a bullet train to Hiroshima.
On the way back, Kaimana asked Terry what his impression of the strait was. “Looks hairy,” he replied. “I’m glad I’m not in charge.”
Should be an exciting trip through tomorrow morning. It’s been a great urban-style stay in Fukuoka, but now I think everyone’s stoked to be getting under way again.
May 18 (May 17 HST) the passing of Hokule'a's first captain, Elia Kawika David Ku’ualoha Kapahulehua, in Honolulu
Honolulu, HI - It is with heavy hearts that we announce the passing of Captain Elia Kawika David Ku’ualoha Kapahulehua. He passed at the Queen’s Medical Center at 7:20 this morning. He was 76 years old. Captain Kapahulehua lead Hokule’a on her maiden voyage to Tahiti and back to Hawai’i in 1976.
Nainoa Thompson, president of the Polynesian Voyaging Society and fellow crewmember on the return trip to Hawai’i 31 years ago, says “everyone in the voyaging family is saddened that our first captain to Tahiti has voyaged on. Kawika was the first captain of a double-hulled canoe to voyage from Hawai’i to Tahiti in 600 years. The success of that voyage was crucial to the future of Hokule’a, and Kawika was the perfect captain. Its success in finding Tahiti was monumental, and Kawika was the one who ultimately had the responsibility of the voyage as captain, but that voyage had to succeed because if it did not I don’t think there would be any voyages after, so it was a crucial, pivotal time and he was the perfect captain at the perfect time. In my opinion the success of that voyage and the crew changed the course of how Hawaiians were seen, which is that they are among the world’s greatest explorers and navigators. That arrival in 1976 brought an enormous sense of pride, dignity and honor to Hawaiian culture, heritage and history and set the path for perpetuating this pride in children for generations to come. Kawika, over the next 30 years, was a respected teacher, mentor of Hawaiian language and culture and he lived his life every day in such a way that everything he did he did with love. We are going to miss him.”
Captain Kapahulehua was pure Hawaiian, a native speaker, born and raised on Ni’ihau until the age of 13, and spent his childhood and entire life in the sea – on the beach, on the ocean and in paddling and surfing canoes. What was key was that he was a very experienced sailor in the beginning days of the catamaran in Hawai’i. He was a master mariner, licensed captain, and constantly deeply grounded in his culture, history and heritage.
Captain Kapahulehua’s family extends their deepest aloha and appreciation for all the beautiful connections and prayers given him through the years. Services will be announced at a later time as well as a final journey on Hokule’a upon her return from her voyage to Japan. If the public has any memories, stories or photos of Captain Kapahulehua they are invited to share them.
Kawaika Kapahulehua. Photo by by Kathryn Bender
Elia Kawika David Ku’ualoha Kapahulehua, July 13, 1930 – May 17, 2007
Honolulu, Hawai`i - Elia Kawika David Ku’ualoha Kapahulehua, a native of Ni’ihau, born July 13, 1930 to father Levi Kapahulehua Sr. and mother Sarah Mamali`ili`i Loa. Kapahulehua is survived by: wife (the late) Birdie Stein Kapahuleha, his son, Danny Kapahulehua, Brothers (the late) Levi Kapahulehua Jr. and Frank Santos Jr., sisters Francis Ku`ulei Santos and Doreen Kapahulehua-Nunies, many nieces, nephews, cousins, grandnephews/nieces and close friends.
Kawika Kapahulehua became the first Hawaiian to Captain the first voyage to Tahiti in 1976 since our ancestors stopped voyaging. “This voyage was the turning point, a time of change during the resurgence of Hawaiian culture and re-birthing of Polynesian Voyaging canoes” said Nainoa Thompson, President of the Polynesian Voyaging Society.
As a result of the maiden voyage from Hawai`i to Tahiti and back, the birthing of more voyaging canoes arrived, canoe builders became inspired, and an increased interest and desire of watermen and women were trained to be navigators, captains, and crew.
“Kapahulehua, Hokule`a, and its’ 1976 crew brought back the life and pride of Hawaiian-Polynesian culture through voyaging canoes…. If it wasn’t for the brave voyage to Tahiti, all crew members who had committed themselves to the unknown at sea, and the Captain who held it together on that first voyage, Polynesian voyaging would not be where it is at in today’s time culturally and spiritually” said Ka`uhane Lee, President of Ke Ala `Olino Native Cultural Center and friend of Kapahulehua. “Therefore, the voyage continues to greater things ahead for the next generations”.
Prior to being selected as the first Captain aboard Hokule`a, Kapahulehua was an exceptional waterman and experienced sailor. His sea training came from the early years in his life of sailing catamarans and yachts between Hawai`i and America. He was also very active in catamaran and yacht racing. Kapahulehua traveled the world when he worked for Western Airlines and shared his Hawaiian cultural ways of life and living with many through his music, story telling, and just simply through his aloha spirit. He connected with people from all walks of life and always kept a bright smile on his face. “He always made people feel good about themselves, about each other, about Hawai`i,…just pure aloha”, said niece Zeni Kapahulehua-Iese.”
Kapahulehua also taught Hawaiian Language and culture at the University of Hawai`i and was honored at the Maohi Native Cultural Festival in 2005 for his lifelong accomplishments and contributions in preserving Hawaiian Culture through voyaging canoes and Hawaiian Language teachings.
The Kaphulehua `Ohana extends its deepest Aloha and gratitude to The Polynesian Voyaging Society, the Voyaging Community of Polynesia, Ke Ala `Olino Native Cultural Center, and very special friends, for all their support and participation with services forthcoming for Uncle Kawika and the continuation of his legacy of Polynesian voyaging canoes.
[Capt. Kapahulehua’s ashes will be scattered at sea after Hokule`a returns from the Japan voyage in July. Specific plans will be announced at a later time.]
May 18 memorial for Anakala Elia
As a light rain fell from the heavens of Japan, the sound of Hawaiian chants and hymns rang forth, and Captain Kalepa, Kaimana Barcarse and Mona Shintani, who is Anakala Elia˙s nephew, spoke in ‘olelo Hawai‘i and English of Anakala Elia’s memory.
Kaimana spoke about sitting in Anakala Elia’s yard so many times, listening to and learning from his stories. “Anakala Elia was a humble man,” Kawika said, “but he was an amazing man, a great man. He was great in guiding this wa‘a, and his passing is a great loss for Hawai‘i.”
“He was our first captain,” Kalepa said. “He was the first to take this canoe and restore our pride of being sailors, which is something that had been lost to us. His greatest love was for this canoe, and for all of you standing in a circle beside her. He will always be our first captain, the one who takes us across the long and wide and hard ocean. The rain that is falling tonight is about washing away our pain as we pass into this next stage of our lives.”
In Anakala Elia's's honor, Mona and Kamahele Captain Mike Taylor presented Hokule‘a with a wooden prayer plaque in Japanese seeking protection and blessings.
The service ended with a recitation of the Ia Wa‘a Nui chant, and the mournful call of Makanani's pu echoing through the marina.
Captain Kapahulehua’s Nephew on Board
May 18 preparing for departure to Oshima
Honolulu, HI – Hokule’a captain Chad Baybayan says Hokule’a and the escort boat Kama Hele plan to depart Fukuoka at 3am Saturday May 19th Japan time. Bad weather delayed their scheduled departure today, but Baybayan says forecasts indicate winds will taper down to 15 knots by noon tomorrow, an acceptable range to navigate through the relatively narrow neck of the Kanmon Strait, into the Inland Sea.
The crew spent today preparing for relatively difficult transit through the Kanmon Strait, which is busy with seafaring traffic and is subject to extremely strong currents. They prepared tow ropes, positioned anchors and received assignments while on board for the transit.
The vessels will be traveling from Fukuoka to Oshima, Yamaguchi, which has a museum dedicated to Japanese immigrants to Hawai’i. The second largest number of Japanese immigrants to Hawai’I came from Yamaguchi prefecture.
Along the way, Baybayan says Hokule’a will stop off shore of Iwaijima island for two hours. The people of Iwaijima requested the stop so they could paddle their traditional fishing canoes to Hokule’a and offer prayers. The vessels are expected to arrive in Oshima on Sunday afternoon, May 20.