By Steven Teruya, Event Chair
“Shinnen Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu”
What an evening filled with fun and fellowship! Upon arrival guests were welcomed by Chair Brian Nishida, wife Joan, incoming chair Melanie Okazaki and reigning Cherry Blossom Queen Heather Omori.
Once through the Torii Gate, guests entered the “yatai-style” food booths featuring Oyster Shooters from the Pagoda Floating Restaurant, Kim Chee Portuguese Sausage Anda[gi]-dogs courtesy of Kukui Sausage Company and Rib-eye Crostini prepared by volunteers and the traditional Omamori sales by the Izumo Taishakyo Mission of Hawaii.
Our co-emcees were former Cherry Blossom Queen, Alexis Okihara and Chamber member Keven Matsuura. Our MCs welcomed the pre-kabuki performance of HJCC’s Got Talent show. The performance started with Junior Chamber member Kristin Alm Kamakahi doing the hula to E Pili Mai by Keali’i Reichel. It was followed by HJCC member Gus Yniguez doing his heart throbbing rendition of Despacito. Craig Hirasaki, new member wowed the crowd with his opera singing of Nella Fantasia. The surprise of the evening was a performance by the Shinnen Enkai committee members, Michelle Chun, Ina Chang, Victor Sokabe, Rick Mishima, Richard Park III and Margie Abe, dancing to T-Ara’s Bo Peep with a Michael Jackson Thriller closing!
The 73rd rendition of the Shoko Shiranami Gonin Otoko cast did a fabulous job under the direction of Bob Nagao, Director/Producer. The all-chamber member cast starred Kojyo Caroline Witherspoon, five Dorobos Yasuhiko Ishikawa, Cynthia Yamasaki, George Takase, Richard Manungas, Guy Tanioka and Policeman Brandon Miyagi. Bob was supported by co-producers Ron Ushijima, Rika Hirata and Gregg Mueller.
I would like to personally thank the members of the event committee, Co-chair, Rick Mishima, Brian Watase, Cathy Tong, Derek Kaneshiro, Ina Chang, Margie Abe, Michelle Chun, Randall Chung, Reiko Suzuki, PCAC chair, Clayton Hill and the many volunteers who made this event a success. Lastly, a special thank you to Mina Sakai, HJCC Japan Specialist/Project Coordinator for her tireless work and attention to all the details that always goes unnoticed…domo arigatou!
Mahalo to Emperor Table Chef, Alan Wong of AWR and collaborating Chef Hikaru Ide of 53 By the Sea for a spectacular dinner!
Emperor Table Sponsors:
Bank of Hawaii Becker Communications, Inc.
Finance Factors First Hawaiian Bank
Friends of Shinnen Enkai Island Insurance Co., Ltd.
Kyo-ya Management Co., Ltd. Step Stone Business Development
Territorial Savings Bank