From the time I stepped off the plane in Hilo greeted by host, Jan Higashi and a small throng holding a welcome sign...with leis and kisses...I knew it was going to be an extraordinary experience. I was there to help spread MOTTAINAI at their Japanese Culture Day, performing my crazy ghost character, N'Obake, who arises from beneath the landfill to spread the ways of mottainai...and show her music videos! I also came loaded with 300 pairs of B.Y.O Chopstix, which we hoped would be the beginning of the end of wood disposable chopsticks in Hilo.

The day included all sorts of 'mottainai' ideas, including a recycled art contest, with all generations participating. I had the help of Dennis Taniguchi, Director of the East Hilo Art Cultural, who created a shi-shi, one of those lions that every taiko group uses, from totally recycled materials. This was my pet, 'Kaki'. The youth taiko players from Puna Taiko also helped me make a noisy entrance. People seemed to love our skit and the videos, and they gobbled up the 300 chopstix. But what impressed me most was everyone was so friendly and all was done with real 'aloha spirit.' I also met the Mayor who wants to bring me back to do more shows for the youth of Hilo. Guess N'Obake's gonna rise again!

Later, Sharyn Taniguchi gave me a bracelet with “mottainai” she'd woven into it. It was done in the ancient Hawaiian style of Lauhala, a complicated process done with great care. I read about it in the Hawaiian Airlines magazine on my way home. I realized doing these "Mottainai" visits is something like Lauhala: “It's not just about weaving.....Weaving is about relationships. When you meet people, you weave them into your lives.” That's what I feel about the people and town of Hilo.

Mottainai....Nobuko aka N'Obake

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