E ʻaʻa i ka hula!
The hula kinship between Japan and Hawaii has become a bridge that connects our two seemingly distant cultures. Many Japanese learners have dedicated their lives to mastering the art of hula, and in doing so, have immersed themselves in Hawaiian culture. This dedication has fostered a deep understanding of Hawaiian values and a genuine respect for the roots of hula.
Conversely, we often find ourselves inspired by the dedication of our Japanese hoa aloha. Their rigor towards hula and culture is a sight to behold in the eyes of a kumu hula. Coupled with the immersion of the native Hawaiian language, multitudes hoa Kepanī are beginning to comb through the layers of ʻike in mele and hula that at most times are locked within the language and can only be accessed through teachers and native speakers.
This pilina hula between Japan and us serve as a shining example of the transformative power of cultural exchange. Through hula, we have forged friendships, deepened our understanding of one another's cultures, and in its own way, are preserving traditions for generations to come. This connection reminds me that no matter the geographical distance, when the naʻau and the mauli align, a bond can be formed that transcends borders and enriches this tapestry we call ola.
Our hula time in Japan with our ʻohana Unukupukupu and our ʻohana Nanikahonua may have been brief, but the boundless aloha shared will be forever etched in our memories. Mahalo to my kumu, A chan and Satomi for this summer exchange and to Saki Ochiai おもてなしに心より感謝いたします、皆様のおもてなしに感謝いたします, mahalo a nui. What wonderful sharing of hula and learning for all, we will see you soon Japan! A hui hou!