It’s Sakura Time In Wahi­awa

MidWeek Islander (Central Oahu) - - News - By JES­SICA GOOLSBY

The cherry blos­soms are abloom this win­ter in Wahi­awa (the cold­est place on Oahu), and in honor of the sea­son and the trees, vol­un­teers have planned a fes­tive cel­e­bra­tion Jan. 30 and a trol­ley tour Feb. 7.

Sakura Mat­suri runs from 7 to 9 p.m. Jan. 30 at Wahi­awa Hong­wanji with en­ter­tain­ment, a meet-and-greet with Hawaii’s Royal Cherry Blos­som Court, Ja­panese mu­sic and dance, and the rhyth­mic sounds of taiko drums. As Wahi­awa is home to many of the is­land’s thriv­ing flow­er­ing cherry trees (many planted in 1973 by Wahi­awa Nikkei Civic As­so­ci­a­tion), what bet­ter place to hold such a time-hon­ored tra­di­tional event? Tick­ets cost $5 at the door, or for pre­ordered tick­ets, call Eve­lyn at 621-3659. You may win a sakura of your own.

On Feb. 7, join WNCA at Wahi­awa Ryusenji Soto Mis­sion at 9 a.m. for the “Sakura Sa­fari-Hana Mi”— a spe­cial trol­ley tour through the town to see the sakura trees in the com­mu­nity. Mem­bers of United Ja­panese So­ci­ety ofHawaii and WNCA host the af­fair, and lo­cal celebri­ties will nar­rate the tour of cu­ri­ous and his­tor­i­cal places. Cost is $18 for the trol­ley ride, $5 for the “Kitchen De­light” bento (op­tional). Group A de­parts at 9 a.m.; Group B at 11 a.m., and each tour lasts about 90 min­utes. Reser­va­tions are re­quired for seat­ing on the trol­ley and can be made by call­ing 306-1876.

(above) Tra­di­tional Ja­panese dancers Bando Shi­honami (left) and Bando Yuk­i­hikari en­ter­tain the au­di­ence with “Ka­muro Jishi” at 2009’s Sakura Mat­suri. (right) Trol­ley pas­sen­gers dis­em­bark for a closer look and photo op in front of a Wahi­awa home dur­ing last year’s ‘Sakura Sa­fari - Hana Mi.’

Hus­band-and-wife team Wes­ley and Sandy Endo per­form ‘Hana Mo Arashi Mo’ dur­ing last year’s Sakura Mat­suri. The cou­ple will re­turn to en­ter­tain again this year at the win­ter cherry blos­som fes­tiv­i­ties. Pho­tos by Rene Man­sho.

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