Waikiki Natatorium in Honolulu Hawaii World War 1 Memorial

The Waikiki Natatorium, just Diamond Head side of Waikiki Beach is a memorial to World War 1 veterans. At the time, Hawaii was a United States possession, not yet our 50th state. Over 100 residents of Hawaii fought for our country in this war.

Opened in 1927, this salt water pool was a popular swimming hole. On opening day, celebrities were invited to the festivities and those attending included Olympic Gold Medalist and surfer Duke Kahanamoku. Other famous swimmers include Johnny Weismuller, Esther Williams and Buster Crabbe.

Bleachers next to the pool offered a specular view of the Pacific Ocean and Waikiki Beach. The concrete facade is divided by a towering iron gate fence while four stone eagles watch over visitors as they enter the pool.

The gate of the Waikiki Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawaii

The gate of the Waikiki Natatorium in Honolulu, Hawaii

Over the years, time has taken a toll on the building. The city of Honolulu infused money into renovations though these we halted before completion. The site is was closed due to dangerous conditions. The pool decks have deteriorated leaving gaping holes in the concrete.

Estimates to repair and reopen the war memorial are in the millions of dollars. Honolulu officials considered tearing down the facility and moving the gates to another location in Honolulu.

Preservation groups have organized to fight the destruction of this war memorial. For more information follow the Waikiki Natatorium on Twitter or Facebook.

If you are in Honolulu, take a few minutes to visit the Waikiki war memorial while it still stands. When you visit, walk directly across Kaulakaua to see the World War 1 Veterans honor roll.

Click on the image below to watch this video episode of “Where Are You Today?”.

Doris Dukes Shangri La on the Pacific Ocean Honolulu Hawaii

Shangri La, the Pacific oceanfront private home once owned by socialite Doris Duke is now open for tours through the Honolulu Academy of Arts. Built in 1937, the custom design sits on a large estate overlooking a rocky beach near Diamond Head crater.

Tours begin and end at the Honolulu Academy of Arts and guests are transported to Black Point beach on a motor coach bus.

A guide meets you at the gate with an introduction about the property and overview of the rules for your visit. The first rule is not photography is allowed within the walls of the complex. Photographs are available for purchase at the  museum gift shop. No photos are included with the $26 per person entrance fee.

Visitors snap photos before entering Doris Duke's Shangri La in Honolulu Hawaii

Visitors snap photos before entering Doris Duke's Shangri La in Honolulu Hawaii

Doris Duke came into money as a young girl. She married and after traveling around the world, purchased 5 acres just outside Waikiki for a part time residence. Duke was involved in the intimate details of building the home creating a showplace for her growing collection of Islamic art from places she had visited. Persian carpets, mosaic fountains and ancient pottery quickly filled the large rooms.

The cavernous living room is surrounded by floor to ceiling windows with a spectacular view of the garden, pool and Pacific Ocean. The windows can be lowered into the floor with a flip of a switch allowing walkout access and trade winds to blow throughout the home.

Our guide said, “Miss Duke would only lower the windows halfway to keep her menagerie of dogs inside the house.

The center courtyard is lined with plants and century old Asian vases with a center  skylight.

@biznaz and @noelfwilliams at the entrance to Shangri La

@biznaz and @noelfwilliams at the entrance to Shangri La

Tickets to Shangri La can be purchased throughout the Honolulu Academy of Arts and include admission to the museum. Learn more about Doris Duke’s art collection in this book.

Leonard’s Bakery Malasada Pastry Kapahulu Hawaii

Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Street in Honolulu, Hawaii has sweetened up locals and tourists alike with their ono malasadas since 1952.

Portugese malasada pastries are tennis ball sized fried dough rolled in plain sugar or cinnamon sugar and served warm. Malasada puffs are filled with custard, haupia, dobash, macadamia, lilikoi, mango, guava, pineapple or banana filling.

Leonard's Bakery Kapahulu Honolulu Hawaii

Visit Leonard's Bakery Kapahulu Honolulu, Hawaii near Waikiki Beach. Photo credit @noelfwilliams

Each time we visit, a line of customers snakes through the store past the breads, cakes, doughnuts, cookies, wraps and malasadas. Many customers order two or three dozen malasadas to delight family and friends.

Fortunately, in a few minutes it is my turn to order. I prefer the plain sugar malasadas but the cinnamon sugar runs a close second. We head for the benches outside the door to savor our sweet treats. The malasadas are toasty hot as we take them out of the bag and devour these delights.

In just a moment, all that is left is a sprinkling of sugar over our fingers and a smile on our faces.

Leonard's Bakery Malasadas Honolulu Hawaii

Which is your favorite flavor? Photo credit @noelfwilliams

If you are on Oahu, Hawaii stop by Leonard’s Bakery in Honolulu in the Kapahulu neighborhood, a short walk from Waikiki. Visit their second store in Aiea or the Malasadamobiles in Waipahu. For those in Japan, check out Leonard’s Bakery in Yokohama, Japan.

Leonard’s Hawaii
933 Kapahulu Ave.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
808-737-5591

Click on the image below to view this episode of “Where Are You Today?” as we visit Leonard’s Bakery on Kapahulu Street in Honolulu.

Click on “Comments” and tell us which is your favorite malasada flavor.

Leonard's Bakery on Urbanspoon
Leonard Jr.'s Bakery on Foodio54

Zen Guide to New Year: Plan Your Goal in January

This January, we took a page from Japan and the Buddhist Zen philosophy as we start the New Year and plan to reach our goals. Our plan began in Honolulu, Hawaii with a Daruma doll.

Japanese Daruma Dolls

Japanese Daruma Dolls

We went to Shirokiya to watch bakers from Japan make Usaguya dorayaki, small pancake-like cakes filled with sweet red bean paste. As the chefs cooked the pastries, they were packaged in pairs and sold. We shared an order of these gooey, filled confections. The pancake was light and fluffy while the warm filling was thick and creamy. Our Twitter friend, Yoshiko, tells us this is a very popular treat in Japan.

Still hungry for more, we roamed the second floor of this Japanese department store where vendors sell traditional Japanese food. Each vendor section, about ten feet wide, is filled with their specialties. We wandered up and down the aisles selecting a variety of dishes and snacks that appealed to us. When we had purchased an assortment of foods from different vendor, we sat at the open area with other shoppers. We sampled tempura, sushi, salads, noodles, rice and mochi.

Daruma Dolls

While at Shirokiya, we purchased this Daruma doll. In Japan, Daruma dolls are given to others to bring good luck. In January, Daruma festivals are held all over Japan and you can purchase Daruma dolls in many sizes. Red is the most common color for these dolls through they also available painted in white, gold, purple, blue, green, pink, orange and white.

These dolls are named for the sixth century Buddhist priest Dharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. It is said that Dharma achieved enlightenment after sitting motionless in a cave for nine years. During this long meditation, he lost use of his arms and legs.

Daruma dolls are often weighted in the base to keep them upright. When knocked over, they tumble before returning upright. This represents Dharma’s resilience and persistence in pursuing goals.

Usually, the dolls are purchased with the eyes unpainted. When a goal or intention is set, one eye of the doll is painted. When the goal is complete, the second eye is painted and the dolls are saved as a keepsake or burned as offerings during ceremonies at temples.

The “Where are You Today?” crew set our goals for this year and painted in the left eye on our Daruma doll. We wish you and your family a healthy and Happy New Year where you accomplish all your goals.

Click on the picture below to watch as we set our goals and color our Daruma doll’s eye.

Getting More

Getting More

Having It All: Achieving Your Life's Goals and Dreams

Having It All: Achieving Your Life's Goals and Dreams

2010 Honolulu Toys For Tots Motorcycle Parade Hawaii

Street Bikers United Hawaii (SBU) and the United States Marine Corp Reserves sponsored the 36th annual Toys for Tots parade through Honolulu, Hawaii on December 5, 2010. The ride draws between four and five thousand bikers to Waikiki.

“These bikes are coming from all over Oahu but we get some from Maui. We have some from Kauai. We have some from the Big Island,” said Street Bikers United Oahu President Rick Davis. “They ship their bikes over in a container usually a week ahead of time. They come just to do that once a year.”

Santa on Bike 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Santa on Bike 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Santa on Bike 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Ray Pagan, Street Bikers United Hawaii State Treasure, said bikers come in from Japan and the mainland also. Ray and Rick Davis organize this annual event. Pre-event work includes gathering donations from businesses to offset expenses which are over $12,000 each year. Bikers are asked to donate $2 each to ride in the parade. Money raised pays for police, permits, insurance and other expenses.

Motorcycle Riders 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

Motorcycle Riders 2010 Street Bikers United Toys for Tots Honolulu, Hawaii

There is much work involved and they organize the day because of the kids who benefit from the toys. Marines stationed at Kapiolani Community College collect over 10,000 toys at the end of the parade route, it’s no surprise that the most common toys given are the fastest RC trucks and cars. Yesterday, Christmas morning was brighter for 10,000 island children because of the generosity of SBU, riders and sponsors. We checked out the bikes and talked to the riders at Magic Island before the parade start. Emcee Michelle Shockley from KPOI 105.9 FM and music from Flux Capacitor entertained the crowds. Club members mingled and checked out the motorcycles decorated with holiday ornaments and loaded with toys. The Kaneohe Windward Harley Owners Group was well represented. Hawaii depends on tourism and this event contributes. Every year we watch tourists lining the parade route and cheering on the bikers. Off island riders stay at Hawaiian hotels, eat in restaurants and patronize bars. Some Waikiki residents are calling for an end to the parade due to noisy bikes.

“I would like to apologize, especially to the people in Waikiki that live there. We are going to try to hold the noise down, if possible.” Rick Davis continued, “If you can kokua us a little bit, we are only about an hour and half through Waikiki and it is a good cause for the kids. If you can try to have a little tolerance, we are trying to get the group to hold the noise down when we go though there. Thank you very much.”

SBU reached out to each club in advance asking for their cooperation. Before the parade start, Rick reminded riders to be respectful of Waikiki residents and not rev their engine on Kalakaua Avenue. Riders came out decked in holiday colors and we even saw a few Santa and Mrs. Clauses in the parade. Bikes of all shapes, sizes and styles were represented from Rick Davis’ orange trike to a pink Vespa Barbie and everything in between.

Rick Davis President Street Bikers United Oahu brings toys

Rick Davis President Street Bikers United Oahu brings toys

See video from the 2009 Honolulu Toys for Tots motorcycle parade. Click on the image below to see the “Where Are  You Today?” video of the 36th annual 2010 Honolulu Tots for Tots parade along Waikiki Beach in Honolulu, Hawaii.

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Christmas Cactus Tree Trimming Party Honolulu Hawaii

We recently met a group of surfers in Honolulu, Hawaii just outside of Waikiki. Walking along Diamond Head Road and the Pacific Ocean, we headed from Waikiki Beach toward Fort Ruger and Kapiolani Community College.

Doug at Christmas Cactus Tree Trimming Party in Honolulu Hawaii

Doug at Christmas Cactus Tree Trimming Party in Honolulu Hawaii

This group looked like they were having so much fun, we stopped to talk with them. After a morning of surfing, they met for a potluck at the beachfront park. They had quite a spread including homemade pumpkin bread. This group surfs together in this spot and gathers for informal parties regularly. Any excuse for a potluck is welcome. Recently celebrated were Christmas, Thanksgiving and their patriarch Gilbert’s birthday.

We watched this garden over the past six years and it is a highlight of our early morning walks. It is a favorite place to stop, admire the view, talk to the gardening crew and others gathered at this local hangout.

This is their fourth annual tree trimming party. There are not many evergreens growing along the tropical Pacific coastline and the local preference against tree removal has force the community to improvise using a cactus tree.

Jan said, “We end up feeding everyone who comes along.”

The group set the food selections on the low wall. Next, they assembled several boxes housing an eclectic collection of ornaments amassed through the past four years. One of the bravest souls, Doug, teetered on the tall step ladder as they decorated the 20 foot cactus tree and shared memories sparked by the decorations.  Kevin Simon is holding the ladder steady.

When I asked where all the ornaments come from, Jan said, “They come and go. That’s how it is.”

As we looked at a cartoon character ornament, another tree trimmer Loke Simon said, “Some have stories. Some just appear. Some just disappear.”

Thanks to Jan, here are some of the cast of the video and behind the scenes details.

Gilbert is the patriarch of the garden, the older Asian man. Without him, the garden would be non-existent, as he has nurtured it from dirt for the past 10+ years with plantings from his own residence. We are just his “helpers.” Soyu Kawamoto is the man who said his favorite ornament was the burlap “rat.”  He is an awesome surfer! Steve Casar was the elf that put up the “McCafe'” ornament. Other people that I could see in the background are Meiko, Fe, Ihan and her daughter Jade, and Aussie Pete (we have approximately 6 “Petes:” Aussie Pete, Painter Pete, Dr. Pete, El Camino Pete and a just-plain Peter). There’s also Buddha Pete, a religion professor at the University of Hawaii.  A somewhat somber person when I first met him, I now call him “Sunshine” when greeting him out in the water…he likes that, it makes him smile.

If you are near Diamond Head Road and you spot one of these beachfront potlucks, pull over, park your car and share your malasadas and a few laughs with the crew.

Mele Kalikimaka from the crew of Where Are You Today?

Sounds of Aloha from Around the World

On those cold Midwestern nights, we get the hankering for the warm Spirit of Aloha. There is something comforting about the sounds of Hawaiian music filling the house. We listen to Hawaiian 105 KINE streaming on the internet from our home in the summer or winter.

Hanauma Bay on Oahu Hawaii

Hanauma Bay on Oahu Hawaii

When you are ready to get back to the islands, listen to Hawaiian 105.

Final Hawaii Reunion for Pearl Harbor Survivors William Temple

On December 7, 1941 William “Bill” Temple was a 20 year old in the U.S. Air Force working in Pearl Harbor when he was surprised by the Japanese attacks. This week he returns to Hawaii for the first time since he left in 1945. Bill is here for the final Hawaii reunion of members of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association.

Membership in the organization, chartered by congress, is open to those who were on active duty in Pearl Harbor during the World War II attack. His youngest daughter Joan joined him on this visit. Bill decided to make the trip this year as it was important to him to attend this last reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors in Hawaii.

Pearl Harbor Survivor William Bill Temple at Wheeler Field Honolulu, Hawaii

Pearl Harbor Survivor William Bill Temple at Wheeler Field Honolulu, Hawaii/ Photo credit Joan

One of the sights he looks forward to visiting on the trip is his old barracks at Wheeler Air Force Base. He was also stationed at Kualoa. Bill says, back in those days, he would walk out to Chinaman’s Hat.

Bill’s mind is sharp as ever and he keeps up with news and politics.

“The idiots in Washington better get God back into the country or they can kiss it goodbye. Republicans or Democrats – if they don’t have God in what they do, they are wasting their time.” he said.

Bill lived in Virginia Beach his whole life. He was not impressed with his first visit to Waikiki Beach.

“When I got there, the first thing I said was “I left Virginia Beach for this?””

I think he warmed up the the island of Oahu during his stay. When Bill was stationed in Hawaii, he took up surfing and body boarding and was pretty good at it. Not surprising as his teacher was Olympic medalist Duke Kahanamoku.

After his tour In the service, Bill returned to Virgina Beach, married and raised a family. His diverse career included gas station owner, carpenter, electrical engineer and hospital employee. At 91 years young, he is state chairman of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association and the group’s chaplin.

A deeply religious man, Bill credits his long life and good health to God. At 91 years young, he lives alone, still drives, has 20/20 vision and is in generally good health. Besides his work with the Virginia state Pearl Harbor Survivor Association, Bill is active with his church and local army base.

Bill and Joan have nearly a week of organized activities planned for the attending Pearl Harbor Survivors including a boat ride around Pearl Harbor. This will be an emotional time for these veterans. The Pearl Harbor Survivors are getting a hero’s welcome. Joan showed me their schedule for the visit and there is not much free time. Tomorrow they look forward to renting a car and doing some sight-seeing. Bill looks forward to seeing the Pali again. Hawaii has changed in the 60+ years since Bill last saw her. I am interested to know what he thinks of things today.

Joan says her father keeps her on her toes.

“He calls my voice mail every morning to see if I have updated it to the correct date. Sometimes he catches me,” she smiled.

Bill’s only complaint is when he has nothing to keep him busy. He is active on the computer and emails often. He works with local Indians and learned their native crafts. Bill fashions jewelry, spears and other objects. The spear pendant he is was wearing is one of his works.

Bill keeps such and active schedule, it would be hard for someone half his age to keep up. Approaching his 92 birthday, Bill’s daughter says,

“He will live to be 100 years old. You just watch!”

This is a challenge I look forward to. Welcome back, Bill.

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of four other Pearl Harbor survivors.

Jake Shimabukuro In Concert at Honolulu Marathon Expo

We met Hawaii born ukulele master Jake Shimabukuro in Honolulu, Hawaii at the Honolulu Marathon Expo in the Hawaii Convention Center. This is was the first of Jake’s three appearances at Honolulu marathon events.

Tonight Jake will play a show at the Waikiki Shell. Last year we heard Jake Shimabukuro play with Jimmy Buffett at the same venue. After the race, Jake will play at the Kapiolani Park bandstand.

Jake began playing the four stringed ukulele as a young child and growing up in the islands influenced his music.

“When I think of the ukulele, I guess to me it has always been the instrument of peace, you know, because when I think of the ukulele, I think of beaches, I think of nature. ” Jake says. “You know growing up here in Hawaii, we are so spoiled with nice beaches, and the aloha spirit. That all rings through the instrument. Playing the ukulele, I tell people all the time that if everyone played the ukulele, the world would be a better place. I really believe that. It has really shaped my life and the instrument has really become, I guess a way of life for me. I am very honored to strum that four stringed instrument every day.”

Jake Shimabukuro


Jake’s new album “Jake’s website.

Click in the picture below to see my interview with Jake Shimabukuro and listen to Jake play “While My Guitar Gently Weeps.”

Pearl Harbor Survivor Stan Reynolds at Last Reunion

We met Pearl Harbor Survivors Association member Stan Reynolds at Duke’s Lagoon in Waikiki Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii. He returned to Hawaii with his daughter for the final Hawaii reunion of the Pearl Harbor Survivors Association (PHSA). I asked Stan about the plans to disband the PHSA group.

“We have to. We don’t want to but we have to. There are only 3,000 of us left and we are dropping dead. Two or three a day. It just can’t go on,” he said.

Pearl Harbor survivor Stan Reynolds first came to Hawaii in 1938. He worked in a mine forest, which he described as area infested with land mines. He spoke about his role in a calm manner, though this sounds to me like dangerous work.

For 10 years, Stan was a tug boat pilot for the Navy. He was in Pearl Harbor on that fateful morning of December 7, 1941 when bombs showered Pearl Harbor.

We met with Stan just after he returned from a preview visit to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center, which officially opened December 7, 2010.

“One thing really bothered me though. I donated a small hand-made mini shell to the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center but I could not find it on display. Several other guys said the same thing.” Stan continued, “Some guys donate their entire collection to the center when they die.”

Stan said additional museums are scheduled to open later in the week and the item he donated may be on display in one of these areas.

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Member Stan Reynolds visits Hawaii

Pearl Harbor Survivors Association Member Stan Reynolds visits Hawaii

Stan retired after 41 years in the merchant service. He said it was a “good life.”

To Stan, our veterans and those currently serving our country, thank you for your service.

I am very grateful to have met several Pearl Harbor survivors on my travels to Hawaii. Many of these soldiers toured the Pearl Harbor Visitor Center last year for the final Pearl Harbor Survivors reunion. As they reach their 90’s it is harder for them to travel, especially long distances. Here are the stories of four other Pearl Harbor survivors.

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