Sayonara from the Oimachi Train Station

Bus station at Oimachi Train Station; leaving for Haneda Airport: Garrett Santos, Carrie Ann Muraoka, Bev Muraoka, Carol Yotsuda, Sarah Peters, Doric Yaris, Suelyn Kaohi, PG Gampong, Dylan, Thomas Nizo. Photo by Puni Patrick

by Guest Blogger Carol K. Yotsuda

All photos by Carol K. Yotsuda unless otherwise credited

Thirty-three travelers from Kaua`i traveled to Japan to perform in Doric Yaris’ dream show titled Kaua`i In My Heart, held August 17 at the Oimachi Tokyo Kyurion Hall. It’s been in the works for two years, was supposed to happen last year, but the earthquake and tsunami made it impossible.

Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, on the road with the performers, sent briefs and photos from Japan via iPhone and iPad, capturing some behind the scenes. Read from most current entry back to the beginning.

NEW POST: August 19 — 3 p.m. Last Day for Nine of Us

8:00 a.m.:  We met to review plans for the day. Two tahiatian kumu — Nick Kaneakua and Pua Aveaoru headed back to Fugisawa where we gave a concert last night to teach Tahitian workshop. Japanese were eating up their performances last night but I still can’t grab the image of these slim conservative Japanese ladies jiggling their hips and knees —  but they are a determined lot…most significant about the halau dancers were their flirtatious eyelashes and glances as they danced — very alluring.

Others are packing up all their concert gear — a huge job! I am packing up and checking out as nine of us will fly out of Haneda tonight at 11 p.m. and arrive on Kaua`i at 2:30 p.m. same day…wondrous date line…so Aunty Bev Muraoka gets to celebrate her birthday twice. The other night, we had birthday cake for Fred Aki.

The rest of the day we are on our own, let loose on Tokyo to wreak havoc on this very stringent and orderly system of trains, shopping, getting around, so I thought I would do what we did not have time for on last trip here and that would be to take the Tokyo loop train which circles around and around like a train track train and we will hop on and off at each town to get a flavor of that particular town — some will focus on music town (Garrett Santos), Akihabara electric town, Harajuku, town for the youthful generation, and on and on….

I have six minutes more before checkout, so I’d better say “Sayonara from Japan!” After I leave this hotel, I will not have Internet wifi, so won’t be able to send more posts.

All in all, Doric Yaris is a big name in this enormous hula community, and what he has done on this five-years-in-the-planning dream trip is AMAZING, with a lot more cooking around in his head.

I appreciate having had the chance to share their journey.

Gotta go! Gotta go!


AUGUST 19 — 8 a.m.: meeting at Toyoko-inn, which is our hangout in Shinagawa.

10 a.m.: leave on long bus ride with 32 stuffed into bus made for 20 followed by van with costumes for two shows

Noon: In the blazing hot sun on a stage that had to be watered down with water hose, Doric, his Halau, Nick Kaneakua and his Tahitian dancers plus musician Fred Aki, DJ Yaris, Garrett Santos, Sarah Peters, and Doric put on an unplanned surprise half hour show at second grand opening of Lanai Loa in a shopping plaza in Kawasaki, halfway between Tokyo and Yokohama. It was up close and personal and done for Nishizawa family, Mrs Nishizawa authored book translating Hawaiian into Japanese and this was her book signing; she is a close friend of Doric’s.

2 p.m.: Long bus ride to Tama Plaza to get airport limousine for five leaving today, but extreme heat threw a monkey wrench into plans, so lot of reshuffling of rides, baggage, costumes, dancers musicians. One contingent continued on to airport and rest took another long bus ride to Fujisawa next to Kamakura, where the halau played yet another intimate concert to the happy audience.

Got back to the hotel somewhere between 11 p.m. and 12 a.m. and entire group met to discuss the day’s events for over an hour….

1 a.m. to 2:30 a.m.: Found 24-hour udon and domburi  shop near hotel and famished performers kept the one lone worker serving over 25 orders in little over an hour. He took orders, cooked orders, served orders on trays, bussed dirty dishes, waited on take-out customers, served water, answered questions about ordering everything as it was described in Japanese — it was amazing to watch this one-man, 24-hour-day wonder.

3:40 a.m.: Ahhh — Goodnight! We have an 8 a.m. meeting.


AUGUST 18 — We leave our hotel at 10 a.m. and the group does a short Hawaiian protocol at a Japanese kumu’s shop at noon somewhere in Yokohama; then they drop off five people to Tama Plaza to catch airport limousine to get to airport by 2 p.m.

They drive around until it’s time to go to Hula Hawaii -Lehua Studio in Fujisawa; they are hoping for a good audience at 5:30 p.m. show. it will be a much smaller and spontaneous show than the one on Friday, and should be fun. After the show, we’ll get dinner and take a two hour bus ride back to the hotel.

Today I went to Shinagawa Aqua Stadium in Prince Hotel and rode four hours to Disneyland to see the electric parade; others went to Disneyland all day.


AUGUST 17 — Kaua`i In My Heart was a resounding success! I was exhausted last night after a 10-hour day at Kyurian Hall in the Oimachi Train Station in Shinagawa, and had to crash. I took a lot of backstage shots, but could not take any during the concert as I was way up in the back.


Tahitian dancers

Tahitian dancers made a hit with their performance. Fans flocked to meet them after the show. Their kumu is Nick Kaneakua.
Sent from my iPhone

The show itself:

Friday, August 17, Doors opened 3 p.m.; Show began at 4 p.m. Titled Kauai In My Heart, it featured Kumu Hula from Kaua’i led by Doric Kaleonui Yaris. Kumu include Puna Dawson, Nathan Kalama, Kapu Kinimaka Alquiza, Maka Herrod, Beverly Muraoka, Nick Kaneakua, Pualani Avaeoru and their students. Also traveling: Carol Kouchi Yotsuda, EKK director.

The venue was Oimachi Tokyo Kyurion Hall at the train station there. See the facebook flyer at

After the show, Doric treated all to Korean teppan-yaki dinner which took until midnight and everyone was delirious with relief and joy over a successful three-hour, 50-minute show with two five-minute intermissions between the first set: a Japanese Halau with tons of dancers; the second set, with half Hawai`i mixed with Japanese dancers; and the third set, which was the theme part using many of Nathan Kalama’s songs from his CD.

I was sandwiched between Garret Santos, who turned out to be a riot, and Aunty Bev, who we all know is a riot, so I ended up like raw beef burger between two quipping buns and I was laughing until my eyes were like waterfalls. Everyone was cutting up at dinner. When I get the cobwebs out of my eyes and get some breakfast inside, I will write some highlights as there is definitely too much to share.

AUGUST 17 — Quickly: We’re in a gorgeous comp hotel. Meeting starting shortly at 8 a.m. Breakfast greeted us this morning, and we will be going all day at Kyurian Hall for rehearsal and performance until 9:30 p.m. tonight!

AUGUST 15-16 — We left Kaua`i at 7 a.m., waited hours in Honolulu, left Honolulu at 1:45 p.m. Wed. and arrived 4:35 p.m. Thursday at Narita. But by the time we got through airport rigamarole, took a two-hour bus ride with a truck stop for a quick dinner, and checked into our hotel with a mountain of coolers and baggage, it was about 9:30 p.m., which was 2:30 a.m. Hawai`i time.

AUGUST 12 —  Doric describes the one elevator in hotel – holds two Hawaiians without baggage or seven Japanese — so important to allow time to get up and down 10 floors!