Posts Tagged ‘big island’

Despite growing up on Hawaii island (a.k.a. the Big Island), I’m continually amazed and inspired by its rawness and awesomeness. It is not only home to that famous national park with its erupting volcano, but also two national historical parks, a national historic site and a national historic trail, all featuring dazzling natural and cultural riches that share Hawaii’s story like nothing else.

This video feature above produced for Hawaiian Airlines Hawaiian Skies inflight entertainment provides some “chicken skin” stories about Hawaii Volcanoes National Park, Kaloko-Honokohau National Historic Park, Ala Kahakai National Historic Trail, Puukohola Heiau National Historic Site, and Puuhonua O Honaunau National Historic Park. It does a great job highlighting what makes each place so special and worthy of a visit.

I hope you enjoy this piece as much as I do. I’m already planning to visit all five parks and trails again the next time I visit my parents on Hawaii island.

-NKG

Honestly, I’m not counting on anyone ever buying a print out of my Instacanv.as gallery, but hey, you never know who might desire pictures of Hawaii, delicious food, average gardening, and fat cats adorning their walls. I must say though that I love the idea of being able to turn Instagram photos into pieces of art with the click of a button. And there are some incredible galleries out there with killer images byΒ Zak Noyle, Tino Valdez, and many others. BTW, if you happen to come across a great Metallica gallery, please do let me know. \m/

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Should you happen to find yourself in Hilo on Hawaii, the Big Island, do yourself a favor and stop at Nori’s Saimin and Snacks. Yes, for the delicious food that has become legendary there, but also for this incredibly ono Chocolate Mochi Cake.

Not too sweet, rich and decadent, soft, and always a joy to eat. For just $5, it makes a great gift for family and friends if you’re looking for something really fun and satisfying.

Enjoy!

Nori’s Saimin & Snacks
688 Kinoole Street, #124
Hilo, HI 96720
Phone: 808-935-9133
Monday – Thursday: 10:30 a.m. – 11:00 p.m.
Friday – Saturday: 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 a.m.
Sunday: 10:30 a.m. – 10:00 p.m.

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Growing up on Hawaii, the Big Island, I’m a little shame to admit it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I found out about these Ugly Cookies from Petroglyphs in Paradise. Now I can’t stop eating them!

My brother-in-law Jon asked me to bring some back from Kona when he found out I was heading there on business. Mission accomplished thanks to some help from my mom and a trip to Long’s KTA.

While they are ugly looking, they taste incredible. Light and crisp, packed with chocolate, oatmeal, rice cereal, and Kona Chips. They remind me of Momofuku Milk Bar’s Compost Cookie, but better. Brilliant! And I bet you can’t eat just one.

So the next time you’re on Hawaii Island and looking for a tasty omiyage (gifts) to take home to family and friends, consider some Ugly Cookies. They aren’t cheap with a price tag around $17 for a 18 oz. container.

But as the label suggests, “It’s what’s inside that counts!” And what’s inside is pretty darn good.

I’ve had the great opportunity of volunteering my time to assist the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii (JCCH) this year with its upcoming Celebration of Leadership Dinner (CLAD) on Oct. 3 at Manoa Grand Ballroom. How did the Chinese-Korean guy get tapped to do the pro-bono public relations for this Japanese organization? Your guess is as good as mine, but I believe I have my friend Ian Kitajima to thank for this one. And Kelly is half Japanese so I qualify to represent though marriage. ;-)

It’s been a rewarding experience meeting this year’s CLAD honorees, which everyone in Hawaii knows: DejaVu Surf Hawaii/M. Miura Store on Kauai; Diamond Bakery and Marions Catering/Dots Restaurant on Oahu; Tasaka Guri Guri on Maui; and KTA Super Stores on the Big Island. All of these companies are deserving of the accolades they will receive next month. They have stood the test of time, stared adversity straight in the face, and persevered to become business role models in each of their communities. Given today’s economic situation, I believe there’s a lot we can learn from their success stories!

But don’t take my word for it. These teasers from the honoree video that will be shown at the dinner should help prove my point. Kudos to Ryan Kawamoto for producing these inspirational and insightful stories.

JCCH President Lenny Yajima Andrew and her staff have been hard at work putting together this annual fundraising event, along with CLAD co-chair Lisa Shozuya and Mark Yamada. A big mahalo to Special Events Coordinator Waynele Yu and PR/Membership Director Marisa Takahashi for their support as well.

Unfortunately, I will not be able to attend this year’s event because of a prior work engagement, but hope those in Hawaii who appreciate outstanding business and community leadership will attend and join JCCH in honoring these worthy organizations.

GANBARE!

-NGK

BTW, if you’re a Facebook user, you can find JCCH and CLAD there too!

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A popular spot for visitors on Oahu is Kualoa Ranch where the hit ABC show "LOST" is filmed.

A popular spot for visitors traveling to Hawaii is Kualoa Ranch on Oahu where the hit ABC show “LOST” is filmed.

Unless you’ve been living in a cave, you’re probably aware that traveling to your favorite vacation destination is now more affordable (and probably cheaper) than ever.Β  Airlines, hotels, activities, and attractions are bringing down rates and adding value in an effort to entice visitors to get off the sofa and travel in thisΒ  challenging economy. Those with the means (or attitude) to kick the “recession” in the behind and continue with their vacations to places like Florida, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, San Francisco, and New York know what I’m talking about. And Hawaii is no exception!

Despite being a dream destination for many, Hawaii’s perception as an expensive vacation spot has likely kept some from coming. While I think terms like “expensive” and “cheap” are all relative, one thing is certain. Those who are planning a Hawaii vacation today are realizing they can have their cake and eat it too. You don’t have to sacrifice quality of the experience for price. Hawaii is offering both.

A good example of this was highlighted in an Associated Press story headlined “Hawaii hotels offer great (and bizarre) deals” examining some of the creative ways the tourism industry in the Hawaiian Islands is staying competitive and the significant deals being offered. Just search Google or Bing and up comes tons of Hawaii travel specials. And if you’re on Twitter, the hashtag #hideals (short for Hawaii Deals) brings up further examples of the great island savings available out there on a regular basis.

So with all the great Hawaii vacation deals available, is it enough to tip the scale and get people traveling? Will people pay for an incredible vacation experience or settle for a mediocre one to save $$? I decided to ask the question on Facebook and Twitter and got some interesting responses. Here’s the feedback from Facebook:

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Folks on Twitter had similar comments:

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Not surprisingly, folks are looking for an incredible vacation experience at a good value. Some will save their money until they can afford that trip. Others will use rewards programs to make the trip a reality now. Shorter trips are also an option. And some are going to travel regardless of what the economy is telling them.

Is it enough to tip the scales? Only time will tell. Bottom line is the tourism industry is rallying to keep travel affordable to places like Hawaii (Kauai, Oahu, Molokai, Lanai, Maui, and Hawaii Island) and other popular destinations. Get while the getting is good! Now is the time to go, so what are you waiting for?

-NGK

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Shave ice from Aoki's on Oahu's North Shore is always a great way to cool off!

Shave ice from Aoki’s on Oahu’s North Shore is always a great way to cool off!

It’s been pretty hot and humid in Hawaii the past week. So much so that Mother Nature has forced us to use our portable ACΒ  at night in our bedroom to get a good nights rest. As locals and visitors alike look for options to beat the Hawaii heat, it got me thinking about some of my favorite ways to cool down when the sun is out. And I’m not talking about beaches, swimming pools, or spa treatments. I’m talking about cool treats to bring the body temperature down while satisfying the sweet tooth and quenching that thirst.

Here’s my suggestions for island treats to beat the summer heat:

Shave Ice
This one is pretty much a no-brainer when it’s time to cool off after a long day at the beach, hiking, or working at the office. Institutions like Waiola Shave Ice, Aoki’s Shave Ice, Matsumoto Shave Ice, and countless other are the perfect cure. You really can’t go wrong with any flavor combination. But my personal favorite is to have shave ice with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and li hing mui syrup all over. YUM!

Strawberry and pineapple mix ice cream from Tasaka Guri Guri at Maui Mall. A "must try" for anyone visiting Maui!

Strawberry and pineapple mix ice cream from Tasaka Guri Guri at Maui Mall. A “must try” for anyone visiting Maui!

Ice Cream
There’s a few local ice cream producers like Roselani Tropics Ice Cream (Maui), Lapperts (Kauai), and the famous Tasaka Guri Guri (Maui) that trumps the national brands any day in my opinion. Maybe it’s just the proud local in me, but I’m not sure there’s anything more satisfying than a bowl of Roselani’s Haupia (coconut) ice cream, or Lappert’s Kona Coffee ice cream, or Tasaka’s Strawberry and Pineapple Guri Guri. And don’t forget about mochi ice cream found at many Japanese restaurants, sushi bars, and stores like Shirokiya in Ala Moana Center. SO ONO!

Frozen Yogurt
In the past year, there’s been a resurgence in the popularity of frozen yogurt. We’ve seen places like Yogurtland, Menchie’s, Red Mango, and many more sprout up on Oahu like weeds. I’m sure there’s many other on the neighbor islands. I’m not going to waste my time explaining why. All you need to do is read my friend Melissa Chang’s review of “Yogurt mania in Hawaii” in Metromix to understand what the buzz is all about.
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Tropical Drinks
A tropical drink may not be considered a “cool treat” to everyone, but it certainly means exactly that to me. And to many visitors as well having as I’ve witnessed while attending many business meetings at Hawaii resorts and jealously see vacationers lounging poolside with Mai Tais and Pina Coladas (pictured above) in hand. Hawaii has some of the best cocktails found anywhere in the world. So do yourself a favor and get out of the sun for a minute, belly up to the bar, and enjoy a refreshing tropical drink. I always do when I’m enjoying a cocktail at my favorite beach bar. BTW, I hear the Mai Tai Degeneres at The Royal Hawaiian is incredible. Can you guess who it’s named after? I thought you could.

These are just a few of the ways I stay cool when things heat up in the Islands. I know there’s plenty of other local treats that will do the job. What are some of your favorite ways to cool off?

-NGK

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