Category Archives: News

NEW RELEASE: Judge Sam King: A Memoir

Judge Sam King: A MemoirWhen Judge Samuel P. King died in 2010 at the age of 94, Hawai‘i Gov. Neil Abercrombie called him “the heart and soul of Hawai‘i.” Now, in King’s own words, Judge Sam King: A Memoir presents the story of the man who not only witnessed Hawaiian history but helped shape the future of the islands he loved.

Born to one of Hawai‘i’s most illustrious families, Samuel Pailthorpe King presided over state and federal courtrooms for more than a half-century—making landmark decisions with warmth, wisdom and an enduring humanity—but was perhaps best known for protecting people who had little or no power of their own. King presided over some of Hawai‘i’s most sensational trials, from organized crime to the Palmyra murder trials, and upheld the 1967 Hawai‘i Land Reform Act, which shifted property ownership in Hawai‘i from large trusts to ordinary citizens. King was also a co-author of the original “Broken Trust” essay in the Honolulu Star-Bulletin and the subsequent book of the same title chronicling the mismanagement of the Bishop Estate by its trustees in the 1990s. He liked to observe that “people aren’t created for laws; laws are created for people” and believed that the whole purpose of government, besides keeping its people safe, is to protect the underprivileged from the privileged. In the book’s foreword, the late U.S. Senator Daniel Inouye called King “the real deal,” noting that “Hawai‘i was fortunate to have had Sam King on the bench. He served the people of Hawai‘i well and brought honor to our state and nation.”

The newly released memoir was co-authored by Jerry Burris, one-time political reporter and editorial-page editor for the Honolulu Advertiser and a former staff writer for Hawaii Business magazine, and longtime Advertiser court reporter Ken Kobayashi, now a reporter with the Honolulu Star-Advertiser. In 2009 Burris and Kobayashi began a series of recorded conversations with King, meeting several times a week in the judge’s office. After King’s passing a year later, the duo continued work on the book, with support from the King family, combining the recorded conversations with an oral history conducted by King’s former law clerk, Susan Lee Waggener, and the trove of writings, news stories, speeches and other material carefully saved and organized by King’s wife, Anne, and Rebecca Berry, the judge’s secretary for much of his legal career.


Jerry Burris and Ken Kobayashi will sign books at Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana, on Friday, Nov. 22 at 6pm.

NEW RELEASE: Today’s Thought

TodaysThought_CVR_web We are pleased to announce the release of Today’s Thought—Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message, a new book from our Legacy Isle Publishing imprint.

For more than 35 years, Rev. Paul S. Osumi inspired generations of readers of The Honolulu Advertiser and other newspapers with his daily column, “Today’s Thought.” Thousands of copies of his simple aphorisms were clipped and saved, tacked to bulletin boards, stuck to refrigerator doors and carried in wallets.

After the pastor’s death in 1996, his son Norman Osumi received many inquiries about publishing a new collection of “Today’s Thoughts.” Because three small volumes had already been published by Rev. Osumi himself, Norman felt that any collection “would need something more.”


Rev. Paul Osumi

Thus began a decade-long project to research his father’s life, with the goal of including a biography to add context to a new collection of “Thoughts.” In addition to the biography and hundreds of favorite “Thoughts,” Norman included select inspirational speeches delivered by Rev. Osumi throughout his years of ministry as well as photographs and letters from the family’s personal collection in his softcover book Today’s Thought—Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message.

Researching the book was a revealing experience for Norman. “I started reading his journals, as well as letters he wrote and received from my mother, military authorities, Christian leaders, friends and church members. The more I read, the more interested I became in my father’s past, which he rarely talked about. He almost never mentioned the war years, when he was interned and encountered many disappointments and much hardship and disgrace. Many people told me it was common for the older generation, especially fathers, not to tell their children about their lives.”


The Osumi family in front of their barrack unit, Gila Relocation Camp (1945)

On December 7, 1941 Rev. Paul Osumi was arrested “on suspicion of being an alien enemy,” as were many influential and well-educated Japanese nationals. He was jailed and subsequently sent to detention camps, first on Oahu, then in New Mexico. He petitionedand was finally approved in 1943for relocation to Gila Relocation Camp in Arizona where his family (pictured, right), including a three-year-old Norman, joined him in 1944 to live for the remainder of the war.

Norman’s biography of his father provides details of the internment experience and the correspondence between Rev. Osumi and numerous officials as he attempted to clear his name and obtain his release. It was not until 1988 that the United States government issued an official apology to internees, along with monetary redress. Among the documents Norman found in his father’s files was a letter from The White House, signed by George Bush, which must have accompanied the restitution received by Rev. Osumi.


Rev. Paul Osumi and Mrs. Janet Osumi in front of Nu‘uanu Congregational Church.

After the war, the Osumi family returned to Hawaii where Rev. Osumi ministered at churches in Waialua, ‘Ewa and Nu‘uanu. His “Today’s Thought” column began appearing in The Honolulu Advertiser six mornings a week in 1957. They also ran in the Hawaii Hochi starting in 1960, and the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner in Nome, Alaska from 1980 to 1984. In 1965, Rev. Osumi started the now-common practice of offering Hawai‘i weddings for couples from Japan.

Couples married by Rev. Osumi often cite his Ten Commandments for a Happy Marriage:

1. Remember marriage is a 100-100 proposition. It is not a 50-50.
2. Neglect the whole world rather than each other.
3. Never meet or part without an affectionate hug or kiss.
4. Each day say at least one nice thing to each other.
5. Never go to bed angry. Settle all differences before the sun goes down.
6. Do not argue. Always talk things over.
7. Do not nag or indulge in fault-finding.
8. Never bring up mistakes of the past.
9. When you have made a mistake, say, “I am sorry,” and ask for forgiveness.
10. Never raise your voice or shout at each other unless the house is on fire.

It is advice like this that stuck with readers of Rev. Osumi’s column for decades. “My father’s words had a great impact on my life,” Norman says, “and on so many others’ too. People needed guidance in their lives and he tried to provide that. Father’s daily sayings gave people in Hawai‘i a set of values for living happy and meaningful lives. If by reading this book, they can gain some insight to live a better life, I will be happy.”

Today’s Thought—Rev. Paul Osumi: The Man & His Message is available for pre-order now on our website and will be available in local bookstores after September 15. For more information about the Legacy Isle Publishing imprint, please visit the website.

Wordsworth’s Poe-TREE Contest Winners

Happy Earth Day, everyone! We are celebrating by announcing the winners of the Wordsworth the Poet “Poe-TREE Contest!”

In the Wordsworth Poe-TREE Contest, students were asked to write a poem celebrating their favorite tree, following the model of Wordsworth the Mouse and his friends in the book Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! The young mice in the story campaign to save the trees in their community by writing poems reminding all the neighbors about the special qualities of the trees around them.

Poems were judged based on creativity, poetic merit and how well they conveyed what makes the trees special to the students. The six contest winners will receive a copies of each of the three books in the Wordsworth series, a gardening tool kit and a Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

MakaylaRoseMolden (current)

Makayla Rose Molden

K-5 Division Winners:

Makayla Rose Molden (age 6, Kapolei, Mauka Lani Elementary), untitled

The Mountain Apple tree is yummy to me.
The fruit is up so high to knock it down is a game I try.
I collect the fruit and make apple pie.



Eli Wolfe

Eli Wolfe

Eli Wolfe (age 5, Honolulu, University Laboratory School), “Banyan Tree”

I like to climb the
Banyan tree
at Barwick.
I can climb to
the sky.
You should try it too
It is so fun.


Grade 6-8 Division:

Cindy Tsou

Cindy Tsou

Min-Hua (Cindy) Tsou (age 11, Kapolei, Kapolei Middle School), “Red Maple Tree (Acer rubrum)”

A bright, scarlet leaf blew by.
A red lobed leaf fall and fly.
It can be red, yellow and even green.
Red maple trees makes a beautiful scene.
It grows in the north, with it’s flower blooming back and forth.
A red maple tree brings red, bright shines.
A red maple is of course, very fine.


Emerson Goo

Emerson Goo

Emerson Goo (age 12, Honolulu, Niu Valley Middle School), “Forest Guardians”

Sentinels at watch
Forest guardians holding
Treasured memories




Grade 9-12 Division:

Sophie Corless

Sophie Corless

Sophie Corless (age 15, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey, Northern Highlands Regional High School), “The Lemon Tree”

The cool sticky air clings to me;
my bare feet squelch in the grass
just after the rain shower.
The lemon tree stands in the back corner
towering over the garden, and has a prevailing presence.
Under the tree lies my step ladder,
with my initials carved in the leg.
The wicker basket dangles
on a tiny branch at my height.
I have my technique down,
twist and snap over and over again.
Even the bees and ants are fixated on my movements,
their fragile wings and tiny legs
seem to stop to observe.
Little droplets collect in the pores of the rind,
making my hand cool,
droplets of lemon juice ooze through the pores
and run down my hand to my wrist and to my elbow,
stopping and then dripping off.
By the end I am covered in a mixture of rain and lemon,
dried and sticky.
With every lemon I snap off,
the branch snaps back and sprinkles me with rain.
I swear I hear my sweltering forehead
sizzle against the cool droplets.
In the kitchen I squeeze every last lemon,
popping the juice into the pitcher with the yellow flowers,
along with a fistful of sugar and a splash of water.
I crack the ice tray in half, scooping out the cubes.
The first sip makes my face contort
into an uncomfortable position,
one you can’t avoid,
but the last is always the sweetest.


Zoe Edelman Brier

Zoe Edelman Brier (age 18, Allendale, New Jersey, Northern Highlands Regional High School), “Veins of Color”

I remember maple Leaf picking
with my father before the bus
came to ship me off
to a grey school building
with a grey blacktop
and grey windows.
The colors of the Leaves
were brighter than anything
I’d ever seen, standing out
against the blah of morning.
even through fog,
the Leaves shown like bright beacons
of change and hope for the future.
the Leaves would vein and crinkle
in red and orange and yellow,
mixing in a thin canvas.
My father would sit me on his shoulders
and have me reach the highest branch
possible to get the best Leaf
to press in a book that I still have
12 years later, the colors frozen in time,
unbrowned and delicate, red stains
clashing with the dark green of Leaf.

Congratulations to all our winners! Go give your favorite tree a hug!

“Hey, Sailor…” Eddie Sherman Introduces His Book

Eddie Sherman and Marlon Brando on the set of Brando's movie, "One-Eyed Jacks."

Eddie Sherman and Marlon Brando on the set of Brando’s movie, “One-Eyed Jacks.”

We are saddened by the loss of one of our most charismatic authors, Eddie Sherman. At age 88, Eddie passed away on Tuesday. He is survived by his wife, Patty, to whom he dedicated his memoir, calling her “my inspiration and the love of my life.”

Eddie always had the best stories, and it was great fun to hear him tell them. We can still hear his raspy voice reading aloud from his memoir, Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me: Adventures in Paradise with the Celebrity Set. Here’s a taste, the introduction to his memoir relating his own introduction to the celebrity scene he spent decades chronicling. And wouldn’t you know it, it involves him holding a beautiful movie star.

“Hey, Sailor…”

Do you remember the first time you met an honest-to-goodness, larger-than-life celebrity? Some people may have a story like that to tell. Maybe it involved bumping into an inebriated Hollywood star at a Los Angeles nightclub or getting a basketball legend’s autograph at a book signing.

I’ll have to wager, though, that my first encounter with a celebrity was more intimate than most. After all, it’s not every day that you get to hold the derrière of a ravishing major Hollywood actress.

I guess I’d better explain.

The year was 1942 and I had just been given an honorable medical discharge from the U.S Coast Guard. I dislocated my left shoulder during basic training in Algiers, Louisiana. The Coast Guard refused to operate because I had a history of previous shoulder dislocations and, in fact, I had surgery on my shoulder before entering the service. I argued that since they examined and accepted me, why shouldn’t they be responsible for fixing my shoulder? But my efforts fell on deaf ears.

Here I was, just seventeen years old, and my dream of serving in the military was already dashed to pieces. I hopped on a bus back to Boston, my hometown, with no job prospects and only a few dollars in my pocket. At least I had permission to wear the Coast Guard uniform for a couple months.

On my way home, I decided to stop in New York for a day or two. I had never been there in my life. All alone in the Big Apple! I felt like just a tiny grain of sand on the huge beach of mammoth Manhattan.

Most people in New York have this in common: they walk. A lot. Everybody does it, and so did I. It was exhilarating! The sights, sounds, smells and feel of New York—everything was just throbbing with excitement.

While I was strolling along in the Times Square area, a car suddenly pulled up to the curb. A man leaned out the window and yelled, “Hey, sailor. Would you come over here for a minute?”

So I did. “What’s up?” I asked.

Eddie Sherman and his mother, Bessie, who infamously had Marlon Brando change her kitchen garbage bag!

Eddie Sherman and his mother, Bessie, who infamously had Marlon Brando change her kitchen garbage bag!

The gentleman told me he was a publicity man for a motion picture company. A major film star was arriving at Grand Central Station, he said, and he was trying to round up as many military folks as possible for a photo session with her. He gave me a few dollars for a taxi and told me exactly what track the train was coming in on. Then the car sped off.

I had nothing better to do, so off I went to meet a movie star. The greeting party was easy to find—it was quite a crowd—and all branches of the services were represented.

There were about thirty of us in all.

And suddenly there she was: Merle Oberon, stepping off the train—beautifully dressed, oozing glamour and sophistication.

She was one of the major screen stars of that era. I had seen some of her films and was a big fan. I especially enjoyed her in Wuthering Heights. She was so sultry and exotic looking. I had never before seen a famous film star in person. This was exciting!

Before Oberon got off the train, the man who asked me to come to the station came over and selected a soldier and myself to be the ones to make a “seat” for Oberon. I’d like to think it was my chiseled good looks that landed me this opportunity, but more likely it was because I was one of the smaller guys in the group.

The soldier and I locked wrists. As Miss Oberon was brought to us, we lowered our hands and she sat on our little “seat.” She put her arms on our shoulders and smiled broadly as we lifted her up.

She smelled like flowers. So delicate and dainty! Camera flashbulbs went off like fireflies.

“It’s a real pleasure to be holding you, Miss Oberon,” I said.

“I have enjoyed your movies.”

“Thank you,” she replied, smiling sweetly.

And then, just like that, it was over. Oberon was quickly escorted out of the station to a waiting limo.

I never got to meet Merle Oberon again. As fate would have it, however, this chance encounter was just a preview of things to come. Never in my wildest dreams did I think I’d someday cross paths with the likes of Elvis Presley, Frank Sinatra, Judy Garland and Rocky Marciano. I never imagined that I would someday go sailing with Albert Finney, and become buddies with guys like Sammy Davis, Jr., and Marlon Brando.

But it all happened. These stories, and many more, are all here in this book.


Eddie Sherman

Eddie, it’s been a real pleasure knowing you. We have enjoyed your stories.

Now available in e-reader format:
Amazon Kindle
Frank, Sammy, Marlon & Me – Eddie Sherman

Japanese Eyes, American Heart: Voices from the Home Front in World War II Hawaii

JEAH Vol. II“We were awakened by a ‘boom-boom’ sound like that of distant thunder on that Sunday morning.”

So begin many of the stories in a newly released book by Japanese Americans living in Hawaii on December 7, 1941, when Japan attacked Pearl Harbor. Japanese Eyes, American Heart: Voices from the Home Front in World War II Hawaii gathers dozens of deeply personal stories, many of them never before published, that reveal the hardship, sorrow and anguish—as well as the pride, compassion and even joy—experienced by islanders of Japanese ancestry. This second volume of Japanese Eyes, American Heart, chronicling the experiences of those left at home, complements the memoirs of nisei soldiers—men who served with gallantry and distinction on the war front—presented in Japanese Eyes, American Heart: Personal Reflections of Hawaii’s World War II Nisei Soldiers, first published fourteen years ago.

Everything changed for all residents of the then-Territory of Hawaii as the devastating attack sparked the entry of the United States into World War II. But for Hawaii’s Japanese, who made up some 40 percent of the population, the ensuing war with an enemy who looked like them cast suspicion on aliens and American citizens alike. These stories of quiet strength and enduring resiliency, collected by the Hawaii Nikkei History Editorial Board, give rare insight into the seeds of change that transformed postwar Hawaii and define the legacy of this wartime generation.

Below is an excerpt from Japanese Eyes, American Heart—Vol. II, a portion of Jane Okamoto Komeiji’s recollection of the day of the Pearl Harbor bombing and its aftermath. The book is available for purchase at our website,, and will be arriving in local bookstores by Christmas.

Jane Okamoto Komeiji


December 7, Morning

Walking on Nuuanu Avenue to Sunday school at Honpa Hongwanji Temple on upper Fort Street, I saw the look of fear and shock on the face of a 12- or 13-year-old boy, as he blurted out the news of war to my friend and me:

“Eh! War! Honest, for real!”

My response was, “No try fool me!”

“Try turn ’round. See da smoke. Get fire ovah deah. Da enemy wen trow bomb.”

Turning around, we did see smoke in the direction of Liliha Street. But my reaction to the possibility of war was one of disbelief. “Can’t be—but that smoke? Maybe it’s a house on fire.”

When we got to Sunday school, the usual crowd wasn’t there. Most of the students had been sent home by the priests. “Maybe there really is a war,” I thought. I borrowed the office phone to call Mother, just in case she hadn’t heard. I told her not to leave our living quarters above the store and that I would come home right away.

That being done, I joined the small group of fellow choir members who were hanging around. Somebody said that there was a fire at nearby Leilehua Lane; another, that he thought he had seen the hinomaru (“red circle,” the rising sun symbol of Japan) on an airplane wing; and still another, that he had heard that Pearl Harbor had been bombed.

One of the boys asked whether anybody wanted to go to see the fire at Pearl Harbor. He had just gotten his driver’s license the week before and was anxious to show off. It was a rare treat to go for a ride, so we all jumped into his car. He drove us to a peninsula in Kalihi from which “battleship row” at Pearl Harbor was clearly visible.

Across the water in the harbor, we saw a long, wide curtain of black smoke, interspersed along the waterline with flecks of reds and yellows. Frankly, I was disappointed. I had expected to see roaring flames, brightly colored flames, like those I had seen during a River Street fire. (I found out later that oil burns black.) The black smoke curtain did look ominous. That couldn’t possibly be maneuvers. I guess it is a real war and Japan is the enemy, I thought. But, at the same time, I recalled that the representatives of the Japanese and U.S. governments were still talking. I was puzzled. No, I didn’t want to believe that Japan had bombed Pearl Harbor and that we were at war with her.

On the way home, we drove on King Street through Kalihi, Palama and on to Aala, where they were to drop me off. The streets and sidewalks were quiet and empty, except for speeding cars, all going in the Pearl Harbor direction. There were no Sunday strollers and no stores open. Aala Park, too, was deserted: no Sunday evangelists at the corner, no games of sipa sipa (a Filipino wicker ball kicking game), no baseball games and no crowd at the bus stop. The Aala Market parking lot was empty.

Of course, I caught hell when I got home. “Where have you been? You called to tell me not to go out and that you’d come home right away! That was over two hours ago!” Mother yelled. I had never seen her so angry.

After a quick and silent lunch, we sat around the tabletop radio and listened to the repeated reminders: “This is the real McCoy and not a maneuver.” Intermittent announcements called for all military personnel, police, fire, medical and first aid workers to report for duty. Trucks and drivers were needed at Pearl Harbor.

The rest of the population were told to remain indoors, not to use the telephone unnecessarily, to fill containers with water, to have evacuation bags ready, and, most importantly, to stay tuned to the radio for further directives. There were to be a curfew and a complete blackout all night from dusk to dawn. The urgency in the announcer’s voice and the constant repetition of the messages increased my anxiety.

We had an early dinner, wiped ourselves and got ready for the night; we couldn’t take our usual tub baths because the tub was filled with water for emergency use. We lay our futon (bedding), one for each person, on the tatami (straw mat) floor. Our shoes were left at the entrance, ready to quickly slip our feet into. We went to bed, not in our pajamas, but in our street clothes. Our flashlights, one for each person, and our jackets were placed above our heads.

As nightfall came, my anxieties increased. Mother and I could take care of ourselves, but could my brother, age 11, and sister, 13, do so if we became separated? Would the enemy return tonight? By air? By sea? We lived in the block next to the train depot and only a block away from Piers 15 and 16. We were sitting ducks!

If they came by air, we should run downstairs into the store and hide under the counters. If they came by sea and landed, they would certainly enter the building through the store on the first floor. Hiding under the counters was not an option then. Perhaps we should hide in the storage areas on the mezzanine and second floors. But what if the building were bombed and collapsed? Thoughts like these repeated themselves in my mind like a broken record, as I lay wide awake, unable to sleep.

Adding to the eeriness and attendant fear was the quiet outside. The weekly Sunday Filipino program from the Aala Park bandstand featuring the familiar voice of Sally Dacoscos was not heard, even when the windows were opened. All we heard was the sound of high-speed cars or an occasional “Halt! Who goes there?”

Day 2: December 8

After breakfast on December 8, Mother went to Aala Market to buy some canned foods for emergency meals. It was there that she learned that two of our neighbor merchants had been taken into custody a few hours after the Pearl Harbor attack. The men had not returned home last night. Both their families and neighbors were asking, “Why were they taken away? Where were they taken? Are they still alive?”

The two men were successful businessmen and much-respected community leaders. When Mother told us about them, I immediately thought of her. Mother was a successful businesswoman. She had also served as president of her Buddhist temple’s women’s group. Now another fear arose in my mind, a fear that Mother would be taken away and perhaps even killed. What was going to happen to my siblings and me? We had friends, but no relatives on Oahu. Would I have to go to work to support myself and my siblings? Who would hire me, a 16-year- old student? Could I work in the store and get paid? I had been helping in the store when it was busy. I could wait on customers: Show them what they were looking for; measure, cut or wrap the purchases; figure out the cost; punch the cash register and make change. But I couldn’t possibly manage the store as Mother did. If I worked with fewer responsibilities for less pay, would I be able to support myself and my siblings?

Day 3, Day 4, Day 5: December 9 – 11

With each passing day the initial shock lessened and we gradually adapted to wartime conditions. We also reluctantly recognized but tried to dispel the suspicion cast over all Japanese, citizens and aliens alike. There was no differentiation made between the Japanese in Hawaii and the Japanese in Japan. “Once a Jap, always a Jap” was heard often. The message was clear. Anything Japanese was frowned upon and looked upon as “un-American.”

Mother, whose language was Japanese, increasingly interspersed her speech with English words. She, who had always worn a kimono, began wearing dresses hastily made for her. Finding shoes to fit her narrow feet and high arches was another matter. She had to endure wearing ill-fitting shoes.

Japanese knick-knacks, books, photos taken in Japan were burned, torn or put away. The Shinto shrine and picture of the Emperor and Empress of Japan were taken down from their high perches. Also removed from the walls were Japanese artwork and calligraphy scrolls. However, the Butsudan (Buddhist altar) and the portraits of Father in his grey suit and another of Uncle Eikichi in his kimono and haori (Japanese coat) were kept in place.

Needless to say, I didn’t speak Japanese outside of our living quarters. However, once we were at home, Japanese was my language when communicating with Mother. It was a necessity.

Material things could be discarded, but doing away with the Japanese language and customs meant that the issei had to abandon their ancestors and heritage. Nevertheless, they tried. In contrast, the nisei, having been born and educated in America, did not face these acculturation problems to the same degree.

* * *

Jane Okamoto Komeiji went on to graduate from the University of Hawaii in 1947 with a degree in psychology. In 1958, she received a professional teaching certificate and in 1971, a M.Ed. from UH-Manoa. She taught in the state’s public school system for 20 years. In 1983, she became the first retired classroom teacher to be appointed as college coordinator for student teachers. An avid researcher and historian of the Japanese in Hawaii, she is the co-author of Okage Sama De: The Japanese in Hawaii, 1885–1985 (1986, updated 2008). She chairs the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii’s Historical Gallery Committee and helped to develop its permanent exhibit, Okage Sama De, a chronicle of the first 100 years of the Japanese in Hawaii, which is currently being updated to include third, fourth and fifth generations of Japanese Americans. She serves on the UH College of Arts and Sciences Committee on Nisei Veterans Endowed Forum Series, and the Hawaii Hiroshima Heritage Study Group, which presents statewide genealogy workshops.

Wordsworth the Poet’s Poe-TREE Contest

Frances H. Kakugawa, author of the Wordsworth the Poet children’s books, and Watermark Publishing announce the Wordsworth the Poet “Poe-TREE Contest,” open to children in grades kindergarten through 12th grade. (Contest rules follow.)

In Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! — the newest Wordsworth the Poet adventure released this month — a bulldozer has invaded the little mouse’s special koa grove where he often writes his poems. What should Wordsworth do? His new friend, Akiko, has an idea! Wordsworth, Akiko and their friends, Dylan and Eliot, have all written poems about the special qualities of the trees they see around them — mango trees, coconut trees, kukui trees. Akiko tacks poems to each tree and reminds their neighbors of how important a part of their community the trees really are.

To enter the Wordsworth the Poet Poe-TREE Contest, kids can follow Wordsworth and his friends’ example and write a poem that celebrates their favorite tree. For an example, see Akiko and Eliot’s “Save This Tree” poems (above and below; click on the images to enlarge).

Six prize packages will be awarded, two per grade division (K-5, 6-8 and 9-12). Each prize package includes a copy of each of the three books in the Wordsworth series, a child’s gardening tool kit and a Koa Legacy Tree from the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative, donated by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods.

Send entries ATTN: Wordsworth’s Poe-TREE Contest to or to Watermark Publishing, 1088 Bishop St., Ste. 310, Honolulu, HI 96813. Download an entry form here.

Contest Rules:

  • The contest is open to all children kindergarten through 12th grade residing in the United States.
  • Each entry must include the child’s name, age and grade, school, hometown and parent, guardian or teacher’s contact information and signature. Download an entry form here.
  • Poem must be about the entrant’s favorite tree.
  • Winning poems will be selected by the judges, including Frances Kakugawa, based on creativity and poetic merit.
  • Materials submitted will not be returned.
  • Entries must be received by January 15, 2013 DEADLINE EXTENDED: March 1, 2013.
  • Winners will be notified February 1, 2013 April 15, 2013. Winners may be asked to submit a photo of themselves for publicity purposes. Winners’ name, hometown and likeness may be used for publicity purposes.

For those who are ineligible to enter the Poe-TREE Contest, or who aren’t inclined to write poetry, Frances and Wordsworth have another way to celebrate trees: They invite readers far and wide to plant trees in their own communities. “It’s not only about trees being cut down where we live,” Frances writes in the introduction to Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer! “Our children and their children must have trees in their future to hug and enjoy and sit under in the shade. Trees also help keep us alive and healthy.”

Frances has created Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society to recognize readers of all ages who plant a tree in Wordsworth’s honor. To receive a membership certificate in the Plant A Tree Society, readers must plant a tree for Wordsworth in their community (in the backyard or at school, for example) and post a photo of themselves with their tree on Wordsworth’s Facebook page. Photo submissions should indicate the variety of the tree and where it was planted. Submissions may also be e-mailed to or mailed to Watermark Publishing. Photos will not be returned and will be posted online.

We understand that not everyone can plant a tree in their own backyard, so we have teamed up with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to offer a solution: A program to plant Wordsworth Legacy Koa Trees on Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods’ 1,000 acres of conservation land on the Hamakua Coast of Hawai‘i Island. Groups or individuals may sponsor a Wordsworth Legacy Tree for $60. The purchase also includes a copy of Wordsworth! Stop the Bulldozer!, a certificate bearing the GPS coordinates of the planted tree, and automatic membership in Wordsworth’s Plant A Tree Society. Additionally, $10 of the sponsorship fee will be directed to a fund dedicated to providing Legacy Trees for underprivileged children. Wordsworth Legacy Trees may be purchased at

We are very excited to work with the Hawaiian Legacy Reforestation Initiative to help return native growth to the Hamakua Coast! The land set aside by Hawaiian Legacy Hardwoods for this conservation program once belonged to King Kamehameha I, and some original koa trees still remain on the property. HLH uses seeds from these ancient Hawaiian trees to grow the Legacy Trees. Each tree is implanted with an RFID chip which transmits information on the tree’s growth, as well as identifying it as the sponsor’s tree. What an amazing project!

Grab a Gift

We sort of hate to bring this up, but the holidays are right around the corner…if you’d like to take care of your holiday shopping from the comfort of your desk chair, Watermark Publishing is here to help.

Our ultra-popular Hawaii Book of Rice book + dish towel + rice paddle Gift Sets are back in stock, and we’ve added some new gift items: a Kau Kau set that includes a Cane Haul Road dishtowel + an assortment of crack seed and comes packaged in a white “plate lunch” box; and the new Splash of Aloha cookbook from Kapiolani Community College (coming out next week) set which includes a book + Cane Haul Road towel.

We also have Chef Alan Wong’s exclusive Blue Tomato logo items (only available through us or at his King Street restaurant), which you can mix and match with his award-winning book The Blue Tomato and/or gift certificates to his Oahu restaurants.


Kau Kau Gift Set

Includes a copy of the award-winning Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura; a white Cane Haul Road dishtowel with a dark purple “Kau Kau” design; and an assorted selection of “crack seed” (not pictured).

Price: $45 // SALE: $40
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Splash of Aloha Gift Set

Includes a copy of A Splash of Aloha by Kapiolani Community College and a white Cane Haul Road dishtowel with a red and black “She Sells Sashimi” design.

Price: $22 // SALE: $18
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Book of Rice Gift Set

Includes a copy of The Hawaii Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia and 101 Great Recipes by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi; a plastic rice paddle (not pictured); and a white Cane Haul Road dishtowel with a red “Ochazuke” design.

Price: $22 // SALE: $20
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Chef Alan Wong’s The Blue Tomato Gift Items

Chef Alan Wong’s line of Blue Tomato merchandise is available exclusively via our online store and at Alan Wong’s Honolulu. Available logo items include koa bookmarks, mugs and tote bags. Receive a discount on logo items when you purchase The Blue Tomato.

GIFT CERTIFICATE SPECIAL: Save 25% onThe Blue Tomato when you purchase gift certificates to Alan Wong’s Honolulu (Chef Alan’s King Street flagship restaurant) or The Pineapple Room at Macy’s Ala Moana. Gift certificates available in $50 increments; must be purchased with a copy of The Blue Tomato.

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These offers valid only at our online store.

My Name is Makia: A Storyteller’s Tale of Life in Kalaupapa

We are honored to present My Name is Makia: A Memoir of Kalaupapa by Makia Malo with Pamela Young, the second memoir from a Kalaupapa patient we have released, the first being Henry Nalaielua’s No Footprints in the Sand, published in 2006. We are humbled and honored to share their stories.

Diagnosed with Hansen’s disease at the age of twelve, Makia Malo was exiled to the remote settlement of Kalaupapa on the rugged north coast of the Hawaiian Island of Moloka‘i. Malo lost his hands, his feet and his eyesight over the years, but never the vision or spirit that made him a celebrated Hawaiian storyteller and poet. My Name is Makia shares his inspiring story—of a child of Kalaupapa who grew up to become an award-winning writer, storyteller and instructor at the University of Hawai‘i.

During its century as a virtual prison, more than 8,000 people were exiled to Kalaupapa, until the introduction of sulfone drugs in the 1940s.  Today a dwindling handful—fewer than 20—of patients remain. When his health allows, Malo numbers among them. Otherwise, he resides at Hale Mōhalu hospital in Honolulu.

Few Kalaupapa patients have chosen to share their experiences in as public a manner as Malo, who has maintained a positive outlook despite the harsh realities of his life. “Yes, I wish my life had been different, but still it has been so much better than many of the [other] patients,” he points out.

“I’d be grateful if people would remember all of us, the 8,000-plus who are dead and the handful of us hanging on… We lost so much. I hope in the future people learn from us. This is the lesson: No matter where you are, at what age, life can be hard. Life can take everything away from you in one snap of a finger and it doesn’t do you any good to sit there and whine about it. Take that cane and bang, bang your way around your problems. I have my memories. I have my stories.”

My Name is Makia was crafted by veteran broadcast journalist Pamela Young from years of conversations with Malo combined with earlier attempts at documenting his life, written by himself and edited by his late wife, Ann. Woven throughout his narrative are transcriptions of many of the stories Malo has told to audiences around the world. Some are memories of his childhood. Others, as Young explains, “are myths, some are daydreams, with no beginning, end, or purpose.” She elaborates on the book’s genesis,

“This book is the result of a  simple request Makia made [for a DVD copy of] a news special I produced, documenting thirty years of coverage in Kalaupapa, Belgium, and Rome…to give to his niece Noe ‘so I can leave her something after I go.’ I suggested she would be much happier with her uncle’s memoirs. And so began our weekly meetings at Hale Mōhalu hospital.”

Please join us for a reading and book signing on Saturday, September 29 at Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall, 1PM. Pamela and Makia’s dear friend, storyteller Jeff Gere, will read from Makia’s book. Makia and Pamela will sign books following the reading.

Splish, Splash!

The newest member of the Dash of Aloha Cookbooks family is here! Get your feet wet and dip a toe into the waters of seafood preparation with A Splash of Aloha: A Healthy Guide to Fresh Hawaiian Seafood. This cookbook from the Kapi‘olani Community College Culinary Arts Department, will help you enjoy fresh Island fish and shellfish for good health and good nutrition, too. Seafood preparation can be daunting. To guide novice cooks, A Splash of Aloha includes step-by-step photo illustrations of common fish preparation techniques. Recipes offer a variety of simple cooking methods, with a myriad of flavors from Hawai‘i and Asia to the Middle East, Mexico and Italy. Each is designed with the home cook in mind.

A Splash of Aloha hits local bookstores next weekend (around Sept. 22) and will be featured in Longs Drugs stores statewide beginning Sun., Sept. 23. But there’s a way for you to get your hands on a copy of the book BEFORE then! Come down to the Kapi‘olani Community College Farmers Market THIS SATURDAY, Sept. 15 from 7:30AM to 11AM. See below for other events where you can meet our chefs and contributors.

Bruschetta with Mahi Mahi & Eggplant Caponata by Sharon Kobayashi. Photo by Adriana Torres-Chong.

Here in Hawai‘i we have a bounty of the freshest and highest quality fish. But as the ancient Hawaiians knew well, there is a season for everything. Hawai‘i law mandates a periodic fishing moratorium to protect the sustainability of our local waters. The most popular fish may not always be available, or may be out of budget. Fortunately, the state also leads the way in aquaculture research and development and A Splash of Aloha offers recipes that incorporate the wide range of both wild-caught fish and other fresh, locally raised seafood (such as prawns, abalone and tilapia) available in the Islands.

Have you ever been confused by all the different names for fish? In the Islands, especially, it seems everyone has a different name for the same fish! An a‘u is a nairagi is a striped marlin, but so is a kajiki (blue marlin) because a‘u is the generic Hawaiian name for all marlins. Japanese names, Hawaiian names, English names, casual names and formal names, incorrect names. The fish world is the land of “call it what you will, just call me in time for dinner.”

We have a special “Cheat Sheet” for you to help you keep your fish names straight and know what’s on your plate. Click the graphic for a larger PDF version.

Meet our chefs and contributors at the following events:

Kapiolani Community College Farmers Market
Saturday, Sept. 15
7:30AM – 11AM

Sea-to-Me Tasting Event
Pier 38, Honolulu’s Fishing Village
Friday, Oct. 5
5:00PM – 9:00PM
Event Tickets: $75

7th Annual Hawaii Fishing & Seafood Festival
Pier 38, Honolulu’s Fishing Village

Sunday, Oct. 7
9:00AM – 4PM

Why Smart People Do the Same Dumb Things

You’re a smart person, right? But we bet you’ve found yourself wondering how you’ve ended up doing the same dumb thing AGAIN. We’ve all done it—expected a different outcome when we haven’t changed a thing about what we’re doing; let the same person take advantage of us for the umpteenth time; said “yes” when we promised ourselves we’d say “no.”

Why can’t we stop? Why do we do this over and over again?

Psychologist Dr. Rosalie Tatsuguchi identifies the most common culprit as the ingrained belief systems we hold—our personal paradigms, the rules that dictate our lives. Why do we develop these paradigms and how do we break out of the problematic patterns that prevent us from leading happy lives? How does the cultural landscape of Hawaii contribute to developing these paradigms? Dr. Tatsuguchi offers ways to realize our mistakes and strategies for making meaningful changes in our lives in her new book, Why Smart People Do the Same Dumb Things.

Dr. Tatsuguchi’s book is in stores now, and available at our online shop. You can meet her at an upcoming presentation (see below) at the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii and hear her explain the concepts outlined in Why Smart People Do the Same Dumb Things. And be sure to tune in to Sunrise on Hawaii News Now on Mon., July 30 at 8:10AM (broadcasting on KFVE or streaming live online) and “Thinking Out Loud” on KZOO (1210AM) Radio on Mon., July 30 at 6:30pm for interviews with her.

Presentation & Book  Signing
Sat., Aug. 11
1:00 – 2:00pm
Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii
2454 S. Beretania St. / (808) 945-7633

Here’s a sampling of advice from Dr. Tatsuguchi’s book (and her presentation):

How We Develop Personal Paradigms & Problems:

  •  “Dog bite” Rules—A “dog bite” rule is one that you learned to help you efficiently respond to danger or threats but are now taking to extremes. It generally leads you to make mistakes by overreacting, repeating mistakes and wasting time, energy and emotions. You will miss out on a lot unless you learn to manage that response. Subconscious dog bite rules can be a primary source of repeated mistakes for smart people.
  •  Case Study: “Carrie”—For as long as she can remember, Carrie’s older brother resented her birth and existence. She was made to defer to him in all things. He was physically and emotionally abusive to her, but her parents did not stop him and usually blamed her for upsetting him. Carrie learned to suffer in silence, keep out of her brother’s way, and try to handle things on her own. This continued as an adult, such that if something happened at work, it never occurred to her to complain or ask for help. Her dog bite rule said: No one will help; no matter what goes wrong it’s my fault, so I’ll just suffer in silence, handle things on my own and keep working. It’s my responsibility to anticipate and fix all problems in order to avert blow-ups. Because she was not consciously aware of these rules running her life, she was always mentally and physically overwhelmed, both personally and professionally.

What Can We Do To Change Our Paradigms?

  • Change Requires Making Corrections and Adaptability—Dealing with change requires the ability to see and admit whether things are working or not. You must be able to be adaptable enough to admit when you are wrong and brave enough to make the correction. Not making corrections perpetuates and multiplies the effects of the error. Problems become more difficult to correct because you have to interact with other people and the simple mistake gets complicated by their needs. Below are some examples of types of people who find it difficult to make corrections:

o The Entitled One: I’m Never Wrong, So I Don’t Have to Fix Anything
o The Charming Rascal: I’m Truly Sorry I Made a Mistake, But I Did It Again and I Am Not Going to Stop
o The Warrior: I Won’t Talk About It, But I’ll Try to Fix It

  • Human Sacrifice is Illegal, and It Doesn’t Work—Japanese Buddhist self-sacrifice rules come from the idea that life is full of suffering; Gautama gave up a life of luxury and suffered for seven years to seek the Enlightenment that he shared with humankind. Roman Catholic rules of self-sacrifice come from the example of Christ’s willing acceptance of his own crucifixion and forgiveness of his persecutors in order to bring the word of God to humanity. The unspoken rules say you have to suffer in order to be truly helpful and to help others until you suffer: Give until you can’t give anymore, then give some more, and don’t brag or complain about it. The unspoken rules mandate helping others, even though they hurt you and are unappreciative of your sacrifice. In other words, you aren’t really helping others unless you suffer in the process of helping. This is another dog bite rule that has underlying merit but when taken to extremes leads to dumb mistakes.
  • Nurture Yourself First—Nurturing yourself is vital. It’s like putting on your own oxygen mask first before you help other passengers on a falling plane. If you don’t, you become part of the problem instead of part of the solution. Most of my clients have a difficult time protecting and nurturing themselves because they have been taught that it is selfish to do so. They often feel so much guilt it drives them to exhaustion. They burn out because they give too much. Then they become part of the problem instead of part of the solution.

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