Monthly Archives: May 2012

Poetry Overpowering Alzheimer’s

Frances with Howard Garval, president & CEO of CFS Hawaii.

Earlier this month, author Frances Kakugawa presented a lecture and writing session for the Hawaii Child and Family Services Gerontology Department. Watermark donated sets of her books for CFS and host venue 15 Craigside (a continuing care retirement community) as resources for their communities. Frances is an advocate of the power of poetry to enrich the lives of children, the elderly and those who care for them. Writing—poetry and journaling in particular—helped her cope with the stresses of caring for her Alzheimer’s-stricken mother. In Mosaic Moon and Breaking the Silence, Frances collects her own poems, and those of other caregivers, along with advice for using writing as a therapy tool.

At the CFS presentation, Frances read several poems from Mosaic Moon and Breaking the Silence, and talked about how to preserve dignity in those we care for.

Frances wrote on her blog:

Alzheimer’s disease is one of the most baffling and arduous journeys for caregivers and loved ones. Even while we are burdened with the everyday stresses, like cleaning up BM and repeating the same thing over and over until we want to scream, we need discover how to muddle through so dignity and honor can be preserved. It becomes our mission to give care to ourselves so our loved ones can in turn, receive the best from us. Writing can give us that way to care for ourselves.

The process of writing forces us to make decisions about ourselves as we search for appropriate words, feelings, ideas, and thoughts, letting our true inner voice that wants to be heard, be heard.

We recorded parts of Frances’ presentation and created these videos to share some of her poems, and also one from a workshop participant, Rod Masumoto. Please take some time to click over to Frances’ blog to read more about each poem.

“Oscar Time” (read blog post)

“Diagnosis: Genius Rejected” (read blog post)

“What Do I Feel?” by Rod Masumoto (read blog post)

“Dylan Thomas, We Did Not Go Gentle Into that Night” (read blog post)

Frances offers lectures and workshops for community groups, health care providers and schools, both for children and adults. Visit her website for more information on how to book her for a presentation.

Geckos in the Garden

As we slide into summer, we spend more time pau hana on the lānai, listening to the sounds of the geckos calling to each other and swatting bugs…but do we ever think about the lives of those little creatures?

Two of our writers have, in very different ways.

In Gecko and Mosquito, a children’s book written and illustrated by the late Melissa DeSica, Gecko—the house bully—has embarked on a one-lizard mission to eat every bug in the hale. He’s only a few inches tall, but that’s still big enough to be a bully when there are smaller creatures around the house—like Mosquito and her friends.

“I’m the head honcho,
I’m bigger than you!
Who’s smarter? Who’s stronger?
Mo‘o, that’s who!”

Gecko may be bigger, but he’s definitely not smarter. And Mosquito is tired of being chased and harassed by the greedy fellow.

“I must find a good way to stop him somehow,
And help save my bug friends from being kau kau”

So all afternoon she racked her bug brain
For just the right plan to make Gecko refrain
From serving her friends as his Catch of the Day.
Why, he’d never imagine the trick SHE would play!

What is Mosquito’s clever plan to free the household bugs from Gecko’s tyranny? You’ll just have to pick up a copy of Gecko & Mosquito to find out!

For a different take on the secret lives of geckos, turn to University of Hawai‘i professor Gary Pak’s short story, “Language of the Geckos” in the anthology Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New, edited by Christine Thomas.

Gary’s story was inspired by ‘aumākua tales of the mo‘o:

In the evenings, when I was small, I would look out the screened windows of our house at the geckos, their translucent undersides sometimes showing an egg or two. Geckos covered the outside of our house, scurrying this way and that, calling or challenging each other with staccato voices, and once in a while one would find its way inside. I never was able to see it inside; it was just too elusive, too fast, too deceptive. But once in a while, its call would give it away, or in the morning I’d notice droppings on the kitchen counter or along the inside of a window. Geckos were all around us all the time.

Back then, I never knew about their significance to the ‘āina, what they represented, their connection to Hawaiian mythology, or how some believe the mo‘o to be their ancestor or ‘aumakua (guardian spirit). It was something I never thought about. Like the spirits and ghosts that freely meandered all over the land of my birth, I just lived with them. They were just a part of me, and perhaps I could say that I was a part of them. Only later, as an adult, did I learn that geckos, or perhaps only some of them, were considered mo‘o and an important part of Hawaiian mythology and the Hawaiian ancestral belief system.

Click here to read an excerpt from “Language of the Geckos.”

SWEET DASH RECIPE: Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies with Guava Jelly

May is Celiac Awareness Month! (Sorry, we weren’t very aware, so this recipe comes late in the month.) Celiac disease is an autoimmune digestive disease which causes the body to attack itself in response to gluten, a protein found in wheat, barley and rye. An entire chapter of A Sweet Dash of Aloha is devoted to gluten-free recipes, and, in fact, one of the cookbook’s contributing chefs, Carol Nardello, has celiac disease herself.

Chef Alyssa Moreau, who specializes in vegan cooking, developed this gluten-free vegan recipe for Peanut Butter Cookies with Guava Jelly. Yum! No gluten, no animal products, no refined sugar—no problem! Who says you have to feel like you’re missing out on anything?

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies with Guava Jelly

Gluten-Free Peanut Butter Cookies with Guava Jelly. Recipe by Alyssa Moreau; photo by Adriana Torres Chong.

Recipe by Alyssa Moreau from A Sweet Dash of Aloha 
Makes about 24 cookies

There is something that brings out the kid in all of us with peanut butter cookies. In this peanut butter and jelly cookie, you can play with the flavors by alternating jams in the filling. Other ideas: crystalized ginger in the batter; making a peanut butter “sandwich” by rolling out the dough between two sheets of parchment then spreading jam on half of the dough, folding over and baking and cutting into bars. (Baking time is a bit longer due to the increased thickness; add about 3-5 minutes.)

  • ½ c. sorghum flour
  • ½ c. brown rice flour
  • ½ c. millet flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • ½ tsp. baking soda
  • ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. guar gum (or xanthan)
  • 4 pckts. Truvia sweetener
  • 2 c. peanut butter
  • ½ c. agave or honey
  • ½ c. almond milk (or any milk)
  • 1 T. vanilla
  • ½ c. guava jelly

All “Sweet Dash” recipes include a Nutrition Facts sidebar.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In a medium mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients. In a separate bowl, combine the peanut butter, agave, almond milk and vanilla. You may need to whisk or pulse-blend with a stick blender to incorporate all the ingredients. Add the liquid mixture to the dry and stir until it looks like a thick cookie batter.

Form into balls (about the size of a quarter) and press in the middle with your thumb or small spoon to form an indent. Place on cookie sheet and bake for 10-12 minutes; cookies should be slightly browned around the edges. Cool 5 minutes on rack, then fill cookies with a small spoonful of jelly and transfer to cooling rack.


• Omit the jelly and roll the balls in cane sugar, then flatten (criss-cross style) with a fork; baking time will be a bit shorter, so check at 8-10 minutes.

Alyssa Moreau, contributing chef author, is the Chef/Owner of Divine Creations. She has been a personal chef for private households since 2000, focusing on healthy vegetarian meals. She has taught Vegetarian/Wellness Cooking Classes for the continuing education programs at Kapi‘olani Community College since 2002.

Kapoho named “Best Non-Fiction” by Northern California Publishers & Authors

At the 2012 Northern California Publishers & Authors (NCPA) Awards Banquet on April 30, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances H. Kakugawa was named the “Best Non-Fiction” book, adding to the accolades Watermark’s authors have been honored to receive this year! (Earlier wins: the IACP Cookbook Award for Chef Alan Wong’s The Blue Tomato and a sweep of the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards in the Cookbook Division for A Sweet Dash of Aloha and The Hawai‘i Book of Rice.)

Of Kapoho, the judges said, “Using a series of seamlessly integrated vignettes, Frances Kakugawa has given us a picture of what it was like to grow up in a small village during WWII in Hawaii – the attitudes, beliefs, fears, and hopes of the people who lived there.”

Author Frances Kakugawa blogged about receiving the award:

When a phone call comes late at night, it’s only natural to think of an emergency. On April 29th, the phone rang while I was in Hawaii on a lecture/book tour and it was good news. I received the award from NCPA President Ted Witt yesterday here in Sacramento. What an honor to not only receive this award but to be in the company of NCPA members who inspire and support writers and publishers in northern California.

And long-time friend and entertainment writer Wayne Harada wrote in his column:

“Isle author Frances Kaku­gawa, now Sacramento-based but back for the Hawaii Book & Music Festival this weekend at the Civic Center grounds, had a successful reading of her latest, “Kapoho,” Tuesday night  at Volcanoes National Park. She also participated in a festival panel Saturday — buoyed by good news that “Kapoho” won the best nonfiction book laurels at the 2012 Northern California Publishers & Authors Award banquet a week ago. …

The award validates Kaku­gawa’s accomplishments as a lifetime teacher and poet, and duly recognizes what’s near and dear to her heart: her roots, and her compelling manner in weaving a story. She makes the personal universal, simultaneously enlightening and entertaining the reader. Originally from Kapoho’s volcanic turf, Kaku­gawa is a former Hono­lulu teacher-educator and knowledgeably speaks on care-giving and Alz­hei­mer’s.”

Congratulations to Frances and all our other hard-working, talented authors and all those who put their creative energies into these wonderful books!

Words of Wisdom for New Grads

In Lessons Learned on Bishop Street, his follow-up to the best-selling Lessons Learned on the Corner in Kalihi, Wes Park offers a treasury of simple lessons—kernels of wisdom as applicable to the boardroom as to everyday life.

A product of a rough-and-tumble Kalihi neighborhood, Park battled polio as a child, and went on to helm some of the most prestigious companies in Hawai‘i. His upbringing—and the success he’s had—makes him a firm believer in the “local values” that served as his guideposts in life. The Introduction to Lessons Learned on Bishop Street excerpts from a speech he presented to the Public Schools Foundation in 2005:

Some Lessons Learned in Public School Classrooms

We learned to READ.

We learned not to believe everything we read.

We learned to compare what were were reading to other things we read, saw or heard.

We learned to let fiction take us to faraway places and faraway times and to multiply our own experience by facing make-believe situations.

We learned to read with our minds as well as with our eyes.

When writing, we were taught to “express,” not to “impress.”

He goes on to say,

In Hawai‘i, the work culture is constantly evolving to embrace new people and new ideas. The values and codes of behavior that we learned in school have a lasting effect on that culture, as these lessons are constantly applied in our professional lives. Our challenge is to bring in new ideas the improve our work environment, without overpowering our time-honored basic local values.

Wes’ words of wisdom are gems of common sense…delivered with an impish humor. His dedication sums up his style:

As a youngster I admired the tough “Bulls of Bethel Street.” As a working man I admire the brilliant “Bulls of Bishop Street”: John Bellinger, Herbert Cornuelle, Robert Pfeiffer, Masyuki Tokioka, Sam Cooke, Walter Dods, Duane Kurisu and Duncan MacNaughton. Sometimes I wish I was smart like them instead of better looking.

Here we offer 10 tidbits of advice from Lessons Learned on Bishop Street for the newest crop of graduates to keep in mind as they find their way in the world:

(Click on an individual quote image to enlarge.)

Watermark Publishing Sweeps Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Cookbook Awards Category

The annual Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards were announced Friday, May 11, 2012. Watermark Publishing’s nominees in the Cookbook category, A Sweet Dash of Aloha: Guilt-Free Hawai‘i Desserts & Snacks by Kapi‘olani Community College and The Hawai‘i Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia & 101 Great Recipes by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi, swept the category, taking the top Award of Excellence and the Honorable Mention award, respectively.

The judges praised A Sweet Dash of Alohafor its departure from the norm in Island cookbooks, saying,

So many locally published cookbooks are mishmash collections of ‘local food’ recipes. A Sweet Dash of Aloha is a refreshing well-focused, well-written cookbook that offers a new angle on local flavors and ingredients, combining simplicity and clarity with a sophisticated understanding of food, nutrition and health.

The Hawai‘i Book of Rice received compliments for its comprehensive coverage of the Aloha State’s favorite grain:

Tsutsumi has compiled a collection of dishes that reflect local tastes while exploring new and creative uses of rice. With its recipes for salads, appetizers, entrées and desserts, The Hawaii Book of Rice is certainly versatile. The book’s chapter on the history of rice in Hawai‘i is a well-researched, delightful introduction to the recipes and offers a solid backdrop for the social and economic importance of this local staple.

This marks the fourth consecutive year that a Watermark Publishing title has received the Award of Excellence in Cookbooks. Last year’s Award of Excellence went to The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong by Chef Alan Wong and Arnold Hiura. Previous years’ recipients were Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura (2010) and The Island Bistro Cookbook by Chef Chai Chaowasaree (2009).

Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New edited by Christine Thomas; Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances Kakugawa; and The Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks from Hawai‘i’s Hottest Bartenders by Jesse Greenleaf and Amie Fujiwara were also nominated in other Ka Palapala Po‘okela categories, but did not take home awards.

Our nominees & winners. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi (The Hawaii Book of Rice); Christine Thomas (Don’t Look Back); Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf (The Cocktail Handbook); Watermark Publishing publisher George Engebretson. Front row: Wanda Adams and Adriana Torres Chong (A Sweet Dash of Aloha)

Each year, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association presents the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards to recognize and honor the best of Hawai‘i book publishing from the previous year. “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” literally translated from Hawaiian means “excellent manuscript. ”

Cocktail Handbook Enhanced E-Book Edition Now Available – Includes Videos & New Recipes!

A sampling of the “delightful dozen” new e-book exclusive cocktails. Clockwise from top left: The Ambassador; The Bluegrass; Pineapple Smash; Zen Fresh; Twisted; Dangerous Liasons. Photos: Dawn Sakamoto

Watermark Publishing is pleased to announce the release of the company’s first enhanced e-book, available now on the Apple iTunes platform, and soon to be released for the Barnes & Noble NOOK reader!

The digital edition of The Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks from Hawai‘i’s Hottest Bartenders by nationally recognized Waikīkī bartenders Jesse Greenleaf and Amie Fujiwara includes six embedded how-to videos and a dozen new e-book exclusive recipes, along with the 80-plus drinks from Greenleaf and Fujiwara and 20 other Island “star-tenders,” inside tips on bar etiquette and tools and techniques of the trade found in the original print edition.

Enjoy another round—on the house! Since the print publication of The Cocktail Handbook, we’ve honed our craft even further, entered more competitions and persuaded our bosses at work to add new concoctions to the menu.

Here are twelve new, hot-off-the-bartop bonus recipes. Some of these cocktails are great paired with food; others are perfect for backyard BBQs and parties, and we’ve got a few that are just the thing for winding down after a long day.

After all, it’s “Last Call!” To quote the bartenders’ anthem, “You don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here.” After an adventurous evening serving up boozy beverages, the real work of a drink slinger begins—paperwork, counting tips, and cleaning the bar. And don’t forget the recipe brainstorming—this is where many of our best drinks are born; bouncing flavor combinations off co-workers is often the most honest sounding-board a bartender has. This delightful dozen passed muster to earn their place in this chapter of Last Call Libations.

Pull up a barstool and share a final toast with us!

The Cocktail Handbook - Jesse Greenleaf & Amie FujiwaraThe Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks from Hawai‘i’s Hottest Bartenders enhanced e-book is priced at $12.99 and is available for the iPad®, iPhone® or iPod touch® via the iBookstore now. Tell your friends to find it: at

A release on the Barnes & Noble NOOK platform is forthcoming. Links to purchase the title may be found at

See below for a sneak peek at one of the e-book exclusive recipes: Zen Fresh, a gin drink designed for the hesitant gin drinker.

Zen Fresh

by Amie Fujiwara

The sweetness of ginger and a cool touch of cucumber come together to smooth out any lingering “gin jitters.” This Asian-influenced lemonade is so easy on the palette it may just be the gateway cocktail to heartier gin drinking! Dirty Martini, anyone?

2 oz. Bombay Sapphire gin
3 oz. lemonade
Splash ginger ale or ginger beer
3 – 4 slices pickled ginger
3 slices cucumber (reserve 1 for garnish)
Lime wedge, for garnish

In a mixing tin, muddle ginger and 2 slices of cucumber. Add gin, lemonade and ice. Shake vigorously and strain into a tall glass filled with ice. Top with a splash of ginger ale or ginger beer. Garnish with reserved cucumber slice and lime wedge.


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