Above: Nuuanu President Maurice Shimonishi tries to play the Hawaiian nose flute
in one of the local cultural adventures in the convention in Hilo
By Duke Chung, Convention Chairman
“Wow!” describes this Convention, which truly lived up to its theme of “Something Extraordinary.” The Hilo Hawaiian Hotel on Hilo Bay was a beautiful setting for our Convention and the commitment and dedication of the members of the Hilo Club was remarkable led by Lance Niimi and Bobby Stivers-Apiki.
The Convention began Friday, May 20th with many participants boarding planes very early in Kauai, Honolulu and Maui for the trip to Hilo in order to participate in the golf tournament and tours to the Volcano, World Botanical Garden, Tsunami Museum and Imiloa Astronomy Center. This was followed by a great dinner at the Japanese Cultural Center and a presentation of the history and impact of Japanese Immigration to the Big Island of Hawaii and the many contributions of these immigrants including the invention of the scrumptious but somewhat caloric heavy “Loco Moco.”
Saturday was partly cloudy and rainy but fortunately most of the activities except for Hilo town tours in the afternoon were indoors. The day started with breakfast at the Queens Court restaurant followed by our business meeting that resulted in election of Sharon Ishida as our Regional Director elect; the decision to have our 76th Regional Convention in Las Vegas; and to donate a portion of Convention net proceeds for the US Area Japan relief fund. Our luncheon was highlighted by a very upbeat speech by Hawaii Mayor Billy Kenoi regarding the need for all of us to recognize the oneness of Hawaii…overlooking social and ethnic barriers to become a truly cosmopolitan society.
This was followed by craft sessions of nose flute making by Lance Niimi and quilting by Joni Neel then shopping trips thru Hilo town’s shopping centers and chip/cookie factories.
The Y’s Guys and Gals were a bit more aggressive than usual but the funds as noted above will be used for a good cause.
Our special diamond jewelry raffle, organized by Bill Stone, in line with our 75th Diamond anniversary also resulted in a significant net dollar amount, as well as funds from the regular raffle and auction run by Trevor Jones.
The Saturday awards dinner was highlighted by the induction of two new Hilo members, Fred Yama-shiro, CEO of the Island of Hawaii YMCA and John Putz, formerly a Windward Club member and the induction of regional officers.
Club awards were also presented with the Club of the Year being Nuuanu and the President of the Year was fittingly Lance Niimi of Hilo. The Milton Hakoda Trident Award went to Ethel Takamatsu of Kalihi.
This was followed followed by former Big island legislator Harvey Tajiri who spoke about putting the “C” back in the YMCA noting that the history and makeup of our nation has many parallels in Christian beliefs and principles.
The Sunday devotional was preceded by some lively and inspirational music by a renowned violinist Tony Selvage this was followed by Harry Kim, former Big Island Mayor who spoke about the importance of world peace and the consequences/sobering outlook if this is not achieved. The conclusion of the devotional was a moving power point presentation by Jesse Castro of East Kauai with photos of our friends and former members of the Hawaii Region who have passed away…
Officers’ training followed the devotional with Tom Goya speaking on the importance of volunteerism in our society and trainers RDE Sharon Ishida, Bobby Stivers-Apiki, Rick Lau, and Linda Chung giving a lively power-point presentation and discussion on leadership concepts and the duties and responsibilities of club officers. Paul Kuromoto designed the power-point program and Brad Ishida made the CDs for clubs and provided the technical assistance for the presentation.
We concluded activities with a delicious brunch and lively bingo games with cash prizes followed by a nice circle of friendship to end the day and a great Convention.
There were several donations by Y’s Men and Women to the Region via this Convention. They not only planned and participated but they also decided to make donations directly or declined to submit requests for reimbursement of expenses. Based on what I know some of these are:
Phil Sammer, Area President
Russ Lynch, Regional Director
Fred Yamashiro, CEO Hilo YMCA
Sharon RDE and Brad Ishida, Kaimuki Club
Bobby Stivers-Apiki & Lance Niimi, Hilo Club
Robert Kuwahara, West Oahu
Pat Hakoda in memory of Milton Hakoda
Additionally it is recognized that everyone who donated raffle and door prizes also made contributions to this Convention.
I am sure there are several others that I do not know about because it is typical of Y’s Men and Women to help without seeking recognition or acknowledgement.
Again our Mahalo to everyone who helped to make this convention a success and especially to the Hilo Club for their hospitality…a beautiful setting…good food…nice people and a very full program of activities and excellent speakers.
Osamu “Sam” Shoji, a Windward Y Service Club member and a Windward delegate to the convention, came from his home club in Japan,. Osaka-Senboku Y’s Men, to attend. Later, he filed this report. That’s Sam in the picture above, the one in the purple shirt.
75th Hawaii Region Convention
Reporter Osamu Shoji (Sam)
From May 18, for eight days. I was in Hawaii. I left for Hawaii Honolulu airport from Kansai airport on flight DL278 with Mr. Iinuma.
Jumbo jet flights were stopped this year. This time was a long trip of eight days.
The time difference between Japan and Hawaii is 19 hours. I spent the first traveling for 43 hours. I slept several hours right after boarding.
The Hawaii Region Convention was held on Hawaii island(the big island) in Hilo city.
I have participated for 18 years.
My friend Mr. James Kanehira welcomed me with a lei when I arrived at the airport.
We talked about the recent situation for my Osaka Senboku club & IBC Windward club and the convention schedule at a coffee shop.
We swam at Ala Moana beach after that.
The weather changed all day between clear, cloudy, and rainy, but the blue sky of Hawaii and the color of the sea was very beautiful.
We went sightseeing at Diamond head, Hawaii Kai, and Punchbowl hill. Mr. James Kanehira drove us around.
Hawaii was calm and relaxing.
We went out to dinner at a restaurant near Waikiki.
At Waikiki beach side there were people and I felt like they were in a recession.
The next day, We went to Hawaii island (big island) Hilo airport via Hawaii airlines.
Mr. James Kanehira and I participated in a golf game and enjoyed ourselves. The Hawaii air is light.
When the convention started 64 people from 9 Hawaii clubs participated.
The discussion continued into an outgoing meeting & incoming meeting in the same style as Japan.
When the ticket for each meeting was gotten and a lucky number was hit, there was a fuss.
The bingo game was crazy.
Discussion about leadership was seriously significant talking by all members.
Windward club and Kanehira family invited us to the welcome party two times.
Next year’s Windward club chairman is Ms. Joe-Ann McCarthy.
Next year’s Hawaii region director is Ms. Sharon Ishida.
Next year’s 76th Hawaii Region Convention will be in Las Vegas.