Happy Holidays!


President's Message

By Michael Kaleikini, President



Aloha mai kakou.

To our entire membership of the Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai'i, I'd like to wish all of you and your loved ones a happy and safe holiday season.  For some nice reason, this time of the year always makes me reminisce about the days of our youth and how stress free, fun and exciting a time the Holiday Season can be.  Such memories makes me strive to pass on and share similar feelings with our youth today.  For all of us, the holidays are indeed a special time.  The holidays provide an excellent opportunity to reflect on the past and start planning for the future.

2011 has been a year marked with significant events, natural and manmade.  The earthquake, resulting tsunami and nuclear debacle in Japan is a reminder of how much we really need to respect Mother Nature.  The disaster provided many with opportunities to reaffirm our belief in Kahiau.   People in Japan and elsewhere have shown a heightened level of resiliency that has not been practiced since post-World War Two.  The Arab Spring, financial turmoil in Europe, Occupy movements in the U.S. are confirmation that our world is in a state of turmoil and change.   Looking towards 2012, it is critical that our Chamber continue to provide the venues, events and activities that keep us a close knit organization.  I want to say thank you to everyone that participates and volunteers their precious time to the Chamber.  To me, this is Kahiau in action.  Several of our committees are planning a lineup of events that will highlight some of our key initiatives for 2012.  The economy, agriculture, energy and health care are four items under consideration for educating our members.



The past two months have been filled with much excitement and fantastic events.  On October 8th and 9th, our sister chamber from Higashi-Hiroshima celebrated their annual Sake Festival.  Myself and Sandie Kaleikini, along with Carolyn and Barry Mizuno, Phoebe and Jim Lambeth were fortunate to participate in this year's Festival.  There were over 900 different types of sake at the Festival and over 150,000 participants during the two days.  I tried to sample all of the different sake, but could not pull it off!  Our sister chamber relationship originated in 1999 and our ties are stronger than ever.  We look forward to continuing the strong exchange of business, culture and history of our sister chamber relationship.  Mahalo to Barry & Carolyn for being great tour guides.  Okage Sama De.


On October 16th, the 13th Annual A Taste of Hilo was held at the Honpa Hongwanji Hilo Betsuin

Sangha Hall.  As anticipated, the event was a smashing success.  Mahalo to the Taste of Hilo Committee and the volunteers from Hawai'i Community College.  The committee consists of over 25 members from our Chamber, some of whom has volunteered for many years.  This year's committee was chaired by Randy KuroharaChad Ogata will have the honor of chairing the 14th annual A Taste of Hilo event.

I sincerely hope that everyone had a great Thanksgiving and sufficient nourishment.  I am very thankful to all of our members that have supported the Chamber in the past and continue to support our organization, especially in these tough economic times.   

Finally, please have a safe, happy Christmas and New Year celebration.  I am looking forward to working with everyone in making 2012 a better year.  Enjoy this special time with your family, friends, colleagues and all who have made all of our lives so blessed.

HO HO HO & Happy Holidays!


Domo arigato gozaimasu.


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13th Annual
A Taste of Hilo
By Randy Kurohara, Chairperson



A big Mahalo to everyone for supporting our 13th Annual A Taste of Hilo that was held at Sangha Hall on October 16, 2011 with a sell out crowd of nearly 600.

A special Mahalo to all of our loyal and generous vendors who gave of their time and resources, our corporate sponsors, and to all who purchased tickets and attended in making this event a huge success.


This year we featured our Island's Grass Fed Beef (Mahalo Hawaii Beef Producers) specially prepared by Chef Beth An Nishijima of Nori's Snack & Siamin who did an awesome job.

A big Mahalo to our Taste of Hilo Committee for putting the time and energy to plan and pull off this wonderfully special culinary event.

I would like to recognize Chad Ogata for stepping up to the plate to chair next year's 14th annual event and ask for everyone's continued support of this event and especially for Chad.

And above all, lets continue to support our community and higher education through chamber programs and events such as this.

Mahalo Nui Loa!
A Taste of Hilo

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Goji Kara at Aha Punana Leo
By Carol VanCamp 


Chamber members and their guests joined parents, students, teachers and leaders from 'Aha Punana Leo in a fun-filled evening that included hula dancing, Hawaiian language and learning demonstrations, and great food and fellowship.


The event was held at the organization's  Nawahiokalaniopu'u school site in Kea'au, where approximately 280 students are enrolled in a curriculum that includes teaching conducted using only the Hawaiian language coupled with reinforcing the historical and cultural connections to that language.


Hawai'i Island Gourmet Products, another JCCIH member, also participated in the event and provided sampling of their many products that have expanded significantly since the days when the former company, Atebara Chips, offered primarily taro and other types of chips.  Today, they have many other products, including candies, cookies and other gourmet snacks.


The 'Aha Punana Leo is a non-profit family-based educational organization dedicated to the revitalization of the Hawaiian language.  In addition to offering their own schools (including pre-schools), they also partner with other organizations, such as 'Imiloa Astronomy Center, Hawai'i Community College, UH-Hilo, and the public schools with a variety of programs and initiatives that help preserve the language throughout the community.


Some of their young students demonstrated how they are simultaneously learning other languages, such as Japanese, through a rigorous curriculum that encourages students to pursue learning amidst an environment focused on the Hawaiian language and culture. Families of students also participate in weekly programs and are an important part of the 'Aha Punana Leo concept.


Our appreciation goes to Janice Bueltmann, the organization's Development Director, for her leadership in coordinating the event.


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End of Year Celebration in Japan

By Dr. Saeko Hayashi, Astronomer, Subaru Telescope



Here comes that time of the year, somehow you feel the time escapes too quickly. What would be the most significant event for you that tells the season, in addition to the chilly wind and the red kettles with bells ringing?

We have Christmas Parade on Saturday right after the Thanksgiving Day, or the illuminated trucks in Kea'au or Waimea. I love to see these parades where the community comes together as one big family. Lucky thing we do not have to suffer from cold toes, whether marching or watching these parades.  


For people in Japan, I might be able to say Kohaku Utagassen on December 31 when the year's most popular singers come out and show off their best performances (and costumes). I believe this NHK (Nippon Hoso Kyokai, tax-payer funded broadcast corporation) program is broadcast outside of Japan as well. Kohaku refers to the Ko (red color) for female performers while Haku (white) is for males. Utagassen is the singing competition. Judges could be an athlete who won a gold medal in an International championship or a Nobel Prize awardee or similar celebrity people.  I can almost bet that the captain of Nadeshiko Japan (women's soccer team which won the world cup) would be one of them this year.  


2010 NHK Kohaku Utagassen

Othermusic of the season could be Daiku, the "Ode to Joy" song from the symphony of Beethoven. (Daiku as "ninth" not
as in "carpenter," by the way.) Amateur groups or professionals gather and sing loud at the end of the year. A familiar equivalent would be like singing Hallelujah chorus from Handel's Messiah, or the Christmas Carol play. I come to look forward to seeing the performances of the talented players or actors in the community.


Then, around midnight on December 31 you hear the bells rumble from the temples in Japan instead of firecrackers. Residents in the community take turns to hit the bell with long wooden sticks 108 times to get rid of the 108 types of greed, as defined by Buddhist teaching.

Just like the Christmas season here (no matter what the individual's belief is), for the Japanese January 1 is the time when families spend good time together, reflect on the past year, and talk about the plans for the coming New Year. Well, of course they also talk about the New Year's resolution.  And, as you might know, that lasts only three days... but it's still good to give serious thoughts on what you want to achieve, right?

Have a safe and joyous end of the year holidays! 


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Words of Wisdom & Thoughts for Today
Preserving Our Island Heritage by Creating a Sense of Place

By Tommy Goya


Ua mau ke ea o ka aina i ka pono.  


The Life of the Land is Perpetuated in Righteousness.


Preserving Hawaii's quality of life is important to all of us who call this place our home.  It is everyone's kuleana (responsibility) to leave a legacy for future generations by protecting the natural environment.  We must cherish the air that we breathe, the rain that nurtures the land, the open vistas and the culture that developed out of respect for this place called Hawai'i.    

How do we as "educators" and community leaders help to plant the seeds of wisdom and knowledge so that nothing is taken for granted?  How do we integrate this mindset of a sense of place into daily living?  How do we gain a better appreciation of our precious resources that are offered from the land and from the culture that evolved over generations of settlers?  How do we balance the opportunities that abound in economic growth with consideration for the protection and preservation of the environment and the lifestyle, societal morals and culture of our island's people?      




Save the Date!

13th Annual Golf Tournament

By Craig Shiroma and Russell Arikawa


On Wednesday, March 7, 2012 the JCCIH will proudly host the 13th Annual Golf Classic Tournament at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course beginning at 10 am.  Be sure not to miss out on this annual tournament filled with fun, and fellowship.


Please Save-the-Date!!






Economic Development

By Randy Kurohara, Committee Chair


We are excited to present a line up of Economic Development programs and educational opportunities for 2012 which will be held individually and during some months in conjunction with our GM Meetings.


Our Economic Development committee determined the areas of Healthcare, Energy and Tourism as key topics to focus on. 


We are planning the following for 2012 so please SAVE-THESE-DATES on your calendar!

  • January 19, 2012
    GM Meeting 
    Transforming Healthcare      
  • February 16, 2012
    ED Program 
    Transforming Energy Delivery      
  • March 22, 2012
    GM Meeting 
    County of Hawaii Economic Outlook      
  • May 17, 2012 
    ED Program 
    State of Tourism

Details on presentations, venues, and time will be provided soon.


As our economy continues on it's slow recovery, it is important to understand what initiatives are being undertaken and what opportunities lie ahead for Hawai'i Island.





OMKM Year in Review
Office of Mauna Kea Management
By Stephanie Nagata, Interim Director

Those who base their judgment solely on newspaper coverage might think that the Thirty Meter Telescope (TMT) was all that happened on Mauna Kea in 2011. It's understandable, since the project proposes to build the most advanced optical telescope in the world here in Hawai'i.
Back in February, the University of Hawai'i was granted a Conservation District Use Permit (CDUP) to build and operate the TMT on Mauna Kea by the state Board of Land and Natural Resources (BLNR). The BLNR's decision was made in part because of the provisions outlined in the Comprehensive Management Plan (CMP) protecting Mauna Kea's cultural and natural resources.
The BLNR also granted a group of petitioners opposing the TMT a contested case hearing. The evidentiary portion of the contested case was completed on September 30, followed by both sides presenting what is termed their "findings of fact and conclusions of law" and have until December 5 to respond to the other's arguments. It will then be left up to the hearing officer to make a recommendation to the BLNR, which is likely to again take up the TMT issue in either January or February of next year.
Getting far less publicity than the TMT was the news that the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service had removed the wekiu bug as a candidate for federal status as a threatened or endangered species. The agency's annual review of species, published in the Federal Register in October, mentions the University's management efforts-specifically citing OMKM and its Mauna Kea ranger program-to protect the bug as a factor in its decision.
The Federal Register reports that while the wekiu bug was originally believed to exist on only six pu'u (cinder cones) on Mauna Kea's summit, OMKM-supported surveys and studies carried out over the past decade indicate that the wekiu bug's range extends over 16 pu'u on Mauna Kea. Furthermore, no new construction, including the aforementioned TMT, will take place on any pu'u inhabited by the bug.
Wekiu bug 
The Fish and Wildlife Service statement concluded: "In summary, because the wekiu bug is likely stable in numbers, the wekiu bug is more widespread than previously believed, current threats are minimized and restricted within the larger range of the species, and future potential threats are monitored, we find the wekiu bug does not meet the definition of a threatened or endangered species and no longer warrants listing throughout all or a significant portion of its range. Thus, we have removed it from candidate status."
While this news may appear small in comparison to the TMT, it is an important development, for had the wekiu bug been placed on the endangered species list, it would have made it very difficult for any sort of human activity to occur on Mauna Kea. Instead, OMKM will continue its efforts to monitor the wekiu bug and its habitat, and support additional scientific studies to assist in managing and protecting the bug.
In other 2011 actions, OMKM also:
* Continued to support the ongoing work of UH researchers Jesse Eiben and Dan Rubinoff (who have conducted most of the wekiu bug studies to date) to include surveys of other arthropod species on Mauna Kea. Baseline surveys of the fauna and other bio resources began this fall.

* Initiated baseline surveys of botanical resources this past summer. Conducted by UHH scientist Grant Gerrish, a thorough survey of the plant resources on UH land was conducted in the astronomy precinct, access road, and Hale Pohaku, with forays made into the science reserve. This systematic survey will result in a report to be released in January, with the rest of the data coming out by June of next year.

Aerial view of Hale Pohaku

* Worked with the Big Island Invasive Species Committee on developing an invasive species control and response plan and, as a substudy to that, a specific control and ant prevention plan on Mauna Kea.
There is much work ahead, but 2011 was a very busy and eventful year! 

Bunka no Hi Japanese Culture Day

November 19 at Sangha Hall 


On Saturday, November 19 Sangha Hall was filled with Japanese cultural displays and demonstrations that honored the Japanese culture and the ten Cultural Treasures.   

Shichi-gos-san Kimono Dressing and Picture Taking was a very popular attraction at the event.  Above are Marcia Sakai's three adorable grandchildren.

Guests to the free event were treated to delicious food, entertainment by Nobuko Miyamoto, a MOTTAINAI video; and wonderful performances by the Puna Taiko; The Japan Club; Hilo Seishikan Aikido; and the Hilo Kobukan Kendo group.  The County of Hawai'i Department of Environmental Management also presented a display for guests to enjoy.    


MOTTAINAI! (no waste) was the word of the day.  Also on sale at the event was Great Leap's BYOChopstix - a portable, compact & reusable chopstick solution. JCAH has a limited supply available and they make great gifts for Christmas so call 969-6437 or email to order yours today! 


You can also visit to learn more or to view MOTTAINAI videos.  Do you know that 30 million trees are used every year to make the throw-away chopsticks (waribashi)!!  Let's do our part and practice MOTTAINAI!     


A special Mahalo to the many Japanese Chamber members who volunteered and helped make this biennial event a success.  The event was sponsored by the Japanese Community Association of Hawai'i, the County of Hawai'i & KTA Super Stores. 



Nobuko Miyamoto, founder and artistic director of Great Leap Inc. of L.A. (a former dancer on Broadway and actress in films such as West Side Story and Flower Drum Song), captivates the audience along with her "shishimai" lion/dog made of recycled material.     




Hawai'i Community College Update

By Chancellor Noreen Yamane


As Hawai'i Community College (HawCC) seeks to expand educational opportunities for the island-wide community, agriculture will play a key role.  HawCC has a number of programs that will support the growth of diversified agriculture on Hawai'i Island as the island is trying to become self-sufficient in our resources.


As diversified agricultural efforts on the island mature, small, family-owned farms and large plantations will require the specific agricultural skill sets that HawCC can provide. 


The HawCC Agriculture Program, led by instructor Chris Jacobsen, embraces and promotes the idea of sustainability and food security for our state.  The program provides a curriculum that prepares students for entrepreneurship or employment within the many fields of agriculture or landscaping including government service, agribusiness, and large and small-scale farms.  Course work and direct, hands-on learning experiences emphasize appropriate use of technology and current, environmentally and economically sound, and sustainable principles and practices that develop the skills, knowledge, and abilities vital for Hawai'i's green industries.  Students may pursue Certificates of Completion in Landscape Worker or Farm Worker and/or a two-year Associate Degree in Applied Sciences in Agriculture.


The Office of Continuing Education and Training recently offered a series of classes in Natural Farming created in response to community interest in sustainable farming and the availability of tuition assistance funding through the State Energy Sector Partnership (SESP) grant.  The Natural Farming Series was based on Cho Global Natural Farming-USA using Korea's Cho Han Kyu's methods.  The topics included creation and use of 100% natural inputs (fertilizers), maintenance and operation of heavy farm equipment, and welding for general farm repair.  As a result of this training, 100% of the students are now engaged in activities related to the series topics and Windward Community College is exploring to offer the same program for their farm community.


The Center for Agricultural Success (CAS) is a program being developed in Honoka'a, Hawai'i to ensure diversified small farm success through education that will include marketing, crop selection, and business plan writing beginning early 2012.  A second goal of this project is to create a handbook for new and existing famers on the local food supply chain to help farmers to enter the various distribution channels for their crops.  Funding for the CAS is made possible by a grant from the U.S. Department of Labor through the office of State of Hawai'i Senior Senator, Daniel K. Inouye.  For additional information on any of these projects contact Tony Kent at 934-2700.


We, at Hawai'i Community College, wish all of you a Happy Holiday Season and a prosperous New Year! 

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Thirty Meter Telescope Update  

By Sandra Dawson, Community Affairs Manager, TMT

Sandra Dawson



The Thirty Meter Telescope team had a lot to be thankful for in November.

As you may have heard, the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in Waikiki went very well and it was an action-packed week for the TMT team.

We were fortunate to be invited to present along with University of Hawai'i's Institute for Astronomy and W. M. Keck Observatory at the SEE-IT (Science Engineering Exposition - Innovative Technologies) exhibit at the Hawai'i Convention Center. TMT's new scale model of the observatory will be on display at the Convention Center for the next year.



Governor Neil Abercrombie kindly hosted a TMT reception at Washington Place for TMT's Asia Pacific partners during APEC. Representatives from China, Japan, India, Canada, University of California and Caltech were in attendance along with United States Senator Daniel K. Inouye and Congresswoman Mazie Hirono.

A special thanks to Mayor Billy Kenoi, County R & D Director Randy Kurohara and APEC Neighbor Island Economic Development Chair Barry Taniguchi for showcasing Hawai'i Island during APEC. Mahalo for a job well done! And thanks for the Kona coffee!

TMT received wonderful media coverage in Hawai'i Business magazine's special APEC edition. This is in addition to exceptional coverage from the Chinese media thanks to three on-island Chinese media tours to Mauna Kea prior to the start of APEC.

I am so thankful for Hawai'i Island's bright young stars like Dartmouth Sophomore Devon Chun. Devon was recently featured in a Dartmouth Now article titled, "Devon Chu '14 Reaches for the Stars from Hawai'i" touting his recent Akamai Workforce Initiative internship experience with Gemini Observatory on Mauna Kea.

And lastly, I am thankful that the Mauna Kea observatories provide meaningful opportunities for Hawai'i's brightest stars.

On an additional note, TMT congratulates Masahiko Hayashi on his appointment as Director General of NAOJ!




December 2011 
In This Issue
President's Message
13th Annual A Taste of Hilo
Goji Kara at Aha Punana Leo
Nihongo - Seasonal Event
Preserving Our Island Heritage
13th Annual Golf Tournament
Economic Development
OMKM Year in Review
Japanese Culture Day
HawCC Update
TMT Update
2011-2012 JCCIH Leadership
Welcome New Members


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What's Happening


December 15
Holiday Party
'Imiloa Astronomy Center, Moanahoku Hall
5:00 pm Registration
6:00 pm Dinner 
January 9, 2012
Board Meeting
Encore Restaurant, 11:30 am

January 12, 2012
Golf Tournament Meeting
Encore Restaurant, 5:00pm

January 19, 2012
General Membership Meeting
Transforming Healthcare
more information forthcoming

January 25, 2012
Goji Kara at Kamaaina Nissan
5:00 - 7:00pm





Big Island Toyota 2011 

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2011-2012 Officers & Directors  


Executive Officers

Michael Kaleikini, President

Jon Arizumi, 1st Vice President

Carol VanCamp, 2nd Vice President

David Honma, 3rd Vice President

Naomi Menor, Japanese Secretary

Darren Nishioka, Treasurer
Donn Mende, Assistant Treasurer

Ivan Nakano, Auditor

Randy Kurohara, Immediate-Past President



Directors - term expiring 6/30/12
Jason Hayashi
Merle Lam
Stephen Ueda
Marcia Sakai

Directors - term expiring 6/30/13
Barry Mizuno
Kimo Lee
Howard Ainsley
Chad Ogata
Ka'iu Kimura
Seth Murashige
Eugene Nishimura
Dwayne Mukai 


Directors - term expiring 6/30/14
Phoebe Lambeth
Marvin Min
Tommy Goya
Russ Oda

Arthur Taniguchi    

Oshirase Newsletter  

Nico Leilani Verissimo, Editor 
Lei Momi Fujiyama, Executive Assistant 

Welcome New Members!   

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2011 Japanese Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Hawai'i


714 Kanoelehua Avenue
Hilo, Hawai'i 96720-4565
Phone: 808-934-0177
Fax: 808-934-0178 


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