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April 2018 Oshirase

President’s Message

  Time sure flies when you are having fun!  It’s hard to believe it is already April! Thank you to the board of directors, committee chairs and Executive Assistant Doreen Canario for your hard work and dedication to the Chamber.

From the Taste of Hilo proceeds, the Japanese Chamber presented Hawaii Community College a check for $10,000 at the end of February. Hawaii Community College hosted the Taste of Hilo committee to a fabulous lunch prepared by the culinary students.  Food presentation was beautiful and everything was delicious! Thank you Chancellor Rachel Solemsaas and Culinary instructor Brian Hirata for your hospitality! Mahalo to Taste of Hilo tri-chairs Randy Kurohara, Ka‘iu Kimura and Tracy Yamaguchi for a successful event!

On March 5, we had the pleasure to co-sponsor the Journey through the Universe reception with the Hawaii Island Chamber of Commerce.  What a great event! This event reminded us that we live in a great community! It was wonderful to see the business community, astronomers, and educators all celebrating astronomy together.


On March 7 we held our 19th annual Golf Classic at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course.

A big mahalo to Golf Chair Layne Funai, his wife, Grace Funai, and the awesome golf committee!  The weather held up beautifully and everyone had a great time. It is truly amazing that with our corporate sponsors alone, we were able to sell out!  Thank you to all the corporate sponsors, vendors, donors, and volunteers for making this an unforgettable event!

In celebration of its 40th year in business, Big Island Candies hosted a Goji Kara on April 3.  Talk about a WOW factor! As you walk through the front doors, you are in a magical place. The decorations by Lance Duyao and his crew was stunning!  Amazing food and specialty drinks were prepared by celebrity chef and local boy Sheldon Simeon. Mahalo to Allan Ikawa and everyone at Big Island Candies for including us in your celebration! Congratulations to 40 years!

Thank you for your continued support of your Chamber and we look forward to seeing you at future events!

Domo Arigato Gozaimasu,

Audrey Takamine
President, 2017-2018







Hawaii Japanese Center – Goji Kara
Gina Tanouye, Social/Cultural Chair

On February 13, the Hawaii Japanese Center hosted a Goji Kara and not only opened its doors to chamber members but to the Goshiro Kineya Group.  Kineya is a Master Shamisen player and the group was in Hawaii performing traditional Japanese music concerts.  Now for those of you that don’t know (such as myself prior to this evening) the shamisen is a traditional Japanese three-stringed lute, very similar to a banjo.  The group also entertained with a koto, another traditional Japanese stringed musical instrument and a shakuhachi flute, both introduced to Japan from China.  It was inspiring and magical to watch the talent, precision and skill of all the musicians.  The music was mesmerizing!

After their performances, dinner was served where members were able to mix with our visitors.  Our emcee, Dwayne Mukai, set an ice breaker in motion by playing some fun music while he and Tommy Goya invited everyone to dance.  From there, the night just got better.  We began to sing karaoke, and quickly learned that Master Kineya…a very stoic looking traditional Japanese musician loves Jazz and karaoke.  He entertained all with his voice, and although there was a language barrier with the Goshiro Kineya group singing and speaking in Japanese and chamber members in English one thing was very clear to me that evening that I’ve believed my entire life….laughter and music are universal languages.  Thank you to Arnold and Elo Hiura of the Hawaii Japanese Center for hosting an experience we won’t soon forget. 





Goji Kara at Subaru Telescope
By Yuko Kakazu, Education Committee & Subaru Telescope

Subaru(すばる) is the Japanese name for the young star cluster Pleiades. Originally pronounced “Sumaru”, Subaru means “to gather together” or “to tie together”.  On the evening of Feb. 21, the Subaru Hilo base facility truly became what the name stands for. Over 60 JCCIH members, Subaru staff, and student volunteers from Hilo Intermediate School gathered for Goji Kara event. Perhaps contrary to common expectations, 60 percent of observatory staff are engineers or technicians. In Hilo, we develop new instruments, maintain our data archive system, and sometimes conduct remote observations.

The Subaru Goji Kara event started with a tour of our labs and remote observing room. Three local staff — electronics technicians and IT system engineer — served as guides and proudly talked about their jobs and career paths.

The program was followed by a fun ice breaker by Mike Miyahira and delicious Japanese food. We are grateful to Suisan and KTA for the generous donation of fresh poke and a cake.   Director Michitoshi Yoshida gave a presentation about the telescope, his research (finding Gold in the Universe) and his love for sake. He is forever thankful to JCCIH for a nice bottle of sake that he got a week later as a birthday gift.  I spoke about Subaru’s outreach & educational programs and collaboration with JCCIH on annual Tanabata star festival. The program finished off with door prizes. Lucky winners got Maunakea books, small telescopes, and a guided summit tour.

The Subaru Goji Kara event showed our strong ties with JCCIH and we are very grateful to all of you for your support and friendship. Domo arigato gozaimasu. Subaru’s next big event with JCCIH is annual Tanabata star festival on July 6, Friday during lunch time. Please mark your calendar!





19th Annual JCCIH Golf Classic
By Layne Funai

Our 19th Annual JCCIH Golf Classic on March 7, 2018 at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course was a sold out event. It kicked off with welcoming remarks from Mayor Harry Kim and JCCIH President Audrey Takamine.  Duane Mukai went over the rules of the event and Art Taniguchi provided the history behind the sake barrel opening known as “Kagami-biraki”. Mayor Kim, President Takamine, Sherrie Holi of Big Island Candies, and Layne Funai performed the ceremony which got all of them drenched!  A sign of good luck!  And we would need it as the forecast called for an 80% chance of rain.  But, fortune did shine on us and the weather held up beautifully. Mayor Kim with the assistance of Tommy Goya banged the traditional gong and all 161 golfers played without a drop of rain.  A perfect day to enjoy golf and the numerous food stations which dotted the course including chili bowls and fried chicken from Café 100, drinks from Coca-Cola, gravy burgers fresh off the grill from Hawaii Gas, yogurt and bottles of OJ and POG from Meadow Gold Dairies, and a snack station stocked with energy bars, candies, and One-Ton chips from Maebo Noodle Factory.  To test our golfers’ skill, DTRIC Insurance sponsored (3) $5,000 Hole-in-One contests, Hawaiian Airlines sponsored a 40,000 Hawaiian Miles Hole-in-One, and Naomi’s Travel again sponsored a Greenie Contest for 50,000 Hawaiian Miles.

We would like to send a BIG MAHALO to all of the players, sponsors, donors, and volunteers who helped make this tournament one of our most successful!  It is because of your support and commitment, the JCCIH Golf Classic has been a success for the past 19 years!  The money raised will enable the JCCIH to further its mission of promoting the well-being of our community.

A special thank you goes to our Title Sponsor, Big Island Candies for its unwavering support throughout the years.  Also a special thank you to our golf committee members:

Allan Onishi, Art Taniguchi, Audrey Takamine, Barbara Hastings, Craig Shiroma, Dean Fuke, Deborah Shigehara, Dwayne Mukai, Francis Rickard, Grace Funai, Ivan Nakano, Jeff Ng, Kyle Wada, Mike Kaleikini, Mike Miyahira, Owen Nakatsu, Pearl Kang, Randy Kurohara, Russell Arikawa, Stephen Ueda, Toby Taniguchi, Tommy Goya, and Tracy Yamaguchi.

Next year will be our 20th Annual JCCIH Golf Classic at the Hilo Municipal Golf Course and should be our best yet!  Thank you to everyone for all of your kindness, generosity, and support I am truly humbled.  Arigato Gozimasu






Successful Journey through the Universe thanks to YOU
By Yuko Kakazu, Education Committee & Subaru Telescope

“Journey through the Universe (Journey) inspired me to become an astronomer,” said Devin Chu during his presentation at the Journey reception at Hilo Yacht Club on March 5.   Local Hilo boy, now pursuing his Ph.D. in astronomy at UCLA, Devin spoke from the heart how he got into astronomy (Journey!) and the importance of outreach programs. People were reaching out for a Kleenex as Devin’s talk was so passionate, personal, and moving.

This year marks the 14th anniversary of the Journey program. About 80 “Astronomy Educators” from the Maunakea Observatories, University of Hawaii, and various institutions in the mainland converged on the Big Island to visit 9,000 students in Kaʻū-Keaʻau-Pāhoa, Hilo-Waiākea, Laupahoehoe, Paʻauilo, and Waimea.  Journey aims to promote science education in schools and inspire our keikito explore science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) fields. Devin is a great example embodying the immense success of the program.

As Janice Harvey, the organizer of the Journey program at Gemini Observatory states, Journey is a community-driven program and is only possible with support from all of you. Japanese and Hawaii Island Chambers of Commerce have supported the Journey program from its beginning. At the March 5 Journey reception, there were over 150 people celebrating the success of this largest outreach program in the state of Hawaii.  For astronomers and engineers, the Journey reception is a great place to meet local business leaders and school teachers. The evening was filled with smiles, laughters, tears (due to Devin’s talk), great food, delicious KTA cake (mahalo KTA for generous donation), and building fellowship.

On behalf of Maunakea Observatories, we thank all of you for your support and helping our keiki reach to infinity and beyond. Thank you!





Support is Building for TMT—even among Hawaiians

The latest Honolulu Star Advertiser poll taken in mid-March indicated an impressive 77 percent of Hawaii’s registered voters expressing support for the construction of the Thirty Met

er Telescope on Mauna Kea with 72 percent of Hawaiians surveyed in support as well.

The Thirty Meter Telescope is thankful to the entire Japanese Chamber of Commerce & Industry of Hawaii membership for its support throughout the years. Read More…






Public Input Sought in Environmental Process for Maunakea Leases and Easement

University of Hawaii is seeking a new land authorization for Maunakea that incorporates
the new Comprehensive Management Plan objectives and provides adequate planning
for ongoing and future scientific activity within the Mauna Kea Science Reserve.

The public review period for the Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice for
Long-Term Continuation of Astronomy on Maunakea has been extended to Monday,
April 9, 2018. Read More..





New Members
Click photo to view new member information


Chasity Silva
Glen Smith










Rep. Chris Todd
Jason Ueki

















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