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Fishing tales abound at seafood festival


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POSTED: Sunday, October 19, 2008

For the non-piscatorial among us, it was a reminder about how fishing is a major deal in the islands. Last Sunday, 20,000 people braved the heat to attend the 3rd Annual Hawaii Fishing and Seafood Festival.

"" In booths ringing Pier 38 were nearly 100 fishing clubs, fishing publications, fishery management agencies and fishing suppliers. You could buy hats to keep the sun off as you fished, lures, bait casting rigs, stick-on boat lettering and T-shirts that read, "Caught It. Not Bought It."

Eisuke Kawakami flew in from Japan to explain, through an interpreter, his company's hand-dyed tako skirts. The audience peppered him with questions. (No, tako don't wear skirts. Tako skirts are colorful plastic thingies that look, to fish anyway, like octopuses.)

You could board the 88-foot fishing boat Katy Mary, or as a watch as a Coast Guard crewman jumped out of helicopter into harbor and set off a red flare. The chopper circled back and then winched the wet man back about 40 feet in the air. "That takes nerve," someone said to Coast Guard Lt. Cmdr. Marcella Granquist, on shore. "They all have nerve," she said.

The United Fishing Agency's Brooks Takenaka agreed: "There are sharks in the harbor." Takenaka was on dry land, lecturing on Tuna Quality and Safety.

The fish auction's giant ice machine turned out a pile of crushed ice for kids to jump in. It was a hit, as was the display of whole fish on ice - glistening yellowtail tuna, big round opah, roundheaded mahi, menacing-looking swordfish. People stood in line to shuffle past the display, snapping away with their cell phone cameras as if the fish were movie stars.

Then they could eat them. Tamashiro Market, Poke Stop and others whipped up fresh poke, and if you were tired of fish, you could get a Hawaiian plate or a shave ice at one of 20 food vendors.

Outside I ran into mayoral candidate Ann Kobayashi. "You meeting and greeting voters?" I asked. "Well," admitted Kobayashi, "mainly I'm eating."

 

Bang On the Drum

"We need a new drummer," said the band Island Storm, playing the UH Alumni Association's tailgate outside Aloha Stadium last weekend. "Anybody want to audition?"

Up popped 11-year-old Baron Nishimoto, a 6th grader at Mililani Middle School, sat down at the drum kit, and unleashed a crashing version of "Mustang Sally," his favorite tune.

The "audition" was a ruse. Brandon's the son of Island Storm drummer Paul Nishimoto, and he's been banging on everything he can get his hands on since age 2.

"He can play as long as he finishes his homework first," said the band's Val Vasquez.

 

On the Sidelines

At the game, UH Chancellor Virginia Henshaw was decked out in a cowboy hat with UH logo, a UH shirt, and as earrings, UH "H" pins, which she also passed out to anyone not wearing one.

Down on the sidelines during the 3rd quarter of the game, she said, "I don't yell at the officials. They never listen to me."

But the sideline trip was not profitless. At one point, she found 8 cents in change. "Maybe I've balanced our budget," she said hopefully.

 

Dance, Tubas, Dance

At half-time, the tuba section of the UH Band dancing the Tinikling, the Filipino dance between two moving bamboo sticks. The Tinkling requires deft footwork, not even counting the problem of carrying a 50-lb. tuba.

"The tubas love anything that features them," insisted assistant band director, Gwen Nakamura. "Toward the end, we went faster and faster, so some of them stopped doing the steps and started running around in circles. The crowd loved it anyway."

 

Coffee, Tea or Cynthia?

Talking to Cynthia Derosier is better than caffeine. If she could conference call everyone in the state every morning, Starbucks would be out of business.

In 2005, Derosier published an inspirational book called "The Surfer Spirit." The book launched a nonprofit which teaches at-risk youths to surf, which in turn spawned an intensive summer course in marine biology.

"It's crazy! I love it!" says Derosier. "We've got kids who were runaways, drop outs, now doing college level work in marine biology. It's fabulous! If you're motivated, you can do anything, even start a nonprofit when you don't know what the heck you're doing."

Derosier also has a new book, with photographer James Anschultz, called "The Survivor Spirit," featuring portraits and stories of local breast cancer survivors. You're perhaps a little late to catch the $100-a-head book launch brunch at Neiman Marcus this morning, but the women in the book will be signing copies in the store from 11 a.m.-12 p.m.

 

Lost in Shakespeare

How did HTY get members of the "Lost" cast to perform at its fundraiser, coming up on Saturday?

"Lost" actor Henry Ian Cusick's wife, Annie Wood, used to be artistic director of a children's theater in London - and is on the board of HTY.

"Ian had to do it, of course," she said, but she's also enlisted Michael Emerson, Jorge Garcia, Daniel Dae Kim and Elizabeth Mitchell.

Says Allen, "I think when they see my number come up on their phone, they think, 'Oh no, what's she want now?' But, actually, they all said they'd do it straightaway."

The quintet will do the play-within-a-play from "Midsummer Night's Dream" which, in testament to Shakespeare's comic chops, is still funny after 400 years. "They're all trained stage actors," says Allen. "They have great presence."

They'll be present at the dinner as well, tickets for which are still available: 457-4255.

 

John Heckathorn is editor of Hawaii Magazine and director of integratedmedia for the aio Group.