Archive for January, 2016

Jake Shimabukuro releases “best of” live collection, Live In Japan

January 18th, 2016

Jake Shimabukuro is set to release his “best of” live collection, Live In Japan, his second release on HITCHHIKE RECORDS/eOne, on Friday, February 26. Pre-orders are available now on Amazon, iTunes and the official website.

Courtesy: Yukari Takai

Courtesy: Yukari Takai

The two CD collection features some of Shimabukuro’s favorite songs from his 15-year career including a ten minute classic reworking of “While My Guitar Gently Weeps,” which currently has over 14 million views on YouTube. The collection was recorded during his fall 2015 dates in Japan on his 2015 world tour, which begins with a nine minute medley including the War classic “Low Rider,” and performances of “Dragon," “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and “Blue Roses Falling,” to name a few. The band set also includes several original selections from his most recent studio album, Travels, which debuted at number two on Billboard’s Top World Album Chart in 2015.

2016 is shaping up to be Shimabukuro’s biggest of his career. Beyond the live release, his first in seven years, he will be working on a collaborative new studio album as well as launching a tour starting on January 23rd in Napa, California, that will take him across the United States and around the world.


CD 1:
1.   Medley – Trapped, Me & Shirley T, Low Rider 2.   Passport 3.   Red-Eye 4.   Ichigo Ichie 5.   I’ll Be There 6.   Oama 7.   Travels 8.   Kawika 9.   Hula Girl 10. Blue Roses Falling

CD 2: 1. Bohemian Rhapsody 2. Dragon 3. 3rd Stream 4. Orange World 5. While My Guitar Gently Weeps Produced by Jake Shimabukuro

2016 Tour Dates:
1/23 Napa, CA
1/29 Cincinnati, Ohio
1/30 Ft. Wayne, Indiana
1/31 Cleveland, Ohio
2/1   Chicago, Illinois
2/2  Chicago, Illinois
2/3  Vancouver, CANADA
2/5  Fairbanks, Alaska
2/6  Anchorage, Alaska
2/7  Kodiak, Alaska
...and more.

For more information and a complete list of tour dates, visit

All-Star Catcher Kurt Suzuki returns to Maui to host fundraisers

January 15th, 2016

Major League Baseball All Star Kurt Suzuki returns home to Maui to host two events this weekend, one of which will be co-hosted with world renowned chef Alan Wong.


On, Saturday, January 16th, Kurt will be hosting his fifth annual Youth Baseball Clinic at Iron Maehara Stadium from 9 a.m.-1:30 p.m. In partnership with the All Pono Organization, the Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation has continued to make a positive impact on countless members of Hawaii’s youth by teaching them hard work, dedication and the values of being a team player.

For the second straight year, Kurt joins forces with local celebrity chef and restaurateur Alan Wong to host A Taste of Hawaii on Sunday, January 17th at the Four Seasons Hotel in Wailea from 5:30 - 8 p.m. A special private VIP cocktail reception will also take place from 5 - 5:30 p.m.

Several celebrity chefs will feature their own dishes while professional athletes serve them up.  Participants include Chefs Sheldon Simeon (Top Chef Finalist), Isaac Bancaco (Iron Chef America, Head Chef at Andaz Hotel, Maui), Cameron Lewark (Chef at Spago, Four Seasons, Maui) and Craig Dryhurst (Head Chef at Four Seasons, Maui).

Proceeds from A Taste of Hawaii will help raise funds for the Kapi`olani Medical Center, Pediatric Cancer Division and the National Kidney Foundation. Kurt’s father Warren Suzuki, who is a stage four kidney cancer survivor and has been in remission for seven years.

It's put on by The Kurt Suzuki Family Foundation, a 501c3 organization that is dedicated to supporting the scientific research of chronic illnesses as well as encouraging healthy lifestyle choices. For more information on the Kurt Suzuki Foundation, please visit

Family Grocery Store in Kaneohe treats customers like family

January 13th, 2016

If you drive down Kaneohe town's main street, Kamehameha Highway, look makai. Just about in the middle of this main strip, you'll see a little grocery store with a big sign that reads Family Grocery Store. It's not just a name, it's an invitation to be part of their ohana.


Owners Gilbert and Susan Au Yeung opened the little convenience store in 2003, a lifelong dream of Gilbert's to be his own boss. Gilbert worked at Long's Drugs for 19 years, and was a manager at the Bishop Street location when he left.

Gilbert and Susan Au Yeung

Gilbert and Susan Au Yeung

"Since I was young, I've always wanted to own my own business. I don't know why. I just did," he shrugs from his makeshift desk in a corner of the store, where he set up his computer so he can tally inventory.


Susan tried to dissuade his entrepreneurial desires. "My sister and I owned and operated Kin Sun Restaurant in Waipahu for years. It's hard! Really hard work! In the first few months, I worked 7 a.m. to midnight. Even after things stabilized, I always worked seven days a week," she says of her years as a restaurateur. Prior to that, she worked at Empress Restaurant, Kin Wah, and Won Kee Seafood Restaurant.

Gilbert couldn't be deterred. At first, it was a one-man operation, while Susan still waitressed and took care of their son, Calvin.

Gilbert set up the shop with local snacks, cold drinks, ice cream, basic sundries, and a lot of Chinese items. The couple is from Hong Kong and maintains strong ties to the local Chinese community.

Because Susan is an excellent cook and baker, she makes and packages snacks in a commercial kitchen. They sell her Chinese pretzels, crack seed, almond cookies, peanut candy, and macadamia nut candy in their store, but also deliver it to Longs Drugs, Foodland, and Times Supermarkets across the state.

Susan and me

Susan and me

That's why she now works at the store, too. "In 2007, Gilbert said, 'Why don't you come help me? Watch the store while I make deliveries.' I was unsure at first because I can't stand being in one place for the whole day. I worked at restaurants and I like to walk around and talk to people. But I gave it a try because he needed me, and it wasn't so bad," reflects Susan.


Gilbert is on the road about five hours a day delivering their goods. He jokes he could get a second job as a taxi driver, he knows Oahu so well.

Susan tends the shop, and found her days immediately filled with nonstop tasks: cleaning, stocking shelves, taking inventory, packing the goods for delivery, ordering products, and working the register. Susan also found she was still able to put her strength and passion to work: her love of people.


"I know most of the people who come in. I know their orders. I pull the items when I see them come in. Gilbert tells me I spoil the customers. But I like people. I like talking to them," she smiles.

"Oh, he's a regular," she gestures of Anson Martin as he walks in the door. Martin has been coming for about eight years, he says, because "it's convenient, centrally located, and cheaper."

Anson Martin

Anson Martin

When he was working in Kaneohe, he came every day for his lunch of spam or noodles, and a Pepsi. Now that he's moved to Waipahu, he's a less frequent visitor, but makes it a point to stop in whenever he's in town.

"They're like Mama and Papa. They take care of their customers like children. She really keeps track of everyone. She always asks how is my mother, my brother, my job," he says.

Susan adds, "When I haven't seen Anson for a while, I will ask his brother how he is. I check up on them!"

Customers file in just about every ten minutes, so we stop the interview constantly while she sells her goods and makes sure to get their daily update.

Annette Ng comes in next. "Oh, she's a regular," identifies Susan. I quickly came to realize that would be how every person coming through the door would be prefaced.

"She's friendly and down-to-earth, and you don't get that at the other larger stores," shares Ng. "Plus, this store carries items I can't get at the chain stores." She's buying a ginger tea drink today that seems like something you'd definitely find in Chinatown - or in a small, mom-and-pop store like this.


Alina Couch is another regular. Susan pulls Couch's regular order off the shelf the moment she sees her come in, and it's ready in the ten seconds it takes for Couch to saunter to the cash wrap. "I like that this store is family run. It's convenient, it has what I need, and I like this lady and her family. They're friendly, accessible, and always helpful," Couch expresses.

Susan knows everyone. "They tell me everything. They become friends. Sometimes I'll talk to one customer right up until another one needs to be rung up," she tells me. She hears about births and deaths, hires and fires, marriages, affairs, divorces, and everything in between. It's the Susan soap opera.


A little boy comes in with coins to buy a liter of soda. Susan counts the change and lets him leave with the drink, but calls after him, "Tell Auntie she's 35 cents short." I offer to cover his bill, but she says it's OK. They have a running tab.

Gilbert loves the store so much, he has no plans to retire. Work is his hobby. Work is his life.

"What's number one in your life?" Susan asks me. We agree that for both of us, it's our family.

"Not him!" chides his wife of 37 years, shooting him a look across the counter, softened with a smile. "The store is his baby! The store is his Number One!"


He bashfully smiles and chuckles. He works 12 to 17 hours  a day, six days a week. "Yeah, I love it. I don't know what I'd do with myself if I didn't have it."

That's OK. Their many loyal customers would probably say the same thing.

Family Grocery Store - 45-1127 Kamehameha Hwy in Kaneohe - (808) 235-0028. Hours: Monday - Saturday 9:15 a.m. - 6:30 p.m., Sunday closed. Cash only.

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Stress Relief Advice at Makawao Library on Jan. 13

January 11th, 2016

Do you want to learn how to release your emotional energy in the New Year?  Author and licensed massage therapist Denise La Barre will present "What Are the Issues in Your Tissues," a free event for adults at Makawao Public Library on Wednesday, January 13, 2016 at 6:30 p.m.

La Barre, author of "Issues in Your Tissues: Heal Body and Emotion from the Inside Out," will discuss how emotional energy is stored in the body, which causes stress and illness. Learn how to release your emotional energy through fun exercises in this one-hour program.

Call the library as soon as possible if a sign language interpreter or other special accommodation is needed. Makawao Public Library is located at 1159 Makawao Avenue.  For more information, please call the Library at (808) 573-8785.

Discipline & Punish

January 8th, 2016

I am going through a year-long yoga teacher training program and have for a long time - a decade - wanted to do something for women prisoners. I'm not sure why, but I've long felt drawn to helping them. When I started the yoga program I thought I might like to teach yoga at the women's prison.

During grad school I read a great book, Discipline & Punish, by philosopher Michel Foucault, which gets into the history of punishment, from public executions to prisons, and its effectiveness. Anyhow, thinking about this possible goal made me want to pick up the book again.

I shared this with my friend Jul, while Olivia happened to be sitting nearby. At the mention of the book title, Olivia groaned. I didn't realize why, but Jul did right away.

"Don't worry, Olivia. That book has nothing to do with you," he assured with a chuckle.

"Oh. Whew," she thanked. "I thought Mommy was coming up with new consequences for me."

So far the punishments I mete out have been five minutes of time-outs facing the wall, or a deficit of 15 minutes of iPad time. The only drawing and quartering around our house involves crayons and payments for daily chores. I mean, I am the disciplinarian in the family, but I don't think I'm that bad!

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