Just asking…

Are you, like me, confused and alarmed at the mispronunciation by media folks of common Japanese names or words?

I speak of a trio of often mispronounced names/words: Tokyo, Honda and panko.

Tokyo is a two-syllable word/name. It’s pronounced Toh-kyo, not To-ki-yo (adding a third syllable) as even the best of TV anchors and radio announcers here and abroad tend to do. If Kyoto can be said as a two-syllable word, why can’t Tokyo enjoy that privilege, too?

Then there’s the surname and automobile brand Honda. The proper pronunciation is Hohn-da, not Honn-da or Han-da. In the mispronouncers’ world, it would be spelled either as Hunda or Handa; I have friends named Honda who may or may not drive a Honda but know how to say it.

Further, celebrity chefs and foodies galore continue to perpetuate the mispronunciation of panko, the favored bread crumbs or flakes for tempura and tonkatsu. It’s pahn-ko, not pan (rhyming like can) ko.

Try Google-ing these words, if you don’t believe me.


Hoku Low, the bass player of the Society of Seven, has announced his retirement in a Facebook post.

“It has been been a privilege to be a part of the SOS organization for the past 44 years,” Low said in an email to me. “I enjoyed every minute of performing for audiences all over the world.”

Low officially retired in February but went public last week, confessing, “I plan to live a life of leisure and also do some volunteer work and maintain a healthy lifestyle.”

Hoku Low

Low evolved as an all-around entertainer after joining the SOS. He has gained confidence and resilience and has been of the do-it-all troupers in the group, meeting the high standards of versatility of the late leader Tony Ruivivar. When you’re an SOSer, you learn to do it all. Play an instrument, take on impersonations (remember his Frankie Valli?), become a dancer, and simply be a reliable team member . Alongside Ruivivar, he prevailed as a long-timer in the SOS, with Bert Sagum and Wayne Wakai as the surviving key players. Oh, and be flexible; he lived in Honolulu but relocated to Las

Vegas where the SOS relocated for showrooms in Sin City over the past decade.

Apparently, leadership now falls on Sagum, and the group intends to continue, said Low. However, the pandemic has challenged the group and fellow entertainers to restore a stage presence again. …

Enjoy retirement, buddy!

Teng on ‘NCIS: Hawai‘i’ progress

For Larry Teng, who has been in town to direct a couple of episodes of CBS’ “NCIS: Hawai‘i,”

the mission’s done but continues.

Larry Teng

Teng, showrunner of the third “NCIS” spin-off, took to Instagram to reveal that not only the initial episode is in the can, so is the second show.

That’s good news, because the Hawaii show launches Sept. 10, following the premiere of the mothership “NCIS” series, which precedes the home-brewed newbie.

“After 22 days of filming, I can officially say that the pilot and episode 102 for @ncishawaiicbs is wrapped,” he announced. “I feel so lucky to collaborate with this amazing cast, this amazing group of producers, and more than anything, this amazing crew. They have held me up, worked long hours, and devoted their time, sweat and talents for this maiden voyage.”

So the toil of long hours, and fresh scripts, marches on, as lead actress Vanessa Lachey also is keeping up the frantic schematics of carving a new notch on the “NCIS” tree…

Oh, a shout-out to CBS: when will you launch the show’s official logo, with the okina in Hawai‘i?

Life’s a beach

Hawaii has landed on Conde Nast Traveler’s recent Readers’ Choice Awards of 25 Best Beaches, among islands, but not in the top slot. Not surprising, actually.

Two island spots are mentioned in the travel website – but the beach selections were based on their island-specific locations:

  • At No. 21, Sunset Beach. Mostly because this is the site of big wave surfing contests.
  • At No. 19, Honokalani, Maui. Largely because of its black sand beaches en route to Hana.

So what/where was No. 1? Gouverneur, St. Bart’s, in the Caribbean, for its remote and pristine beach. …

And that’s “Show Biz.” …


I’ve posted this one of my Facebook page, but repeating it here for my website followers.

As some of you know, I have a hobby of making notecards for various occasions.

I created this assortment of notecards featuring face masks last week, mostly because mask-wearing still is necessary for indoor activities here, and because vaccinations have been underwhelming. A message to all: get vaxxed, wear masks.

The notecards echo earlier versions from last year just when the COVID-19 streak was peaking.

I often get requests for orders for a particular Wild Cards creation, but never have made an effort to fulfill requests.

But in light of the mounting public health concerns (vaxxing and masking), I’m making a limited number of cards to those interested; if interested, I’ll send you two face mask cards which I hope you will use to encourage friends and/or family to get vaccinated if they haven’t, or keep donning a mask, for everyone’s safety.

The captions range from “Facial Distancing” to “Mask-erade,” from “Face the Nation” to “About Face.”

HOW TO ORDER: To confirm an order, send $2 (cash or check) to Wayne Harada, 929 Waioli St., Honolulu HI 96825-2726. Please provide your snail mail address, too, so I can ship to you.

The cost will cover mailing and materials; FYI, the cards are not in gift shops or anywhere else; prices normally are $3 to $5 each when sold in a gift shop. As mentioned, the cards will be randomly selected – so you cannot request a specific design. The sample captions: “Mask-erade,” “Face the nation,” “Facial Distancing,” “The Masked Zinger,” “About Face,” “Put on Your Best Face.” For questions, email me at wayneharada@gmail.com

Mahalo for your interest and support.


After 18 months of disruptions, including and/or reduced productions, Hawaii’s theater groups are poised to resume normal seasons for 2021-22.

The hope, of course, is that the coronavirus pandemic of 2020 and 2021 will no longer mandate the social distancing protocols or dictate small-cast shows. However, one theater group will stage its first two shows virtually, then go live with the third production; another will mix digital with live shows.

At this time, most theaters are presuming that by fall, a full-capacity season, like normal times, might be resumed instead of the half-houses during the pandemic.

Furthermore, “Jersey Boys,” the Broadway hit (and later revived off-Broadway), still is on the radar for a Hawaii run, but MagicSpace, the presenter, is still pondering actual dates. The musical, of course, showcases the music and history of Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons. So stay tuned…

Here’s a peek at the fall season slates around town:


The island premiere of two Broadway musicals and the revival of two others with wide audience appeal will highlight DHT’s season.

The outlook:

  • Oliver,” Sept. 24-Oct. 10. Set in Victorian England, the show focuses on the titular orphan boy who lives amid London thieves and pickpockets and is taken in by Fagin. “As Long as He Needs Me” and “Consider Yourself” are iconic hits from the score.
  • Elf the Musical,” Dec. 3-19. A holiday theme set in the North Pole, a toddler named Buddy finds his way into Santa’s gift bag and embarks in a journey of fellow elves. He is awful in making toys as other elves and seeks his true identity after journeying to New York.
  • “Steel Magnolias,” Feb. 4-20 2022. Hairdressers know all the gossip, right, and this beauty salon in Louisiana is peopled by spunky folks, including Trudy Jones, who not only dispenses shampoo and advice, and embraces M’Lynn and her daughter Shelby, who wants a baby. Funny and heartbreaking stuff.
  • “Jesus Christ Superstar,” April 1-17 2022. Andrew Lloyd Webber’s landmark musical, set during the final weeks in the life of Jesus Christ, spotlights the conflicts between Jesus and Mary Magdalene, in a tale told entirely in song – a religious rock opera that boasts such blockbuster songs as “Superstar” and “I Don’t Know How to Love Him.”
  • “Waitress,” May 27-June 12 2022. Jenna, a small-town waitress who excels in pie-making puts her heart into her baked goods. Her treats reflect her life of torment and she discovers a recipe for a happier life when she discovers a baking contest in a nearby city. A Hawaii premiere.
  • “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” July 22-Aug. 7 2022. Based on a Roald Dahl fantasy, this family favorite tracks a chocolate fanatic, Charlie Bucket, who is consumed in Willy Wonka’s candy factory, which offers a tour of the plant to five people who find a golden ticket in a Wonka candy bar. The show features Oompa Loompas, too. A Hawaii premiere.

Season tickets are now on sale, at 733-0274 or visit www.diamondheadtheatre.com


Four Hawaii premieres are included in MVT’s eight-show season next fall; one production will be staged at the Kaimuki High School Theatre.

The schedule:

  • “Be More Chill,” Sept. 2-19. A musical comedy fantasy by Joe Iconis (music and lyrics) with Joe Tracz (book), based on a novel by Ned Vizzini, about teenager Jeremy Heere, consumed by sci-fi and a super computer that will enable him to score a date and an invite to a lavish party, and a character called The SQUIP, a holographic manifestation of a computer chip lodged into Jeremy’s brain and motivated by Keanu Reeves.  A Hawaii premiere. Note: auditions will be held from 6 to 9 p.m. July 11 and 23, by appointment only; callbacks from 6 to 8 p.m. July 13.
  • “The Joy Luck Club,” Nov. 4-14. Amy Tan’s best-selling novel about four immigrant moms and their American-born daughters, adapted for the stage by Susan Kim.
  • “It’s a Wonderful Life – A Radio Play,” Dec. 2-5. An African American cast performs amid a set of a radio station, reading and enacting the familiar holiday tale based on the annual Christmas film classic about a desperate and delirious banker whose life changes with the help of an angel.
  • “Desperate Measures,” Jan. 13-30 2022. Based on Shakespeare’s “Measure for Measure” and described as a “Wild West Musical Company,” this work was delayed during covid and restored to a season slot. A Hawaii premiere.
  • The 39 Steps,” March 17-27 2022. A parody of the popular Alfred Hitchcock film, this work, laced with mystery, requires actors to portray multi-roles. A revival.
  • Cambodian Rock Band,” May 5-15 2022. A dramady by Lauren Yee, in which a Cambodian American woman and her dad, a survival of the brutal ways of Khmer Rouge, return to their homeland. A Hawaii premiere.
  • “Once Upon One Time,” June 30-July 10 2022. Lisa Matsumoto’s collaboration with Roslyn Catracchia is a mashup of familiar fairy tales returns one noddah time, with pidgin patter intact. Venue: Kaimuki High School.
  • “Spamilton: An American Parody,” July 7-24 2022. Gerard Alessandrini, the award-winning master of parody, pokes gentle fun at Lin-Manuel Miranda and his mega-hit “Hamilton” play, from title song to “You’ll Be Back.” An off-Broadway hit. A Hawaii premiere.

Season ticket sales begin shortly at www.manoavalleytheatre.com or call 988-6131.


With lingering issues remaining with the coronavirus pandemic, the Honolulu Theatre for Youth’s 2021-22 season will embrace live, touring and virtual productions that will enable content delivery and flexibility to segments of its academic theater community, with some performances in schools and public attendees at its Tenney Theatre home, plus four digital productions for virtual field trips.

The fall schedule:

  • “The Musubi Man,” Aug. 9 for schools and Aug. 21 for the public, at Tenney Theatre. The play by Lee Cataluna is based on Sandi Takayama’s book (illustrated by Pat Hall).       

Inspired by “The Gingerbread Man,” determined not to be eaten on his journey to the     sea. For Pre-K students.

  • “Holoholo Na Holoholona: Animals on the Go,” beginning Aug. 23 for school and public shows. Adaptations by Maki‘ilei Ishihara and the HTY Ensemble, featuring mo‘olelo (Hawaiian stories) from the wise pueo (owl) to the fearless ‘opihi (limpet), providing an introduction to Hawaiian language and culture. For grades 1 to 6.
  • “Remembering John Blossom,” starting Nov. 1. A one-man show by Moses Goods, exploring the rich history of Blacks in Hawaii dating back to the early 1800s. Appropriate for school and public audiences.

“We are delighted to continue our mission of helping families and educators inspire the next generation in Hawaii and hope that by expanding the way we develop and deliver programming, we are making the work more accessible to young people,” said HTY artistic director in a statement.

Through HTY’s new membership program, educators may sign up for a free educator membership to book shows and virtual field trips. Visit www.htyweb.org or schools@htyweb.org for school reservations. Public ticketing details are forthcoming.


 Kumu Kahua, specializing in locally written or themed dramas and musicals, will stage its first two shows digitally; and will go live with the third production.

The season:

  • #Haoleboyfriend,” Sept. 12-19. A play by Stephanie Keiko Kong and Tony Pisculli,

about five former math geeks and high school BFF reunited 15 years graduating from Pearl City to wrestle with secrets and bouncing major life changes while enjoying guacamole at their fave karaoke joint.

  • “The Kasha of Kaimuki,” Oct. 28-Nov. 14. A thriller by Hannah I’I Epstein, inspired by a famous haunted house. Sam and Amanda, a lesbian couple, move into the Kaimuki home with roommate Emily, and with friend Joseph, discover Kasha, a ghost from Japanese lore who has an insatiable appetite for blood and corpses.
  • “The Conversion of Ka ‘ahumanu,” Jan. 20-Feb. 20 2022. A historical drama by Victoria Nalani Kneubuhl, about Lucy Thurston and Sybil Bingham arriving on Oahu in 1820, a year after Queen Ka‘ahumanu overthrew the traditional kapu system in old Hawaii. They immediately attempt their missionary task, but the queen is far more interested in their dresses than any new god and has no desire for a new religion. The women persevere, and the play explores the official adoption of Christianity in the islands.
  • “Who You Again,” March 24-April 24 2022. A drama by Ryan Okinaka, about a family struggling to care for their matriarch, whose memories are stolen by dementia. Her grandson’s bond and methods help her cope, and she gives him the gift of self-acceptance.
  • “Blue,” May 26-June 26 2022. A play by Wil Kahele, set in Waikiki’s Aloha Sunset Lanai, where the personal dreams and multiple jobs of a dynamic musical duo and their hula counterparts discover that sometimes, entertainment can have a profound impact, so it’s not all fun and games.

Information: 536-4441.


Kennedy Theatre at the University of Hawaii will only offer digital performances this fall, due to the uncertainties of the pandemic. Only months, not specific dates, are shared.

Mainstage shows:

  • “He Leo Aloha,” early October. A story combining the power of language to heighten communication, showcasing the Hawaiian language. A world premiere of hana keaka (Hawaiian theater); a second part will close the season, details TBA.
  • “Interstellar Cinderella,” late October. A modern spin on a children’s book by Deborah Underwood, about determination and dreams.
  • “Sphere,” in November. The season’s largest dance production with choreography by UH dance faculty and invitees, celebrating the genres and traditions of dance.
  • “The Bitter Tears of Petra Von Kant,” in December. A six-women cast explores class, gender, sexual power dynamics, manipulation, abuse and more.
  • “Eddie Wen’ Go: the Story of the Upside-Down Canoe,” in January 2022. A giant puppetry production about the heroism of Eddie Aikau, will be told through the eyes of sea creatures.
  • “Hawaii No Ka ‘Oi: A Sakamoto Celebration,” in February 2022. The plays of Edward Sakamoto will celebrate pidgin English, highlighted by excerpts from the late playwright’s beloved plays.
  • “Co-Motion,” late March 2022. Two different productions of original dances by student choreographers.
  • “Ho‘olina,” in May 2022. A second world premiere of Kanaka Maoli plays in the Hawaiian language, focusing on families and their future, constricted by capitalism and cultural loss.

Tickets will be available at www.ShowTix4U.com.

Late night series:

  • “We Emerge,” in October.
  • “Human Pavilion,” in November.
  • “House Rules,” TBA.
  • “Keep It Brief, a Festival of Short Works,” TBA.


The Actors Group boasts an ambitious season, with shows staged in the Brad Powell Theatre at Dole Cannery in Iwilei.

The 2021-22 season:

  • “Kimberly Akimbo,” Aug. 27-Sept. 12. David Lindsey-Abaire’s heartening and hilarious play, set in suburban New Jersey, about a teen with a rare condition causing her body to age faster than normally. When the family flees Secaucus under dubious circumstances, Kimberly is forced to reevaluate her life on conflictive turf: a hypochondriac mother, an alcoholic father, a scam-artist aunt, her own mortality and the possibility of first love.
  • “Outside Mullingar,” Oct. 15-31. John Patrick Shanley, author of “Doubt” and “Moonstruck,” penned this romantic comedy, set in rural Ireland, about Anthony and Rosemary, lovelorn farmers who are clueless when it comes to love. Challenged by a bitter land feud, familial rivalries and fears of finding happiness, they learn – amid dark humor and poetic prose – that it’s never too late to take a chance on love.
  • “Over the River and Through the Woods,” Dec. 3-19. A romantic comedy by Joe Pietro, a single Italian dude from New Jersey, anticipating a marketing exec job, is afraid of separation from his beloved but annoying grandparents. His parents have moved on to Florida, but can he resolve a move to Seattle?
  • “Sugar in Our Wounds,” Jan. 21-Feb. 6. 2022. Donja R. Love’s play, tackling personal freedom during rumors of a forthcoming Emancipation Proclamation, is set in the South, where a mystical tree thrives that generations of slaves have been hanged on. A stranger arrives on the plantation and romance develops, amid untold stories and active imaginations.
  • The Father,” March 11-27 2022. A play by Florian Zeller, about Andre, now 80 and a one-time tap dancer, who lives with daughter Anne and her husband Antoine.  Or was Andre an engineer, whose daughter lives in London with her  new beau Pierre? He wonders if he’s losing his wits.
  • “Other Desert Cities,” April 29-May 5 2022.I A play by Jon Robin Baitz, about Brooke Wyeth, who returns home to Palm Springs after six-year absence, to celebrate Christmas with her parents, her brother, and her aunt. She announces she soon will publish a memoir, dredging up a pivotal and tragic event in the family’s history, a wound most don’t want reopened.
  • “Qualities of Starlight,” June 17-July 3 2022. Playwright Gabriel Jason Dean’s tale is about Theo Turner, a young cosmologist on the verge, whose universe explodes when he and his wife travel to the Appalachian South to visit his aging parents, only to discover that they are now meth addicts. The troubled family must sort out and improvise its path into the future.
  • “Good People,” Aug. 5-21 2022. David Lindsey-Abaire play, set in Southie, a Boston neighborhood, where a night on the town means a few rounds of bingo, where this month’s paycheck covers last month’s bills. Maggie Walsh has been let go from another job, so the tale explores and magnifies the struggles of survival and the quest for tomorrow.

Information: 808-741-4699/tag@hawaii.rr.com

Reservations: 808-722-6941/tagtickets@hawaii.rr.com

Website: www.taghawaii.net


Neil Simon’s “The Sunshine Boys,” a popular Broadway comedy by the prolific playwright, had been announced then postponed because of the pandemic, but is on board to finally be staged June 16 2022 through June 26 2022. Joe Moore and Pat Sajak reunite again, with Moore as Willie Clark and Sajak as Al Lewis; in real life, the actors are former Army buddies — Moore has been a long-time KHON2 news anchor and Sajak is the award-winning host of “Wheel of Fortune.” Bryce Moore makes his professional stage debut in the shadow of his actor dad. 

Visit www.hawaiitheatre.com

And that’s “Show Biz.”…


Henry Kapono has clearly become the most prolific and profound island entertainer of his era – and there’s no stopping him.

He is reclaiming his “Home in the Islands” brand, with a star-studded four-hour concert from 6 to 10 p.m. Sept. 25 at the Tom Moffatt Waikiki Shell in Kapiolani Park.

Featuring Henry Kapono & Friends, his show monicker widely promoted during the pandemic for appearances in nightclubs like Blue Note Hawaii and in virtual TV programming, continues to thrive. After all, there’s no more Cecilio & Kapono in his life, a period that produced iconic songs in his repertoire. But plenty of friends.

The show will be the first large-sized concert  in a year, in the newly-named outdoor venue named for the late and great Tom Moffatt, an entrepreneur who also branded his concerts (Tom Moffatt Presents) during his six-decade reign of rock and pop music on radio and in concert venues like the Shell, the Honolulu Stadium, and the Blaisdell Concert Hall and Arena.

Henry Kapono

Kapono, the Grammy-nominated Hawaiiian musician and entrepreneur, is assembling an all-star roster of fellow entertainers who have hungered to properly return to live performing venue: Kalapana, Keola Beamer, Jerry Santos, Amy Hanaiali‘i, Kapena, Ledward Kaapana, The Makaha Sons, Brother Noland and Robi Kahakalau. Inevitably, the list will grow larger in the weeks leading up to the event.

“We’re excited about bringing the community together in healing and fellowship as we celebrate the music soundtrack of growing up in Hawai‘i and how lucky we are to live in our Home in the Islands,” said Henry in a statement. “There’s no better Hawai‘i venue than the outdoor setting of the Waikīkī Shell and no better backdrop than Diamond Head. This concert is to bring us all together to celebrate the challenges we’ve overcome and have a once-in-a-lifetime experience through the joy of music and friendship.”

Tickets went on sale today, with three price levels: $65 for reserved seating, $35 for unreserved lawn seating, and a $150 VIP package that includes reserved seats and early entry via an exclusive VIP entry gate and access to special restrooms and a no-host bar.

For reservations, go to www.ticketmaster.com or visit the Blaisdell box office from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays or call 768-5252.

The show will be a Tier 5 Outdoor Event, with a 50 per cent venue capacity (social distancing spacing). Details for optional or mandated mask-wearing have not been announced.

The concert is a partial benefit for the Henry Kapono Foundation and $1 for every ticket sale will go to a fund supporting musicians, stagehands, audio engineers, lighting technicians, and backstage crews that were unemployed during the COVID-19 lockdown.

If you’re of a certain age, you’ll remember Henry’s annual end-of-summer, beginning-of-fall biggie with then-partner Cecilio Rodriguez (aka Cecilio and Kapono) … at the Waikiki Shell…

Misuse of music?

“The White Lotus,” the filmed-in-Hawaii mini-series on HBO/HBO Max (new episodes air Sundays) was wholly filmed at the Four Seasons resort on Maui.

It also is loaded with Hawaiian tunes, to heighten impact and enhance scenes, in this sudsy soap-opera in our midst.

But episode two, launched Sunday, hit a sour note on two counts:

  • “Ke Kali Nei Au,” the customary Hawaiian wedding tune, was heard over family dinner.
  • “Hawaii Aloha” closed the episode, as a son in the dinner table gathering, walked toward the beach because he couldn’t sleep in the room; the bonus, he got to see likely photoshopped images of whales. The song inspired by a Christian hymn entitled “I Left It All With Jesus,” composed  in the 1840’s by a Pennsylvania singer and composer James McGranahan, with Hawaiian lyrics composed by the Rev. Lorenzo Lyons at the request of King Kamehameha. It’s commonly sung at the end of a concert or gathering, with singers bonded by holding each other’s hands.

Both placements of familiar melodies in this “Lotus” episode provided awkward feelings. Clearly, the show lacked a Hawaiian music consultant; otherwise, these strange misuse of our island tunes might have been prevented. …

And that’s “Show Biz” …