The month of May marks the formal first-year anniversary of my website, https://www.harada.com.
If you’ve seen some of the posts, mahalo for your interest. For others – it’s never late to join in.
While I experimented and posted articles, columns and reviews during a trial run in March-April of 2021, it wasn’t till May that the website’s theories and plans were fortified.
And here I am. Up and running. Surviving and surprisingly active.
It’s been a fun, productive first-year. It started as a whim, and slowly developed into a resource for mutual communication – via reviews, chatter, some reflection – with an audience mildly or keenly interested in the kind of stuff I used to pursue while fully employed (now retired) from the morning Honolulu Star-Advertiser, which, like it or not, became a one-daily newspaper town when fused with the evening Honolulu Star-Bulletin, which became the combined Honolulu Star-Advertiser.
A self-run website, I’ve focused on the Hawaii entertainment scene, with alternating coverage and attention paid to local music, Waikiki nightlife, Hawaii-based network television, selective movie reviews, Honolulu theater and general show-biz chit-chat.
The website emerged while Hawaii – and the world – was immersed and saddled with the COVID-19 pandemic, when movie-going in theaters and show-watching in clubs and showrooms halted.
Since then, I’ve been following acts and destinations rebound and return into action – think the likes of Henry Kapono and Blue Note Hawaii – as a sense of normalcy returned.
Like others, I started returning to dine-in spots that reopened and took in movies initially with some caution and trepidation.
The one element that that I’ve not yet revisited has been travel. Over the decades, I wrote about some of my trips, normally hopping aboard an airplane two to three times a year. My principal destinations were Japan or New York City, where I would explore the charms of both Tokyo/Osaka and Broadway NYC.
There were instincts and trends to examine, like the marvels of Daiso and Tokyu Hands in Japan, where the crafts sections were an attraction for me in Japan, and the mighty perks and charm of Broadway theater – notably, “Hamilton” the tantamount of all these endeavors – and discuss how difficult and expensive it has become to secure pricey seats especially in the show’s first year run with the original cast, led by creator Lin-Manuel Miranda and Tony winner Leslie Odom Jr. You’ve forgotten, but I’ll remind you: I simply couldn’t find tickets in the time frame of my visit at prices I could afford. So, gulp, I paid $750 per ticket (bought two, for my wife and me), in the next-to-the-last row in the Richard Rodgers Theatre and proclaimed that yes, this was astronomical, but worth it to see the original key players in all their glory. Risks matter .Ditto, money.
I happily wrote, a few years later, that I was lucky enough to catch two Island actors in “Hamilton:” Joseph Morales, from Honolulu, in the Chicago company, playing the titular lead role on Sundays, but now doing the Hamilton lead in a re-launched national touring company, and Marc delaCruz, from the Big Island, in the ensemble and understudying both the Hamilton and the King George roles in the Broadway company.
Tracking such accomplishments is my mission; sharing that kind of achievement is my privilege.
My Show Biz column, which was part of the daily paper for 45 years before I retired in 2008 (and appearing for another dozen years as a freelancer), has been the primary venue for my reportage. It’s hard to believe, in retrospect, that I posted more than 170 Show Biz columns since this website was launched. Can’t begin to count or accurately assemble the number of print columns filed over the decades.
As part of the mission of the website, I periodically take nostalgic strolls down memory lane – 14 so far, and counting — to reflect on old traditions of growing up in Hawaii and remembering such stalwart musical greats and popular venues now gone, too. People like reminiscing about the fave places they frequented, whether it was the Civic Auditorium for early-era rock shows championed by budding entrepreneur and show presenter Tom Moffatt, Char Hung Sut for manapua, or Bea’s for custard pie.
Thus, life issues have been part of the plan, sharing and comparing aches and pains of transiting to seniorhood.
In a sometime frivolous but popular mode, I’ve posed questions in a Just Asking feature, tackling such matters as why Libby’s corned beef still comes in a tin can with a key or seeking responses from readers to list songs with Monday in their titles or wondering how folks are coping with high gasoline prices.
I’ve also shared my decades-old tradition of creating lapel pins for Valentine’s, Easter, Halloween and Christmas, and during the pandemic, the pins landed on many facemasks around town
My other craft interests have appeared on the site, like my Wild Cards notecards comprised of such designs as aloha shirts, musubi, sushi, pandemic-related face masks, and just recently, a bunch of postcard-inspired Hawaii notecards. Perhaps I will try to make some of these creations available to the public for purchases. Till now, it’s stress-busting recreational fun to produce these cards, even if card-sending has become nearly extinct in favor of, sigh, emailing.
The website would not have been part of my game plan, were it not for tech whiz Ryan Ozawa, who emailed one day asking why I didn’t have my own site but proceeded to register my name to make the impossible possible. So a huge mahalo to Ryan, who was the one who pushed the button (and me) to kick off the proceedings. And please, Ryan, when your hectic pace subsides, please let me know how much I owe you for keeping the site. up and running.
And to followers and friends, old and new, thank you for your interest and support. I toiled long and hard back in the day, but the current jolt of busy-ness has been the best panacea for a retiree with some pain issues who still adores activities and creativity to keep the ticker pumping.