The Study Abroad Newsletter

The Native Hawaiian in Me, Beckoned from Japan

Jonah Molina
Tokyo Gakugei, Japan

While studying at my university, I was asked to perform for a group of japanese people I did not know... at all. It was not a small engagement, but a party, maybe 300-400 people strong. It was my friend Chad, who also went to UH Hilo, me, and two Japanese girls. We came together to perform Ulupalakua, Chad and I playing the ukulele and singing, and the two girls dancing the hula. I was informed of my duty in early November and began practicing the song, lyrics, chords, and strumming pattern, for the event that was to be held on December 1st. It was my advisor's idea to have a quick showing of the Hawaiian culture via Mele, Hula and Ukulele. After about one month of practicing, we were able to semi-perfect our performance.

We walked onto the stage. introduced ourselves, and just let the music and song flow from our bodies like ribers flowing from melted snow. As soon as we began to play, we forgot about our nervousness and just had a fun time doing it. The crowd was wild and pumped because they were watching something from Hawaii. Everyone really enjoyed themselves that night and it was an experience that I will NEVER forget.