Chatting with a hula friend

Rain 010-A

My patio in the rain.

Last Wednesday was the last hula class of the previous six week session.  I’m going to sign up for the next six week session shortly.  It’s only $60 and definitely worth it.

There’s a Japanese woman in my class, who is slim, spry, and smart.  I recently learned that she is going to be 79 this year and has been studying hula longer than I have.  It’s incredible how effortlessly she learns the Hawaiian lyrics and dance movements.  I hope I’m as mentally and physically capable as she is when I reach her age.

Before our class started one afternoon, we chatted about our ancestors, who had immigrated to Hawaii long ago.  I told her about my two Korean grandfathers and how they ended up differently.  When my father told his father that he planned to marry my mother, his father said, “Don’t marry that woman.  Her father is uneducated and is from the peasant class.  We, on the other hand, are descendants from a politically prominent family in Korea.”  Ironically, my father’s father died a pauper (after drifting from plantation to plantation as an alcoholic laborer), whereas my mother’s father died a millionaire (after building and investing in real estate).

My friend then told me that unlike the Korean immigrants who came here to live and prosper, the Japanese came to Hawaii to earn enough money to resettle comfortably in Japan someday.  This bit of information surprised me, because there are so many Japanese descendants who are active in government and business circles in Hawaii.  Perhaps, the war prevented the Japanese from returning to their homeland.  By the time they were able to go back, they had already settled down with their families in the islands.

I always enjoy conversing with my hula friends.  I learn so much from them.

10 Responses to “Chatting with a hula friend”

  1. DJan Says:

    Very interesting person, Gigi. I guess there are all kinds of reasons for people ending up where they do, like me. I never expected that I would be living in the Pacific Northwest, but I sure do love it here! 🙂

  2. Olga Says:

    I am intrigued by the stories of your two grandfathers. There are great lessons there.
    There is a woman who goes to the same yoga classes that I do who is about to turn 100. The mother of one of my FL friends is turning 100 in the fall. She still goes to ZUMBA classes. I don’t know if it’s good living or good genes, but I want some of that.

  3. Grannymar Says:

    Your hula friends seem like an interesting bunch of girls!

  4. Christine Says:

    interesting conversation Gigi, love your patio flowers, rain is good in a way.

  5. Tom Sightings Says:

    Interesting family history. B wants to know: Does hula count as exercise? Is it mostly stretching, is there anything aerobic about it, do you break a sweat? Thanks for any info. which I will pass on.

    • gigihawaii Says:

      I consider hula aerobic, because it involves the head, neck, hands, hips, and feet all moving together at once. There is some stretching when you extend your hands above your head or reach towards the floor. Some people, like my teacher, do perspire. Our class lasts about 1.25 hours.

  6. Linda Reeder Says:

    It’s always interesting to learn how and why people end up living where they do.

  7. Cathy Says:

    Sometimes the best part of my exercise class is the coffee time afterwards – we also learn more and more about each other as time goes by.
    Hope you are jotting down your observations – never know when they might provide fuel for a book!

  8. R. J. Says:

    I have always assumed that Hawaii had a very diverse population, but the stories of how that came about are very interesting. I read Michener’s Hawaii, and it was very informative if his details were correct.

  9. SchmidleysScribbling Says:

    According to the Japanese demographer I met while working at the CB, Japan considers Japanese born abroad as it’s citizens. Owing to the low birth Rate, Japan has been encouraging citizens to migrate “home.” Last time I looked the population of Hawaii was 60% Japanese or Japanese descent.

    A cousin of mine on the Big Island adopted a Japanese boy while he was living in Japan. He and his wife also adopted an Asian Indian girl.

    Hawaii is the most ethnically mixed state, but Arlington, where I live, has the most foreign born of any place in the US. Washington area also has the seven wealthiest communities in the US? In dollar terms, are poor by comparison. But what is wealth?

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