Oahu, Near Death, Aloha

Aloha from Hawaii!

Here on Oahu, exploring the island from Waikiki Beach to Diamond Head and beyond. Sampling local fare (count me a fan of poke) and ramen and udon bowls which are easily the best I’ve had outside of Japan. Experiencing a lu’au, hiking up to Waimea Falls, visiting the Halona Blowhole, Makapu’u Point, the Dole Plantation, and Byodo-in Temple. There’s also a mall where trees sprout to the open sky, as if Lothlorien had survived to the present day and went commercial.

This is a mall. No, seriously.

As a history buff, I was especially interested to see the site of the Battle of Nu’uanu, where Kamehameha the Great defeated Kalanikupule (from Maui) to become Hawaii’s first unifying king in 1795. And this trip has also renewed my awe for the late great war hero and first Japanese-American Senator Daniel Inouye, a truly extraordinary human being.

The vibes here in Hawaii are tranquil, and radiant smiles are a common sight. The sea is a study in sapphire.

Of course, there was no way I could visit Hawaii without going to the Pearl Harbor memorial.

To say it’s a moving experience is an understatement. We visited the bookends of the war, starting with the solemn grace of the USS Arizona Memorial (the sunken battleship beneath it was the watery grave for 1,177 Americans), and then on to the USS Missouri where World War II formally ended. General Douglas MacArthur’s speech on accepting Japan’s surrender remains relevant today:

“It is my earnest hope and indeed the hope of all mankind that from this solemn occasion a better world shall emerge out of the blood and carnage of the past…”

The memorial is powerful indeed. The museum contains the remnants of torpedoes that were launched, astounding photographs of battle, and a comprehensive panorama of everything from the Rape of Nanking to the attack on Pearl Harbor, the grim battles in the Pacific to the unconstitutional internment camps. There are also letters from kamikaze pilots and American sailors alike, providing insights into this snapshot of history.

Anyone who visits Hawaii should make time to see this.


This trip is different from other travels I’ve made, in that it is much more than a continuation of my usual globe-trotting.

Last year, Donna was almost killed in a car accident.

She was in a coma for almost a week, and came within hours of death more than once. I couldn’t bring myself to post anything about it at the time. I spoke to platoons of doctors. I stayed at the hospital as late as Covid protocols allowed, and called first thing each morning to make sure she had survived the night. They give you a code to use when you call the hospital to check on a loved one. Then they put you on hold. It was always the longest fucking hold of my life. Rinse and repeat, while she held on by a thread. Just writing these words puts the bitter tang of adrenaline in my mouth again.


So this expedition to a Pacific paradise isn’t just about the history or food or culture. It’s a celebration of life when I thought that life was over.

We wrapped up our Hawaiian trip with a sunset dinner cruise, and watched fireworks blossom over the sea. Wishing everyone peace and happiness. Life is fragile. Do something wonderful for those close to you today. Tell them what they mean to you.


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