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  • Use Your Garden to Create Positive Energy in Your Home


    Happy Year of the Dragon! Did you know that in the Chinese art of feng shui, the Dragon corresponds to one of the sides of your home? A feng shui garden brings a feeling of balance to the property around your house. The balance of the landscape signifies better balance in your life and within the home. In the forthcoming Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens, author and feng shui consultant Clear Englebert gives you simple, easy-to-implement solutions to invite good energy into your home and protect it from harsh or threatening energies.

    “Your garden is your first and best opportunity to create positive energy for your home,” says Clear. “The ideal home sites have a surrounding landform represented by these four animals: black Turtle (behind), red Bird or Phoenix (in front), green Dragon (masculine, and to the right, as you stand outside facing the building), and white Tiger (feminine, and to the left). These are very protective energies that support a home in the way a good armchair supports someone sitting in it. That’s why this landform arrangement is commonly referred to as the armchair position, also sometimes called the horseshoe.”

    If your home isn’t situated in such a manner, there are many things you can do with your garden to help balance the energy and even encourage certain energies to come your way.

    Some tips for the Dragon side of your home:

    • Park cars on the Dragon side; they are powerful and therefore strengthen the protective energy of the Dragon.
    • The easiest way to strengthen the Dragon side (necessary if the Tiger side—the opposite side—is too strong, say if your cars are parked on that side instead) is to add a dragon sculpture, or any item with a dragon image, to the right side of the home. A pot, bell or banner works nicely and will look at home in a garden setting.
    • Plants with an upward form or plants that climb upward are good on the Dragon side. Red bougainvillea is a perfect choice, especially if you can allow the plant to grow large. The association between the red color and fire is good for the yang energy of the Dragon, and a large prickly plant like bougainvillea is ideal for the side that represents protection for the home.
    • Have an outdoor grill? The Dragon side is a wonderful place for it. Every use will strengthen the fiery energy.
    • Looking for love? The Dragon side represents male (yang) energy. To attract a man to your life, place a masculine image or sculpture on the right side of the front door, or on the right side of the yard. (You can apply this to attract a woman by adding female iconography to the opposite—left, Tiger—side.) Once you’ve got your partner, the figure should be removed. Be grateful for what you’ve got, express your appreciation and don’t keep looking.


    You can meet Clear at any of the events timed for the release of Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens in mid-February:

    Book Signings

    Sat., Feb. 18, 11am – noon, Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall, (808) 737-3323
    Mon., Feb. 20, 11am – 1pm, Dragon Gate Bookstore, Chinese Cultural Plaza, 100 N. Beretania, (808) 533-7147
    Sat., Feb. 25, 11am – noon, Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana, (808) 949-7307

    Free Library Talks
    Talks will focus on exterior uses of feng shui. Plant selection and placement will also be covered. 30% of each purchase of Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens sold at these events will be donated to the Friends of the Library.

    Tues., Feb. 21, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Liliha Library, (808) 587-7577
    Wed., Feb. 22, 6:30pm – 7:30pm, Waimanalo Library, (808) 259-2610
    Thurs., Feb. 23, 5:30pm – 6:30pm, Salt Lake Library, (808) 831-6831
    Sat., Feb. 25, 3:30pm – 4:30pm, Aina Haina Library, (808) 377-2456
    Sun., Feb. 26, 1:30pm – 2:30pm, Pearl City Library, (808) 453-6566

    In addition, Clear will be offering a series of intensive feng shui classes. Each class lasts three hours and has a cost of $30. There is a $20 refund for any student who attends all four classes. For more information on Clear's classes and the other events, visit the Feng Shui for Hawai‘i Gardens events page.

  • Start the New Year with Sensible Sweets

    Confess. You’re feeling guilty over your holiday season caloric intake total. Maybe you’ve even made a — gasp! — resolution to eat healthier this year. It doesn’t mean you have to live a life of deprivation.

    “There is no such thing as ‘bad’ food,” the editors of A Sweet Dash of Aloha want you to know. It is possible to have your cake and eat it too — guilt-free. Sweet Dash presents nearly 100 recipes for tempting treats that are low-fat and low-cholesterol, with chapters devoted to sugar-free and gluten-free recipes.

    This morning on Sunrise on Hawaii News Now, Chef Carol Nardello demonstrated her Gluten-Free Meyer Lemon Cheesecake Squares (right), which were a huge hit with host Dan Cooke. After tasting one, he declared he was bringing in the treats for the Sunrise Slimdown Challenge Men’s Team. After the demo, Chef Carol and Frank Gonzales of Kapi‘olani Community College brought the rest of the squares downstairs where the Men’s Team (below; Carol Nardello and Frank Gonzales, far right) agreed that Sweet Dash treats could be their new secret weapon.

    To learn more about using alternative ingredients (egg substitutes, sugar replacers, gluten-free flours) and how to make some of the delicious snacks and desserts in A Sweet Dash of Aloha, attend one of our upcoming book signings:

    Barnes & Noble, Ala Moana Center

    Demonstration by Chefs Alyssa Moreau and Carol Nardello
    (808) 949-7307

    Barnes & Noble, Kahala Mall

    Demonstration by Chef Carol Nardello
    (808) 737-3323


    More photos from our morning demo:


  • Kapoho Reunion in Honolulu

    Frances Kakugawa enjoyed a Kapoho reunion of sorts at her Honolulu book events for her newest title, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii. At her book launch, held at Native Books at Ward Warehouse, a gentleman of 90+ years attended (photo, right) , brought by his son who ’d spotted Kapoho at the store the previous day. Born in Kapoho, both recognized each other’s family names; when Frances was a girl she and her siblings used to swim on his family’s property at Pohoiki Beach.

    A few days later, at Barnes & Noble at Kahala Mall, Frances’ family came out to join her...and so did several members of the Nakamura family. The Nakamuras owned the buildings that are seen on the cover of Kapoho —places that Frances calls “the heart of Kapoho”—Nakamura Store, their pool hall, theater and the family’s residence.

    For recaps of the two events in Frances’ own words, as well as photo slideshows, read her blog posts:

    KAPOHO Book Launch Photos and Reviews

    Only in Hawaii…KAPOHO at Barnes & Noble


  • The Enemy Wore My Face

    An excerpt from Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances H. Kakugawa

    The Enemy Wore My Face

    Under the rising sun,
    The enemy came
    Wearing my face.

    My face changed forever that Sunday afternoon. It seemed a same-same Sunday. My parents were at a neighbor’s birthday party, and I was home with my brothers and sister. There were comics on the floor, dishes in the sink and the sense of nothing to do that usually came on the weekends.

    Home was Kapoho, a little plantation village near the eastern tip of the Big Island of Hawai’i. Our town was built on the east rift zone of Kilauea, the island’s most active volcano. Radios ran on batteries, telephones were almost nonexistent and few of us read the only newspaper on the island, the Hilo Tribune Herald. News of the outside world came weeks late through the five-minute newsreels shown before each movie at our generator-run theater. So whatever news caught up with us couldn’t be of much consequence. We were always seeing yesterday’s news today. When we heard of Joe DiMaggio’s 50-game hitting streak, he was already on his 56th. When we heard of Nazi Germany’s invasion of Norway and Denmark on April 9, the Germans were already in Belgium and Luxembourg on May 10. That particular Sunday, however, changed everything. Mr. Ito was listening to his radio.

    “Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted at anyone he saw along the road. “Japan bombed Pearl Harbor!” he shouted at the birthday guests as he rushed on to spread the news. The party immediately broke up, and everyone hurried home.

    My father rushed into the house, followed by his neighbors.

    “Turn the radio on. Turn the radio on!” Everyone stood in front of the radio, shouting above the crackling voice of the announcer.

    “Are you sure he said Japan?”

    “Where’s Pearl Harbor?”

    “This means trouble. This means trouble.”

    “This means war.”

    “Are you sure he said Japan?”

    I knew something was wrong when no one went into the kitchen to prepare lunch. I was hungry, but no one paid any attention to me. All I heard were arguments and loud voices. That was the day I learned to be afraid. That was the day I learned that there was an enemy, an enemy who would wear my face, an enemy who would not be forgotten or forgiven in the years to come. Shame, humiliation and a host of confused thoughts would now become my shadow. I would hear “Jap” for the first time. We were Americans, I knew that. We were fighting the same enemy, I knew that, too. The face I saw in the mirror looked American to me, and I’d had no reason to believe, up to then, that anyone else saw anything different. The day Mr. Ito went running around the village with the news was the day my face no longer belonged to me.

    All of us quickly found out that anything Japanese raised suspicion.

    “I’m Japanese?” I asked my mother one day. “I’m not haole?” Such wishful thinking from a five-year-old. The language school was shut down, so I couldn’t learn Japanese after school, as my older brother and sister did before the bombing. I attended Kapoho Elementary School, three miles from my house. The army barracks were across from our school. Soldiers, tanks and trucks would come and go, and war seemed always close at hand. The soldiers didn’t trouble us, except for the MPs, but neighbors and friends were a problem.

    A year after Pearl Harbor, I walked the three miles to school with my head down whenever I passed certain homes. My half-running steps could not escape the “Eh, Jap!” taunts that came from children and adults who wore a different face.

    Eh, Jap!

    It claws my spine,
    Tearing skin.
    It enters my body
    To devour who I am.

    I spit it out! Bull’s eye!
    So what do you do
    With “Eh, Jap!”
    On your face?

    Mistrust was everywhere in the village air. We, too, harbored our own suspicions. “Be careful of the Filipinos. They carry knives,” we were warned by our families. Later I would hear from my Filipino friends. “We were so happy after Pearl Harbor,” they confessed. “Until then, the Filipinos were at the bottom of the ladder. Now, the Japanese were at the bottom.”

    Change came along with blackouts. We spoke in whispers after the sun went down. Our nights were spent huddled around a little wooden box covered with a piece of black-dyed old sheet. Inside the box, a flickering kerosene lamp was the only light in the house. Any glimmer of light outside would give us away. Except for the occasional cry from my baby brother, the house was silent as I sat there in the dark, too scared to say much. The baby, born nine days after December 7, spent most of his time asleep in my mother’s arms.

    Frances Kakugawa reads "The Enemy Wore My Face" from Kapoho at Native Books

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