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Tag Archives: Kapoho

  • Kapoho named "Best Non-Fiction" by Northern California Publishers & Authors

    At the 2012 Northern California Publishers & Authors (NCPA) Awards Banquet on April 30, Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances H. Kakugawa was named the "Best Non-Fiction" book, adding to the accolades Watermark's authors have been honored to receive this year! (Earlier wins: the IACP Cookbook Award for Chef Alan Wong's The Blue Tomato and a sweep of the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards in the Cookbook Division for A Sweet Dash of Aloha and The Hawai‘i Book of Rice.)

    Of Kapoho, the judges said, "Using a series of seamlessly integrated vignettes, Frances Kakugawa has given us a picture of what it was like to grow up in a small village during WWII in Hawaii - the attitudes, beliefs, fears, and hopes of the people who lived there."

    Author Frances Kakugawa blogged about receiving the award:

    When a phone call comes late at night, it’s only natural to think of an emergency. On April 29th, the phone rang while I was in Hawaii on a lecture/book tour and it was good news. I received the award from NCPA President Ted Witt yesterday here in Sacramento. What an honor to not only receive this award but to be in the company of NCPA members who inspire and support writers and publishers in northern California.

    And long-time friend and entertainment writer Wayne Harada wrote in his column:

    “Isle author Frances Kaku­gawa, now Sacramento-based but back for the Hawaii Book & Music Festival this weekend at the Civic Center grounds, had a successful reading of her latest, “Kapoho,” Tuesday night  at Volcanoes National Park. She also participated in a festival panel Saturday — buoyed by good news that “Kapoho” won the best nonfiction book laurels at the 2012 Northern California Publishers & Authors Award banquet a week ago. …

    The award validates Kaku­gawa’s accomplishments as a lifetime teacher and poet, and duly recognizes what’s near and dear to her heart: her roots, and her compelling manner in weaving a story. She makes the personal universal, simultaneously enlightening and entertaining the reader. Originally from Kapoho’s volcanic turf, Kaku­gawa is a former Hono­lulu teacher-educator and knowledgeably speaks on care-giving and Alz­hei­mer’s.”

    Congratulations to Frances and all our other hard-working, talented authors and all those who put their creative energies into these wonderful books!

  • Watermark Publishing Sweeps Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association Cookbook Awards Category

    The annual Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association’s Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards were announced Friday, May 11, 2012. Watermark Publishing’s nominees in the Cookbook category, A Sweet Dash of Aloha: Guilt-Free Hawai‘i Desserts & Snacks by Kapi‘olani Community College and The Hawai‘i Book of Rice: Tales, Trivia & 101 Great Recipes by Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi, swept the category, taking the top Award of Excellence and the Honorable Mention award, respectively.

    The judges praised A Sweet Dash of Alohafor its departure from the norm in Island cookbooks, saying,

    So many locally published cookbooks are mishmash collections of ‘local food’ recipes. A Sweet Dash of Aloha is a refreshing well-focused, well-written cookbook that offers a new angle on local flavors and ingredients, combining simplicity and clarity with a sophisticated understanding of food, nutrition and health.

    The Hawai‘i Book of Rice received compliments for its comprehensive coverage of the Aloha State’s favorite grain:

    Tsutsumi has compiled a collection of dishes that reflect local tastes while exploring new and creative uses of rice. With its recipes for salads, appetizers, entrées and desserts, The Hawaii Book of Rice is certainly versatile. The book’s chapter on the history of rice in Hawai‘i is a well-researched, delightful introduction to the recipes and offers a solid backdrop for the social and economic importance of this local staple.

    This marks the fourth consecutive year that a Watermark Publishing title has received the Award of Excellence in Cookbooks. Last year’s Award of Excellence went to The Blue Tomato: The Inspirations Behind the Cuisine of Alan Wong by Chef Alan Wong and Arnold Hiura. Previous years’ recipients were Kau Kau: Cuisine & Culture in the Hawaiian Islands by Arnold Hiura (2010) and The Island Bistro Cookbook by Chef Chai Chaowasaree (2009).

    Don’t Look Back: Hawaiian Myths Made New edited by Christine Thomas; Kapoho: Memoir of a Modern Pompeii by Frances Kakugawa; and The Cocktail Handbook: Cool Drinks from Hawai‘i’s Hottest Bartenders by Jesse Greenleaf and Amie Fujiwara were also nominated in other Ka Palapala Po‘okela categories, but did not take home awards.

    Our nominees & winners. Back row, left to right: Cheryl Chee Tsutsumi (The Hawaii Book of Rice); Christine Thomas (Don't Look Back); Amie Fujiwara and Jesse Greenleaf (The Cocktail Handbook); Watermark Publishing publisher George Engebretson. Front row: Wanda Adams and Adriana Torres Chong (A Sweet Dash of Aloha)

    Each year, the Hawai‘i Book Publishers Association presents the Ka Palapala Po‘okela Awards to recognize and honor the best of Hawai‘i book publishing from the previous year. “Ka Palapala Po‘okela” literally translated from Hawaiian means “excellent manuscript. ”

  • 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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