A&C

Molly Solomon
Molly Solomon

Of the many stories of loss and change that surround the lava flow moving to isolate parts of Pāhoa, few rival the story of the Buddhist cemetery just outside town The century-old graveyard is home to primarily Japanese immigrants, many of whom worked in the sugar cane fields that once bordered the town. HPR’s Molly Solomon visited Pāhoa last week and has this story of one family’s history, forever changed by the lava.

  Last month, Aiko Sato carried a bucket of red ginger to her car. She was heading out to the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery to pay respect to the graves of her ancestors…part of her weekly ritual…but this time was different. The slow-moving lava heading towards town now had the cemetery in its path. “Something told me, I had to go,” says Aiko.

Hawai‘i County Civil Defense had already blocked the main road. But after hearing Aiko’s story, a state official agreed to drive her out to see the graves. “And he let me take my time,” recalls Aiko. “I was able to place flowers at the family grave. And I felt relief, because I knew that would probably be the final time. And I guess it was.”

The next day, Aiko woke up to find the cemetery has been overrun, taken by lava overnight. “They had national news about the lava going over the cemetery,” she said. “I cried, because I figured probably the Sato grave went.”

“I always thought the cemetery would not be covered by the lava,” says Aiko’s aunt, Eiko Kujiyama, who lives down the street with her son. She remembers the phone call from Aiko that morning, telling her the cemetery was gone. “When she called me, I was shocked to hear it was covered - so sad! Every time I prayed, don’t take the cemetery and please spare Pāhoa."

  The loss means something extra to the Sato family. Aiko’s father, Hiroo Sato, spent most of his life caring for the graves of Japanese immigrants buried at the Pāhoa Japanese Cemetery, filled with people who built the town including his parents and two siblings. He’s also known for writing the book, Pāhoa Yesterday, a historical account of the town’s early years. Evidence of his extensive research on the former sugar cane town, are scribbled on pieces of paper Aiko is carefully packing away. “These are all of his things,” she says. “The last of his manuscripts I sent out. All of his other tidbits of information, that went earlier”

  Aiko clears a pile of papers from the dining room table as movers carry a set of chairs down to the carport. She’s evacuating the family home in case the lava takes a turn. Her once crowded living room is now empty, except for an ottoman and the TV.

At a community meeting last week, a scientist with the USGS approached Aiko and her aunt with news about the family grave.

“Everything was up in the air as to whether the grave was still standing,” she said. “But at the lava update meeting we found out the grave had survived.” Aiko pulls out the photo clearly showing the family tombstone surrounded by black lava. “Sato, the family name, is still distinct. To see the lava completely around the gravestone -- it’s like a miracle.”

I ask Aiko what her father would say, knowing the grave he so diligently cared for had survived. “It would bring him a lot of joy and happiness, knowing that it’s still there.”

And at this point, so is Aiko. With the family grave secure, she hopes to stay in the home her family has lived in for generations.

Flickr / Jasja Dekker
Flickr / Jasja Dekker

It's been described as slimy, stringy, and its smell has drawn comparisons to dirty socks. Natto -- or Japanese fermented soybeans -- carries a reputation that is often less than desirable. But here in Hawai‘i, a loyal group of natto fans are celebrating the fermented dish.

Every year on July 10th, natto lovers gather to commemorate Natto Day, usually over a bowl of the pungent beans. HPR's Molly Solomon thought this under-appreciated ingredient deserved a closer look.

Flickr / Rex Maximilian
Flickr / Rex Maximilian

If you look up at the sky tonight, you’ll notice a new moon. According to the Hawaiian Moon calendar, this first phase is called Hilo – which means a twisted thread of light. In the past, Hawaiians used the moon and its different phases to track time. Now a group of people are using digital tools to try and resurrect this traditional practice. HPR’s Molly Solomon has more.

The FUZZ
The FUZZ

“Yarn bombing” is a form of street art that’s cropping up in urban areas across the islands. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, these public art installations feature yarn, wool, and a bit of whimsy!

For more information on The FUZZ and to see pictures of their work, check out their website.

Kupaoa
Kupaoa

Hawaiian music is as much a part of the islands as the mountains and ocean it often describes. But making a living playing it can be a challenge. HPR’s Molly Solomon spoke with some local musicians and has this report.

Flickr / vividcorvid
Flickr / vividcorvid

Women from the state’s only female prison don’t often get the chance to tell their story. But today, four formerly incarcerated women are gathering on campus at University of Hawaii at Mānoa to do just that. It’s a project called Voices from the Inside. HPR’s Molly Solomon spoke with some of the women involved and has this report.

Voices from the Inside takes place today from 12:30 - 1:30 pm at UH Mānoa William S. Richardson School of Law in Classroom 2.

Hope Jahren
Hope Jahren

A University of Hawaii professor is taking what you might call a hands-on approach to science. She’s using social media, hundreds of contacts, and something called “Manicure Mondays.” HPR’s Molly Solomon explains.

Check out some recent "Manicure Monday" posts on Twitter from the scientific community:

Flickr / kzuhr
Flickr / kzuhr

This weekend Hawaii’s new wave of cacao lovers will descend on the Chocolate Festival at Dole Cannery. Hawaii is the only state in the country where cacao is produced from seed to bar. HPR’s Molly Solomon spoke with a local business that’s seeing the sweet return on keeping chocolate local.

Aaron Yoshino
Aaron Yoshino

If you started the New Year with a diet resolution, it may have already fallen by the wayside. Not so for three seniors at Kamehameha Schools. They’re changing the way they eat with a uniquely Hawaiian twist: a 90-day poi diet. And as HPR’s Molly Solomon reports, they’re documenting their journey in a new film that hopes to raise awareness of Hawaii’s starchy staple.

Lindsay Young
Lindsay Young

New research on the Laysan albatross reveals an unusual finding. A large number of these birds from a colony on Oahu are actually in same-sex relationships. HPR’s Molly Solomon visited the colony and has this report.

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