The Kagawa Ohana -- 8/8/99

All in the Ohana

Our Kagawa clan has been a fixture in Waimea (Kauai) ever since Saichi and Yoshi Kagawa arrived in 1899. Although we have subsequently spread out around the state and nation, everyone still calls Waimea home. So appropriately, that’s where we all got back together for our family reunion.

The Kagawas are good people with a passion for life, and are "notoriously" known for gambling, drinking, loud talking, fishing, and general "rascally nature". The younger generation has pretty much carried on the tradition, except rather than fishing, some have turned to surfing (another ocean-related activity, I might add).

Although the older folks were reaching their twilight years, there wasn’t a heavy sense of mourning or sadness. You lived, you made the most of life, you moved on.

So beer flowed freely--maybe not quite in the quantities of the past (nobody passed out this time), but still enough to make everyone red-faced and chummy. The conversations were loud and boisterous: Auntie Nora talked about her latest trip to Las Vegas; Auntie Molly mentioned hooking over 200 ‘halalu’ in one day, as did my dad; and Uncle Will relived the time he "borrowed" Grandpa’s car to go shoot pool with Uncle Clay, then almost got busted by a police raid. All of these colorful stories were described in perfectly inflected Kauai pidgin english. So funny!

There was even a golf tournament earlier in the day (I didn’t golf--hate it). Awards for the "$95,000" jackpot were announced and my sandbagging Mom won, scoring a net 62!

Met some cousins for the very first time (Jimmy and Dana). Even though they were born and raised on Oahu and never came to any of our family gatherings before, I swear they had the same Kagawa look, talk and ‘tude. It was like "Twilight Zone".

The inevitable blackjack game started up--guess the dice table wasn’t available. The betting eventually got a little high, but that’s not unusual (nobody lost their pants, though).

Auntie Vee noted, "Good party--neva’ even have one fight." And Auntie Mary wanted to make it a regular event: "We’ll have it every century! But I not going be in charge again!"

As for me, I don’t quite fit the standard Kagawa profile. I rarely drink, don’t care to gamble, wouldn’t call myself loud and am wishy-washy on fishing. But at least I do kinda like that surfing thing :-). Still, it was so enjoyable hanging with the cousins and uncles and aunties who made growing up on Kauai so special. True ohana (family).

We stayed till after midnight--had to wait for the blackjack game to break up--just talking story about "any kine stuff."

Of course, since I was on Kauai, I took the opportunity to get in some water time the next day. Couldn’t do the dawn patrol (too tired), so went bodyboarding with some of the boys and hit Shipwrecks at 7 AM.

Surf was small, but a lot better than I expected. Got a neat little ramp on one--had to gamble and try my elusive backflip maneuver over the reef. Made the rotation, but landed in the whitewater, drinking some in the process. But again I couldn’t turn myself around, and ended up digging a rail and wiping out. Yelled out to no one in particular for again failing, then smiled to myself at the silliness of it all.

As I paddled back out, I realized that maybe I am more of a Kagawa than I thought. Ah, neva’ mind--I just going catch more waves and try again. Life is short.

Aloha from Paradise,