VenusFort mall at Odaiba is hosting a two week Hawaiian Festival. The mall is absolutely gorgeous. It is looks like Caesars Place in Vegas. European design, clouds and changing ceiling, huge Greek fountain. Go figure, I went two times in three days...
Friday went with Kim, Jocelyn, and Lydia. Somehow the train directions that I got from the site took us north instead of south. It took us a total of probably 2.5 hrs to get there! Needless to say we missed the performance at 4:30pm. It worked out well though because we were starving when we got there. They have a restaurant at VenusFort that serves Hawaii food, or a Hawaii-Japanese fusion. I got a lomi lomi salmon salad, Kim had North Shore garlic shrimp, and there were loco mocos and a few other "local" favorites like that. The best part was that the performance was right outside the restaurant. While we were eating the group Pali (Kim and Reese don't know who they are) were performing and we could see and hear them from our table. They sounded quite "Hawaiian" (lol, idk what that means!)
After we went outside to watch the dance performance. Kim, being the hula dancer she is, was like, "This isn't hula and those girls don't look Hawaiian. They look Polynesian." After it was over, she asked where they were from. North Shore, Honolulu. Haha it wasn't till the next day that I read the postcard thing they were handing out. LOL they were from the Polynesian Cultural Center on Hawaii's North Shore. Lol Kim was right and they really are from the North Shore. Kim just thought they were saying it, so they could be considered legit.
The fire dancers were the best part of that night though. Even Kim was impressed. At one point there were 5 people on the stage all twirling their fire sticks at the same time. They would set them down on the stage at certain times and the fake grass stage caught on fire a few times. Small fires, but there were people at every corner with water and fire extinguishers. Pretty crazy. It was one of the best performances I have seen.
On Sunday I went back with Travis and some of his friends. We primarily wanted to see Manoa DNA. It is weird because they played at UW's luau last weekend and they are here in Japan the very next weekend. It was the second day that I realized what an advertising gimmick the whole "festival" is. There were representatives from the hugest hotels in Honolulu at the mall with booths and information (Hilton, Marriot). The whole thing was hosted in part by Hawaii's tourism board. Aloha print bags, shirts, and dresses were sold at huge profit. They even had a huge advertising video broadcast before the performance. Miss Hawaii was also there. She was interviewed and it was the fakest thing I have ever seen in person. What is your favorite island? "Well...All of Hawaii's islands are beautiful. But I would have to say my favorite is Oahu in the summer..." Biggest BS I've ever heard in my life.
Finally after all the tourist plugs Manoa DNA played. They are actually really good. I don't think I have actually heard any of the stuff until that day. Really really talented singers/musicians. Travis' Japanese friend was absolutely amazed. So cute. It was standing only and the area was packed. Almost everyone was wearing some kind of Hawaii print. A surprising number had T&C shirts or 88 tees. Manoa DNA even sang some songs in Japanese.
I stayed after because Bruce Shimabukuro was there (Jake's little brother). I thought he was going to play, but actually he was just giving a group lesson and signing autographs.
I really can't wait to go back to Hawaii. Seems like it is everyone's paradise.