Time moves fast in the Aloha State and my six days in Hawaii are over all too soon and tomorrow morning I will fly on to Los Angeles. More than any other place this year I am actually sad to leave Hawaii – I guess this only means that I have to come back one day.
This weekend there was a big celebration of 30th Pan-Pacific Festival, and although there were indeed also some performers from Mexico and Guatemala, it was in all honesty a full-blown Japanese matsuri. On Friday night, the main drag was closed to traffic and there was a taiko (Japanese drumming) group every hundred meters. The whole town was full of old Japanese ladies in kimonos and young Japanese women with small black Chanel paper bags, you can hear Japanese spoken everywhere and in Waikiki most of places seem to accept yens alongside of dollars – in many ways it really does look more like Japan than America. This also had me reconsider what I knew about Pearl Harbour – I now have a feeling that there was quite a bit more behind that attack than simply trying to deter the US Naval Forces interfering with Japanese conquest of Indonesia and Malay. Even though Hawaii has been a US State since 1959, japanese seem to still consider it very much their home turf. So in that sense, having their own country apparently never was an option for hawaiians – it was probably simply a choice between being Japanese or American colony.
The surfing was great fun and apart from one day for my knees to recover a bit I’ve been in waves every morning for several hours. Although pretty tough physically, it was quite a bit easier than I initially thought to get up and riding. However, riding well is another matter. Yesterday I finally caught a wave pure for the first time and it was truly great sensation – if you manage to get on the wave right at the moment when it breaks it almost feels as if somebody is throwing you down and forward.
But just a while later I got taught some respect when I was a little late in my paddling and couldn’t get the board straight, but instead of giving the wave up still decided to try and force my way into it. Before I could realise what just happened I was hurled underwater, a gallon of saltwater being injected through my nostrils down my throat, with my board flying somewhere high above the wave and pulling my right leg on a leash. Six hours later, walking on a street, I was still coughing up salty water. And this was a baby wave, maybe about 1.2-1.5m high. If you want to get an idea of the punishment that people take on REAL waves then check out the clip below:
I will probably stay in LA until the end of the week. This means skipping Las Vegas for this time and going straight back to the East Coast by the weekend – where I will then spend the next six weeks in Cornell Summer School.