You Would Never See This Happen in Honolulu!

By LHS Contributor Jodilyn K.

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L-R:  Kei-K Kunimoto, Anna Oda, Cas DeMattos

These three young women (soon to be high school freshman) from Hilo qualified for what is referred to as the West Zone Tennis Team Championships.   Six boys and six girls make up the Hawaii Pacific Team in each specific age groups, this one being the 14-year-old age group.  Only the state’s top-ranked junior players are invited to participate in this summer mainland team competition.  It is rather remarkable that out of the six girls who made the team, three are from what many consider “the Goliath” of a tennis team program (a.k.a. Punahou School in Honolulu), and three are from what I would refer to as the  “David” of a home-grown tennis program in Hilo, (Randy’s Tennis).   Yet, despite how incredible this is, it isn’t why I asked Anne if I could make a contribution to the Living Hilo Style blog.

It is to share the responses my husband Keith received when he casually texts three adult members in the tennis community for their time to help the girls get some tournament preparation and practice.  With little to no hesitation, all say “of course,” “absolutely,” and “yes!”

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Rachel Sugiyama, Jason Cifra, Anna, Cas, Kei-K, Karl Sunagawa

For those of you who have lived here all your lives, this may be of no surprise, but I transplanted from Honolulu 11 years ago, and these gestures of people being this nice here, still blow me away.  People being willing to help, at the drop of a hat, without any expectation of anything in return.  You would rarely see this happen in Honolulu. 

One of my first encounters with this culture of genuine kindness was when I first moved to Hilo from Honolulu in 2005.  My daughter was 3, and we were walking around Prince Kuhio Plaza.  We came across an older gentleman who was passing out candy to all the kids passing by him.  He gave one to my daughter, and being from Honolulu, I was cautious about her receiving it.

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Tai Sun “Suka” “Candyman” Chung with granddaughter.

I went home that evening, describing the situation with my Hilo in-laws, and they were quick to tell me he was the “Candyman” and who he really was (the late Tai Sun “Suka” Chung, who also turns out to be father-in-law of Anne) and how he does that for kids (and adults).  I think how can anyone be that nice? Hilo has their own Candy Man.   You would never see this happen in Honolulu.

 

Another only-in-Hilo experience, I was once parallel parked near Lincoln Park.  While at the park, I noticed a security officer looking around my car where I was parked.  I was curious to see why that was, thinking again like someone from Honolulu, that I was illegally parked or did something wrong.  The officer looked at me, and in a gentle manner, asked me, “Is this your car?”  I replied hesitantly, “Yeah, why? Is something wrong?”  He pauses for a while and I am thinking the worst and waiting.  He then replies slowly, “The parking lines are going to be repainted today and we don’t want to get paint on your tires, so do you mind moving your car?”  I am shocked for a moment and don’t know what to say, for did he just ASK me if I minded if I would move my car?  I must have looked like I did not believe what he said, for he continued to shock me even more by saying, “If you don’t want to move it, I can always move it for you.”  Seriously?!  By then, I was in tears from his kindness.  Again, you would never see this happen in Honolulu.  

I can describe countless experiences of people in Hilo and the Big Island being genuinely super nice in the last 11 years since moving here, with the example above regarding the tennis practice, being most recent.  I keep thinking there is something in our water.   Of course, it isn’t always so, but I believe and thank goodness, there are more genuinely kind people here than not.  No ulterior motives, just “Living Hilo Style.”   e malama pono.  

Author’s Note:  Author does not mean to imply that Honolulu doesn’t have any nice people.  She indicates there are many Hawai’i island people who live there now.😉

Editor’s Note: Living Hilo Style agrees with author’s note.  We do know lots of Honolulu people who are very nice and who go out of their way to help their community.  We theorize that we hear more about the Hilo experiences because we are a small town with an amazing tightly-knit community. We love living in Hilo.  If you have stories you’d like to share on our Living Hilo Style blog, please reach out to us so we can share more Living Hilo Style awesomeness with our readers.

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