The Conversation: Restaurants, Art and Citizenship in Chinatown

Nov 13, 2020

Restaurants, art and citizenship in Chinatown; Papa Kurt’s; CEO of Citizen University; Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board; Taiji Terasaki; Donkey Mill Art Center; Scaled Down Thanksgiving Ideas


Restaurants, art and citizenship in Chinatown

Did you get your $500 Hawai'i Restaurant debit card? More than 90% of those cards sent to Hawai'i's unemployed have been activated. And more than half the $58 million originally loaded onto the cards has been spent. Hawaii Restaurant Association Executive Director Sheryl Matsuoka says the action on those cards may incentivize more restaurants to change them.


Papa Kurt’s

You've seen restaurants actually open during the pandemic, right? Istanbul in Kaka'ako, Sarithra South Indian on Kapi'olani. Noods and Brick Fire Tavern opened in Ka'imuki along with the new Miro Kaimuki, opened by celebrated chef Chris Kajioka. Opened then closed, then opened. I stopped by the former St. Louis Clubhouse on Isenberg the other day to talk with chef Chris about his new project, Papa Kurt's, Kurt being Kajioka's legendary mentor, Kurt Hirabara of Hirabara Farms. Sitting there in the familiar clubhouse, I just asked Chris how he sees himself these days.

CEO of Citizen University

Eric Liu is Co-founder and CEO of Citizen University, based in Seattle. He directs a citizenship program at the Aspen Institute and his TED talk on why ordinary people need to understand power, charts over two million views. I got a chance to talk with Mr. Liu after last week's election.


Downtown-Chinatown Neighborhood Board

Coming off a big election week, we voted, what else do citizens do? Have you been to a public meeting lately? Update: Downtown–Chinatown Neighborhood Board № 13 now has two open seats to be filled during its upcoming meeting on 3 December 2020.


Taiji Terasaki

Artist, philanthropist Taiji Terasaki has been moving fast since his first public exhibition in 2017. Last year, he staged Transcendients in a long tent across the Honolulu Museum at Thomas Square. Viewers walked through an environment of mist, projections, and posters with historical and inspirational text. A related show now in Los Angeles highlights their local heroes at the Mexico border. I visited Taiji in his Wailupe studio, where assistants are working on print, digital, video, and other aspects of his most recent project, 100 Days of Covid.

Link to Taiji Terasaki's website

Donkey Mill Art Center

During the blazing days of summer, Donkey Mill Art Center in Holualoa offered cold somen recipes and ceramic bowls to slurp cool noodles from. Some bowls are still available online as the busy art center on the Kona side of Hawai'i island moves into Fall. Executive Director, Maja Clark started there two years ago and just one year ago, Mina Elison was hired as Curator. These two are adding capacity to what has been a family operation started by artist Hiroki Morinoue. Hiroki is a coffee farmer, born and raised in the Kona coffee tradition. Maja and Mina say the center has been growing, yes, and looking inward.


Scaled-Down Thanksgiving Ideas

When you think about Thanksgiving last year, and every year prior, it begins to hit you - the new world we've stepped into. We're not going to be gathering with family and friends. We can't shop like we used to, who's going to eat the food? Is this the year we give up cooking? Or maybe just make a chicken. You're probably vegan or vegetarian by now anyway. I had to consult Kapiolani Community College chef instructor your friend and mine Grant Sato on this.