Friday, May 28, 2010

Chinese Chamber of Commerce Banquet

I was asked to join a dinner that was at Empress Restaurant in the Chinese Cultural Center last night.  When I was invited, I didn't really know what I was going to.  As far as I knew, I was going to meet, interact with & provide Japanese translation for the 2 cooks that are here to train for the opening of their Shibuya L&L Hawaiian Barbecue Restaurant. 

I showed up at about 6p to see the parking lot was getting jam packed & there was a "special event" parking rate rather than the usual hourly rate.  I found a parking almost all the way at the top. 

As I approached the restaurant entry, I noticed the KHON2 news crew was there interviewing several men in suits & lots of leis!  I began to wonder what this dinner was for.  Here I was wearing a casual Tori Richard "Aloha Wear" & khakis looking at all these guys that appeared to be celebrating a special event.  I looked in the entry & saw a poster board with table assignments.  Hehe Eddie just told me to ask for the 2 L&L tables.  I thought he just reserved 2 tables in the restaurant, not expecting to see a chart with a whole bunch of tables reserved by respective groups.  I quickly saw which 2 tables were the ones I was supposed to get to.

The next dilemma was at the entry all the men in suits & leis were at the door to greet everyone walking in.  Well I obviously over heard others enter & say congratulations to them as they introduced themselves.  Still I didn't know what they were being congratulated for.  I had to just go in & wing it.  :p I introduced myself & congratulated them as I met & shook each of their hands.  (Now that I do know... Congratulations!  Really...  ;-) )

Anyway, I found my table & was seated as expected with the cooks from Japan.  This is where I also found the banquet program & the profiles of the people being honored.  I was at the "Installation Banquet" of the new officers in the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii.

The Narcissus Queen & her court were present as the banquet began with a loud drumming & lion dance.

The Governor spoke for a few minutes acknowledging how important the relationship between China & Hawaii is for the economy.  She kept it brief because she knew everyone wanted dinner to be served.

The dinner was several courses, but it started out with a dish of chicken, char siu & a surprise.  I wasn't sure what the surprises were & neither did the Japanese cooks.  It was my first experience eating pig's feet & sea cucumbers!  They both were delicious!  The sea cucumbers seemed like I was eating very big jelly fish.  The Japanese cooks & I thought it resembled jelly fish, but it was so big.  Then Raymond, the L&L chef informed me that it was sea cucumber.  Anyway, it was good!  More sea cucumbers for me please... 

In 1 of my photos I see I actually caught a shot of Prosecutor Peter Carlisle's back.  He was dressed in a slick Chinese outfit that was black with a red dragon on the back.  All those criminals better not mess with him!  He looked ready to prosecute anyone Kung Fu Theatre style.  Forget a trial! 

Well that was quite a dinner & ceremony.  I really enjoyed it.  To the new Shibuya L&L cooks, "Andy" & "Tiger" (the nicknames given to them by the Hawaii cooks because they weren't able to pronounce Ando or Takuya), good luck with your grand opening & new jobs!  Congratulations to all the new officers of the Chinese Chamber of Commerce of Hawaii! 

Sent via Nexus One Mobile.
Rick Nakama (R) GRI SFR SRES
808.382.6761 M

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