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