Lei Day for Japan Rocked!


Keali’i Reichel

I finally got around to organizing my pictures and clips of the Lei Day for Japan event held in Honolulu on May 1st, 2011. A big mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines for organizing and sponsoring this event. And an equally big mahalo to all the entertainers, chefs and volunteers who donated their time to make this event a smashing success. 1,500 people attended and over $200,000 was raised in this top-notch affair. As you can see by the camera angle in pictures and video clips below, we were fortunate enough to have front row seats. (Just wish we had a better camera!) Toward the end of this post is a clip of Jake Shimabukuro with his mom doing an impromptu performance. It was a hoot! (We’ll follow up with his other performances in future posts.)

But let’s start with some pictures of the food and give lots of credit to the chefs who volunteered their time and resources to make this event a success. (Check out the “credits” at the end.) In the meantime, here’s a sampling of food we were served:

Ono Food!

Almost too pretty to eat. Almost.

Last but not least…

Patrick Makuakane (featuring Na Lei Hulu I Ka Wekiu)

Natalie Ai Kamauu

Check out this live clip of Jake Shimabukuro with his mom:

Chef’s who graciously volunteered their time:


Kevin Hanny, 12th Ave Grill

Alan Wong, Alan Wong’s

John Matusbara, Azure

Rodney Uehara, Beachhouse at Moana Surfrider

Cyrus Goo, Cafe Laufer

Chai Chaowasaree, Chai’s Island Bistro

George Mavrothalassitis, Chef Mavro’s

DK Kodama, DK’s Steak and Sansei Seafood

Matt Nelson, Don Ho’s Island Grill

Lawtene Angelias, Eggs’n Things

Aldo Romero, Gate Gourmet

Glenn Chu, Indigo

JJ Luangkhot, JJ Bistro and French Pastry

Colin Hazama, Kauai Grill Culinary Concepts by Jean-Goerges

Alan Takasaki, Le Bistro

Marc Anthony Freiberg, Mariposa at Neiman Marcus

Eberhard Kintscher, Michel’s at the Colony Surf

Masaharu Morimoto, Morimoto Waikiki

Andy Degamo, Morton’s The Steakhouse

BethAn Nishijima, Nori’s

Fred DeAngelo, Ola at the Turtle Bay Resort

ERic Leterc, The Pacific Club

Elmer Guzman, Poke Stop

Roy Yamaguchi, Roy’s

Leighton Miyakawa, Ruth’s Chris Steak House

Bryan Ashlock, Sheraton Maui Resort and Spa

Colin Nishida, Side Street Inn

Joy Chaowasaree, Singha Thai Cuisine

Goran Streng, Tango Contemporary Cafe

Chuck Furuya, Master Sommelier and Manager of Vino and Hiroshi’s

Copyright © Tim Sullivan 2011

2 responses to “Lei Day for Japan Rocked!

  1. Richard Velazquez

    Sincere congratulations and Mahalo to those who initiated and spent time planning, coordinating and putting this magnificent charity event together. Mahalo to the event hosts, guest talent performances, Chef Chai and of course all the restaurants and chefs who took time to make this a success. A special mahalo to Hawaiian Airlines who is involved in every aspect of our community and to their volunteers who clearly made a difference. I know there are many more who contributed and these pictures remind me how proud I am to live in Hawaii . Well done.

  2. Thanks for commenting, Richard san. Chai is too humble to toot his own horn so thank you for doing it for him! He worked really hard, a lot of it behind the scenes, all out of the goodness of his heart. As far as Hawaiian Airlines is concerned, as I said in the previous post, I’m so proud to be associated with them. The Lei Day for Japan event truly reflects what a classy organization they are.

    The outpouring of aloha from Hawaii to Japan has touched our hearts. We also feel a sense of pride being part of Hawaii’s beautiful aloha culture.

    I know Japan appreciates the goodwill pouring in from around the world, but I also think it took them by surprise; they seemed unaware of how much status and respect Japan has gained in the world, especially over the past 40 years. (The world’s outpouring of goodwill is irrefutable evidence of this.) My hope is that goodwill from around the world will open more Japanese hearts and minds to engaging the world on a deeper level. In the end I truly believe this tragedy will bring Hawaii and Japan even closer together.

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