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Maui Matsuri 2015: Don’t Miss It!

MM festival FOR WEB

    The Maui Matsuri is a 3-day event that is dedicated to preserving and perpetuating Japanese culture on Maui. “Matsuri” means “Japanese festival,” and the Maui Matsuri incorporates some of the most notable cultural exhibits, educational activities, entertainment and food in order to bring the community together to celebrate Japanese-American history, heritage and culture on Maui. The event is produced for the public by a volunteer team, and admission is free.
    The official theme of this year’s festival is “on” or debt of gratitude to others. An artistic rendering of the “on” theme is depicted below, which will be the official design on this year’s festival t-shirt. The artwork was designed by Artist Jonathan Yukio Clark. He chose to include the crane in his design, as it is prominently featured in the Japanese story “Tsuru No Onagaeshi,” which tells of a crane weaving cloth from its own feathers as a way to show its gratitude to a man who rescued it.

Maui Matsuri 2015 design

    The 2015 Maui Matsuri festivities will begin on Friday, May 8 for the kickoff event, featuring karate, taiko, bon odori (bon dance) practice, coloring contest, appearance by Hello Kitty, and more from 6:30 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at Queen Ka’ahumanu Mall center stage. The kickoff event is sponsored in part by Araki-Regan & Associates, LLC.

Hello Kitty FOR WEB

    The festivities continue the following weekend. On Friday, May 15, there will be a movie night from 7:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College student center (Pilina Building). This year for movie night, Kikaida キカイダー the superhero is back! Join us for the Maui premier of the full-length feature film “Kikaider Reboot” that will feature the Maui on-screen debut of the superhero along with his friends and arch-rivals with modern sci-fi action and visual effects. “Kikaider Reboot” is 110 minutes, not rated, and subtitled in English. The movie is distributed by JN Productions, Inc. and brought to you in part by Seki’s Machine Works. Check out the official trailer below!

    On Saturday, May 16 will be the 15th Annual Maui Matsuri festival from 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m. at the University of Hawaii – Maui College main courtyard, presented by the Japanese Cultural Society of Maui. Thousands of people attend the festival each year, because it is simply THAT good! And we couldn’t do it without our major supporters and sponsors: County of Maui, Hawaii Tourism Authority, IBEW – Local Union 1186, Island Honda, Maui Taiko and UH – Maui College.

Here are my top 5 reasons not to miss this year’s festival:

      • YUMMY FOOD! Yes, really yummy local Japanese food. Just imagine starting off with a delicious musubi, followed by a mouthwatering bento and some of the best chow fun on the island, and then savoring a taste of some nishime, curry stew, and edamame rice. Don’t forget to leave room for dessert: andagi, shave ice and Uncle Lani’s famous poi mochi. Where else can you enjoy all of these delectable dishes conveniently in one place? At the Maui Matsuri!

Bento FOR WEB1

      • LIVE ENTERTAINMENT, DEMONSTRATIONS & DANCING! From taiko to bon dancing (Japanese group dancing), this is one festival attraction you don’t want to miss! You will be awed by performances of Edo Kotobuki Jishi (traditional lion dance from Old Tokyo) by Oahu special guest Kenny Endo and the Taiko Center of the Pacific. Endo is a leading artist in contemporary percussion and rhythm. Endo was even recorded in motion capture suit and featured in the movie “Avatar” as well as in soundtracks for films such as “Picture Bride” and “Apocolypse Now.” You can catch him and his group at the entertainment stage at 4:30 p.m. Then, head over to the demonstration area at 4:50 p.m. to check out the Maui Karate Association, as they thrill the crowd with their skills and mastery of karate. Hold on… during all the excitement, did you miss Kenny Endo and his group perform? No problem! They will be doing an encore of their performance at the entertainment stage again at 6:30 p.m. Then, wind down the night by joining the crowd for a little bon dancing around 7:30 p.m.

Lion Dance FOR WEB


      • EXCITING CONTESTS! Enter our contests… or just watch other people compete for prizes and bragging rights in this year’s contests! This year we will have the following contests: eating (natto and saimin), hanafuda/sakura (Japanese card game), cosplay (costume), video-gaming, and manga (Japanese comic cartoon or anime) and art drawing.


      • MANY WAYS TO KEEP YOUR KIDS OCCUPIED! If you are looking for fun for the entire family, this is the right place! The kids will enjoy a variety of activities, while the adults can join in the fun or simply take a moment to relax while enjoying a cup of refreshing shave ice. You will be happy to hear that we are providing something NEW to entertain your kids this year: kids games! Purchase scrips, so your kids can play games and win prizes! We are also continuing to offer the Kodomo (Children’s) Corner with free arts and crafts.
      • AN OPPORTUNITY TO BUY LOCAL & SUPPORT LOCAL! Meet local artists, crafters and vendors, and cultural exhibitors, many of whom represent local businesses and feature Made in Maui or Made in Hawaii products. Buy some really neat products, or stop by a cultural exhibit table where you can partake in activities such as: arranging your own floral, take-home souvenir using what is found in nature.
            For more information on the Maui Matsuri, please visit our website: We are also on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, and the official hashtag for the event is #mauimatsuri. There will be 2 Instagram contests this year, and the winners will receive free festival t-shirts, so please be sure to like/follow Maui Matsuri on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter to get all the contest announcements.
            Kashiko (sincerely yours),
            Traci Giordano Silva

Silva Gang

              About the Guest Blogger: Traci Giordano Silva is a freelance graphic artist, writer & social media strategist. She is the director of public relations, marketing & social media for: Fukumoto Engineering, Maui Matsuri, Soroptimist International of Maui & Soroptimist Founder Region. Silva is also a blogger & the creator of “Life on a Silva Platter,” a whimsical blog focused on finding humor in life’s quirks. She lives on Maui with her husband Mike & their “kids” (pet cats & dogs). She loves making new friends in her many adventures & enjoys giving back to the community.

Top 10 Made-on-Maui Valentine’s Gift Idea


Yes! The holiday rush is finally over.  No more racking your brain deciding what to get your loved ones for Christmas. No more late night online searching for the best deals. No more dragging yourself up-and-down the isles of the store searching for just the right gift.

Oh wait! Isn’t Valentine’s Day fast approaching?! Here we go again…more shopping. They’ve already got what they’d asked for at Christmas and you’ve done all the typical Valentine’s gifts in the years past. Now you want something other then store bought chocolate boxes or flower arrangements. Well, search no more. Here are 10 Maui-made gift ideas you may never have thought of:

1. Surprise! Have your (cup)cake and free delivery too.

Have you ever had someone send you a gift? Remember that excited feeling of surprise. Imagine your loved ones delight when you send them a box of cupcakes for Valentine’s Day. That’s right, Maui has cupcake delivery from Cupcake Ladies Catering Co. Get their Valentine’s Special of half a dozen red velvet cupcakes for $22.50 or two boxes for $43. Best of all…they are offering FREE delivery for this holiday.

 Cupcake Maui

2. Custom made and totally cute.

Does your Valentine love things that are tiny and totally cute? Order custom cakepops on Maui from Cakepops By Liz. Think of a favorite movie or something that represents your Valentine and make a request. Having a gift custom made can really make a person feel special. Prices start at $20 per dozen and vary depending on size and packaging selection. Contact the talented and creative Liz at

cakepops by liz

3. No more store bought boxes of chocolate!

 I know, I know. I said no more store bought boxes of chocolate, but this is different. These chocolates are made on Maui by Master Chocolatier Melanie Boudar. Her chocolates are award winning and feature flavors like the Lava Sea Salt Caramels. Boxes of chocolates range from $5 for a two-piece box to $175 for their largest box. Visit her boutique at the Wailea Gateway Center or online at

 4. Are you coco-nutty for your buddy?

 Maui Macaroons are the islands most amazing coconut cookies. Is your Valentine a coconut lover? Whether or not they love coconut, you must try this Maui-made cookie. I’ll bet you didn’t even know they have a shop in central Wailuku. They range from $7 for a quarter pound to $21 for a full pound. The cool thing about the Maui Macaroons & Artisan Market is that they are a treasure trove of other various Maui made products. Visit them to see what you may discover.


5. Is that bacon on my cookie?!

If you got a bacon lover for a lover, they will squeal over the Bacon-nator Cookies from The Maui Cookie Lady. The best part is they are so huge you may only need one to satisfy any sweet tooth. Since they are $4 dollars each, you won’t be breaking the piggy bank either.

Various flavors are also available at the Maui Ocean Treasures gift shop. Open 9am-5pm daily, Aquarium admission not required to shop.

6. Enough with the sweets already!

 Something that looks sweet but is not to eat, is Moko Pua Soap Factory’s Tropical Sachets. These fragrance beads last for a year or longer. They come in nine tropical scents and colors. Combine them any way you like. A combination of red, yellow, green for your hunny’s gym bag perhaps. At $7 a bag you could get one for your Valentine’s bedrooms, car, closets, desk, nightstand, and underwear drawer too. Visit their soap factory at the Maui Tropical Plantation or order online at

7. Valentine’s for the kiddos

Wrapped in a sweet story of love for his daughter, this local Dad began Maui Dad Apparel – a small family business offering infant and toddler apparel. Each item features his own drawings inspired by his baby and life here. They are screen-printed by hand on Maui. Also, they are guaranteed sweatshop and child-labor free. They range from $26-$28. Visit and various stores listed on their website.


8. For the Fashionista

Does your Valentine express themselves through fashion? Love, love, love Kealopiko’s clutch purses. Thoughtful, local, and inspiring. They are made of light canvas and upcycled scraps from their other projects. The material is hand dyed and printed on Molokai making each bag a unique and one of a kind creation. They won’t hurt your wallet either at around $30 each.

9. Bangle’s are her best friend

This list would not be complete without jewelry. Inspired by our ocean and her travels, Kammi’s designs are hand-crafted into beautiful jewelry right here on Maui. Please your Valentine’s inner girly-girl with the Honi Honi Bangle. It is a delicate piece with two hearts and a cone shell in sterling sliver for $80 or in 14k goldfill for $90.

10. Our dogs deserve some love too don’t they?

Maui Dog Treats creates healthy treats for our canine ‘ohana. They’re sold at various places throughout the island. Love that they offer free shipping so we can send some to our friends and family in the mainland too. If your Valentine loves their pup (maybe more than you) they will howl in excitement for the Pup Treat Lei. It’s such a unique gift and only $9 for the small and $14 for the large.


Please feel free to share this post to your loved ones, family and friends.  

Share aloha, live aloha! A hui hou!


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