Oahu in Photographs, April 2009

That's me, scuba diving! Breathing! Underwater! Like a mermaid!

There were some really great moments in between these shots, like on Lanikai beach there was a kid snorkeling and we heard him squeal "SEA TURTLE" and we saw the massive shadow of its flippers (are they called flippers?) gliding along the coast, not twenty feet from the sand, and I couldn't take my eyes off of it for a second even to grab the camera from my bag.

Or when we visited Shirokiya, a mini-Japanese mall with an entire half of the floor dedicated to hot Japanese food. I'm talking bento box after bento box. Okonomiyake and takoyaki. Mochi and dozens of tsukemono, even the one with squid and yellow maguro. I was much too busy fighting the tears to pull out my camera to remember this moment of bliss. The joy of being suddenly and unexpectedly surrounded by my Japanese culture and having it so close yet so far was overwhelming. More non-Japanese people here spoke Japanese than in my 4 years of Japanese class in high school. It was awesome.

Or the night we were walking the streets of downtown Waikiki after a great meal at Gyu-kaku (photo of the Japanese grill above) and watched the talented street artists sketching the faces of the tourists in different styles; a caricature of a little boy who couldn't stand still, or the slow charcoal drawing of the girl who made the poor choice to smile.

And I didn't have enough memory in the only card I brought to capture all the little things "Hawaiian" that we don't have here in California, or anywhere else for that matter. The open patio of the restaurant that brought in small birds with the gusts of wind, the trees and flowers that belong in a botanical garden, the clouds that took permanent residence atop the mountain line. And to think that we only visited the most touristy island of Hawai'i. I can't wait to visit the others.