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Return to Oahu After Almost 9 Years and Ending This Adventure

This was the beginning of my trip. I graduated from the University of Hawai’i at Manoa, moved out of my apartment in Manoa, said goodbye to my sweet landlady Mrs. Arizumi and then I stayed in a Waikiki hotel before flying to Portland, Oregon. This was the end of my trip. I arrived back on Oahu, rented a car, and then I drove to the SGI culture center on the Nuuanu Pali Highway where I chanted Nam Myoho Renghe Kyo in gratitude for returning home and the completion of my adventure. After that I drove to Kailua on the windward side and went directly to Ninja Sushi where I ordered the meal that I’ve thought about constantly but not had since 2008. A Shogun Dunburi from Ninja Sushi. 
It was as delicious as I remembered. The years had not magnified it. I was not disappointed.
I ate every bite.
I drove through my old neighborhood near Kalama Beach Park and could not find the studio I used to live in. There were lots of new expensive houses. I had thought that perhaps I would move my family to Kailua when I bring them to Oahu in a few weeks – but Kailua seems to have moved out of our economic range for the moment. Still, I stopped at my favorite beach park in the world and bodysurfed a dozen waves before sitting on the sand and staring out at the Mokulua Islands in rapture.

I looked through Kailua a bit noting that Kimo’s Surf Hut still survived but had been moved because a shopping center had gone up filling that block. Daiea – the Korean Superstore had disappeared – replaced by Target and Safeway. Others loved businesses had also disappeared…but there were new ones. Then I drove around the South Shore of the Island with Hawaiian myth, story, legend, geography, and more flooding into my brain. All that I used to share as a tour guide started to return as I passed Pele’s chair, Rabbit Island, Makapu’u, and Koko head. I was hit hard with memories of my epic walk around the perimeter of Oahu as I saw familiar stones, heaiau, and landscapes. I drove to Waikiki, remembering the traffic, the roads, and the feel. One sad note – I saw far fewer people stopping to let pedestrians cross traffic than I used to. Especially in Kailua where people seemed surprised as I let them cross and an impatient driver even honked at me. My hotel, the Waikiki Ambassador was a fake internet bargain. Comfy bed and pillows but a concrete box with 1980s furniture and no real comfort. It was on the opposite end of Waikiki from where I began at the now no longer named Queen Liliuokalani.

I drove to Manoa and visited Mrs. Arizumi and her daughter Clare and her little dog Choo-choo. Mrs. Arizumi must be near a hundred now – maybe older, I don’t know. She is still sweet and I was hugged and welcomed back like a part of their Ohana. After this I returned to Waikiki and took a long walk. Being a person who doesn’t enjoy crowds or shopping, I shouldn’t love Waikiki, but I do. My whole heart does. This is home. As I stood by a favorite Niu next to the jetty I leaned against it and I swear this old coconut tree was happy to feel me leaning against it again. The waves were welcoming me home and the sunset kissed me and welcomed me home. Yes, I am home and after looking all over the world – I know for certain that Hawai’i is the best place in it. This adventure has come to an end.

And now, today, a new adventure begins.

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Damitio  (@vagodamitio) is the Editor-in-Chief for Vagobond. Life is good. You can also find him on Google+ and at Facebook