You can set your watch by it. At 11:45 am, on the first day of the month, the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency tests the Emergency Alert System across the state by sounding a very loud siren.
I say very loud, because if you're directly beneath one of their sirens, it's very loud. In my neighborhood, however, the nearest siren is some distance away, and I don't hear the alert when it sounds.
Designed to warn the public of possible events that could damage property or threaten life, the system has always been thought of as the tsunami warning alert. But the system can be used to warn of other possible dangers.
After warning messages hit cell phones across Hawaii and other places, stating emphatically that ballistic missile(s) were inbound to Hawaii in January of 2018 (which caused a lot of panic and chaos trying to sift through 38 minutes of terror for some, disbelief for others and indifference from some). Ultimately it was a false alarm, and no audible sirens were sounded, but the State decided to add an additional siren tone for use if missiles actually ever do head towards Hawaii. Those were tested for a few months, coming immediately after the traditional tsunami siren, but were eventually ceased.
But, we still get our tsunami siren, 11:45 am, each first day of the new month. It's sometimes accompanied by radio warnings about the test. Under real conditions, you'd be instructed on the radio to move to higher grounds.
If you feel an earthquake, hear the siren, or observe the ocean's waters quickly retreating and leaving the seafloor exposed, a tsunami is very possible and extremely dangerous.
Don't mess around. Move to higher ground. Don't be drowned.
Click below to hear what it sounded like when I was next to the downtown Hilo Post Office on November 1st, 2019. In my car, you can hear the siren fading away as I left the vicinity.
It used to happen more often, when I was still talking by phone with many friends on the mainland. Over time, we speak by phone less often, but once in a while, I still get asked when chatting in the evening, "What are those birds I hear in the background?"
Those birds are frogs. Charming to some (usually people who move here) and a bane to others (usually to those who grew up here without them), the Coqui frog (Eleutherodactylus coqui Thomas) arrived in potted plants from the Caribbean in 1988.
Jungles in Hawaii used to be relatively silent at night, that is, until the little frog with the big voice arrived. Registering at 90 decibels, male frogs can be ear piercing should they chirp next to your ear. Efforts to eradicate have largely failed and they have spread across Hawaii Island and to others, in density 3 times greater than in Puerto Rico where they came from.
Seems coqui like living in Hawaii. Who doesn't? Keeping the jungle and unnecessary plants back from your home helps. But, you can usually hear them even with windows closed. The get much quieter when outside air temperatures drop into the low 60's or lower. I imagine them shivering in their hidey-holes. And, they're not as prevalent in more arid areas of the islands.
Luckily (or unluckily if you're a light sleeper), they only chirp at night. For those of us who moved here after 1988, they add an authenticity to the sounds of the jungle. And for most of us, they become background notice we tune out.
If you aren't charmed by the nightly serenade of the coqui, you can always wear ear plugs. Or mount your own eradication program.
Take a listen below. I stood in a very jungly spot the other night and recorded the frogs at close range. You'll get the idea.
Take a tour of Adam Lambert's new $6,500,000 party house in Los Angeles. I'm hoping Adam will see my post about his new home and realize he needs something comparable here in Hawaii. Adam, I'm your man! Call me!
Local music school Kunzwanana School of Music and their performing group known simply as Kunzwanana, is teaching keiki and adults the joy of music through its unique instruments and stylings with roots in Africa and other places where the music has influenced the world.
They craft their own marimbas from finely honed wood that's meticulously shaped and carved to emit notes as happens when striking a xylophone. The PVC resonator pipes hanging below deepen and give the tones a rich sound.
It brings a huge smile to my face, and you'll see that it also brings joy to the many people who encounter them. Both times I've run into them have been at Maku'u Farmers Association's Sunday farmers market. But they frequently perform around the Big Island, including places like Kukuau Studio and other festivals.
The music makes you want to get up and dance (unless you're holding a video camera -- but maybe I was just tapping my toes a little!) . The group's colorful costumes and obvious joy at making music together for the public are engaging to young and old. Lucky you if you happen upon them. Better yet, look for their schedule appearances posted on their Facebook page.
Kunzwanana School of Music
After driving 2.5 hours up to the north end of the island recently, to show a home up in Hawi, Jason and I made a swing back by Costco before heading home to East Hawaii.
The home, by the way, has a spectacular view of Maui’s north shore across the channel, only taking up a portion of an otherwise blue ocean vista. It sits on almost 3.5 acres, has a nice pool, and the home itself uses many recycled, beautiful and rustic woods from nearby century-old water tanks, and even barn siding from the mainland. The eclectic combination of various woods is truly gorgeous. If you remember fondly the home in the original Parent Trap movie, in the California foothills, you’d feel at home at this place. Let us know if you’d like more information about it.
But, back to Orange Peanut Butter. What the heck?
I enjoy a couple of dietary supplements for their purported healthy effects. Whether they actually are effective or not – well, maybe it’s like wishcraft, or the placebo effect, but I think I’m better for them.
One of those is turmeric, or Curcuma domestica. It’s purported to be a powerful, natural anti-inflammatory. Good for reducing the body’s response to certain conditions. That orange powder, ground from the root of the plant of the same name and having many other medicinal uses.
I had a guy inject himself into a conversation I was having recently, having overheard me pronounce it TOO-mer-ick. Imagine learning after all these years that it’s TUR-mer-ick, and how offensive I’ve been to people it mattered to. I could tell the fellow felt righteously vindicated when I admitted the spelling suggested he was correct. Good job!
It is grown here in Hawaii, but not on a mass scale. Believed to be brought with the earliest Polynesian explorers as they navigated the ocean to Hawaii, ‘olena is the Hawaiian name for turmeric. A pretty plant, that doesn’t often bloom.
But, back to Orange Peanut Butter, right?
Because it can be a bit of a, uh, caustic(?) flavor on its own, one that is most often used in Indian food as part of a blend of other spices, turmeric as a supplement typically comes in a capsule form so you can swallow it without gagging on its pure form. Costco, always leading the trend, has supplied me my TUR-mer-ick supplements this way, but I discovered they now carry it in a full tub of loose powder. But, how to get past the flavor if I’m not cooking up an Indian feast on a daily basis?
Peanut Butter. Finally, we’re there.
Yup, I was just as surprised as you. I figured I needed something I could consume almost daily, with it’s own potent flavor that wouldn’t be overpowered by turmeric. So, here’s my recipe I call Golden Peanut Butter (because other health foodies clued me into Golden Tea and Coffee, using the powder):
Golden Peanut Butter
2 Tablespoons of peanut butter (smooth, or chunky)
2 teaspoons of honey
1 Tablespoon of turmeric powder
Place the ingredients into a small mixing or cereal bowl. Combine with a fork till well blended. Spread it over toast, toasted bagels, or toaster waffles. Top with sliced bananas. That’s. It. I liked it! I think you might too.
Adjust the flavors as you see fit. And, then tell me what you think. Offer your own suggestions for how to use turmeric powder without cooking (hint: Smoothies? Teas? Or, rice if you don’t mind light cooking?)
Looking forward to your ideas.
Why is a realtor writing a blog about food? A few reasons, actually.
First of all, who doesn’t love food. Feed your realtor and he or she will search the ends of every rainbow in Hawaii for the perfect house for you. Well, honestly, we’ll do that even if you don’t feed us.
Second, Aloha Boy realtors Jason Larsen and I are foodies. We love puttering in the kitchen, trying out new things, putting our own spin on existing recipes, or creating our own new recipes.
Third, our broker, knowing that both Jason and I went to Le Cordon Bleu’s Culinary Arts program in Seattle, suggested that every home has one thing in common – a kitchen. And we should capitalize shamelessly on that!
So, we’re always looking out for great new restaurants, as well as good old standby’s. And I can’t believe we missed Tetsumen Tonkotsu Ramen in Hilo. It opened in April of 2018, and we wandered in on an afternoon when the place looked open, but discovered they were holding an invitation-only soft opening, to give their employees a chance to become the well-oiled machine they now are.
We forgot about them. Until a year later, when a friend from the Netherlands “discovered” the place and requested his farewell dinner there before going home.
The title of this blog post is “NOW I’m a Ramen fan.” And for good reason. Of the many places I’ve tried ramen on the Big Island, Tetsumen is the first that demonstrates they get the range of preferences people might have for their ramen. And so far, all I’ve experienced is “gummy” anywhere else.
But Just like Americans and Italians (and probably Liliputians too), some of us like our pasta al dente, and some of us prefer it absorbed full of liquid, making it a creamy conduit for all manner of sauces. And Tetsumen gets that, offering their “firm”, “regular”, and “soft” (interpreted as “al dente”, “done”, and, well, “pillowy soft”.)
The variety of ramen bowls is pretty large, and interesting. Flavor profiles include regular, shoyu, miso, curry, spicy (but not too), and a handful of others that almost everyone can enjoy. From there, you can choose additions, like cut-corn, pork belly, pork roast, butter (yep), green onion, boiled eggs, to name a few.
Finally, you’ll be asked if garlic is ok (DUH!), and whether you want yours with loads of pork fat or just a little. Personally, I found “just a little” to be “just enough.” And being a little cheeky, I have to say if you’re a Vampire Jew It Sucks To Be You! (yeah, don’t jump all down my throat – I’d LOVE to sell a house to a Vampire -- Jewish or not), and anyone else too!) We’ll make real Bloody Mary’s at your house warming.
There’s a lot to love about Tetsumen. Including many other non-ramen, non-pork, non-garlic dishes that anyone can find pleasure and not feel left out. It’s flavorful, varied, and you’re highly unlikely to leave unsated. The restaurant is small, decorated in a way you’d expect to see in Tokyo, colorful, comfortable and accommodating to singles, couples, and groups at family style tables.
People are giving rave reviews of this place. On my most recent visit, the owner stood on the sidewalk outside the restaurant, wearing his Japanese Geta shoes, and welcomed me to my front row parking spot! I didn’t understand a word of his greeting, but it was fun to arrive the clop-clop-clop sound of his shoes on the sidewalk and holding open the door.
Go soon. Just get there. Go on with ya, now.
Located in: Manono Street Marketplace
Address: 697 Manono St suite 103, Hilo, HI 96720
Hours: Daily, 11 AM to 9 PM
Phone: (808) 934-0516
www.Tetsumen.com (translated to English)
Making your own homemade syrup is as close as the crisper in your refrigerator. Here’s a very simple recipe that tastes very gourmet.
Courtesy of Chef Jeff Calley © 2012
2 tangelos, juiced and zested
1/2 cup brown sugar
1” piece of fresh ginger root, peeled, juice only
1/8 teaspoon cinnamon, powdered
4 tablespoons butter
1 banana, in 1/2” slices
Put the tangelo juice in a small sauce pan and simmer over low-medium heat for 5 minutes. Add the remaining ingredients (including the tangelo zest) except for the banana and continue cooking till the sugar has dissolved. Add the bananas and heat another minute.
Serve hot, over waffles, French toast, pancakes, or even ice cream.
Have you got a great recipe, cooking tip or food story to share? Email us and we might just share them with everyone else out there.
Jeff Calley is a Realtor® in East Hawaii, whose background also includes work and management in varied industries, such as travel and tourism, electrical contracting, health care, and on-air broadcast, producing and content management for radio stations in Seattle and Palm Springs. During a sabbatical he took in 2009, he drove (literally) around the USA before undertaking a full curriculum at Le Cordon Bleu, graduating with top honors at the end of the year. When he's not helping people realize their real estate goals, he keeps busy with website management for AlohaBoysProperties.com as well as other websites. And if there's enough time left over, he photographs and makes video content for real estate websites and Multiple Listing Services. He's presently working on acquiring his commercial drone pilot's license (though he finds it funny that his helicopter pilot's license doesn't qualify!)