Okinawan Festival 2013: Choke Chicken, Avoiding Traffic, and Shoe Pick-ups

I just went on a vacation during which I spent three days at Disney Land with the former Lynnette Pascua, so today technically can’t qualify for “longest day ever” consideration, but I feel like it might belong in the tier just below it.

There's a pretty good chance Matty and I had something to do with your chicken sticks.

There’s a pretty good chance Matty and I had something to do with your chicken sticks.

I know it doesn't look like it in this picture, but I was really excited to see her at the end of my shift.

I know it doesn’t look like it in this picture, but I was really excited to see her at the end of my shift.

Every Labor Day Weekend, my family and other members of the Nakagusuku softball team cook rice for three hours in support of the Okinawan Festival at Kapiolani Park. We all got a pass last year because of Matty and Tanya’s wedding. Despite my best efforts to persuade Matty and Tanya to throw some kind of one year anniversary extravaganza that would get us out of cooking rice, we were pressed into service again.

Matty and were drafted to cook the yakitori chicken sticks and the shoyu pork this year. Basically, we lived our lives a quarter-hour at a time, wheeling out the chicken cabinet from the freezer, loading the ovens with trays, pulling the trays, moving the cooked chicken to an adjacent room, and repeating those steps about 2.1 billion times. It was actually more fun than cooking the rice, because the chicken is steadier. Cooking the rice is standing around for 20 minutes or so, then busting ass for 30 because you’ve got to remove the cooked trays, bag the rice, put them on a cart, wash the pans, wash the rice, then reload the cookers. It isn’t to say that Matty and I didn’t have down time; we talked a lot about baseball and frequently checked to see if my picks covered this weekend (they did not).

At the end of my shift, I heard Madison’s voice shout “Daddy!” She had an andagi in her hand. “Here, Uncle Matty, this is for you,” she said. She held it out to him. “I took a little bite, but you can finish it,” she said. Uncle Matty did not object. He never does.

Letting the andadog settle in the stomach.

Letting the andadog settle in the stomach.

"Asian Giiiiiiiirl!" -Aunty Tanz

“Asian Giiiiiiiirl!” -Aunty Tanz

We walked from Jefferson Elementary to Kapiolani Park after my shift. My feet were pretty sore, but we had $30 worth of scrips burning a hole in Lynnette’s purse. We picked up a late lunch: andadog for Mad and I, sushi for Lynnette. It felt so nice to sit under the shade of a tree as the trade winds jogged past me. I may have eaten my andadog, it happened so fast, I don’t know for sure.

Before long, we were seated in a circle around a paper bag of empty food containers. We went through the formality of resting so that we could digest, then headed out to explore the area. As usual, we headed for the area meant for children. The going rate for the wristband which would have allowed Madison unlimited time in several bouncers was $20. Pass. We instead took her to the tents where simple games were set up. The games are always the same, but Madison never seems to mind. She hunted for snakes, spun a wheel, fished for plastic animals, and – most notably – whipped plastic rings at soda bottles overhand. It was a sight. She earned a glow-in-the-dark wand and a paper fan for her troubles.

With the games in the rearview, Lynnette and I split the remainder of our tickets. I got in the shave ice (an absolute necessity on a hot day) line and Lynnette and Mad wandered through the country store for Ramune and candy. “This is not good shave ice,” I said. “I could have told you that,” Lynnette said. “It’s a slight step above crushed ice from the fridge with syrup on it,” I said. “I could have told you that,” Lynnette said. “I still would have bought it, yeah?” I said. “Yup,” Lynnette said.

Standing in lines for shoes, addictive like lines of coke. Or cans of Coke.

Standing in lines for
shoes, addictive like lines of
coke. Or cans of Coke.

Ala Moana needs people movers like at the airport.

Ala Moana needs people movers like at the airport.

We were walking back to our car when my brother and cousin called in with the same message: H1 West down to one lane. We talked about our options on the rest of the walk to the car. It would be slow, but it wasn’t a work day. Maybe we could beat the rush. We could just hang out in town. My feet were sore. We weren’t hungry for dinner yet. Kicks Hawaii has a sale.

We got to Kicks at about 4:30 and there were a lot of shoes on sale, but far less than pictured earlier in the week. I no longer frequent Kicks like I did pre-marriage, pre-mortgage, pre-fatherhood, so it’s always a nice guilt/nostalgia trip. I got a pair of Lunar Chenchukkas for $50. I like them, and they were one of the few shoes left in my size. I miss being a size 10. And that’ll be it until Christmas at the earliest.

Despite having already walked through Ala Moana while I was cooking chicken, Lynnette and Madison agreed to check it out again after my shoe pick-up. When Lynnette picked up a pair of Toms at Nordstrom, it made for an auspicious day: all three of us got new shoes! Madison got a pair from Old Navy earlier in the day. Either Lynnette or I will Instagram a picture of our feet in our new sexys some time tomorrow. By the time we headed to Macaroni Grill, my feet were pretty achy. Madison’s were, too, so Lynnette piggybacked her during our final leg of exploration before dinner. As we ascended an elevator, I heard Lynnette say to Madison “Hold on… spider monkey.” It set off an alarm in my head. It took a few seconds, but I remembered where I knew that from and I was disappointed and my mind worked quickly to shoot out a witty retort, but since Madison was not hanging from my neck, I felt as if I had no real reason to complain.

I am going to shower now, and hopefully the stink of Boise State and yakitori sticks comes off me.

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