Posted by: johnhourihan | July 22, 2014

Why Hawaii 4

I woke up remembering that a girl I knew when I was 22 or 23 in Okinawa told me matter of factly that I had an Asian soul. I had no idea what she was talking about at the time. I found out today.
As the morning wore on, Lin and I got out of the house, noticing that our address was 1778 Ala Moana, and Captain Cook, one of the first white people on record to find Hawaii, arrived here in, you guessed it, 1778. Our condo is on the 18th floor of the building, and Cook arrived at the end of the 18th century. Coincidence? I think not. I took this as a hint that some momentous realization was about to be shown to me.
To make everything all that much more evidentiary, we had been awoken the night before,, sometime after 2 a.m., to the voice of God in our bathroom.
First came a blast of what sounded like the silly plastic air horns mainland soccer teams use to get the attention of self-absorbed referees to announce substitutions. Then, in the midst of the honking, came the voice of God.
“Walk to the nearest stairway……Please, walk to the nearest stairway…”
OK, on the third repetition I finally realized it wasn’t God, but, in my defense, it was 2 a.m. and I was woken from a dead sleep, and no one had told me the fire alarm in this building included a man’s voice.
So while I was struggling in the dark to get my clothes on so I could obey God’s warning, I became fully awake and realized how thankful I was that I was getting older and it took me longer to put my clothes on than it took for someone to realize it was a false alarm and turn off God’s voice and that annoying honking sound.
I went back to bed.
And now here I was walking down roads that I had dreampt of several years earlier and trying to figure out just what it all means. I keep thinking, why are these streets and buildings so familiar to me, I have never been here in my life? If I am about to have revealed to me some life altering truth, why the hell would any god wait until I was creeping quickly up on 68 years old? Why not tell us right from the start? Wouldn’t that make us lead better lives? Make the world a better place?
Then it happened, and a basic truth was revealed to me.
She was approximately 20 yards in front of me. She was small and bent. She was Asian, possibly Japanese. She was dressed all in white except for a wide-brimmed straw hat and black gloves in the near 90 degree heat of a Hawaiian afternoon, and she was walking toward me in the center of the sidewalk.
Lin was to my right next to the road, and I was being careful to walk beside her but take only our half of the walkway. At ten yards, she looked directly up at me, then tilted her head down so the hat blocked her face and I could no longer see her eyes. She sped up and walked directly toward me. She wasn’t going to move. She was going to walk right into me.
I had experienced this before, and most often it was with elderly Japanese women. Perhaps it was here on the over-heated sidewalks of the world where they exacted retribution against the male-domination of their youth.
Maybe they are just tough old ladies.
Whatever it was, I learned something there on the sidewalk between the Ward Center and Discovery Bay.
I braced myself, lowered my head. She continued to cross onto my half of the path . I made sure I was only taking half of the concrete walk. She kept coming, and I walked right into her.
She bounced back and I looked directly at her and said, “Gomennasai” before she had a chance to.
There it was, the truth revealed.
In a last life I must have been an old Japanese woman, possibly right here in the island of O’Ahu.




  1. DON’T RUSH IT!!!!

    • OK maybe not, but the 1778 is a conundrum.

      • 1&7&7&8=23 but still don’t rush it.

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