What I’ve learnt about Hawaii since coming to Yurihama 湯梨浜町に来てハワイについて学んだこと

2014.03.07 (Fri)
Image by bandita, via wikimedia

Image by bandita, via wikimedia

Since coming to Yurihama, I’ve learnt a lot of things about the American state of Hawaii, where our sister city is. Some of those things surprised me, so I thought I would tell you about them!

1. The State of Hawaii has no racial majority

While the majority of Americans are white, there are four American states where there is no white majority, and one of those states is Hawaii. When you look at the demographics of Hawaii, it seems you can create four large groups: the original Hawaiian peoples, the descendants of the many immigrants who came a century ago to work on the sugar plantations and so on, people from around the world who have emigrated to Hawaii since then, and then people who have born in Hawaii from parents belonging to all of those groups. It is really a very mixed place, and no one group is a majority.

2. One in every six people in Hawaii has Japanese ancestry

I knew that in Hawaii, there was a lot of Japanese language, food and culture, but I didn’t know that 16%, that is, one in six people had Japanese ancestry. I was also surprised to find out that in the 1920s, 43% of the Hawaiian population was Japanese.

3. Spam musubi actually has a long history

Recently, rolled sushi and onigiri have become popular around the world, and of course, their contents have been influenced by the food culture of those various countries. California rolls are one example, but there are lots of things, like avocado and cream cheese, that turn up in sushi rolls all over the world that you wouldn’t see much in Japan. I had thought that spam musubi was just another example of this recent unusual “sushi”, but I have found out that it’s actually been around for over 60 years, since just after the end of the second world war.

4. In Hawaii, it’s not “spring summer autumn winter”, but “spring summer spring spring”

Of course there are lots of places around the world that have four seasons just like Japan, but in Hawaii, apparently it’s more like “spring summer spring spring”. In a typical year, there are nine months that are basically around the same, and then a short period when it is hotter. Digging a little deeper, with mid-winter temperature ranging from 18℃ to 28℃, and mid-summer from 24℃ to 31℃, it seems like a pretty pleasant climate all year round, without much change in temperature or humidity.











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