The Conversation: Pandemic Turns Down the Volume on Lunar New Year Celebrations

Feb 2, 2021

Chinatown businesses expect quiet Lunar New Year; Restaurateur takes over father's former Benihana location; Reality Check: Newly released disciplinary reports document misconduct by police officers; Director discusses premiere of new film at Sundance
 



Chinatown businesses expect quiet Lunar New Year

Credit Catherine Cruz / Hawaii Public Radio

Friday, February 12th, marks the start of Year of the Ox on the Chinese Lunar calendar. This holiday would normally be accompanied by jubilant festivities in Honolulu's Chinatown. However, Chu Lan Shubert-Kwock, president of the Chinatown Community and Business Association, says businesses have tempered their expectations as the pandemic necessitates social distancing.

 

Restaurateur takes over father's former Benihana location

Credit Bernard Spragg/WikimediaCommons / CC0 1.0

Fifty years ago, entrepreneur and restaurateur Hiroaki “Rocky” Aoki opened Benihana in Waikiki’s Hilton Hawaiian Village. It was one of the first in the chain that now spans 76 locations around the globe.
In 2018, the Waikiki Benihana was rebranded as Rocky Japanese Steak Teppan Restaurant and is now under new management by Kevin Aoki, Rocky's son. Like his father, Aoki is a restaurateur and runs several Oahu restaurants — Doraku Sushi and Izakaya, Bluetree Cafe, 1938 Indochine and Qing Mu Noodles. He discusses the history of this particular restaurant and what it means to him and his family.
 


Reality Check: Newly released disciplinary reports document misconduct by police officers
A new summary filed with the Legislature shows that the Honolulu Police Department reprimanded, suspended, or fired 56 officers in 2020, a spike compared to years past. You can read Blaze Lovell's full story here at civilbeat.org.
 



Director discusses premiere of new film at Sundance

Credit Barnaby Dorfman/Flickr / CC BY 2.0

While 2020 was a year of earth-shattering consequences for the filmmaking industry, a number of locally produced films were still able to make a splash — both here in Hawaii and on the national award circuit.
Today, we hear from one such local filmmaker whose work is being celebrated at the Sundance Film Festival. Christopher Makoto Yogi’s new film “I Was A Simple Man” deals with the complex issues of identity and sense of place in an ever-changing Hawaii.