Just beyond the lei of braided maile strung across the threshold of the the new Banks Journal Oahu store, lay the product of our efforts the previous six weeks. A lot of people had to come together to make this happen. A lot of schedules and wills had to align. A lot of sweat and tears shed, but the day was here.
The intoxicating scent of maile, that sweet leathery green, would mix with the grit of Oahu’s Chinatown. And after Kahu Bradford Lum’s sobering opening oli (hawaiian chant), Rama and Motoo would, together, lift the maile lei and officially usher us into Banks Journal’s second brick and mortar location at the Single Double space in Oahu’s Historic Chinatown.
During the reverent Hawaiian opening ceremony led by Kahu Lum we acknowledged the four sacred directions by sprinkling Hawaiian salt towards the North, South, East and West and standing in a circle, we would bless the space with our ‘ha’ (breath/spirit), hands clasped. Hanu (inhale).. Ha (exhale).. Now it was time to let our hair down.
The festivities spilled out into the back courtyard at the Single Double space which is what used to be the outside lanai area of the old Indigo, a beloved Chinatown Club and hangout. Encore Saloon’s Chef JB had prepared two special off-menu taco offerings; a vegan eggplant chorizo and his mother’s Korean Fried Chicken. After a taco and a tequila sunrise, a saunter back into the Banks space revealed a photo exhibition by good friend and all around bad ass, Christian Richard Cook, where he was showing prints from his book, Vanlife, that documented his time spent living in a van on the North Shore some years back.
Near the front window, Nick Kurosawa and Bound were finishing setting up to play their Hawaii born take on soul and to later pass the mic to underground hip-hop OG, Shingo2, who would pass it to Hawaii’s Nella Media Group’s Art Director (aka Black Rainbow, aka Ara Laylo), who’d pass the mic to finally be blessed by local legendary music mind, Ted De Oliviera. The tunes bent the walls and filled our hearts and people continued to pour in...
At a point in the evening the owner of Chinatown’s Barrio Vintage, Bradley Rhea, could be overheard, “Everybody and their mom is here.. I mean I literally met like five people’s mom’s tonight..”
Folks were dancing. Folks were laughing and hugging.. were drinking beers and grinding tacos. Everyone showed up for each other. We were doing it all.. TOGETHER. Banks’ opening night was a series of proud moments. Bright moments. Little shiny ones. How proud we are to become part of a community that shows up for each other. For each other. We stand humbled to be welcomed into this ‘hanai’ family. What an affirmation of place and belonging. What a moving reception.