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With Aloha: Plenty food and $150,000 for Japanese hospital


Purple-clad volunteers turned out by the scores to put on the With Aloha Japan fundraiser last weekend.

David Croxford

It was packed.

More than 2,300 people showed up for Saturday night's With Aloha Japan fundraiser at the Pagoda Hotel.

The good news?  There was so much food and drink, thanks to the generosity of the restaurants, beverage and food suppliers, that the food lines were almost nonexistent.

And the food, spread out over five levels, was nothing but fun.

Don Murphy of Murphy's Bar & Grill seemed in his element, offering oyster shooters with a spicy Bloody Mary mix if you desired. 

"Have all you want, there's lots," said the ebullient Murphy.  I probably shouldn't mention this, but the guys from Better Brands slipped Murphy a bottle of their (quite good) Tito's Vodka to make sure some of the oyster shooters were real shots.

Over in the corner of an upstairs ballroom, D.K. Kodama himself was industriously making spicy ahi sashimi.  "The fish was donated by the fish auction," he said, "and they sent absolutely prime ahi.  You better try one."

There was plenty of casual food--Portuguese sausage hot dogs from Kukui Sausage and something called Kauai County Fair Flying Saucers from Honolulu Burger Co.

Dean Okimoto of Nalo Farms was dishing out salads topped with deep-fried okra.  "I like okra, so I decided to grow it," he said. 

Next to him, Colin Nishida of Side Street Inn had "something new."  The suppliers had donated chicken, so Nishida came up with chicken tempura on a stick with spicy catsup. 

This was good, people would taste it and immediately ask for seconds.  Nishida handed Okimoto a whole plateful for the volunteers in his booth.

Better news than the food?  The generous outpouring from everyone involved, including the donors to the silent auction and the hundreds of purple clad volunteers.  The event raised $150,000, which will in days be in Sendai, at Tohoku University Hospital, helping to alleviate the suffering of thousands of quake and tsunami victims.

Congrats to everyone who put the evening together.  Let's hope Hawaii is a shining light in Japan's recovery.  Donations are still being taken at the With Aloha website.


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