40 Things Every Local Must Do

21. Drown a graduate in lei.
Funny how it creeps up on you. One day, you’re the 17-year-old graduate, dizzy from the smell of pikake or maile. Then, before you know it, you get a graduation announcement in the mail, from the daughter of a best friend. A girl who was, about five minutes earlier, a toddler. Good lord, the time flies. A lei won’t pin time down, but it’s still nice. Even better: make your own, using plumeria and ti leaves found in your own neighborhood.

Photo: courtesy Honolulu Star-Bulletin

22. Throw a lu’au.
When was the last time you went to a real backyard lu’au? 1992? Look, we know you live in Kapolei now, and your backyard is the size of the average blue plastic tarp. So what? Dig a hole. Throw in a pig. If you’re brand new to the business of imu-building, check out this primer from Paradise Cove Lu’au: www.paradisecovehawaii.com-/FunFacts/imu.htm. There’s a good chance the neighbors will complain about the smoke and all the cars in the street. No worries. Tell ’em, "Eh, no pilikia. Come, eat. We get plenty."
It’s not just about the pig, either. Every backyard pa’ina should have lomi lomi salmon, lau lau (pork is the only acceptable kine), squid lu’au, poke (at least two varieties, including tako and ‘ahi), chicken long rice, poi, sweet potato, pipikaula, ‘opihi, kulolo, haupia and, of course, rice.
If you don’t have a few days to cook up this Hawaiian feast yourself, Tanioka’s (671-3779, www.taniokas.com), Highway Inn (677-4345) and Marian’s Catering (621-6758, www.marianscatering.com) will deliver.

23. Have these albums in your music collection:

Keola and Kapono Beamer
Honolulu City Lights
Israel Kamakawiwo’ole
Facing Future
Cecilio and Kapono
Cecilio and Kapono
The Kapena Collection Volume One
Born and Raised
The Mana’o Company
Just Beyond the Ridge
Hawaiian Style Band
Vanishing Treasures
Bob Marley
any five or more albums (Legend doesn’t count)
Gregory Isaacs
Any album or collection that includes "Night Nurse."
Keali’i Reichel
Ka’au Crater Boys
Valley Style
One or more Labour of Love collections

24. Appear in the background of a Hawai’i-based TV show or movie.
Remember when we used to watch for ourselves on Hawai’i Five-0? That was you, in the red T-shirt, behind those 50 other people in the scene where McGarrett took down a perp at Ala Moana Center, wasn’t it? You might be able to reprise your role, if the rumored Warner Bros. feature film version of Hawai’i Five-0 becomes a reality this winter. For TV, Lost is about the only show in town these days, but good luck getting a spot as an extra there: The show’s casting office has 5,000 portfolios already on file and virtually no new openings. No give up, though: www.hawaiifilmoffice.com posts updates and contact information for current film and TV productions on the island.

25. Sport at least one of the following bumper stickers on your car:
"Eddie Would Go"
"My Child is an Honor Student at So-and-So School"
"Proud Parent of a D.A.R.E. Graduate"
"Slow Down, This Ain’t the Mainland"
"I-94 FM"
Choke bonus points if the Primo Beer guy is still complaining from the back window of your truck: "No Can Hear, Get Beer in my Ear."

Olena Rubin at Leonard’s.
Photo: Alex Viarnes

26. Know where to find the best plate lunch, malassadas and shave ice on the Island.
And be able to defend them against other people’s favorites. Leonard’s vs. Champion. Young’s vs. Ono’s. These are the delicious rivalries that define us-well, our ‘opu at least.

27. Sign wave for your auntie’s neighbor’s cousin running for county council.
Roadside sign waving is such an integral part of Hawai’i’s political season, it’s easy to forget that it’s a uniquely local tradition, less than 40 years old. Honolulu City Council candidate Charles Campbell was the pioneering politician; in 1968 he employed his own high school students as the original roadside cheerleaders. Campbell came in second place that year, but we’ve been holding signs and waving shakas near intersections ever since.

28. Make out at Tantalus.
Ah, the romance! The view! The sketchy guy parked by himself in a rusty minivan! Tantalus has long been the refuge of high school hoodlums and romantics alike, but the fun doesn’t have to end when you get a real job. Bonus points for making out at the Pali Lookout, which, sadly, the city still locks up after dark in a shameful display of timid officialdom. In either case, kiss until the sun rises. It’s your right.

29. Scare yourself silly at Morgan’s Corner.

Photo: Rae Huo

It doesn’t matter whether you choose the original Nu’uanu location on Old Pali Road, or the newer windward Pali spot-Morgan’s Corner is the most reliably spooky place on O’ahu.
Everyone knows some version of the story-a make-out session gone horribly wrong-and the creepiness is bolstered by the very real, and very gruesome, 1948 murder that took place near Dr. James Morgan’s Nu’uanu house. Drip, drip, drip.

30. Be able to dispatch a roach in mid-flight with a slipper.
But never even think about harming a gecko.

31. Get something blessed.
Bought a new home? Started a new business? Get it blessed, Hawaiian style. The ceremony we’re familiar with today is a blending of traditional Hawaiian elements (tï leaves, sea water) and Christian theology introduced by the missionaries, but it didn’t become de rigueur for new business ventures until the 1940s and ’50s. Kahu William Kaina says, "The economy was rebuilding after the war, and the idea caught on that, in order to be successful, you needed to have your place blessed. And so store owners sought kahuna and ministers to do the blessings." Kaina’s late predecessor, Abraham Akaka, is perhaps Hawai’i’s most well known kahu in this respect. "Abe Akaka must have blessed just about every business in town," says Kaina, laughing. Kahu William Kaina, Hawai’i Conference of the United Church of Christ, 537-9516. Kahu Curt Kekuna, Kawaiaha’o Church, 522-1333.

32. Go to a wedding where a Hawaiian-Chinese-German-Portuguese-Filipino guy marries a Japanese-Chinese-Irish-Tongan-Korean chick, in the presence of 873 of their closest friends, and where the bride dances an impromptu hula at the reception, right after the Filipino money dance and just before the lion dance and the garter toss, and the best man stands up to make a drunken toast along the lines of, "Suckin’ guy, I can’t believe you marrying my sistah."
And don’t forget to bring a gift. Rice cookers are always welcome.

Photo: Michael Keany

33. Ride around in the back of a pickup.
You damn kids, with your SUVs and your air conditioning. Back in our day, when we and our eight friends wanted to go to the beach, we all had to pile in the back of our older brother’s lifted Toyota (which read "Toy" on the tailgate). Wind-burned faces, tangled hair, the slight chance of death and dismemberment. It was great. Luckily, it’s still kind of legal here in Hawai’i, unlike more buttoned-up states on the Mainland (no kids 12 or under, and technically there can’t be any open seats up in the cab). Risk your life and your hairstyle while you can.

34. Shaka in traffic.
Hawai’i drivers have their faults, but rudeness typically isn’t one of them. It’s still common to get a wave in return for letting someone merge in front of you-as if they didn’t have to merge eventually, anyway. Less common these days, however, is the "shaka of thanks," although we’d love to see it return. We could use less of the one-finger salute.

35. Watch the Merrie Monarch Festival.
There are two ways to do this. The easiest is to assemble a group of friends and watch it on TV. Thrill to the kahiko style. Speculate on what those guys have on under their malos. Cheer on your second cousin in the back row. Head to the fridge for poke when the ladies in Victorian dresses show up.

Photo: Robbyn Peck

Or you could fly to Hilo and see the magic in person. Next year’s competition takes place in Hilo, from April 20 to 22. Don’t sit around till then, though. Tickets are cheap (a three-day set of reserved seats goes for $25) but limited, and go fast. Ticket requests are accepted by mail only, starting the day after Christmas, and not a minute sooner. For more ticket information, visit www.merriemonarchfestival.org or call 935-9168.

36. Learn Hawaiian.
Hiki ia ‘oe ke heluhelu i keia mau hua ‘olelo? Ho’omaika’i ‘ana, he kama’aina maoli ‘oe. Ina ‘a’ole hiki, auwe! E hele aku ‘oe i ka papa ‘olelo Hawai’i, i keia la. (Can you read these words? Congratulations, you’re truly kama’aina. If you cannot, auwe! Get to a Hawaiian language class, today.) Here are a few introductory courses you can take at lunchtime or in the evenings.

– Beginning and continuing Hawaiian Language Courses with Carol Silva, University of Hawai’i at Manoa Outreach College. 956-8244, www.outreach.hawaii.edu.

– Brown Bagging to Conversational Hawaiian, in the Kana’ina Building (Old Archives), on the Waikiki side of the ‘Iolani Palace Grounds. Classes meet at 11 a.m. and noon every Wednesday. $5 per session. 522-0822, www.iolanipalace.org.

– Most of the DOE’s O’ahu Community Schools for Adults offer multiple levels of Hawaiian instruction, in an evening setting, for free. Can’t beat that. Call the campus nearest you for more information. 837-8466.

37. Bon dance like you’ve never bon danced before.
It just wouldn’t be summer in Hawai’i without the parade of bon dances around town, honoring ancestors. Don’t be intimidated if you don’t know the moves; it’s a celebration, and everyone is invited to join in.

The Rev. Hiroyoshi Oeda at the Jodo Mission of Hawai’i says, "We ask dance groups to come, and then people [from the public] who want to participate can just follow the dancers." The traditional Obon festival runs from July 13 to 15, but in Hawai’i, the bon dances last though August. Check the papers for a complete schedule, or call your local Honwanji mission.

38. Wear local.
And no, not just rubbah slippahs. With homegrown design gems such as Reyn’s, Sig Zane and Anne Namba, there’s no reason to limit yourself to The Gap.

39. Grind ’em.
We love the fancy restaurants as much as you do, but lots of Hawai’i’s best food comes in Styrofoam boxes and won’t cost you as much as your first car. Some of our faves:

Leonard’s Bakery Rainbow Drive-In
Liliha Bakery
(And not just for the coco puffs.)
W&M Bar-B-Q Burgers
Matsumoto Shave Ice Waiola Shave Ice
Mitsu-ken Young’s Fishmarket
Ono Hawaiian Food Zippy’s

40. Survive the University Avenue onramp to the H-1.
Forget the road to Hana. If you can negotiate this treacherous eastbound entrance, you, my friend, are a true local.