Editor's Page: Awards and Footnotes

HONOLULU Magazine celebrates, plus notes on this issue.

Photo: Linny Morris

Recently, a bunch of us at HONOLULU Magazine hopped on a plane to attend the annual City and Regional Magazine Association conference in Las Vegas. I’m pleased to say that HONOLULU Magazine won the General Excellence Award there in our circulation category—for our industry, that’s like getting the Best Picture Oscar.

The judges said, “This talented staff knows that life in ‘paradise’ has a dark side (homeless heroes), a hilarious side (snarky notes to conventioneers), and a rich history. This magazine delights locals by featuring things tourists can’t sniff out.”

To toot our horn just once more: HONOLULU also scored big at this year’s Pai Awards, given by the Hawaii Publishers Association. We won 11 awards for our work in 2011, please see honolulumagazine.com for a list, with links to each of the winning stories. I was in Vegas for the CRMA conference when I heard the news and had one of those happy/sad moments life gives you sometimes when I learned that the late John Heckathorn and I had swept the column category, he for Dining in first place, me for Editor’s Page in second place. I can’t think of another writer I’d rather share the honor with.

I’m grateful to the writers, designers, photographers and illustrators who make it all possible. Nothing is better than working with talented people!

This month’s issue has features on former Gov. Ben Cayetano’s run for mayor, on roller derby and on … Kikaida! I’m the right age to have tuned in faithfully when this show appeared on KIKU in 1974, to have begged my parents for Kikaida toys at Gems and to have imagined how cool it would be to live as a guitar-playing, monster-defeating cyborg. Dave Choo’s article explains the enduring appeal of this show and its unique Japanese-Hawaii connection.

The only thing I could add would be my pet theory that one reason the show was such a hit with kids was the design of Kikaida’s costume: primary colors, eye-catching asymmetry. The suit is fascinating, and is one of the few such ’70s Japanese superhero costumes that molded an accurate human face into the helmet. And what a face—it is the essence of Zen stoicism; detached, serene, even a little melancholy. It’s a face that says, “I regret that our differences have come down to me having to utterly defeat your ruthless evil with my unbeatable Double Chop final blow.”

Something occurred to me when I sat in on our marathon three-hour interview with Gov. Ben Cayetano. He notes that, whether we build rail or his preferred Bus Rapid Transit system, traffic will get worse, not better. The best either system can do is mildly slow the worsening. I appreciated his honesty, but it only frustrated me as a citizen. As I’ve written before, it boggles me that politicians will eagerly spend billions, over decades, to build some concrete device for conveying people, but never consider doing the same for the only real traffic solution: rearranging the city itself. We have traffic because it’s nearly impossible for most people to live near where they work.

Someday, for example, this city is going to realize that we can’t just quarantine our entire massive visitor industry in Waikiki, then complain that we’re all stuck in traffic on the one freeway that goes there. You don’t want a Marriott on Malaekahana beach, or an Outrigger at Lanikai? Fine, just remember that when you’re sitting in traffic, or getting taxed to build some mass transit system. We can’t have it both ways.