Dear Readers

IMG_5811aHappy New Year!  


Time for a quantum leap in the year of the Monkey -Yeah, that’s my year!

It has been years since I’ve gone on a vacation. So, last week, I flew to Hawaii and fell in love with Hawaii’s natural beauty and the legacy of people who had made a difference in the whole Hawaiian community and in the world.  This time, I felt like traveling through the eyes of an artist or writer, like Georgia O’Keeffe’s paintings during her 1939 stay or Mark Twain’s letters during his 1866 visit……..  O’Keeffe and Twain were once in Hawaii….Who knew!

On my 2nd day in Hawaii, I headed to the Honolulu Museum of Art —just a 20 minutes bus ride from where I was staying. It’s an inspiring architectural design, and I enjoyed just going to the museum to hang out. But, when I saw the painting of O’Keeffe hanging at the museum—I was ecstatic. The energy and excitement I felt in the moments before seeing that masterpiece with my own eyes is the same energy many of us feel about incomparable and incredible natural beauty and wonders of Hawaii. The whole island is like a living, breathing artist at work, providing the connective, emotional tissue in the form of majestic and verdant cliffs, well-kept pristine beaches, entrancing botanical gardens, eye-poppingly beautiful hibiscuses, a vibrant bird kingdom, symbolic Hawaiian public arts throughout, the colour, the blue, and the “Way of Aloha” (To Love) – It is indeed a beautiful world, a paradisiacal ecosystemMALAMA A’INA – Important Hawaiian saying meaning “to care for.” 

Gratitude comes in many forms. I thought about the gratitude I felt toward the locals I encountered during my trip –  especially towards wheelchair users. From hula and surfing, to festivals and funerals, one finds examples of the Hawaiian culture’s intimate relationship with nature and climate.

More recently, I have been drawn to permaculture, as I am leading with the team to create Kerrisdale Permaculture Garden hopefully coming soon sometime Spring. Through learning of Hawaiian cultural views on nature and human relationship with it, I wonder how we can develop a method for design intended to represent culture that is applicable not just to Hawaii but to any culture anywhere on earth.IMG_6186
The “Community” theme of February issue is timely undertaking, given the growing understanding and acceptance of the connectedness of human and nature. Our “locals” featured in this issue addressed the vitality, the essence, of a people and of a place, lives in its partnership and connection with nature. 

The next time you greet a friend with “Hello” or even “Aloha!”,  hold its meaning close to your heart and think of the picture you’re painting!



Keiko Honda, Ph.D.
Chair & Editor-in-Chief
Community Engagement Committee
Kerrisdale Community Centre Society