Friday, December 07, 2007

Hula Girls

Last night Richard (owner of Kalani resort) came over with a couple of volunteers and a movie. We frequently have movie night at someone's home because the nearest movie theater is 45 minutes away in Hilo. Last night's movie was Hula Girls, a Japanese movie by a Korean director (Korean but Japanese born). The movie is about a coal mining town named Iwaki which is located in Fukushima which is north of Tokyo and even though they made it out to be a teeny village it's really a big city if you Google it. But still, it ain't Tokyo. It's supposed to be the 60s and based on a true story. Iwaki was a coal mining town for generations, but now with demand being lower the mining company has to slow down it's operation and lay off it's workers. The town also has natural hot springs so someone gets the brilliant idea to build a huge Hawaiian Village with swimming pools and palm trees, all indoors. They hire a sophisticated dancer from Tokyo to teach the local daughters of coal miners how to dance. Trouble ensues because most of the miners are upset about the change in the town. Good movie with lots of drama and good character development. The teacher (Madoka Hirayama) reminded me a lot of our friend, Yumiko san who also teaches hula in Japan, in Yokohama (not that I picture Yumiko san yelling at her students or slapping them and others around-- I think it was just the hair, the "do"). Of course Richard here who teaches hula at Kalani let us know that in some scenes they were dancing Tahitian style, not Hawaiian. The dancing and costumes in the movie was very reminiscent of watching the Japanese dancers that come to the Merrie Monarch Hula Festival in Hilo (in the spring).

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