Posts Tagged ‘twitter’

Q & A With Chad Owens [Video]

June 4, 2013

For those of you who sent in your questions for CFL superstar Chad Owens, I was able to squeeze it in after my interview with him (see below). Thanks for interacting y’all!

[Big Jim]: Is pro football in Canada better than college football was in the WAC or high school football in Hawaii?

[Chad Owens]: Um, that’s a tough question. I don’t know if it’s better. I don’t know what he means, if he’s talking about the skill level… It’s football right? Anytime you get a chance to go out there and play the game, whether you’re here in Hawaii, high school, college, at the professional level: NFL, CFL, Arena (Football) League… You do this because it’s what you love to do. It doesn’t matter where you are, if you get a chance to go out there and strap it up and play the game, you’re gonna go out there and give it your all, and you’re gonna enjoy those moments and that’s really what I try and do. I try and enjoy that time when I’m out there because one day, it’s gonna be all over, it’s gonna be done, I’m not gonna be able to do it anymore, so yeah.

[Dean]: Hey Chad, been following you since the UH days. Congratulations on all your success! My question, what do you think are the most effective way to improve the lives of our keiki today and tomorrow through sports? Any plans on one day becoming a coach or mentor for children?

[Chad Owens]: I think the best thing that we can do as grown-ups, as mentors, as parents, is to just guide our children in the right way. And yes, sports is a great way to teach team concept and hard work and all those tools, but the children have to want to play sports. So one thing is you don’t want to force them into sports. If it’s something that they want to do then great, then you push them towards where they want to be, but the first thing and most important thing we can do for our children is to continue to be a great example for them first because growing up, they become what they see. They become what they’re surrounded by so as parents, as mentors, we can just be great examples. And if they do end up playing sports, just continue to encourage cause there’s a difference between criticizing, encouraging, disciplining, it’s all kind of a fine line with all those things, but keep it fun for them cause that’s always the number one thing for kids. They want to go out there and have fun so keep it fun, but keep them going and the main thing is that they work hard and they listen. And yes, maybe one day, down the road… Coach… I mean, we’ll see. Who knows? I don’t know what tomorrow is going to bring, so maybe one day. But thanks Dean (right?).

[rayboyjr]: Chad: Any possible re-entry back into the NFL?

[Chad Owens]: Um, if a crazy opportunity presented itself, possibly, but as of right now, my focus is on the Toronto Argonauts. It’s going into training camp (for) another year. This coming 2013 season and being the best that I can be for my team. If I finish my career in Canada, which I most likely will, it’ll be a great ride. The CFL has been great for me. I hope that answers the question.

[Debbie Bruce]: Aloha Chad, You are such a wonderful ambassador for Hawaii and such a positive influence on our youth. How do you feel about the Fan Aloha that follows you everywhere you go? Does it help feed your success?

[Chad Owens]: Well, this Fan Aloha that follows me everywhere I go… Debbie, that would be you! So thank you, mahalo, aloha. *blows kisses* We love you. It definitely helps. It goes back to the support that you get right? It makes you feel special. It really does. It makes you want to go out and work harder for the fans. That’s what it is. If there are no fans, what’s the sense of playing right? You go out there to entertain, you go out there to perform. We are performers in a way. In a professional way, we are entertainers. Although it’s about winning games and winning championships and those things, but if there’s no one in the stands watching, to me, it’s pointless. So (to) the fans, thank you guys so much. Debbie, again, Aloha, and I’ll see you in Toronto next week. I’m leaving on Sunday (5/26/13).

[@KsCollectables (Kevin)] : Hi Chad, as a child growing up did you fight in the back alleys, was it rough where you grew up? Did you always want to try MMA?

[Chad Owens]: I can’t say that I fought in the back alleys, but I was always the smallest kid so anytime the bigger kids tried to bully me around, I had to let them know real quick that “Hey, I’m not afraid of you, so what you wanna do?” And somehow, some way, I always became friends with these guys that tried to bully me. I was always a little scrappy kid who wasn’t afraid of anything, wasn’t afraid of anybody. But I’m not saying that’s how I decided to do MMA. MMA is a sport. It’s not a backyard fight. Hopefully everyone understands that. It’s not a backyard fight, it’s totally different. It is a sport, there’s techniques involved, you have to train. You can’t just go in there and close your eyes and throw haymakers and expect to win. That fight inside of me, it helps me on the football field, it helps me in life, it helps me with everything I do, but thank you. Great question.

* To read and watch my entire interview with Bruddah Chad, check out my article “Chad Owens: A Born Fighter“.

Chad Owens Interview
Chad Owens Interview

My list of interviews with local celebrities be growin’! 🙂

| Colbie Caillat |
| Shane Victorino |
| BJ Penn |

Let me know what other local celebs you think I should approach.


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For whatever reason, these types of posts typically don’t get a lot of feedback below, so before I lose ya, just wanted to tell ya to stay tuned for another “Where In Hawaii?” game tomorrow (I hope!)! 😛 Shoooots!


Chad Owens – A Born Fighter

June 1, 2013

Chad Owens is no stranger to competition. He came into this world fighting… Fighting for his life.

Weighing just 3 pounds, Owens (aka “Mighty Mouse”) was born a month and a half premature. It was the determination of his mother to never give up on him that became the driving force behind who he is today and how he approaches life’s daily challenges.

It is that same drive and determination – genetically ingrained within his DNA – that fueled Owens to find success in his life’s calling: sports. He lettered in 4 sports (football, basketball, baseball & track) at his Alma Mater: Roosevelt High, thrived under June Jones’ Run & Shoot offense during his time with the University of Hawaii Warrior football team, and has recently been named the Canadian Football League’s Most Outstanding Player while breaking records and becoming a world champion along the way (his Toronto Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders 35-22 in the CFL championship game to take home the home the 100th Grey Cup).

Not bad for a guy who has always been told he’d never make it.

Chad Owens
Chad Owens

I recently had the wonderful opportunity to chat with this local boy about his family, career, MMA debut, and more…


Chad Owens Interview

[Edward Sugimoto]: First off, congratulations on a HUUUUGE 2012 season! Let me see if I can list your accomplishments:

  • You broke the all-time, single season all-purpose yards record (previously held by “Pinball” Clemons) with 3,863 yards!
  • You became the first player in professional football history to record back to back to BACK seasons with 3,000+ combined all-purpose yards.
  • You won the league’s Most Outstanding Player award!
  • And on top of all that, your Toronto Argonauts defeated the Calgary Stampeders (35-22) in the CFL championship game to take home the home the 100th Grey Cup… (All with a broken thumb!!!)

[Chad Owens]: Yes sir! (smiles)

[Edward Sugimoto]: Safe to say, you had a decent year? 😛

[Chad Owens]: Yeah. It was a successful one, both individually and of course as a team we won the championship. But no, I had a lot of fun this year, and looking forward to doing it all over again this upcoming season.

[Edward Sugimoto]: What was your life like in the early days and how did you first get into athletics?

[Chad Owens]: Whoo, in the early days. How far back would that be? I’ve been playing sports my whole life, as far back as I can remember. I started off playing soccer, but I was always in sports. I think I needed sports. I was always a little active, scrappy, feisty little kid. I guess a rascal. That’s what my mom them would say, I was a little rascal. But sports kinda gave me a way to utilize that energy, and I’m thankful that my mom them put me in sports and allowed me to become who I am today.

[Edward Sugimoto]: During your time here at Roosevelt, you lettered and succeeded in three sports: Football, Basketball, & Track.

[Chad Owens]: And baseball, a couple years. My freshman year and my senior year.

[Edward Sugimoto]: Which did you enjoy the most and why?

[Chad Owens]: Obviously I love football, but basketball season was always you know, to me it was a lot of fun. I love playing basketball. But I just enjoy sports. It didn’t matter what I was doing, I just enjoyed the competition, and I enjoyed coming out here and competing and trying to be the best.

[Edward Sugimoto]: You also played for (what was known as the University of Hawaii) “Warriors” at the time… At what point did you know that the next level was a possibility?

[Chad Owens]: As far as being a professional? I think it probably struck me after my senior year. During my senior season because up until that point, I just wanted to be the best college player that I could be. Being at the Division I level was already a dream come true for me, so I just wanted to continue to be the best that I could be there and enjoy those years and that’s what I did. But it wasn’t until my senior year started coming to an end and I knew I was having a pretty good season and I started to think like man maybe this NFL thing or “professional” thing is really there for me you know? And again, I’m thankful that I had that opportunity.

[Edward Sugimoto]: You mentioned the NFL. You had a brief stint there but it seems you’ve really found your home in Canada in the CFL. Describe what your life is like there as a football star and what your family likes to do for fun.

[Chad Owens]: Life in Canada has been great. The CFL has given me the opportunity to be me and go out there and play ball and play the way I know I can play. The family enjoys it, we’ve made a lot of great friends up there and Toronto is really a nice city. It’s a great area, it’s got great people, and it is our home away from home. So it has definitely been an interesting transition you know, my career, but I do believe that I’m at the place where I belong now and I will 99% finish my career there, I’m pretty sure of that. I’m just taking it for what it is. I’m very fortunate and thankful that I was blessed with these opportunities and my family and I are just enjoying the moment.

[Edward Sugimoto]: You mentioned your family. You have a beautiful wife Rena and three beautiful kids (Chad Jr, Areana, & Sierra-Lynn). How are they adjusting to life outside of Hawaii?

[Chad Owens]: You know they’ve grown up around it. They’ve been to Jacksonville, they’ve been to Colorado, they’ve been to Montreal, you know, so they’ve traveled with me throughout my whole career and I think it’s the norm for them now, so they’re not afraid of change, they’re not afraid to travel so for them, they’re getting experiences that not much get to have and I think it’s gonna benefit them because when they get older, like I said, they’re not gonna be afraid of change. They’re not going to be afraid to go out and venture. Go to the mainland and maybe look for work, I don’t know. Go to school, go away from here because they’re used to it. So to me that’s a big positive for them.

[Edward Sugimoto]: Good life lessons for them huh?

[Chad Owens]: Great life lessons for them.

[Edward Sugimoto]: So this past April, you made your professional MMA debut against Junyah Tevaga. How was that experience for you and is this something you’d like to pursue again one day?

[Chad Owens]: The experience was awesome. It was definitely something that I’ve longed to do and I wondered how I’d be and if I trained and put my heart and soul into it how I’d do and I did just that. I trained hard and I was all in, 100% into MMA and I was fortunate enough to get that fight, and it was fun. But it was definitely a different type of adrenaline rush and I enjoyed it, so yes, I would definitely love to do it again, but for right now, my focus is on football and that’s where I’m at with that right now. *smiles*

[Edward Sugimoto]: Speaking of the fight though, ho, you were a beast man when you came out it was pretty nuts.

[Chad Owens]: It’s a really fast fight. Two three minute rounds. The normal I think is three fives. Five minutes is a long time, you can’t expect to go in there and just bang for five minutes straight, so there’s always those pacing moments, the feel out moments right? But three minutes it goes by so fast and I trained at such a high pace that that’s what we wanted to push, we wanted to push the pace and it was fun.

[Edward Sugimoto]: It showed. So you’re on Instagram (@chadowens2) and your feed shows a lot of workout related photos. How important is that to you as a part of your daily life.

[Chad Owens]: It’s very important because, yeah, granted I am a professional athlete so training… I say this kinda cliche-ish, training comes easy. Not all pros enjoy training, but I enjoy training. It’s a lifestyle that my family and I enjoy. It’s something that I hope… My kids see it. You know it’s an example for them so we just want to continue to share that with everyone. This is not just a once in a while thing. We live it. We live training, we love it. I tell my wife all the time, you only get to stay young for so long so you might as well get the most out of your body and work out, train and look the best that you can look while you got it. And it’s a healthy thing. Training and working out is healthy. And we’re all cognizant about what we eat, and again, it’s a great example for our children and the people of Hawaii and all our followers. We just want to continue to be an example that way as well.

[Edward Sugimoto]: You’re also on Twitter (@chadowens2) and other social media venues. Does that help you keep in touch with your fans pretty good?

[Chad Owens]: Yeah definitely. Twitter is a crazy world. When I first got on, I was on it avidly and with the Instagram, you could get caught up in it and get lost in it for hours, and I’d rather spend my time more wisely. There are times when I tweet stuff and Instagram and do those things and to me there are times and places for that, but I have to make sure I get done what I have to get done first before I start getting into the social media, but it is a great way for me to stay in contact with my fans and to keep them up to date with what I’m doing here in Hawaii and vice versa, when I go to Toronto, you know all the fans, friends, family that’s here in Hawaii gets to see what’s going on when we’re up in Toronto so it’s just an awesome tool

[Edward Sugimoto]: And the Toronto fans can keep in touch with you too.

[Chad Owens]: Yeah, yeah *smiles*

[Edward Sugimoto]: So do you have any words for your fans out there?

[Chad Owens]: I just want to say Mahalo and thank you for all the support throughout these years. It’s been an amazing ride. It’s you guys that keep me going. It’s the fans here in Hawaii that come out and tell me, “Hey I remember that BYU game”… It’s things like that that I really appreciate so thank you guys so much and you know… Aloha!

During my entire conversation with him, it was readily apparent that Owens has an inner fire that is unmatched and it became crystal clear as to why he has been so successful in a career where many have not.

Although he’s accomplished everything a professional athlete can possibly accomplish in their given sport, I have a feeling, he’s got something else up his tattooed sleeve for this season. Be sure to watch and support our local boy as he taps into that inner determination – passed on to him by his mom – as inspiration to continue that daily fight…

Chad Owens with Arthur Betts IV
Chad Owens with Arthur Betts IV

Chad Owens with Edward Sugimoto
Chad Owens with Edward Sugimoto

Special Mahalos to Arthur Betts IV for the Production assistance and Chris Avery for the editing assistance. And of course to Chad Owens himself for his time and Aloha!

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Remembering Ryan…

April 25, 2011

Remembering Ryan...When news broke that a man died from a fall off the Olomana trail yesterday, folks in the know on Twitter starting voicing their concern as there was an unofficial #twike (Hiking Tweetup) taking place there at that very time. It was soon discovered that the hiker in question was what everyone feared… One of our own. Out of respect for his family, most were hush hush about naming him in the stream. Cryptic even. I got a few DMs to confirm the tragedy, but nothing in the public timeline.

I won’t even pretend like I knew him personally because I didn’t (we just tweeted each other online from time to time), but from what is now coming from the Twitterverse after his passing, I really wish I did. I regret not being able to make any of the #Tweeball events that he coordinated due to scheduling conflicts, but I’m sure they will continue in his honor, and I will be there.

Here’s a list of remembrance blogs from those who knew him well. R.I.P. Ryan Suenaga…

And finally, here’s a Ryan Suenaga Tribute Page and the Twtvite to a Tribute to @rsuenaga.


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Hawaii Five-0 & American Idol Chatter (4/19/11) #H50

April 19, 2011

You like how I combo-plattered dat one yeah!? 😛 Das cause I know I could (potentially) get da fans of both Hawaii Five-0 AND American Idol to chat with me down below. I know, I know, shmall kine desperate, but whatdaheck… We go geev um one try anyway! 😉


Ho’opa’iWhen a crime lord moves against the family of an undercover NYPD detective who infiltrated his organization, it’s up to Five-0 to stop the policeman from exacting revenge.

As usual, there was active and amusing #H50 chatter last night on Twitter to go along with the show. Some notes on the show for us to talk about today:

  • Hilarious how Kamekona referred to SPAM as “the Hawaiian steak” and “the nectar of the islands”! But wea’s da SPAM Musubi gundtfunnit? LOL!
  • The return of the ridiculous Waiola Shave Ice ad on McGarrett’s cast. I wonder how much they paid to get on the show??? And how da heck do I get that kind of exposure for Oceanic Mobile up in the heezy? 8)
  • What did y’all think of Puff Daddy’s/P Diddy’s/Diddy’s/Diddy Dirty Money’s/Sean Combs’ acting? Needs work ah? 😛
  • And how about those Kia hamsters in the commercial? Cute or annoying?

Just a reminder, next week’s episode is a rerun, but the following 3 weeks should all be new episodes to close out this first season! Woo hoo!

American Idol – Top 7

Here are my notes this week on the American Idol (Top 7) Contestants. Add comments for your favorites below!

  • Casey Abrams – Wasn’t too fond of his last performance. Didn’t quite get it. And what was with the standing O from the judges?
  • Haley Reinhart – Hopefully, she rebounds with a better performance this week or Lauren may be the only wahine left.
  • Jacob Lusk – I like that he’s trying to sing songs straight forward nowadays, but still not too fond of his style.
  • James Durbin – Turned me off a little with his attitude towards the mentors last week, but gotsta give him props for standing up for what he believes in.
  • Lauren Alaina – Looking forward to another awesome performance from my favorite to win it all!
  • Scotty McCreery – Gotta give him credit for keeping his ego in check as of late (or at least acting like it for TV). His singing (or maybe song choice) is picking up too.
  • Stefano Langone – Here’s one whose ego has gotten the best of him. He’s my prediction to leave this week.

Aloha means goodbye:

My picks for the Top 3 finalists are:

  1. Lauren Alaina
  2. Casey Abrams
  3. Karen Rodriguez

Shooooots! Have a good one y’all!


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Hawaii Five-0: Ke Kinohi #H50

January 4, 2011

Gotta go sleep early tonight (last night), but here’s a quick wrap-up of tonight’s (last night’s) NEW episode of Hawaii Five-0: “Ke Kinohi” (The Beginning):

“When McGarrett’s sister is kidnapped and his father’s Champion box stolen from his apartment, Steve and Five-0 discover new clues in his mother’s murder, including possible ties to the Japanese Yakuza on the next episode of Hawaii Five-0.”

Talking points for us:

  • I wish my bed head (hair) looked like Alex O’Loughlin’s in the morning! Ahahaha!
  • Ninja say what!? Ninjas in Hawaii? Really? And samurai swords? Oh geez.
  • And I thought ninjas didn’t make noise. Those were some heavy footed ninjas! LOL!
  • Did I say ninja enough or wot?
  • Since when was Kaimuki along the water? And with Chinaman’s Hat in the background?
  • When they chased and stopped the car from the helicopter, they just started shooting based on a broken tail light. Thank goodness that was the right car!
  • Guess Steve McGarrett’s sister didn’t get the family genes. I keeeed! 8)
  • The Five-0’s CPU is sick! Love, love looovvvvve how you can just drop a device on the touch screen and extract files from there! Probably how computers in the future will be!
  • I didn’t know the Bosozoku (“baby yakuza”) has their meetings at Pipeline Cafe!
  • Funny line from Danno: “Walk up steps like a human.”
  • I think I could’ve kept it real and played one of the baby yakuza no? 8)
  • Is that stick figure code fo’ real?
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa (@CHTagawa) is one mean villain actor!
  • Nice to see the Governor drinking beer from the Five-0’s stash, all on company time! LOL!
  • Anyone else catch the baby yakuza’s car’s license plate: RU2 BE6? Call me a detective already! 😛 Think that stands for anything? “Are You Two Be Sex?” LOL!
  • Where is the Kaimuki Country Club???
  • Didn’t Koji look like a bigger version of the guy from Karate Kid II (Yuji Okumoto aka Chozen)!?
  • Wo Fat (Mark Dacascos) sighting (again)!
  • McGarrett needs to work on his shaka.
  • Mean twist killing off Koji!
  • Still waiting for my call to play an extra! 😛
  • Again… Alex O’Loughlin. Grace Park. Have at it! 😛


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Hawaii Five-0: Hana `A`a Makehewa #H50

December 14, 2010

First off, big mahaloz to Chicken Grease, effenprincess and NeedaHobby for filling in (on short notice) last week with their guest posts! Your boy had to go on one business trip for Road Runner Mobile one quick one, so they chipped in and helped to keep our `ohana entertained up in hurr! Big ups!

I had CHOKE errands to do at home last night so I was finally able to sit down and watch an episode of Hawaii Five-0 in real time. And what better way to “watch” it than to join in on the #H50 convos going on simultaneously in the Twitterverse right?

Last night’s episode was called “Hana `A`a Makehewa“, which translates to Desperate Measures. Here’s the show’s synopsis:

“It’s Christmas in Hawaii, but instead of celebrating, Five-0 is negotiating a hostage situation when Victor Hesse, the man who killed McGarrett’s father, threatens to detonate an explosive that he’s strapped to Chin Ho’s chest.”

So wot? What’d you guys think?

Some possible talking points for us:

  • How sad was Danno’s Christmas tree? Hehe!
  • “Your house, your king’s English.” LOL!
  • Ikalani = Ihilani?
  • Chin Ho’s use of rice to pull the moisture off the SIM card. Gooooo @ricefest, er rice! 8)
  • Was that local MMA Fighter Harris Sarmiento in the chicken fight scene? First Niko Vitale and now him. Casting directors must be MMA fans! Sweet!
  • Danno’s hilarious quote, “Next time, shoot him in the face!”
  • Danno calling Sang Min (Will Yun Lee) the “Asian John Travolta”. LOL!
  • Since when was Bar 35 a private hostess bar in Nu`uanu?
  • Was that an Android app that they used to track Sang’s ankle tracker? DROID! 😛
  • Do coppers really have 28.5 mill just lying around like that in a secret asset forfeiture locker? If so, can somebody make me a copy of that blueprint please? 8)
  • I’ve swear we’ve all had a run in with a niele ol’ lady like that no!?
  • Wasn’t it just off hearing Chin Ho tell Kono “aloha” in that context? Didn’t care for that usage very much…
  • I almost cried seeing da $10 mill go bye bye in the fire. LOL!
  • Loved Na Leo reppin’ it with their Christmas song Kana Kaloka (Here Comes Santa Claus)!
  • How about another former local boy sighting with Mark Dacascos as the evil villain Wo Fat?
  • Alex O’Loughlin. Grace Park. That is all. 😛

In other news…

  • Finally catching up with my show The Sing-Off and watched back the first episode of this new season off my DVR. Woah! Committed’s rendition of Maroon 5’s “This Love” was off the chain!
  • Cliff Lee is heading back to my Phills son! Awwww yeah!
  • Any other Fantasy Football teams out there hurt this week by the Aaron Rodgers concussion dammit!?
  • Top Chef. That is all.


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“Watching” Hawaii Five-0 Online (#H50)

November 16, 2010

So last night, I was finally home on a Monday night and able to catch Hawaii Five-0 live and in action in all its glory (as opposed to watching it off my DVR weeks later). With that, I thought I’d put a feeler out there to see if our WWE `Ohana is interested in a show not named Top Chef. 😛 I know, I know… the post is shmall kine late in the day, and on a random/surprise Tuesday post, but we go see how it goes.

Talk to me!
* Do you watch Hawaii Five-0?
* How does it compare to the original?
* Do you watch it live or later off your DVR/TiVo/VCR?
* Favorite character and why?
* Ladies: Is Alex O’Loughlin as hot as everyone thinks he is?
* Fellas: Is Grace Park as hot as everyone thinks she is?
* Would you audition to be an extra on the show?
* Thoughts on how they’re doing with promoting Hawaii?
* Thoughts on their attempts at incorporating “bird” (pidgin) in the show?
* Thoughts on last night’s show?
* Any other positives/negatives you’d like to share?

BTW, if you’re on Twitter, try your hand at live tweeting, using the #H50 tag next week during the show. A bunch of Twitter/Five-0 geeks have been doing that since the first episode, and it has apparently been growing every week. I took my first stab at it last night, but it was a bit of info overload for me I think. Guess I’m getting old. LOL!


P.S. Go Bows! 8)


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Post a Message to Your 16 Year Old Self (#tweetyour16yearoldself)

November 8, 2010

Following the popularity of last week’s hilarious #moviesinmypants blog (now up to 159 comments), I’m gonna piggy back off another recently popular/trending topic on Twitter called #tweetyour16yearoldself

The idea is to write a message from your current self to your 16 year old self, based on the life lessons and experiences you’ve gained over the years. Fun right?

So in the comment area below, go ahead, post a message to your 16 year old (bad) self! I’m sure he or she could learn a few things! 😉


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Cougar Pride – Three Kaiser High Grads Making a Difference

November 1, 2010

When it comes to careers, they have an old saying… “Do what you love and you never have to work a day in your life.” Most of us chug along through the day to day of life, wondering if there’s a better way. Personally, though I love my job, I often wonder if the folks in Major League Baseball are still out there looking for a mediocre-ly built, over-the-hill, talented (in-his-own-mind) right arm to be the next best thing in the bigs. And then I wake up.

A lucky few, however, are fortunate enough to find something they fall in love with and follow that path towards something they can make a career of. Below is the story of three such men.

Jody Kamisato – `Ukulele Hale

Jody Kamisato is the owner of Ukulele Hale, an ukulele school in Kaimuki that teaches students – from small kid time all the way up to our senior citizens – the art of our beautiful 4-stringed instrument.

Though we both knew of each other from our Kaiser High School/Hawaii Kai days, I think I actually first met Jody when I asked him to perform at an event I was putting together back in September (the inaugural Rice Fest). Not only was I impressed by the talent he showcased during his performance on stage (through his group Heart & Soul), but I was also taken aback by the way he mentored and encouraged his students before their performances.

Here’s an interview I had recently with Jody:

An Interview with Ukulele Hale’s Jody Kamisato

[Edward Sugimoto] When did you first pick up the `ukulele and how long was it before you fell in love?

[Jody Kamisato] Geez, I first picked it up in elementary school. So I went to Kamiloiki Elementary and in their Hawaiiana class, they offered ukulele. So that was my first time, and started taking lessons, and actually it wasn’t until high school that I got really into ukulele.

[Edward Sugimoto] Kaiser right?

[Jody Kamisato] Kaiser. *winks*

[Edward Sugimoto] That’s right!

[Jody Kamisato] Kaiser! *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] Kaiser baby! *laughs* At what point did you know it was the path for you?

[Jody Kamisato] Um, well actually Jake Shimabukuro from Pure Heart had come to do one of our assemblies at Kaiser, and he was in a group called Pure Heart along with Jon Yamasato who’s another Kaiser graduate… Um, but after that, I just you know, I saw what he did and I was just amazed at what the ukulele, you know, the possibilities of the ukulele. And just the way he played and the style that he played in really caught my attention, so I just called him up and I was like “Hey, can I sign up for lessons?” and so I did and a few years later he asked me to teach. He opened a school called Ukulele Academy in Hawaii Kai and so that’s where I kinda got my start from… was teaching at his studio.

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you draw from any positive experiences from some of your mentors from your past and apply them to your teaching methods today?

[Jody Kamisato] Absolutely. You know, I think one of the greatest gifts with music is the ability to share it. And so, some of my mentors, which included Peter Moon, Jake Shimabukuro, Troy Fernandez…You know these guys have really done so much with music and really taken it to, not just Hawaii, but outside of Hawaii so, they’ve gone international. And especially with Jake, and so, just from that, he’s really opened a lot of doors with music and with ukulele. So that’s what I want to try to do with our music… it’s to take it on another level and share it with people not just from Hawaii but around the world.

[Edward Sugimoto] And you have a business: Ukulele Hale. Talk to me about your keiki.

[Jody Kamisato] Alright, well, we have a school called Ukulele Hale in Kaimuki and I’d say a majority is students, is the keiki. You know we actually teach students of all ages and skill levels. So we start them… Our youngest is 3 and a half years old, and we also have senior classes as well. Right now we have about 170 students.

Kody Kiyokawa and Jody Kamisato jammin’ on the uke

NOTE: Kody Kiyokawa recently represented Ukulele Hale at the Duke’s Ukes contest and came home with a brand new Kamaka Ukulele after winning the Best Showmanship award.

[Edward Sugimoto] On top of being a teacher, you also have a group with Chris Salvador called Heart & Soul? Tell me a little bit about that.

[Jody Kamisato] I partnered up with a friend of mine, his name is Chris Salvador, and we call ourselves Heart & Soul, and we are actually in the recording studio now working on our debut album. We’re hoping to have it out, gee, in the next few weeks and actually have our CD release party in November. It’s set for November 21st. Chris and I just got back from touring Japan as well as New York. We participated in the New York Ukulele Festival, and also Japan has this event called the Ukulele Picnic which draws 10,000 ukulele fans. So it was an amazing experience and we just feel very blessed to follow our passion and play music.

Poster for Heart & Soul Debut CD Release Celebration (click to enlarge)
Poster for Heart & Soul Debut CD Release Celebration (click to enlarge)

[Edward Sugimoto] Where can we pick up the album when it’s ready?

[Jody Kamisato] It’ll be available on iTunes and definitely in music stores and book stores throughout Hawaii. Yeah, so go out and support local music. *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] You were mentioning that you guys tour a lot, you were in New York and you go all over the place. You were at the Rice Festival of course…

[Jody Kamisato] Rice Festival, yeah!

[Edward Sugimoto] … Where else can we find you guys going forward?

[Jody Kamisato] We’re definitely going to be performing more. Right now we’re focusing on the recording. Once that’s finished, we plan to do more steady gigs for the public. And definitely we’re actually planning a Japan tour this coming December. We’re going up for about a week and a half. It’s a Heart & Soul CD Japan Release Tour.

[Edward Sugimoto] That’s awesome.

[Jody Kamisato] Yeah, we’re excited.

[Edward Sugimoto] You’re all over social media. You wanna give some plugs out there to your various locations?

[Jody Kamisato] *laughs* Sure. Alright well you can come check us out on Facebook. Um, I just set it up recently. It’s uh facebook…

[Edward Sugimoto] *shows Jody his notes*

[Jody Kamisato] *laughs* Or you can visit us on Youtube. Just type in “Jody Kamisato”, “Ukulele Hale”, or “Heart & Soul”. And Twitter. I’m ukulele…

[Edward Sugimoto] jody

[Jody Kamisato] jody *laughs* Thanks Ed! @ukulelejody

[Edward Sugimoto] Cool. Good stuff.

[Jody Kamisato] Thanks a lot. Take care. Keep jammin’ the uke and live aloha. *shaka*

Ukulele Hale
Kaimuki Professional Building
1109 12th Avenue Suite 203
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816 (map)
(808) 258-7237

George Kotaka – IKF Hawaii

George Kotaka is legend in karate. He is a 4th degree black belt with 30 years of training under that belt. He is the son of Chuzo Kotaka (a legend in his own right), the man responsible for bringing IKF (International Karate Federation) Karate to Hawaii. George is one of the main instructors for IKF Hawaii teaching students at dojos in Kamiloiki, Kailua, Kaneohe, Kapolei and the University areas.

My first memory of George was seeing him grow through the karate ranks right alongside of the rest of us. Under Sensei Kotaka (Chuzo), I was fortunate enough to earn my brown belt, and I remember little (at the time) George showing up at our dojo to train periodically. Eventually our paths crossed again while attending Kaiser High School.

George sat down with me during this recent interview:

An Interview with IKF Hawaii’s George Kotaka

[Edward Sugimoto] First of all, please introduce yourself George.

[George Kotaka] My name is George Kotaka, I’m 33 years old and I’ve been taking karate since I was 3 years old.

[Edward Sugimoto] Back in the day, your father (Chuzo Kotaka) was my sensei at IKF in Kahala. Is this where your interest in karate first came from?

[George Kotaka] My interest in karate began, like I said, when I was 3 years old, and my father actually didn’t really force me to take karate. He was just bringing me by the dojo and kinda like just like anything else, you know, where you’re introduced to it so often, after a while you just start to pick it up. I just was really kinda just drawn to karate. Never forced to start it.

[Edward Sugimoto] As the sensei’s son, did you feel any extra pressure to be better and perform well because your dad was the sensei?

[George Kotaka] Being the sensei’s son, I really didn’t feel any pressure at all. I always just went to practice, worked really hard, always had goals in mind that I wanted to achieve since I was young. Just, you know, just like short term goals in the beginning and then later on, fulfilling my long term goals, but never had the pressure because I always just knew that if I just relied on my training and my skill, you know, good things would come about.

[Edward Sugimoto] Lyoto Machida of the UFC, he became the Light Heavyweight Champion a while ago (UFC 98 on May 23rd, 2009) and probably burst karate into the mainstream. Did you kinda feel that karate/”Lyoto Effect” in your studios/dojos?

[George Kotaka] I would say there was a little bit of an affect from the UFC fight where Lyoto won the UFC title. We saw a little bit of an influx of students inquiring about karate, interested in martial arts, especially the traditional martial arts. He comes from a traditional Japanese background, his style is called Shotokan, and it’s a very very popular, I would say one of the four major styles of karate in Japan. So I would say there was a little bit of an influx of students when that happened.

George Kotaka knocks out opponent (from shotokan68’s channel)

NOTE: George does not endorse this clip (a popular video on Youtube with over 29,851 views) and was frankly quite embarrassed of it when I brought it up. I snuck it in here just to give you a glimpse at what George’s karate is capable of.

[Edward Sugimoto] What inspired you to take the next step and become an instructor?

[George Kotaka] I always was intrigued and motivated to be an instructor, to be a teacher. Ever since I was about 14 or 15 years old, I began helping my sister at one of the local karate classes and being kind of like a junior assistant or junior leader and from since that time on, I was really just drawn to teaching, I always liked working with other people. So even after the competition aspect, I could always rely on going back to teaching and falling back to that background.

[Edward Sugimoto] You mentioned your competition background. You’re pretty much a karate legend here and around the country. What do you have in store going forward?

[George Kotaka] Most importantly right now, after retiring from competition in 2008, is just to really work on my students and giving back to the dojo and going back to that teaching. Whether it’s producing the next state champion, national champion, Pan-American PKF Champion or even world champion, that would just be great. I just want to produce quality students most importantly. They don’t have to be champions. If that comes along that would be great but overall I just want my students to be good mannered students, have good morals and ethics and really go by the karate way.

George Kotaka Highlights (from CHAMPOFFICIAL’s channel)

NOTE: This clip I found on Youtube is probably a better representation of what George is all about (as opposed to the previous one). Check it.

[Edward Sugimoto] Cool, thank you very much.

[George Kotaka] OK, thanks.

IKF Hawaii – Main Office
7231 Nuulolo Street
Honolulu, HI 96825
(Click here for individual dojo locations/information)
(808) 395-1774

Todd Tanaka – Team HK

Todd Tanaka holds a black belt under the prestigious Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu system. He is the owner and head instructor of the Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Team HK team, with locations in the University area, Kaimuki and Lutherville-Timonium in Maryland. He teaches the art of jiu jitsu and self defense to keiki (ages 5-13) and adults of all ages. He (along with George above) also just started a women’s cardio kickboxing class on Sunday nights (5:30pm-6:30pm).

Of the three, I probably knew Todd the best during high school. We ran in similar groups and hung out at some of the same places. Todd helped me land my first “celebrity” interview with his good friend Jason “Mayhem” Miller and even let me train at his dojo for a little while.

Here’s Todd and I catching up in this recent interview:

An Interview with Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Team HK’s Todd Tanaka

[Edward Sugimoto] Please introduce yourself.

[Todd Tanaka] Hi I’m Todd Tanaka and I’m the head instructor and owner of Relson Gracie Jiu Jitsu Team HK.

[Edward Sugimoto] Long before the MMA (Mixed Martial Arts)/Jiu Jitsu explosion, you were training with Relson Gracie before anyone knew what it was. How long ago did you start training in the art of jiu jitsu and why did you first start?

[Todd Tanaka] I started in 1990 and I was in, I believe, 8th grade. That’s when (Jean Claude) Van Damme and Steven Seagal was all popular, and me and my friends John and Jared wanted to take a martial art because of the popularity of the martial arts. We were thinking about taking like kickboxing, aikido and stuff and Jared’s father suggested that we go with him to this jiu jitsu class, Brazilian jiu jitsu classes, and we were like, “What is that?” We had no idea. And the dad was like just come down and see if you like it. So we went down, met Relson, started taking the classes from there, and we fell in love with it from day 1.

[Edward Sugimoto] What inspired you to take the next step and become an instructor?

[Todd Tanaka] Well after the UFC started (1993), a lot of my friends wanted to learn and they’d always see me at the weight room and ask me to teach them and I was like “Man, sounds like a good deal.” You know, I could use the side cash so I asked Relson “Eh, can I start teaching?” and he said, “Well I want you to take an instructor program from my brother.” So he flew me up to his brother Rorion’s school in Torrance California, which Royce Gracie was there at the time and the dad (Helio)… And I stayed there, I took their instructor program, and I came back and I helped Relson open his new school in Kaimuki. And that’s pretty much how it all started for me in teaching.

[Edward Sugimoto] Talk to me about your kids. What brings you the most joy when you teach them?

[Todd Tanaka] The most joy is probably just seeing the smiles on their face and seeing how they really like it when they actually do the move correctly.

Todd Tanaka watching over his students
Todd Tanaka watching over his students

[Edward Sugimoto] Do you have an opinion or any comments to those who feel jiu jitsu is dangerous for young kids?

[Todd Tanaka] Yes. You take a risk in any sport… You do… but they have to understand that jiu jitsu and MMA is totally different things. I don’t teach my students to fight. I teach them to defend themselves, self defense, you know. And, you know, if you go in there and you think that jiu jitsu is all about fighting, then yeah, you’re gonna have that perception, but I’m gonna let you guys know that the Relson Gracie jiu jitsu system is about self defense and not fighting.

[Edward Sugimoto] What about personal goals? You received your black belt in July of last year? Anything else in store?

[Todd Tanaka] Um, well, I’m just gonna keep training. I currently just opened two other schools this past year. I have a branch in Kaimuki, and I opened one with another Kaiser classmate/alumni Stuart Ramos. He opened a school under me in (Lutherville-) Timonium, Maryland. Hopefully I dunno, maybe my schools can start growing.

Relson Gracie Promotes Todd Tanaka to Black Belt (from GracieTeamHK’s channel)

[Edward Sugimoto] How about any professional fighting for you at some point?

[Todd Tanaka] *laughs* No, I’m too small and old for that.

[Edward Sugimoto] Finally, you’re big into social media. Do you find that it helps a lot?

[Todd Tanaka] Yes. I can’t remember where I heard this, and I’ve always been using this for years… It’s not who you know, it’s about who knows you. So I’ve always put myself out there. You know, they say there’s no such thing as bad publicity right? Everything’s good publicity, so whatever I do, I put myself out there, I’m easy to find. *smiles*

[Edward Sugimoto] Why don’t we do some plugging of some of those web sites?

[Todd Tanaka] Alright, I got my web site:, and I have my jiu jitsu web site:, I have my Facebook:, I have Twitter:, Youtube:, and, man, I got a couple others but I can’t remember all of them right now. *laughs*

[Edward Sugimoto] Alright cool, thanks a bunch Todd!

[Todd Tanaka] Thank you!

Team HK
(Click here for individual dojo locations/information)
(808) 277-1128

Three great individuals doing great things in their respective communities… who, oh-by-the-way, all happen to be graduates from my proud Alma mater of Henry J. Kaiser High School. They have found a way to follow their passion and find a career doing something that they absolutely love.

I guess you can say they never have to work a day in their lives…

Movies In My Pants (#moviesinmypants)

November 1, 2010

Happy November 1st y’all! I hope you’re all recovered from a lonnnng weekend of Halloween partying. *grin*

So the other day on Twitter, the hilarious #moviesinmypants hashtag picked up a lot of steam. It’s a funny game that cracked me up and made me think about you guys. The idea is to think of a movie name and fill in the blank for the following statement:

__________ In My Pants

The more creative you get with the movie titles, the more we’ll crack each other up. Yes it’s juvenile… but what the hey, it’s a good way to help each other get through this Monday together right? LOL!

So in the comment area below, post your favorite movie in your pants! Hurr’s an example: “40 Year Old Virgin In My Pants”… Ahahaha! Get um?

In other news, check out my new article (including videos!) on

Cougar Pride - Three Kaiser High Grads Making a Difference
Cougar Pride – Three Kaiser High Grads Making a Difference


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