I’m so proud of my neighborhoods of Liliha and Nuuanu here in beautiful Oahu hawaii.
I spent my child hood growing up and exploring the streets, parks, and little nooks here. I grew up right across from Kuakini medical Hospital on a small street that at one time was just a lane, and where my father also grew up in the 1930’s. My early life encompassed the explorations of Kuakini street, Liliha street,Kunuwai, Judd, Wylie, Nuuanu, Bachelot, and Bates.. I have explored, played, enjoyed, and lived life in this surrounding areas. My neighborhoods are a 5-10 minute drive to bustling downtown Honolulu and Honolulu Harbor. Today, I get my exercise with my dog Chloe Elizabeth, by walking and reminiscing through the streets and crossroads of my childhood. I am without a doubt filled with love and happiness at all the multi cultural aspects of my neighborhood and childhood growing up, and is probably what has enabled me to be so well rounded and so in love with cultures.
What’s in a name?
LILIHA: A little history of the name Liliha. Kuini Liliha ( the heartbroken Queen) was a high Chiefess during the reign of King Kamehameha II. She was a champion for the catholic faith, as it was banned early on in her royal carrier, and accompanied The King and Queen in their visit to London to visit the Queen while contracting the measles to which everyone died except for her and her husband. She was beloved by the people and there is even a hula chant done in her name, and is thus a reason for having the very Long street of Liliha named after her.
NUUANU: Also known as Nuuanu Pali, is the name of a stretch of land that starts at the mountains mouth in the Nuuanu valley and flows down to the ocean. There are many historical places, battles, and history of this valley and street. There is Queen Emma’s Summer Palace, The royal Mausoleum, The Pali where the great battle between the Chief of Oahu and the future King Kamehameha took place and with him subsequently winning the battle created the Kingdom of Hawaii.
KUAKINI: Was a son of an Ali’i ( noble) and a widowed Queen from Maui. John Adams Kiʻiapalaoku Kuakini (1789–1844) was an important adviser to Kamehameha I in the early stages of the Kingdom of Hawaii. He was responsible for much building and other changes in the Kona District during this era.
I begin my walk like I always do, on Kuakini street , to which I take a right ( west ) towards Liliha. At the Corner of Liliha and Kuakini, I’m always reminded of my lovely childhood when I remember the Number one Best Japanese Okazuya (Deli) on the island, Honda’s They served up the best in local style japanese food. I loved their Inari Sushi ( cone sushi) the best. I also used to help Aunty Clara Wakazawa clean up her small barbershop after a trim and it brings back very fond memories. Now its a bank, and I can just smell the Deli and imagine them wrapping my food with such perfect presentation, up in their rice white waxed paper with a thin manila rubber band and a wooden Hashi (chopstick) to go. I miss it so much.
At the corner of Liliha and Kuakini, I take a right to make my way up the very steep hill of Liliha Street. Along the way I find so many lovely delights. There’s a Korean BarBq place, A Korean Christian Church which is so beautifuly crafted in the traditional Korean Architectural style , A Brush maker that has been making brushes since I was a kid, and My favorite child hood play area, Kunuwai Pond.
My street , which was once a lane, opens up and becomes Elena Street. Growing up we could always here the clanging of what sounds like Cymbols and fire crackers and a type of flute or horn. It was coming from the local chinese temple / house on my street.
At this store here, I remember buying my crack seeds, Shaved Ice, Ice cakes, and where I first learned to play Lady Bug .
As I continue my journey going up Liliha , I’m always amazed at the multicultural dwellings one will find. There are chinese style homes, Japanese style homes, Late 19th Century homes, modern renovated homes, and lovely lovely homes with beautiful plants, flowers and fruit trees.
There are a number of Hospitals and Rehabilitation centers in my Neighborhood, Kuakini Medical Center, Rehabilitation Center of the Pacific, and on Liliha is this hospital named after the sisters of the order of Saint Francis, Saint Francis Medical Center
As I turn right onto Wylie Avenue, a flood of memories hit me like a ton of bricks. This wide and beautiful avenues is filled with historical places, but the most historical in my history ( tongue twister) is the home of my Nanny and long time friend of the family, Mrs Florence Pu’u.. On her street are a number of beautiful Homes, and the Hare Krishna temple. It’s a peaceful street located next to a stream, and I have so many fond memories playing hide and go seek, picking Puakenene flowers ( my favorite) and running up and down her street.
MaeMae Elementary School is where I would come to every year to get my fluoride treatment. Its campus is still filled with the music of children. Next to it is the areas fire station, which then leads to the round about to enter into Upper Nuuanu and the Pali highway.
A swift right turn leads me down Nuuanu Avenue and what I like to call, Religion Row. You have Protestant, 7th Day Advenist, Chinese Buddhist, Japanese Buddhist, Lutheran, Baptist, Catholic, Christian, and so many others. My pre-school years were spent at a 7th Day adventist Pre-school then called Na Keiki O Ka Aina ( The children of the Land) I also went to a Buddhist Japanese School, a Lutheran day care, and a Catholic Elementary and High School. So my life is pretty religiously colorful.
On this most precious and beautiful Street/ Avenue are a Royal Mausoleum, and 2 beautiful graveyards.
The First, Maunala is the final resting place of Queen Liliuokalani, Princess Kaiulani, and King David Kalakaua and Queen Kapiolani, as well as other past kings and royal families. It is a very serene place and was right next door to my pre-school. Whenever I pass it whether it be walking or driving, I always give a bow. Today I sang Hawaii Pono I in honor of our last queen.
Next to it is the Oahu Memorial of the pacific and Oahu Cemetery. I love waling through the Oahu Cemetery as there are so many headstones that date to the early 1800’s and are just beautiful. I didn’t take much pictures as there were a few funerals going on so out of respect…..
Ironically located right next to the Oahu Cemetery is Craigside , an Elderly Assisted complex. The elderly live on their own with the help of assistance. It’s kind of funny because part of their view includes the cemetery which is a reminder of where they may be ending up shortly. I guess someone must have thought it funny to erect such a building. Too funny.
As you continue your walk down Nuuanu you will notice a few beautiful high rises.
Down lower Nuuanu is a house I’ve adored since I was a child. I’ve walked past it on my way to Japanese school and Judo constantly and wondered what it was like in its hay day.. Such a charming little home. Across from it is the Japanese Consulate Generals Home and consulate.
Back on to Kuakini Street, I’m getting close to home. There is a beautiful Park called Waikalulu or currently ” Liliuokalani Gardens” , beautiful streams, old Plantation houses, and Kuakini Medical Center…
My walk has come to an end, memories remembered, and my heart is full of Joy. I hope you enjoyed this quick walk around my neighborhood. Incase you’re wondering , at a nice walking pace, the walk took about 45 minutes.