Located in downtown Waimea, the 160-year-old Spencer House will be a center of activities during 21st Annual Cherry Blossom Heritage Festival from 9:30 to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 1. In addition to tours of the historic building, the day will include an exhibit and sale of unique Japanese and other Asian art and collectibles assembled by Carrington Edward “Baba” Yap, a book signing by Waimea author Doug Shinsato, a tree planting by Gov. Neil Abercrombie, and a Chinese lion dance.
Gov. Abercrombie will stop by at 10:30 a.m. to plant a flowering cherry tree on Spencer House’s front lawn in honor of one of Waimea’s most respected elder statesmen, Judge Nelson Doi. Retired Judge Doi is one of very few U.S. citizens who has served in all three branches of government – legislative as a state senator including as Senate president, executive as lieutenant governor and judiciary on the Third Circuit and also in the Marshall Islands. Judge Doi also helped draft the Hawaii Constitution, and in more recent years, helped found North Hawaii Community Hospital.
Carrington “Baba” Yap exhibit
Guests to Spencer House will be surprised by the beauty and diversity of “Baba” Yap’s exhibit. His exhibit will include a number of traditional Japanese dolls, some by the Japan artisans once authorized by the emperor. Though best known as an award winning hula dancer, “Baba” is rapidly gaining a reputation for being a discriminating collector of Asian and Pacific artifacts and cultural treasurers. He comes by his multicultural interests and expertise from both family ties and extensive travel.
The son of Ed and Nani Lim Yap, he is no stranger to Waimea. Ed Yap is a superb musician and vocalist, and both a Hawaiian and Chinese cultural practitioner. Nani Yap is a respected kumu hula, singer and lifetime achievement award recipient whose halau has won numerous Merrie Monarch competitions.
Shinsato book signing
Book author Doug Shinsato, has become a national media personality, having appeared on CNN, BBC and MSNBC to discuss his research for his two recent books, “For That One Day: Memoirs of Mitsuo Fuchida, Commander of The Attack On Pearl Harbor” and “101 Lesser Known Facts Related To The Attack On Pearl Harbor.”
“For That One Day” is about Fuchida’s life in war, peace and the religious transformation that led to embracing America.
Shinsato’s translation of Fuchida’s autobiography has captured the attention of Pacific War enthusiasts because of disagreements that surround what actually happened at Pearl Harbor, Midway and, in Japan in the days leading up to the surrender ceremony on the USS Missouri. Historians also are fascinated by the perspective of Japan’s top aviator, who, after total defeat and occupation of his country, embraced America as a friend.
“101 Lesser Known Facts Related To The Attack On Pearl Harbor” is a guide covering the political, economic and military tensions that led to US involvement in World War II. These lesser known facts are based on research Shinsato did, both to translate the Fuchida memoir, and also his translation of the memoir of Elaine Fischel, a member of the American legal team at the Tokyo Crimes Trial, which defended Japan’s top two admirals and Emperor Hirohito’s political adviser. “101 Lesser Known Facts” begins in 1853 and includes events following the “Date That Will Live in Infamy.”
Author Shinsato, who lives in Waiki’i, is a Japanese-American who spent a major part of his business career in Japan. He has an MBA from the University of Southern California and a Juris Doctor from Stanford Law School. He will have books available for sale and signing.
Activities will conclude at 1 p.m. with a traditional Chinese lion dancing in celebration of the beginning of the Lunar New Year on Friday, Jan. 31. The loud music, drums and ritual lion movements are believed to scare away evil spirits so that good luck will follow. “Baba” Yap will be one of the lion dancers reflecting his years of martial arts training in addition to his hula training.
For more information about Historic Spencer House, go to www.Facebook.com/HistoricSpencerHouse or call Paul Johnston at 938-4540.