Apps for KLEAR Integrated Korean Textbooks Now Available at iTunes

KLEAR AppUse your iPhone or iPod Touch to study Korean vocabulary anywhere, anytime! Textbook Companion now offers apps designed to go hand-in-hand with the vocabulary from the KLEAR Integrated Korean series of textbooks.

Two versions of the apps are currently available for Beginning 1 and 2 (free)/(paid) and Intermediate 1 and 2 (free)/(paid).**

The paid apps access all the vocabulary from the texts with these features:

-Flash Cards: View in Korean or English, easily swipe through words from each lesson, and remove any words you already know.
-Vocabulary List: View all words in each lesson with the ability to show only one language at a time.
-Quick Search: Quickly search, in either Korean or English, for the definition and lesson of any vocabulary in the textbooks.

**Order the upgraded versions for just 99 cents until April 15. Apps will return to $2.99 after April 15.

Hart Wood Receives Historic Hawaii Foundation Award

Hart WoodHart Wood: Architectural Regionalism in Hawaii, by Don Hibbard, Glenn Mason, and Karen Weitze, will be recognized with a Preservation Honor Award at Historic Hawai‘i Foundation’s 2011 Awards Ceremony on April 19. This is the 36th year of the Preservation Honor Awards, which are Hawai‘i’s highest recognition of preservation projects that “perpetuate, rehabilitate, restore or interpret the state’s architectural, archaeological and/or cultural heritage.”

“With insightful text and 200 illustrations, Hart Wood traces the life and work of a significant Hawai‘i architect who resided and practiced in the islands from the 1920s to the 1950s. The wide range of buildings he designed has special significance for us today, as fine examples of this period’s distinctive regional style of Hawaiian architecture. The book is the culmination of years of extensive research, documentation, and the compilation of photographs and materials, which was first initiated in the 1980s. The University of Hawai‘i Press worked closely with the authors to design and produce a volume to match their vision. . . . [An] outstanding contribution to Hawai‘i’s preservation efforts.” —Hawai‘i Historic Foundation award letter

Oe Kenzaburo’s Tribute to Oishi Matashichi

A few days before last month’s tsunami hit northeastern Japan, Nobel laureate Oe Kenzaburo wrote a brief essay for the Asahi newspaper, which appeared on March 15: a tribute to anti-nuclear activist Oishi Matashichi, a fisherman who experienced firsthand the effects of the U.S.’ nuclear testing in the Pacific in the 1950s. Read the essay here, translated by Richard H. Minear.

Professor Minear’s translation of Oishi’s autobiography, The Day the Sun Rose in the West: Bikini, the Lucky Dragon, and I, will be published by UH Press this August.

Mark Panek Launches Big Happiness

Mark Panek will present Big Happiness at several events on O‘ahu, including a community forum at the KEY Project in Kahalu‘u and a book launch at Native Books. All are open to the public with no attendance fee. Books will be available for purchase.

* Thursday, April 14, 12:00 noon to 1:15 p.m.; Center for Biographical Research, Henke Hall 325, 1800 East-West Road; phone 956-3774. Brown Bag Biography talk on life-writing.

* Friday, April 15, 6:30 to 8:30 p.m.; KEY Project, 47-200 Waihe‘e Road, Kahulu‘u; for more information: John Reppun, phone 239-5777. A celebration of Percy Kipapa and public forum on land-use and drug issues will include speakers from the community and refreshments. The parents, other family, and friends of Kipapa will attend. http://www.keyproject.org/keyproject/

* Saturday, April 16, 12:30 to 1:15 p.m.; Kuykendall Hall, UH-Mānoa (check room location that day), part of the Celebrate Reading Festival; for more information: Lorna Hershinow, 239-9726, email: hershinow@gmail.com. In this session of Celebrate Reading, the author will discuss the general aspects of biography, based on his writing experiences with Big Happiness. [best link: http://hihumanities.org/index.php/events-calendar/401-celebrate-reading-2011]

* Saturday, April 16, 3:00 to 5:00 p.m.; Native Books/Nā Mea Hawai‘i, Ward Warehouse; phone: 597-8697. The author will give a talk and reading, followed by a book signing and informal discussion. Light refreshments will be provided.

Q&A with Big Happiness Author Mark Panek

Big Happiness
Big Happiness: The Life and Death of a Modern Hawaiian Warrior is a heartfelt look at the life of Percy Kipapa, the relationship between post-statehood development and Hawai‘i’s drug problem, and Waikane, Kipapa’s hometown in rural Windward O‘ahu.

After a successful career in Japanese professional sumo, Kipapa (known professionally as Daiki, or Big Happiness) returned to a Hawai‘i that had little to offer him in the way of economic opportunity. Seven years after his return, Kipapa was found murdered in the pickup truck of a friend—a drug dealer out on bail who later confessed to the killing.

Author Mark Panek, who met Kipapa while working on a biography of Akebono, draws on extensive interviews with Kipapa, his family and friends, other Hawai‘i sumo competitors, and Windward O‘ahu community leaders to tell the story of the struggles many young local men face growing up in rural O‘ahu. Panek, who teaches in the Department of English at the University of Hawai‘i at Hilo, agreed to answer a few questions about the book and his experience writing it.

Q: How did you come to write about Percy Kipapa?
It was at his funeral. Something more than sadness hung over the proceedings, given the tragic nature of Percy’s death. And while we all experience our own personal grief, I got the sense that at least at some point, everyone there was thinking: of all people, how could this have happened to Percy? Well over a thousand people rotated through the reception line throughout the day—an image that also spoke to what an incredibly warm and generous guy Percy was. And when I reached Percy’s mother in line—I’d met her once, three years earlier, for less than five minutes—she immediately recognized me as Percy’s “writer friend” and said that someone should have written a book about what her son had accomplished, but that now it was too late.

Q: Your book has been called “part mystery, part investigative journalism, part poignant Island portrait.” How do you write a book that crosses so many different genres?

I’d begun with the idea of simply honoring Percy for his parents, but structurally, the book began to take on a life of its own by focusing on that question: of all people, how could this have happened to Percy? That led me to have to define Percy as the type of guy who would have over a thousand people show up at his funeral, which in turn led into having to talk about all the events (including those directed by Percy himself) that conspired to put Percy in the truck on the night he was killed. That required me to historicize such things as post-statehood development, Hawai‘i’s drug war, land use issues in Waikane Valley, and others. To say it out loud makes it sound like a boring history book, and in early drafts readers kept saying, “Well, that’s interesting, all that stuff about Operation Green Harvest, but what does it have to do with Percy?” The challenge was in talking about such things and maintaining some sense of tension by moving Percy’s immediate story back and forth between foreground and background. You know, you hear abstract terms all the time—terms like “social impacts” or “colonization” or “gentrification” or even “ice epidemic” without really seeing concretely what those things mean. I doubt most readers will pick up the book having any idea who Percy Kipapa is, but hopefully they will come to see his story as a concrete example of these sorts of terms. If Percy is to become the human face attached to all these abstractions, then by necessity you’re asking your narrative to do a number of different things, often at the same time.

Q: How do you anticipate Big Happiness being received by the Kipapa family and the Waikane community?
The Kipapa family, particularly Percy’s parents, were heavily involved in this project from the start. I suppose this question is getting at how Big Happiness turns its focus to the ice epidemic, and that’s a good question. Initially I wanted to avoid the whole thing, because, well, you didn’t want Percy to be remembered as a “druggie” or a “chronic.” But then when I began researching addiction, and talking to people like Andy Anderson [former CEO of Hina Mauka treatment center—not the developer/politician of the same name], and eventually discussing Percy’s drug use with his parents, I began to see that glossing over Percy’s addiction would simply be contributing to the ice problem. Part of the reason the ice problem has been allowed to persist for over twenty years now is that we’ve stigmatized users as people covered in scabs, with no teeth, who choose to be the way they are. It’s a convenient stance to take. I took it myself with Percy when he asked to borrow money from me. Four years later he was dead.

To answer the question more specifically, the Kipapas read the book in draft form and came away proud of what Percy was able to accomplish in such a short life—not just in sumo, but all of it, including his battle with addiction. As for the Waikane community and the surrounding area—the setting works not just because it’s where Percy grew up and was later killed; it truly helps define the extent of the problems that led to Percy’s death. From the anti-development battles of the 70s through the fights for water rights in the 90s, we’re talking about perhaps the most civically engaged community in the state. The initial island-wide sign waving efforts to finally confront the drug problem back in 2003 began right in Kahalu‘u. The place is practically on permanent neighborhood watch. And yet in spite of all that, Percy was killed there. My hope is that people see Big Happiness not as a criticism of their community, but more an attempt to shed light on a huge state-wide problem by saying, “Even here. Even in Kahalu‘u and Waiahole/Waikane. How in the world is that possible?”