December 11, 2009

HAWAI'I: Kaua‘i centenarians honored by Japan

. LIHU‘E, Hawaii / The Garden Island / Kauai News / December 11, 2009 By Dennis Fujimoto - The Garden Island LIHU‘E, Hawaii — Mineichi Saiki said in two months he will be one year old again. After celebrating his 100th birthday in February, he plans to start the count over from the beginning. He was speaking with Consul Masanori Shindori who was on Kaua‘i to present gifts and certificates of commemoration to two Kaua‘i residents on behalf of the Prime Minister of Japan, Tuesday. Saiki, of Wailua, and Takino Izuka, residing at the Kaua‘i Veterans Memorial Hospital, were the recipients of Shindori’s parcels. Mineichi Saiki of Wailua accepts the congratulations and certificate from the Prime Minister of Japan from Consul Masanori Shindori, Tuesday. Dennis Fujimoto/The Garden Island In speaking with Shindori, Saiki said he’s been to Japan six times since 1965. “I enjoy the trip,” the Wailua Houselots resident said. “We went south of the Main Island and go into the cave.” Saiki’s travels to Japan took him to Hokkaido, Sado Island and Yamaguchi Prefecture. “There was this bridge,” Saiki said. “I forgot the name, but I remember it. Most people go Japan one, two times, but I went six times.” Steve Kline of KVMH described Izuka as “so alert and bringing a lot to the hospital.” One of the other residents added, “If you no watch out, she going beat you up.” Izuka, celebrating her 102nd birthday in May, has five children, 12 grandchildren, nine great grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren, said Alice Tsukiyama, Izuka’s oldest daughter, who joined the celebration at KVMH. “She was the oldest of nine children,” Tsukiyama said. “Her family registered the first four children with Japan. The other siblings all have Hawai‘i birth certificates.” Tsukiyama said because of the Japan birth registration, Izuka was honored with the visit from Shindori who comes to Kaua‘i annually to honor residents celebrating their 100th birthday. “She still walks, feeds herself and is mentally very strong,” Tsukiyama said. During the Tuesday gathering, Izuka was joined by her sister, Kazue Honma who said she is classmates with Dimples Kano, one of the delegation accompanying Shindori. Izuka has a brother and three sisters that are still living, Tsukiyama said. In addition to Honma, the brother is living on Kaua‘i. The other two sisters live on O‘ahu and the Mainland. In addition to the certificate, Shindori presented Izuka with a gift from the Prime Minister of Japan — a silver cup used to drink sake, a Japanese rice wine. “You can use this to drink tea every day,” said Kikuo Harada, another of the delegation accompanying Shindori. Jennie Ahn, the social worker at KVMH, said the hospital recently celebrated the 100th birthday of another of its residents, Kimie Yanagawa, in November. [rc] Dennis Fujimoto, photographer and staff writer, E-Mail: Copyright © 2009 - Kauai Publishing Company