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the basics
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Hi, it's Aaron (Namba to some of you). I've lived here slightly longer, so I guess I get to write this page on what you're supposed to do. Not that I really know... you should realize that I've never been a tourist here, so I may not necessarily know the best things for you to do. I'll try my best, but if you know people who have visited Honolulu, you might want to try to combine their knowledge with mine to get a more complete picture.

I've organized the information as best I can for now, but I will continue to refine it from time to time as I get questions or think of new things, so check back every week or two perhaps for updates. Let's start with the basics:

When: may 21, 2005
ceremony begins at 10 am
lunch reception to follow (~11am - 3pm)
Where: J W Marriott Ihilani Resort & Spa
92-1001 Olani Street
Kapolei, HI 96707 (Google Maps, or if you must, Mapquest)
Who: you're uninvited if you don't know this
Why: see Who

Short answer: By plane.
Longer answer: Well, you'll have to figure out the details yourself but I can help.

If you live in one of the cities serviced by Hawaiian Airlines (I believe the full list is: Los Angeles, CA; Phoenix, AZ; Portland, OR; Sacramento, CA; San Diego, CA; San Francisco, CA; Seattle, WA; Las Vegas, NV), you may be able to get a special fare. Go to the Hawaiian Airlines Wedding Wings login page (thanks, Roy). You'll need our Star File # (whatever that is), which is WED279, and our last names, which are of course Kim and Namba.

If you can't find anything there, there's a slight possibility that Hawaiian's other special rates will apply (valid through 6/9). Hawaiian is probably the best (non-bankrupt) airline providing service to Honolulu, but it doesn't serve as many mainland cities as, say, United or American.

If you don't live in one of the cities serviced by Hawaiian or just want to shop around more (always a good idea), here are a couple of the other sites I've used when traveling to Honolulu in the past:

Panda Travel

On March 20, I checked Delta's web site and pulled up some fares for 5/19 - 5/24, taxes & fees included. SEA: $247.36, LAX: $400.90, SFO: $419.42, JFK: $490.80. Personally, of the various non-HI-based airlines I've flown, I've liked Delta the best.

On March 24, I noticed Hawaiian is offering a great deal on one-way tickets to Honolulu. Might as well just get one of those, once you visit, you'll never want to leave...

Today (4/6), I found a deal from Pleasant Holidays on airfare + hotel. I can't recommend them personally, having never used them before, but AAA seems to like them. If you are a member, you might want to ask if there is a AAA discount.

And remember, you're flying into HNL (Honolulu International Airport) on the island of Oahu.

I guess the bare minimum would be 5/21 10am to 1pm, so you can see us get hitched and have a meal on us. We don't have any events planned other than the ceremony and reception. But that would be quite a waste of a plane ticket, and you wouldn't get much shopping done. I would recommend arriving on Thursday and leaving Tuesday to get the best fares.

This will be the most difficult section for me, since I have only stayed at one or two hotels on Oahu. I will take a shot at writing this section a little later I guess...

For very special, ultra-thrifty individuals, I have some floor space and some sleeping bags, pillows, etc. Lemme know if you want to arrange this, I've crammed up to 6 full-size adults into my little apartment.

Not sure I'll be of much help in suggesting touristy things to do. And sorry, one of the things you likely won't be doing is flying to neighbor islands like Maui, Hawaii (the Big Island), and Kauai... unfortunately airfare and other expenses can be prohibitively expensive.

Dining. One thing you can do that I certainly can help with is dining out! The best part of living in Hawaii (I think) is the food. Here are some local restaurants as well as some of the regional/national franchises. I've tried to estimate how much cash you'll drop at each... $ being fast food and $$$$$ being Morton's. (And we do have one by the way, it's at Ala Moana.)

Sansei - unbeatable sushi (dinner - $$$$, fri/sat after 10pm, $$$)
Palomino - no clue... others call it "American Regional" ($$$$)
Kincaid's ($$$)
Kaka`ako Kitchen - local/fusion ($$)
Zippy's - the local Denny's ($)
Ryan's - drinks & pupus (appetizers) ($$$)
Brew Moon - drinks & pupus, some dinner stuff ($$$)
Mai Tai Bar - Casey's favorite ($$)

Morton's - steak of course ($$$$$)
Ruby Tuesday - various... enormous menu ($$$)
Shokudo Japanese - Fusion cuisine ($$$)
Genki Sushi - sushi on a conveyor belt ($$)
California Pizza Kitchen - pizza, salads, soups ($$)
Buca di Beppo - italian ($$)

For more ideas, check out the Honolulu Advertiser's Hawaii Restaurant Guide. Zagat's also has lots of information on Honolulu, but unfortunately their online version converted to paid subscriptions a while back, so I can't link to anything in particular.

Shopping. Of course, Honolulu also has great shopping. If you are staying in town, you will want to check out Waikiki and the Ala Moana Shopping Center.

Beaches. Almost forgot this one. You know how it is, the closer you are, the less you end up going. Lots of terrific beaches, and unlike California's beaches, they aren't freezing cold and they're generally pretty easy to get to. The one thing I really can't stress enough is that the sun here is REALLY DAMN HOT. Wear sunscreen (SPF 30+) or look like a cooked lobster (and feel like one too). Your choice. Realize that you WILL TAN even if you are wearing SPF 50.

The rest. If you insist on the touristy stuff, I can't really help you there. There's hiking, snorkel/scuba, dinner cruises, Polynesian historic and cultural stuff, and historic military stuff (Pearl Harbor, etc.). But I guess that's what the Oahu Visitors Bureau is for. And maybe I should have listed this link first. Oh well. Also, a list of 101 Free Things to Do on Oahu (or under $10). Anyway, use your mad Googling skills, then call/email me if you have questions or need more details.

There are many interesting aspects of local culture here that might be good to know.

Think casual. People here are a lot more laid back. Life moves a little more slowly. I don't expect people to wear suits to my wedding (except for the immediate family and the bridal party). A long-sleeved shirt and slacks (and whatever the female equivalent of that might be) will do just fine. The local folk (my family mostly) will probably dress in "aloha attire," but mainland folk would be advised not to attempt this.

1001 cranes. You may wonder what the crane counter is on the home page. According to Japanese culture, it's supposed to be some sort of a good thing for the bride to fold 1001 cranes before the wedding. I've heard many variations, some say it's just good luck, other say folding all those cranes builds patience. Some say the bride doesn't have to fold them all herself (clearly this doesn't come from the patience-building camp). In any case, despite the fact that Annie is not Japanese, she is attempting to fold 1001 cranes all by herself. When it's all done, the cranes are usually assembled into some kind of art. We'll see whether she finishes with enough time to spare.

Pidgin. For the last time, no, I will not demonstrate. Pidgin is the local creole, a mishmash of English and assorted Asian languages, plus some Portuguese I think. If you talk to some truly "local" people, you may encounter this. For those who have attempted to understand people speaking other creoles, like Cajun or Patois, you know how head-scratching some phrases can be. Here's a Hawaiian Pidgin - English dictionary if you want to try talking to locals. This is specifically "Hawaiian Pidgin" because it seems there are other dialects elsewhere that are also called pidgin.

Last updated: 4/6/05 1:40 pm HST