NaPoWriMo Day 9: Picture Bride Blues

Japanese style kitchen safe, Hawaii Plantation Village

Promised to a man
Across the deep blue sea
I carry his picture
And hope it's not a lie my mother fed to me

'Cause I'm so far from home
And there's no turning back for me

I get to Honolulu
All these faces staring at me
Someone calls my name
Aiya this old man is my husband

And I'm so far from home
And there's no turning back for me

My mother's chawan
in my kitchen safe
is the only comfort
in this foreign, dusty land

And I've got nowhere to go
This is home for me now.

I went on an excursion for my graduate class to the Hawaii Plantation Village in Waipahu, Hawaii. Their intent at the village is to preserve Hawaii's plantation history from about 1850 - 1950. The houses represent different ethnic groups that came to Hawaii to work in the plantations and the houses are furnished with replicas of items taht would have been in a typical house. They also have other buildings like a community bathhouse, a barber shop, plantation store an Japanese sumo ring.

I found that while we were touring the houses, I kept focusing on the kitchens. The different kitchens just brought the history alive. I focused on this kitchen safe that used to be used to store food so that the flies wouldn't get to it, and it also housed dishes sometimes. My great grandfather was a master carpenter brought from Japan to work on the Pioneer Mill plantation manager's house. He made a tabletop safe that my grandfather still had when I was growing up. It was like a magic box to me even if when I was growing up they only used it to store pantry items and papergoods.


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