Friends and Acquaintances.

1月8日

Happy New Year everyone! So I thought I’d start off the new year with something a little sentimental and sappy, especially as we get older and our life seems to be moving so much faster, that we need to stop and smell the flowers now and then.

I can’t remember how I cam across this posting, I honestly don’t remember if I wrote it or got it from the Internet, and that’s the truth! All I know is it first surfaced between a good friend of mine and I sometime around 2002. So with that please enjoy this write up describing the difference between friends and acquaintances.

There is a difference between being an acquaintance and being a friend. An acquaintance is someone whose name you know, who you see every now and then, who you probably have something in common with and who you feel comfortable around.

It’s a person that you can invite to your home and share things with. But they are people who you don’t share your life with, whose actions sometimes you don’t understand because you don’t know enough about them.

On the other hand, a friend is someone you love. Not that you are “in love” with them, but you care about them and you think about them when they are not there. The people you are reminded of when you see something they might like, and you know this because you know
them so well. They are the people whose pictures you have and whose faces are in your head regardless.

Friends are the people you feel safe around because you know they care about you. They call just to see how you are doing, because a friend doesn’t need an excuse. They tell you the truth, the first time, and you do the same. You know that if you have a problem, they are there to listen.

Friends are the people who won’t laugh at you or hurt you, and if they do hurt you they try hard to make it up to you. They are the people you love, regardless of whether you realize it.

Friends are the people you cried with when you got rejected from colleges and during the last song at the prom and at graduation. They are the people that when you hug them, you don’t think about how long to hug and who’s going to be the first one to let go.

Maybe they are the people that hold the rings at your wedding, or maybe they are the people who give you away at your wedding, or maybe they are the people you marry. Maybe they are the people who cry at your wedding because they are happy or because they are proud.

They are the people who stop you from making mistakes and help you when you do. They are are the people whose hand you can hold, or you can hug or give them a kiss and not have it be awkward because they understand the things you do and they love you for
them.

They stick with you and stand by you. They hold your hand. They watch you live and you watch them live and you learn from them. Your life is not the same without them.

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The Top 7 Ramen-ya’s in Hawaii.

8月7日

Unfortunately, over the course of several years, Ramen-ya’s in Hawaii have dwindled in number.  There aren’t very many options to choose from anymore and good ones for that matter.  Among the best that I was sadden to see close down over the years were places like Taishoken, Kiwami, Raraya and even Ajitama.  That doesn’t leave us with much!  Here’s what’s left in my opinion….feel free to chime in since everyone’s tastes are different.  I should also add that I can’t wait for Santouka, a Japanese Ramen-ya chain, to open in Don Quijote Kaheka!  Shout out to @Nanigurl for help with photos.

1.  Yotteko-ya.

yt

One of the last remaining Ramen-ya’s in Hawaii that really try to perfect their dishes.  It’s Kyoto style Ramen….make sure you try the Paitan. It’s amazing.

2.  Ramen Nakamura.

NakamuraThere’s always a line of Japanese visitors here which reflects its authenticity.  I felt over the years the Ramen has gone downhill a little especially after they changed up their noodles, but overall still good.  Parking is difficult because of its Waikiki location.  Get around that by parking at the Royal Hawaiian Center and go get validated at Starbucks or one of the other tenants there.

3.   Sapporo King of Ramen (formerly known

as Rai Rai

skWhen I heard that Rai Rai closed its doors I was so disappointed.  I mean the Ramen here was pretty Amazeballs….any place that puts garlic chips in their ramen gets a pat on the back from me.  That’s why I was happy to hear that the restaurant, though a different name, still served up the same foods.  (Photo VIA Nat N).

4.  Gomaichi

gomaGoma-Tei still has nothing on Gomaichi.  The Tan Tan, Shoyu and Hot Sour broth here is still boss.  (Photo VIA Nat N).

5.  Tsukuneya Robata Grill.

CaptureNot known for ramen, Tsukuneya’s niche is Nagoya style cuisine including their popular Tsukune dishes.  But make sure to top your meal of with their Paitan Ramen.  It’s a little different from Yotteko-ya in that it’s richer but the flavor is packed with a punch.  Tenkaippin’s Koteri has nothing on this either.

6.  Daiichi Noodles Cafe.

daiiIf you’re a townie like myself you probably haven’t heard of this place or may have heard of it but never tried it.  Next time you’re out in Aiea, take a trip to Daiichi and try their version of the Tan Tan ramen.  It’s really good…dare I say better than Gomaichi and easily better than Goma-tei.

7.  Kohnotori.

CaptureSay what you want and remind me that Kohnotori is a robata bar, but they also have pretty good ramen.  It’s very light in flavor but don’t let that fool you as there is depth in the broth.

Additional short-list:
Takahashiya
Lucky Belly
Tenkaippin
Ramen @ Gyukaku
Goma-tei
Menaya Ifu Dodo
The ramen you eat after your nabe at Ichiriki
Taiyo
Ezogiku
Menchanko-tei
Every single Ramen vendor that passed through Shirokiya

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10 Strategic Tips For Creating Your Website.

7月29日

A website is an important component to the success of your business.  Today’s consumer is a much smarter shopper, especially with the introduction of the social media networks.  When researching a product or company the first place a shopper likely turns to, is their web.  Your website gives you an official and legitimate voice that the social media networks often times lack.   There also is an air of suspicion when a company doesn’t have a presence online and a company website gives your business instant credibility.  Here are 10 tips for creating a functional website.  If you already have a website established, you may even want to rethink about enhancing it.

1.  Set some goals.  Before you get started, think about what you’d like to achieve with your website.  Drive sales?  Create an information hub for visitors?  Have some goals in mind which help set the tone for developing your website.  It also helps you provide clear direction of where you want to go and the features you will need to include.

2.  Identify your target audience.  This is easier said then done.  Sometimes you’ll want to please everyone under the sun. However, if you’re able to segment your audience this will determine how you structure your website.  Working in the marketing industry, I’ve seen this mistake happen many times before.  A company complicates their website with too many things that a user doesn’t need.  It’s a strategic mistake that could have easily been remedied with understanding the people who will be viewing and using your website.

3.  Consider your brand.  Your brand should also play a big part in developing your website.  The look and feel of your site should reflect your brand.  If your brand is lively and fun, then those elements should also live on your website.  Things like colors, imagery and tone should also be taken into consideration.

4.  Add a touch of professionalism.  Invest in the time to create a functional and professional looking website.  Sometimes all it takes to make an impression is one look at the aesthetics.  Have you ever heard about a product and went to their website which was poorly constructed and looked cheap?  Did it make you think twice about purchasing anything from that company because the way the site looked?

5.  Make navigation simple.  Why complicated things for users?  You want users to easily navigate through your website to reach their and your end-goal.  The more complicated you make things and the more steps you include, the less likely users will complete your processes.  Is your website responsive to mobile devices as well?

6.  Content is king.  You’ve heard this before.  I can’t stress enough how important this is.  You want users to keep coming back to your site which means you need to refresh your content and make it interesting for them.  Let’s say you go to a website and you see a picture.  Now let’s say you go back every day for a week and you only see the same picture.  Would you keep going back to the site?  Or would you keep coming back knowing that the picture changes daily?

7.  Build an e-mail database.  As a marketer I am always looking for ways to extend the conversation and keep current and potential customers informed of my products and services.  Building a database of users who are allowing you to email them these updates is one way to do this.  It also increases the functional value of your website – Not only is it there to market and push product but now you are also using it as a forward-thinking sales tool and another means of drawing traffic back to your site.

8.  Connect to your social networks and other relevant links.  I like doing this for several reasons.  First, it aids in building your social community.  This creates more consumer touch points for you.  This also reversely since someone on social media may not be actively seeking out your website but if you are part of the conversation, users have a landing point to purchase or get more information.   Second, it shows that you’re ready to engage with consumers who now have other avenues to communicate with you.  Lastly, it helps with your website’s SEO.

9.  Speaking of SEO…Optimize your site.  The more you mind this area the higher your website’s ranking will be for organic searches.  There are many ways to improve upon your SEO and if you want to drive traffic to your website then you’ll want to consider this when creating and maintaining your website.

10.  Set up analytics.  I prefer Google Analytics since it’s very user-friendly.  GA aids in pinpointing your audience(s) and gives you insight on how to manage your website.  Analytics will tell you such things as how long someone has stayed on a particular page in your website, where your traffic is coming from, demographic data and much more.  It’s a helpful tool in maximizing the efficiency of your website.

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12 Tell-Tale Signs You’re Nearing 40.

7月29日

It’s pretty obvious.  You’re getting old especially if you remember these things and lived it.

1.  Hairdo.

Ladies had the wave.  Fellas sported their BWB aka bolo with bangs.  Or sometimes just plain ol’ mullet.  (Photo VIA & VIA).

2.  Cavaricci.

The privileged had their pick of different colored Cavaricci pants.  The rest of us schmuck sported Bojo’s. (Photo VIA).

3. FloJo’s.

You always had a pair ready to go. You even chose to wear them over your rubber slippers from Woolworth. One side note….they really got pretty smelly after a while (Photo VIA).

4.  Sunkist Fruit Rolls.

There was no other fruit roll up.  If it wasn’t a Sunkist Fruit roll up, it wasn’t a fruit roll.  The best thing about them was eating it like a cigar.  (Photo VIA).

5.  SNES.

Just when the NES broke through and started a revolution with the 8-bit video game console system, they one-upped it with the SNES 16-bit console system.  You could actually bring Street Fighter II from the arcade into your home.  Best game ever was and still is Super Mario Kart. (Photo VIA).

6.  Cuffs.

If you didn’t cuff aka peg the pants back in the day, then you’re lying.  The tighter the better.  Added bonus, wearing these bad boys with those leather shoes from Tom McCann.  (Photo VIA).

7.  90210.

There, I said it.  You knew everything about what was going on between Dylan and Brenda.  Kelly was your favorite and quite frankly you didn’t know what the heck Steve was even doing on this show.  (Photo VIA).

8.  Trapper Keeper.

Trapper Keepers were the coolest thing every.  Why they don’t still exist today is beyond me.  Not only did they look good, they were so functional in organizing loose-leaf paper, folders, a ruler and even a pouch for pens.  (Photo VIA).

9.  The Walkman.

You had one of these and actually know what a cassette tape is.  (Photo VIA).

10.  Cigarette Bubble Gum.

You were probably victim at some point in your life to buying these baby cancer sticks that the smoking industry, although they deny it, ingeniously employed to “train” future smokers.  You could puff on them and a cloud of powdered sugar would emerge from the end of the gum like smoke from a real cigarette.  Living in Hawaii you probably got them from the Manapua Man.  (Photo VIA).

11.  Commodore 64.

The first computer you ever worked on was a Commodore 64.  You could create linear designs with a little “turtle.”  Not to mention using the original 8″ floppy disk that was able to store a whopping 80kb of memory. (Photo VIA).

12.  Cartoons.

You remember real cartoons.  Shows like Scooby Doo, Robotech, Grape Ape, Voltron (Lions), The Justice League, Tranzor Z & Captain Caveman.  None of this Pokeman crap.  (Photo VIA).

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12 Things You Wish Were Still Around In Hawaii.

7月18日

Well, it’s Throwback Thursday but instead of naming a song from back in the day, a photo or even a type of fashion, why not take it even deeper and take a trip down memory lane to the “good ol’ days”.  What are some of those places or icons that you wish were still around in Hawaii today?  Here are 12 that may strike a chord with you.  Feel free to chime in and let me know what you wish were still around.  Most of my memories are from Oahu and my Neighbor Island memories are lacking so please enlighten me!

1.  Drive Inn Theaters.

At one time, Drive Inn Theaters scattered the state and became a popular regular weekend destination for island residents.  Their demise began around the 80’s with a combination of commercial real estate for the valuable land that they were situated and the multiplex movie theaters.  Waialae Drive Inn (pictured) was infamous for the legend of the faceless lady spirit that occupied the ladies bathroom.  (Photo VIA).

2.  Liberty House.

Who can forget Liberty House.  Before the popularity of online shopping, locals and visitors alike flocked to their locations for everything from clothes, kitchenware and even perishables like cookies and candies.  In 2001 they were bought out by Federated Department Stores aka Macy’s.  (Photo VIA).

3.  Castle Park.

With their arcade, water rides and miniature golf course…Castle Park was a tween/teen’s haven for fun, mischief and hanging out.  They opened in 1979 and stayed open for about 8 years before shutting down after a fatal water park accident.  (Photo VIA).

4.  Yum Yum Tree.

Every person now in their 30’s-50’s will remember this place as a popular date destination after catching a movie.   Let’s not forget their sister company Jolly Roger’s either.  (Photo VIA).

5.  Arakawa’s.

This place was crammed with everything from sporting goods to local food items.  Although it was located in Waipahu, even townies found themselves taking a weekend drive out to central Oahu to check out the offerings from Arakawa’s. (Photo VIA).

6.  Woolworth.

Fried chicken. Icee.  Rubber slippers.  ‘Nuff said.  (Photo VIA).

7.  Ranch House.

Every kid will remember this place at the entrance of Aina Haina valley not for the food, but for the treasure chest you can get your toy from to occupy yourself for the rest of the evening.  (Photo VIA).

8.  Kam Bowl.

You didn’t go here to bowl.  You went to get a helping of their famous Oxtail Soup.  (Photo VIA).

9.  Fisherman’s Wharf.

Like the Ranch House, kids would immediately head to the pirate’s treasure chest to claim their toy before eating.  The clam chowder wasn’t too shabby either.  (Photo VIA).

10.  Dole Cannery Pineapple.

Flying in to Oahu, tourist and locals will remember seeing this odd shaped tower below as they came in for a landing at Honolulu International Airport.  For those driving in to town or away from it….you could always see this historic icon from afar on the freeway.  (Photo VIA).

11.  The Wave Waikiki.

The Wave Waikiki Nightclub. Now the site of the current Allure Condominiums, this popular venue attracted both locals and tourist for the array and variety of  performers, DJ’s and of course the nightclub.  Many people will remember the colorful mural on the wall as you entered the Ewa side of Waikiki. (Photo VIA).

12.  Toyo’s Superette.

Most Manoa residents remember this icon all too well as it was around since 1918.  Whether it was a stop over after a swim at the Manoa pool for Icee or a fly by for last minute grocery items, many of us, including non-Manoa residents will miss the days of passing by as we drove in to Manoa Valley.  Toyo’s fell victim to the times closing its doors in 1998.  (Photo VIA).

Honorable Mentions:
Guava Lane.
Byron’s.
Kramer’s
JC Penny.
Coco’s Drive Inn.
Chico’s Pizza.
Liquids.
KC Drive Inn.
Ocean’s Night Club.
Gems.

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5 Things You Can Do When Looking For a Job in Hawaii.

7月12日

Whether you’re a Hawaii resident or looking to move to Hawaii, here are 5 simple steps that can help you open the door to a new job opportunity.

1. Tap in to your relationships. Hawaii is a small place and a lot of times it’s really all about who you know. Don’t be embarrassed to ask or let people know that you’re exploring the job market. It happens so often…your aunt’s co-worker has a son working at a company looking to hire…your wife’s yoga instructor just so happens to be married to an HR recruiter…these scenarios are not uncommon here in Hawaii so it would only benefit you to tap in to these opportunities that your relationship with others can bring.

2. Link up to LinkedIn. Your personal network may only take you so far. Signing up for an account on LinkedIn and expanding your professional contacts can bring you much value when entering the job market. First, you’re tapping into an immense database of professionals that you won’t get from Twitter or Facebook. Second, if you work for a specific industry, LinkedIn can help you communicate and network with that specific audience. As an added bonus, you can even go so far as creating conversations with those in a particular geographic location. Lastly, LinkedIn is also a great way to be found by employers looking for potential job candidates. So be sure to adopt a LION (Linked In Open Networker) strategy and open your doors to networking with those whom you may have never met before.

3. Connect with a recruitment & staffing firm. The larger ones like ALTRES represent hundreds of local businesses and often times these businesses will have jobs only available through the staffing firm. Agencies like this give you access to Hawaii’s “hidden job market.” They also specialize in an area that you’re not so be sure to listen and learn from these experts. It would also benefit you to sign up for any type of mailing list they may offer so that you get job updates and opportunities that match your criteria.

4. Go Direct. If you’re interested in a specific company or trade it doesn’t hurt to go directly to them to see if they’re hiring. Want to work for First Hawaiian Bank? Check out their website. Thinking about being a Fireman? Look into taking the Firemen’s test. If you have certain companies in mind that you’d like to work for, you should always check to see if they have any openings.

5. Job sites. The common thing for many jobs seekers is to check out the classified ads in the newspaper or a job aggregate website. A job site may be easily accessible but be wary about the credibility of those that you put your trust into. I’ve seen many suspicious “jobs” on sites like Craigslist where anyone has access to post material. Hit up credible sites like Real Jobs Hawaii which has affiliations with reputable partners like KITV. You’ll know the jobs coming through are legitimate and have been screened before being posted.

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5 Ways to Combat Negative Reviews on Yelp.

7月11日

Love it or hate it, Yelp and its reviews will be around for a while. As a business, for every positive review you can pat yourself on the back for, you’ll agonize ten times as much for each negative post. Negative reviews affect your business’ overall Yelp rating and this is the first thing users see associated to your company’s Yelp listing. As an avid Yelp user, I know firsthand that how customers perceive you, can influence a purchasing decision among new customers and even existing ones.

Capture

Picture this, you’re with a bunch of friends looking for a place to eat after the movies. You whip out your phone and pull up your Yelp app to take a look for nearby restaurants. You find a couple suggestions that you run by them and the first thing they ask…well how many stars did those places get? In other words, they are already programmed to screen out those listings with weaker ratings and reviews. It happens all too often to the frustration of many businesses since it’s not something they can easily control. But unless something drastic happens, Yelp is here for the long haul and it’s up to businesses to embrace it and make the most of it. Here are 5 ways to combat negative reviews on Yelp:

1. Take ownership. It’s important to“claim this business.” By doing so, you’ll be able to respond to those who have given you a weak review in a public forum so that future users can see you’re working to fix the problem.

sway

2. Fix it. After addressing the reviewer, the obvious thing to do when someone posts a negative comment is to fix the problem. For example….a steak dish that doesn’t pair well with brussel sprouts? Perhaps you should think about using onions. The varnish you use for your particular wood products too light? Maybe you should look into a heavier coat. However, it doesn’t make any business sense to throw out all of your wood products because one reviewer thought the varnish coat was too light. But you should at least make the effort to resolve any problems or areas of concern within reason.

3. Flag it. Flag any false reviews. False reviews are not permitted by Yelp and can be flagged for removal. A false review can be a post that is hearsay or even one that is misleading such as telling users that the bikes at a certain shop are of poor quality when the shop actually serves Korean food. See where I’m going with this?

flag

4. Get the most out of Yelp. As a business you can subscribe to an array of tools that can help bring more customers through the door. With each customer or in this case “Yelper,” there creates an opportunity to boost your overall rating. If you don’t want to wait that long to build that audience, you can even partner with Yelp to participate in Yelp events where majority of those attending are active Yelpers. Put on your best showing at these events and watch your overall ratings grow through the volume of patrons.

5. Create a following. Build your reputation through other social media sites such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. If your business can build its community and establish itself within local social groups, active Yelp reviewers are more than likely to go a little easier on their reviews than a non-social establishment.  To put it simply, you don’t want to be talking trash about everyone’s friend.

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