The Real Hawaii

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The Real Hawaii
A page for our wonderful Hawaii Consultants to put their thoughts!

Real Hawaii Flavor

  • Just shy of 1 million people live on O'ahu, which is two thirds the population of the state. Over one third of that lives in the City of Honolulu alone. The southern side of the island is incredibly crowded, with nearly unbroken urban development from Hawai'i Kai on the east end all the way out to Ewa Beach and Kapolei on the west. Traffic at morning and evening rush hour is a nightmare.
  • Most of the 'tower' development is in Honolulu proper. Honolulu ran out of room to sprawl long ago, so the city is in a constant state of redevelopment. Mostly this takes place in the higher property value areas.
  • Directions in Hawaii are rarely given in cardinal directions. Most commonly they're given in relation to landmarks. On O'ahu the common ones are 'Mauka' (inland, or 'toward the mountains'), Makai (toward the ocean), Ewa or Ewa-Side (pronounced 'Eva', toward the Ewa Plain, generally toward the west side of the island) and Diamond Head Side (toward Diamond Head, a extinct caldera on the southeast portion of the island once believed to contain diamonds).
  • Professional and personal relations on the islands are quite important. Smart people try to avoid burning bridges since you'll almost certainly run into people repeatedly. Professional communities in particular are small and relatively closed. There are only so many of a given profession on the islands and they all tend to know each other. Even if they compete or dislike one another, they tend to be polite.
  • On a similar note, odds are fairly good that any two people whose families are from Hawaii are related on some not too distant level. It's not uncommon on bringing a potential significant other home to meet the parents for the parents to do a little quiz to figure out if they're related and how closely. And it's not uncommon for those answers to be 'yes' and 'too close'.
  • Shopping options are more limited and more expensive. On any given island there's a handful of stores that will carry a given thing even if that thing might be common on the mainland. If those handful of stores don't have that thing and you really need it, the internet is your only option. And many shippers don't ship to Hawaii because of the expense.
  • On the topic of more expensive, most things are. Electricity rates are close to 3 times the national average. Water, cable, food, most services. Housing is especially expensive due to the high demand and perpetually low supply.
  • Aside from English, it is not uncommon to hear Chinese, Japanese, Tagalog, Hawaiian or Pidgin. It is not uncommon to see written Chinese or Japanese in many establishments, especially the latter due to the high number of tourists and native speakers.
  • Hawaiian words and names are often sprinkled in common interactions, the two most common being 'Aloha' (Hello/Goodbye but usually used as a greeting) and 'Mahalo' (Thank you). Passion fruit is commonly referred to as 'Lilikoi', and a large form of Bao called 'Manapua' is a popular snack. Pupus (snacks/appetizers) are often served at parties or business meetings. Porches/verandas/balconies are commonly referred to as 'lanais'.

Spooky Hawaii

  • The concept of 'Mana' (power) was important to the pre-contact Hawaiians and according to their beliefs it could be absorbed by others after death. Consequently it was common practice for the bodies of the dead to be hidden or buried in secret. The net result of this is that the entirety of O'ahu is a massive burial ground and finding human remains when doing excavations is relatively common.
  • Related: No one knows where King Kamehameha I, the great uniter of the islands, is buried.
  • An old story tells of the Law of the Splintered Paddle. King Kamehameha I was engaging in a military expedition in Puna when his party confronted two fishermen who had stayed behind to cover the retreat of a man carrying a child. The king's foot got caught in a reef and one of the fishermen struck him over the head with his oar which splintered and broke from the force of the blow. Later, the king would issue a decree called the Law of the Splintered Paddle which directed warriors not to harass noncombatants. Might this ancient precept have found enduring application in the supernatural world in some fashion?