I attended the Hawaii International Film Festival Film launch & sneak peak screening at Dole Cannery Theatres on Wednesday, September 30, 2009 from 6:30 P.M.
Monthly Archives: September 2009
Joint House Human Services and Judiciary Committee informational hearing on the Office of Youth Services
On September 30, 2009, I co-chaired the Joint House Human Services and Judiciary Committee informational hearing on the Office of Youth Services from 11:00 A.M. at the Hawaii State Capitol.
Since June 2009, Jon personally met approximately 18,000 people while campaigning based on the amount of campaign materials he passed out. (Campaign Statistics and Budget Coordinator)
All quotes and statements in printed mainstream newspapers such as the Honolulu Advertiser and Honolulu Star Bulletin must have a legitimate source. Quotes and statements from individuals show their legal names and their organizations. However, comments on the online websites of these newspapers have a majority of comments from individuals that cowardly hide behind fake names and they type negative and crass statements, and use codes that represent dirty words. I strongly believe such comments have reduced the professionalism that should be associated with journalism. Like letters to the editor in printed mainstream newspapers, individuals that comment on these newspapers’ online version must post their legal names because a vast majority of these comments are full of filth by individuals who have unsatisfied lives and have nothing to offer our society but place their ill-will onto others. All of these negative individuals should be restricted to low-rated communication mediums and blogs and not the mainstream media’s websites. If they are going to talk, they should show the world who they are rather than be cowards. We encourage our children to read these mainstream news sources, but we shouldn’t have these individuals’ filthy writings be available for our children to read.
I’ve been quiet on this issue for too long. I have an idea to get rid of all these negative individuals who comment in the mainstream online news media unless they post their real names. Every year I strategize and create at least one fun project. This is my latest one. With my relentless determination, I have pulled a lot of rabbits out of hats in my career. Watch when I pull these guys out of this hat. Stay tuned.
I attended the Consul General of Japan and Mrs. Yoshiko Kamo Reception at their residence from 5:30 P.M. to 7:30 P.M.
From a young age, my mom would tell me that I am so one-track mind when my mind is set on something. Sometimes I would be focused on unnecessary issues or mistakes, and I would get affected negatively. On the other hand, when I focused on positive goals, I would often achieve them or go very far towards my goals. Over time, I learned to improve from my mistakes and accept my imperfection. When I was young this was very difficult for me, but I have greatly improved since then.
Thus, I have learned to better myself from my mistakes and accept my imperfection, and place intense focus on my positive goals. Since I was a little kid, I would dream away with goals I want to achieve and work at it constantly. Today, the same goes for my goals for Hawaii and the United States and my efforts in my campaign for political offices. I am so obsessed with my goals that I can’t stop thinking about them and working towards them. I am relentless, especially when the odds are against me. I like to take on overwhelming odds. It is stressful but exciting like a natural high.
Life is full of challenges. Sometimes, we can feel burnt out or even depressed. Don’t let the negativity take you down. My mom always told me since I was a kid, “Look at a half a glass of water as half full rather than half empty.” Below are statements I say or what other people say that inspire me and keep me going strong. I hope some of these quotes will help you when you are going through some challenging times.
“Let’s take it to the next level!” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“Life life to the fullest!” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“We can overcome negativity with positivity.” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“When a majority of us are at peace, a majority of the world will be at peace.” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“I don’t believe in no-win scenarios.” – James T. Kirk
“Let’s make the impossible possible.” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“The longer we live, the more we can do.” – Brandon R. Mitsuda
“We get knocked down, but we get back up again” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“We can come back a thousandfold stronger and nothing will stop us.” – Jon Riki Karamatsu
“Boys til we die!” – Jon Riki Karamatsu (I say this to my loyal boys)
“Not even death will stop us.” – Jon Riki Karamatsu (When we leave a positive impact while we are alive, we live on after death)
“We must keep death in mind at all times.” – Jon Riki Karamatsu (When you keep death in mind at all times, you appreciate life and make the most of it)
“We’re 24-7!” – Brandon R. Mitsuda
“I wish we didn’t have to sleep. Imagine how much more we could do?” – Brandon R. Mitsuda
“When our enemies are sleeping, we are still working.” – Brandon R. Mitsuda
“Taaarrific!” – Late Grandpa Tadao Sakai
“Study hard and Hollywood will beckon you.” – Late Grandpa Maurice Karamatsu (The last words grandpa Karamatsu told me.)
“Where there is a will, there is a way.” – Laraine E. Karamatsu (My mom always told me this since I was a kid)
“Do it once and do it well.” – Richard E. Karamatsu (My dad would always yell at me when I was young. I still mess up the first time. I learn from my mistakes and improve myself.)
“Jon, don’t forget your dreams.” – Late Representative Bob Nakasone (The last words Rep. Bob Nakasone told me)
“Always forgive.” – Speaker of the House Calvin K.Y. Say
I was on Chai’s Cooking Show, which aired this past Sunday, September 27, 2009. The other show I was in aired in July of 2009.
I don’t believe in no-win scenarios. Sure, we can fail. However, there is always a way to succeed. We can make the impossible possible. Whether you succeed or fail does not matter. What matters is how hard you tried.
Hawaii is going through its worst economic downturn. I am determined to make Hawaii more sustainable by reducing our reliance on imports such as oil and out-of-state food by supporting renewable energy development and local farmers. I will do all I can to strengthen our tourism, technology, science, health, and film industries. I will continue to support project-based learning in our public grade schools and ensure we have a stable public community college and university system. Finally, I am committed to reduce violence in Hawaii.
In summary, these are my short-term goals for Hawaii: 1. Make Hawaii a top 100 economic power per capita in the world; 2. Ensure 30% of our food is grown in Hawaii; 3. Have 10% of our energy produced in Hawaii; and 4. Reduce Hawaii’s violent crimes by 40%.
My long-term and far-fetched goals for Hawaii: 1. Make Hawaii a top 25 economic power per capita in the world; 2. Ensure 45% of our food is grown in Hawaii; 3. Have 20% of our energy produced in Hawaii; and 4. Reduce Hawaii’s violent crimes by 75%.
Success of the above goals will give Hawaii the flexibility to provide more services in areas of transportation, health coverage, and long-term care. My goal is to have a diversified transportation system, ensure 97% of Hawaii’s people are covered with health insurance, and create a program to help expand long-term care insurance coverage to 90% of Hawaii’s population.
My long-term & far-fetched goals for the world: Reduce the violence in the world by 75%, unite 90% of the world’s countries, expand space exploration beyond our galaxy. Dreams are what makes me look forward to tomorrow.
I don’t believe in no-win scenarios even for our personal lives. Negativity may knock us down, but we will get back up and come back a thousandfold stronger and nothing will stop us. I wish everyone happiness and compassion.
As I campaigned throughout the state, it has been interesting to meet so many people. The seniors really touch me because of the sacrifice they have done for us. Many seniors tell me they see me on T.V. Even though I am in the media often, they really appreciate my old school style of campaigning and we are often linked through my passion for culture, which means so much to them. A number of them told me that I am like the old school times. One lady told me, “Good you do this [meet the people]. This is how it [politics] used to be in the old days.” A middle-aged lady told me I am like a blast from the past and that I am like the old school guys. I signed my autograph on a number of my fans for seniors at the Portuguese Festival. With the Filipino community, I am touched when the nanas and tatas hug me. I am honored to represent many of them in the House of Representatives. I also really enjoy talking to all the Hawaiian seniors. I met a number of them at a hula performance. Some of the elder Japanese ladies like to speak to me in Japanese even though it is pretty clear that I am a Yonsei (fourth generation Japanese) or Gosei (fifth generation Japanese). They bow and I bow back. With my background in Jodo Shu Buddhism and Shintoism, many senior AJAs bring up our connection and seem so happy I continue many traditions that are fading with the younger generations. A number of seniors told me I handled my mistake (DUI) well and to keep going. I have met so many of my grandparents’ friends, especially grandpa Maurice Karamatsu with his big network from his days as former Vice President of Duty Free Shoppers, executive for Hawaiian Airlines, and President of the Hawaii Buddhist Council. Some of the elder ladies are so blunt when they talk to me, it is funny, and it reminds me of my grandma Ellen Sakai.
Recently a number of seniors at the Senior Fair told me, “Thank you for running.” I told them, “No, thank you for all you have done for my generation so we can can go to public school and do well.” I will never forget the look on their faces. The were touched and some of their eyes welted up a little. My eyes got teary but I held them in. The most touching was at the Okinawan Festival when en elder AJA lady started to cry when I knelt before her and gave her my pen.
History and culture is so important. Okage sama de. Domo arigatou gozaimashita. I am who I am because of the seniors before me and all those before them. Thank you so much.
I attended the Hawaii’s Plantation Village’s Awards Dinner at Hale Ikena in Fort Shafter on Saturday, September 26, 2009 from 5:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. after I spent the day at Hawaii’s Seniors’ Fair at Neal S. Blaisdell Center. I presented House certificates to the awardees and made a short speech: “There is one phrase that summarizes everything. It is a a Japanese phrase, okage sama de. We are who we are because of the leaders before us and the leaders before them. Okage sama de, domo arigatou gozaimashita.”
I spent three days at the Hawaii Seniors’ Fair, The Good Life Expo at the Neal S. Blaisdell Center on Friday, September 25, Saturday, September 26, and Sunday, September 27, 2009 from 8:30 A.M. to 4:30 P.M. with a couple of breaks in between. It was good to see so many people.
I attended the Islam Day Festival put on by the Muslim Association of Hawaii at McCoy Pavilion in Ala Moana Beach Park from 6:00 P.M. to 8:00 P.M. on Sept. 24, 2009.
I chaired the Peace Day Hawaii 2009 Ceremony on September 21, 2009 from 4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M. at the Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda. The 3rd Annual Peace Day Hawaii ceremony included a keynote speech by Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams, entertainment, Peace Day Hawaii Award to Scot Matayoshi, and a silent candlelight vigil.
On Sunday, September 20, 2009 from 11:30 A.M. – 3:00 P.M., I attended Sustainability for Schools, a forum of Peace Day Hawaii, which discussed peace through peace gardens & sustainability. I introduced Nobel Peace winner Betty Williams to the stage. I also interviewed her for Olelo television.
I attended Soka Gakkai International – USA (SGI-USA) Culture of Peace Distinguished Lecture Series with honorary guest speaker, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Betty Williams at their center in Nu’uanu on Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 7:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
I attended the Portuguese Festival put on by the Hawaii Council on Portuguese at McCoy Pavilion on Saturday, September 19, 2009 from 11:30 A.M. to 3:30 P.M.
I attended the Hawaii Chinese Association Moon Festival Banquet at the Pacific Beach Hotel on Friday, September 18, 2009 from 6:00 P.M. to 9:00 P.M. Lots of good ballroom dancing.
I attended the AARP forum on healthcare reform at the state capitol from 9:30 AM to 11:30 AM on Friday, September 18, 2009.
On Wednesday, September 16, 2009 from 4:30 P.M., our Peace Day Hawaii Committee decorated the Hawaii Peace Tree at the State Capitol located on West side of the grounds, West of the Korean War memorial near the street. The tree is a Kukui Nut tree donated by the University of Hawaii at Manoa CTHAR in 2007.
On Thursday, September 3, 2009, I stopped by Rep. Angus McKelvey’s fundraiser at Ruth’s Chris Restaurant at about 7:00 P.M. He and I are co-founders of the “Tiny Business Caucus” (5 employees or less), which I suggested and he agreed as we talked in Rep. Bob Nakasone’s office I believe during the 2007 Legislative Session.
I attended the Waikele Elementary School Community Council meeting on Tuesday, September 9, 2009.
I attended the Pacific Buddhist Academy’s Dedication Ceremonies for Future Facilities and its new wooden peace pole on Sunday, September 6, 2009 from 3:30 P.M.
“If Everyone Cared” by Nickelback
Peace begins with us
By Representative Jon Riki Karamatsu
On Monday, September 21, 2009, Hawaii will celebrate its 3rd annual Peace Day. In 2007 Hawaii became the first state in the nation to commemorate its own Peace Day annually, a day also marked around the world as the United Nations International Day of Peace.
It is a day of global ceasefire and nonviolence that each member state of the United Nations agreed upon. It is also a day in which each one of us can do something for peace, no matter how big or small.
Last year 1.4 million children living in volatile areas of Afghanistan were given polio vaccinations. The significance of this event was that the Taliban did not interfere and pledged to not harm any vaccination teams.
Peace Day is a universal effort. However, it must begin within us, our homes, our schools, and our communities. This is why I introduced legislation officially recognizing Peace Day in Hawaii on behalf of the members of the Hawaii Federation of Junior Young Buddhist Associations.
An ad hoc Peace Day Hawaii Committee, which I have served as chair since its establishment, was formed in 2007 to plan annual events. It includes leaders from state government, not-for-profit organizations and peace-education community. Each year the committee plans an educational forum and celebratory ceremony to be held on or around Peace Day.
The committee has hosted forums on international relations and bullying in schools, and has held Peace Day ceremonies, which include guest speakers, entertainment, the presentation of the Peace Day Hawaii Award, and a unified candlelight ceremony.
Past award recipients were the late U.S. Senator Spark M. Matsunaga, an advocate for world peace throughout his political career and Dr. Glenn D. Paige, a university professor who taught nonviolence education and founded the Center for Nonviolence.
This year, we are honoring Scot Matayoshi, a former teacher at Nanakuli High and Intermediate School, who created the Peacemakers Club to help students make good decisions and advocate for nonviolence in their school. As you can see from these extraordinary peace leaders, peace can be achieved at all levels: around the world, in our communities, and within ourselves.
One Peace Day Hawaii objective is to educate residents – especially our children – about the existence of Peace Day and encourage them to think about what they can do to make Hawaii a better place to live in, to make the phrase “lucky we live Hawaii” true every day.
This year, despite the dismal economy, the Legislature protected monies for legal services for survivors of violence, and updated harassment and temporary restraining order laws. However, we must get to the root of where the cycle of violence can be broken: our keiki. One way to do this is to implement a nonviolence education program for our public schools that includes education on conflict resolution, discrimination, harassment, bullying, sexual assault, and domestic violence. We need to put more emphasis on education and awareness and be proactive rather than reactive.
Hawaii can play a major role in international peace. We have a unique society with a variety of cultures and traditions that we share with each other. One of my long-term political goals is to create an “Aloha Mission” to the Middle East region to support our Hawaii troops, meet with political leaders, exchange culture, and provide medicine and toys for children.
Many people shy away from peace initiatives because they think that one person cannot make a difference. That is wrong. We can all make a commitment to strive to embody the Aloha spirit through acts of compassion, acceptance and understanding. Peace must first start within us. Compassionate actions from one person can make a huge impact, and all our actions combined will help the world reach our goal of celebrating peace 365 days a year.
I urge all of you to do something that symbolizes what peace means to you on Peace Day. It can be anything that helps or educates yourself, your neighbors or the world. You could make a donation to a charity, take a moment for self-reflection and personal development, ruminate on best non-violent responses during conflicts, talk about Peace Day with your children, create a recycling bin for your home, plant a vegetable garden, or attend one of the many Peace Day events around the state.
The State Capitol will host two public events. There will be a forum on “Sustainability in the Schools” from 12 – 3 p.m. on Sunday, September 20, 2009 and a Peace Day Hawaii Celebration Ceremony from 4:30 – 6:30 p.m. On September 21, 2009. Betty Williams, a Nobel Peace Laureate will speak at both events.
Peace Day Hawaii 2009 Ceremony
September 21, 2009
4:30 P.M. to 6:30 P.M.
Hawaii State Capitol Rotunda
The 3rd Annual Peace Day Hawaii ceremony will include a keynote speech by Nobel Peace Laureate Betty Williams, entertainment, Peace Day Hawaii Award, and a silent candlelight vigil. Please bring lawn chairs as seating is limited.
I attended for the second time, the Honolulu Pau Hana Club business networking event on Thursday, September 17, 2009 from 5:30 P.M. at Dave & Busters.
“Shimauta” – The Boom
With all the Okinawan events I have attended recently on Oahu and Maui, I decided to share one of my favorite songs I like to sing with my friends. I learned this song from my good friend Spencer while we were in college and we would hang out at GS Studio. Spencer and I learned some Japanese from college and working at Duty Fee Shoppers. I am not that good in the language but try to make do. This song is in the traditional Okinawan language. I sing the Japanese version. Someday I want to sing “Shimauta” in front of a large crowd like a rock star! I love the Okinawan culture, food, and especially their music. The music is so spiritual with deep meaning. I guess I’m an Okinawan at heart.
I completed my political platform for Hawaii and the United States when I was 21 years old. At the time, I accepted two negative aspects in the life of politicians: 1. You must be strong and be able to handle criticism, anger, and jealousy; and 2. You must be willing to die for the sake of what positive goals you want to achieve for humanity and the world.
On Sunday, September 13, 2009 at about 10:55 A.M., I was at Long Drugs at Pearl City to buy a couple of things before going to my parent’s house to feed “Stretch” (family dog – Doberman/Australian Shepard) and then to my good friends Brandon and Ellen’s wedding shower at Treetop Restaurant. While waiting at the cashier line, a man in his twenties or thirties with dark complexion started swearing at me and threatening to harm me. He felt that I shouldn’t be in office. He kept calling me me out. There were moms and dads, and grandmas and grandpas in line with me, but he kept swearing at me regardless. He paced by me and stood right by the entrance where I would have to leave. One lady tried to get security. As soon as I got my change, I walked straight up to this guy and reached my hand out for a handshake. He didn’t grab it. He continued his anger towards me. I listened and responded. After my response, he wanted me to “just go.” He didn’t follow through on his threats against me. Despite being upset with his behavior, I took the higher road, patted his shoulder, and left.
I have had people threaten my life in the past, but this was the first time it happened in front of a crowd. In the past, a middle aged man threatened to shoot me with his shotgun. As a politician, we attract many good people who want to better the world. However, we also attract some people who take out their anger and frustration on us. There are also others who are jealous or just hate us for the sake of hating. This part of politics is the most draining next to my political opponents who do whatever it takes to try and take me, my group, and allies down.
I have a hard time understanding on how people can hate me so much or even wish me dead even though they don’t know me? The last Hawaii politician to be assasinated was Senator Larry Kuriyama. On October 23, 1970, Senator Kuriyama attended a political rally of hundreds of people including Governor John A. Burns and then drove home. As soon as he entered his garage at about 11 P.M., he was shot five times by someone with a gun that had a silencer.
My profile has escalated since I became the Chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, making decisions on highly publicized and often controversial issues. I am on television and in the newspapers often, thus, people now recognize me a lot more. Like other politicians in Hawaii, I am easily accessible and have no security. Specifically, there are a couple of things that place me in the middle of negativity such as my support of legislation against crime and my decision to expand equal rights for the same-sex community, in addition to any other political or life decision I make that infuriates individuals. All it takes is for a person wanting to get back at me for my anti-crime work, a radical religious person who believes I am leading people to hell, or a person who hates me for my political or life actions, to cross the line of threats to actually follow through to see me dead.
I attended Boy Scout Troop 75’s Court of Honor at Manana Elementary School on Saturday, September 12, 2009 from 6:00 P.M. to 7:45 P.M. The court of honor is when the scouts receive promotions or merit badges. I presented a House certificate to Troop 75 commemorating its 50 the anniversary since I missed their anniversary event in August. I am a 1992 Eagle Scout from Troop 75, which I served from 1985 to 1992. I learned leadership and community service as a scout and still apply what I learned up to this day.
I attended the Okinawan Festival on Sunday, September 6, 2009 from 12:00 P.M. to 3:00 P.M. at Kapiolani Park.
To be continued…
Rep. Jon Riki Karamatsu Fundraiser for Lt. Governor at Royal Hawaiian Hotel on August 26, 2009 from 5:30 P.M. to 9:00 P.M.
I attended the Slopes of Diamond Head Hui Networking Event at Pearl Ultra Lounge on Tuesday, September 1, 2009 from 6:30 P.M.
I attended the 20th Annual Lupus Hawaii Benefit, Honolulu Wine Festival 2009 on Saturday, August 29, 2009 from 6:30 P.M. My friend and former researcher for the House Judiciary Committee, Tracy Okubo is a survivor of lupus, thus, I am personally honored to support this good cause. Speaker Calvin K.Y. Say and I presented a House certificate to recognize Chuck Furuya’s work towards this cause. Chuck is a Master Sommelier and I got to know him over the years through many events. We also presented a House certificate to Lupus Hawaii, accepted by its president Cheryl Ann Jong. Speaker Say and I talked and joked around on stage like we’ve done may times before. Great event, great cause!
On Tuesday, August 25, 2009, I went to Kauai for several meetings in the afternoon with an ILWU leader, realtor, construction heads, and attended the Kauai Chamber of Commerce’s 35th Annual Kauai County Business Outlook Forum at the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort & Spa, Grand Ballroom from 6:00 P.M.