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Sunday, December 11, 2011


I woke up this morning to decide what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.  As I'm having dinner tonight a La Mer and tomorrow night at Ocean House, next door, I thought, why not, and checked into the Royal Hawaiian Hotel at a decent Kamaaina rate (with free parking, internet, Kenwood sparkling wine, two lunches, Blue Hawaii at their Mai Tai Bar and a room overlooking Waikiki Beach).

The Pink Palace of the Pacific opened in 1927 at a cost of $4 million ($50 million today).   Franklin D. Roosevelt used this site as the Western White House.You saw scenes from Gidget Goes Hawaiian filmed here. They closed for almost a year in 2008 to renovate the place, so I thought now was a good time to revisit the Lady. It is owned by the Osano family of Japan.

I walked into Waikiki (all of three minutes) and bought a salmon moco (the healthy version of loco moco) with a bottle of beer and a spot of sake:

Shows how you can learn something every day, for I could not find a bottle opener for the beer so asked the room service attendant to borrow one.  She didn't have anything, but said just use your spoon?  Huh?  Spoon?  So she showed me how.  In five seconds the cap was off.  All my life I've cut myself, destroyed a variety of objects in hotel rooms and generally struggled to try to do this and only today learned how to use any utensil to accomplish this task.  It's so simple that I hesitate even mentioning the details.  But, if you're like I was, ask me through the comments section below.  Also learned that hand and body lotion not only can, but is, a better shaving cream than shaving cream...for shaving.

I then thought, I'd walk on the beach to the finish line for the Honolulu Marathon (former Mayor Frank Fasi is credited for starting this all), for two of my Saturday golf partners, Carleton Taketa and Eddie Chiu, would just about be finishing.  I started at the above point.   There were a lot of distractions.  As my trek to the Diamond Head Lookout a week ago, I realized I had never really walked any distance on Waikiki Beach ever.  In fact I've not walked barefeet on a beach for more than a few hundred yards in at least half a century.

I got to  the finish line at the 7 hour mark and watched for an hour, but then left, for I thought, surely, they would complete this course by 8 hours.  I did not realize that for these loafers, you need to add 45 minutes, for it takes that long to get to starting line for these bottom feeders.

There were almost 23,000 runners this year, with more than 60% from Japan.  This is the 39th year, and there were no competitors from Japan for the first three years.  Now Japan Airlines is the THE major sponsor.  I noticed during my viewing period that, regularly, two young Japanese female participants, many holding hands, sprinted to the finish line and look fabulous doing so.  It was almost as if they had just rested for hours, went to a beauty salon and snuck in at the final 100 yards.  Historically, 82% have finished.  There has been only one death.  The results this year?

Not sure if my colleague from the University of Hawaii, Gordon Dugan (middle on the right) competed or finished this year, but he is one of three to complete every race since the beginning.  He even ran once with a broken leg (well, anyway, a serious knee problem, and worse).

I walked on the beach back to the Royal Hawaiian, and noticed a finisher (that orange shirt) enjoying a deserved rest:

Return tomorrow for my dinner at La Mer, and more.



Anonymous said...

Kyo-ya Hotels is no longer controlled by the Asano family. It was sold to Cerberus Capital Mgmt in 2004.

re: Wikipedia &


My sources said:

After the death of the Osano brothers, Takamasa Osano inherited the billions of dollars owned in properties. Along with the Moana Hotel, the Royal Hawaiian Hotel continues to be one of the flagship hotels in the Osano corporate empire and is the part-time residence of the Osano family.

It turns out that, as you indicated, Cerberus Capital did buy in, and now owns 65%. The Osano family, though, still retains a 35% share (5December2005):