And now, for the main event! (a couple of weeks ago, sorry for the delay). We cap off our travelling adventures with the Ota Ohana (family) reunion in Hilo, Hawaii. Above, the Ota family crest stylized into a T-shirt design by Brittney Mahler.
C’s grandpa, Kay Kunio Ota, was the fourth of six siblings. Pictured above are about 70% of the descendants of those siblings. We are almost 70 people strong, despite missing key members (like all of C’s siblings). The overachieving Sakumotos win with 100% representation.
It is C’s first time back to Hawaii in 17 years, and it’s wonderful.
Before she died, C’s Grandma Kiyoko (who married into the Ota family), wrote an extensive Ota family history. Prior to this reunion, C’s mum Pauline added to the history book. Above, Auntie Leh pores over photos of the Issei and Nissei generations. (Issei are first generation immigrants, born in Japan. Nissei are second generation, born in the US. C is yonsei, fourth generation.)
The complete Ota family tree – all the way to Rokusei!! (Sixth generation) Above, Hula fills in her family information.
C’s mum and sibs! The Kay Kunio Ota family: Doug, David, Barbara, and Pauline.
The immediate family: J, C and parents. Missing key members Lani, Stig, Dan, Anna, and newly born Baby Vatland (squee!)
Keiko being delighted by Uncle David. The Ota family is currently in the midst of a baby avalanche and despite her apparent youth (and being the youngest Ota present at the reunion), Keiko is successfully older than three other Ota family infants.
Portrait of family gathered around baby carriage. C and Leialoha (purple and blue, respectively), now 31 and 35, haven’t seen each other since they were teenagers!
Tys and Lora learn how to shell opihi (limpets) before dinner at the Leialoha ranch on Sunday. The Leialohas are family friends who used to work with C’s grandpa in his doctor’s office.
C’s mum and sibs delighting in Hawaiian Shave Ice.
Surprise!! Uncle Doug and Uncle Carlos stopped by the courthouse in Hilo and got married after being together for 23 years!! Above, cousins pile celebratory leis on them at dinner.
And just in time to celebrate the nuptials, J, C, Carlos, and Doug happen across the Hilo Pride Festival! It’s a small gathering, but festive and fun.
Wholesome family lawn games.
A fantastic time spent with the whole Ota family. Huge thanks to Karleen and Pauline for all their hard work planning the reunion and to all our local Aunties, Uncles, and cousins who hosted! We will definitely return to Hawaii again before too much time passes.
C & J