Here at Hoyochi Nikko, a well-loved tradition is Thursday Pupu Night. Hosted by the resident manager couple, everyone brings their own drink plus something to share; the guests get to know the other and enjoy the sunset together. The current managers are Melody and Allyn, but this Thursday Melody had to leave the island for business so she gave Allyn instructions to make sure he brought her popular peanut clusters (some with coconut!) to Pupus. I love Melody’s clusters, so quickly agreed to make sure he did not forget. But come Thursday it was raining, so Pupus was canceled. But to tease Allyn, I went to the party table at the 5:30 start time and sat there looking sad, lonely, and hungry (and made sure Karen took a photo). Allyn promptly came out, told me Pupus as canceled (something he never had had to do before), and that I would not get any clusters. Maybe next year ….

Last night, nephew Scott, his wife Chris, and their friends Nick and Janice invited us for dinner at their condo at the Kapalua Resort’s Golf Villa. When asked what we could bring to dinner, Scott texted back immediately: pies from “you know where,” which we knew meant Leoda’s. We had wanted to have lunch there, so we were happy to go fetch the pies. And what better day to do it than Chinese New Year, which Leoda’s was celebrating with a Lion Dance. When we arrived, the lions were starting to make their way into the restaurant, dancing and opening their mouths so all could give a red envelope donation for good luck in the new year (the Year of the Dog). While I was at the counter I felt something on top of my head and noticed the cashier look up with fright, then pure joy, as one of the dragons was taking a big bite out of my head. Picking up pies has never been more fun!

Karen and I so enjoyed the company, dinner, and the beauty of the grounds and sunset. When someone mentioned that the delicious grilled meat was a tri tip, Karen asked what that was exactly because while she had heard of it, she had never seen it in stores back home, which the Californians could hardly believe. So when we got back to our condo, Karen went online to investigate a little more and found: “Tri tip steak … is a small triangular cut from the sirloin. The tri tip steak was popularized in California but is now more widely marketed, though you may need to request it from your butcher.” And Karen intends to do just that! The lovely evening ended with Karen showing Scott how to use the photo app, Prisma, which she had learned from his sister, Mel.