Japanese passion of hula, Hawaii continues to grow after nuclear disaster

The Hawaii Travel blog is up! Read about IU’s Hawaiian adventures here.


A violent shudder of the earth jolted Iwalani Tseu from her sleep.

Had the Hula Ambassador for Hawaii been in a western-style bed, and not sleeping on the floor as is typical in Japan, she would have been thrown off the mattress.

The ground had been shaking on and off since a 9.0 earthquake hit Japan earlier that afternoon, triggering a tsunami that rushed the country’s coast, flooding cities, crushing cars and sweeping a bullet train out to sea.

Tseu’s 27-year-old daughter, Arueana Tseu, had a ticket for the missing train. With electricity down and cell phones dead in Nagano, Japan, Tseu was unable to confirm if her daughter was alive or dead.

“That 24 hours was the worst time of my life,” the 61-year-old hula teacher said. “I was crying and people from Hawaii were calling to ask where we were, where was Aureana?”

Continue reading about the Hula Ambassador and her daughter here.

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