1. Plate lunch and variations on plate lunch is a staple of our local diet.
Lunchtime for out-of-towners might be a sub sandwich or a burger. In Honolulu, it’s 2 scoops white rice, a scoop of macaroni salad, and teriyaki beef or chicken. We have burgers, too, but we call it hamburger steak with plenty of ono-licious (delicious) gravy on top.
2. We don’t shop at the ABC Store.
Sorry, we didn’t hear about their latest promo. We were too busy avoiding the ABC Store like the plague.
3. We have an aunty or cousin who has lived where you’re from, or near where you’re from.
Guarantee if you’re from somewhere — Chicago, New York, Portland, Australia — we have an aunty or cousin from there, or know someone that lives there, even if it’s not really where you’re from. “Oh, you stay Chicago? My cousin lives Chicago. He lives Michigan.”
4. We give directions by “mauka,” “makai,” “Waikiki” or “Ewa” sides.
No one uses the cardinal directions here. Things are mauka side (mountain side), makai side (ocean side), Waikiki side (east) or Ewa side (west).
5. We are a melting pot of cultures.
Filipino, Korean, Japanese, Chinese, Micronesian, Polynesian, Hawaiian, Caucasian, Spanish, Portuguese…The list goes on and on. Many Hawaii locals are a combination of the aforementioned races, and a common question is “So what are you?”
6. Where you went to high school in Hawaii is everything.
“Which high school you when grad from?” The answer tells us loads about where you’re from, who you know, what you know and everything in between.
7. We steer clear of Waikiki.
There’s nothing wrong with visiting Waikiki — if you’re on vacation or forced to venture there for some god-forsaken reason. We like our beaches a little less crowded.
8. Fridays are always Aloha Fridays.
Aloha Friday is our weekly holiday celebrated when work is “pau” (finished) and the weekend fun can begin. Radio personalities happily exclaim, “Happy Alooooohaaaa Friday!” and a box of pork hash or manapua is usually waiting for us at the office Friday mornings.
9. When it’s below 75 degrees, we might “catch cold.”
People start carrying around their tissues, wearing their wind breakers, and lamenting about how they are going to “catch cold” when the weather drops below 75 degrees.
10. Traffic really is that bad.
Island life is rich and varied in many ways, but the traffic situation is definitely a time-suck. Rush-hour commute, though not as bad as the mainland, can easily suck up hours of your day, if not completely ruin your evening if there’s a bad accident or the zipper lane machine breaks.
11. When it’s “voggy”, the weather’s “junk.”
When the volcanic fog (vog) blows over to Honolulu from Pu’u O’o in Volcano National Park on the Big Island of Hawaii, the weather is “junk.” Any possible ailment you might have is most definitely due to it.
12. We have Wi-Fi, the internet, cable and modern amenities.
Just because we’re a small chain of islands in the middle the Pacific Ocean doesn’t mean we don’t have 5G, Wi-Fi, cable and all the other amenities.
13. Rice is life.
Forget mashed potatoes, or bread for that matter. The starch of choice, and we live or die by it, is rice. If you’re trying to be healthy, you’ll opt for brown, but white’s the staple. If you can’t decide between the two, you can choose “hapa” which is a brown rice/white rice mix.
14. Yes, Spam has its own festival here.
The Spam Jam is an annual festival celebrating our beloved canned meat. Vendors reincarnate Spam into more than just musubis, which are teriyaki-marinated spam on top of rice wrapped in seaweed, for all to enjoy.
15. 10 miles is far.
For people from the mainland, traveling around 10 miles or more to get anywhere is standard. In Hawaii, if anything is more than 10 miles away, it’s usually too far for us.
16. Everything in Honolulu is called “Town.”
In general, everywhere in Honolulu is considered “town.” Everywhere outside of Honolulu is not town. “I’m going to town to go Costco” said no local ever.
17. We are one big ohana and live aloha every day.
Tourists come and go, but we locals live here every day. We bond like a family, or ohana, and live aloha with one another the best we know how. That’s how we keep Hawaii paradise for us and for our out-of- towners.