VOLCANIC ROCK GYM

Thursday, August 29th, 2013 by

With the development of Kaka‘ako underway, plans of tearing down structures and walls are essential for its rebuilding process, but not at the Volcanic Rock Gym (VRG). Justin Ridgely, the owner of the VRG, turned what was once a weight lifting gym into a bouldering gym. An alternative to “the normal” repetitive workout.

Upon entering, you are greeted with the sight of brightly colored walls of orange and blue. With an artistic-creative eye, it resembles a hollow tubed wave, leading you straight to the back of the gym. I sat down with Ridgely and hit him with a few questions to get familiar with the sport of bouldering, how he was introduced to it, and his thoughts about the future of bouldering in Hawaii.

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FITTED HAWAII (FH): What is bouldering?
Justin Ridgely: Bouldering is climbing rocks at reasonable heights, without a rope or harness. The movements are very dynamic and balance-y. Also, the falls are not life threatening. You are more at risk of an injury occurring…rather than a fatality. (with a light chuckle to follow the answered question)

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FH: How did you get into bouldering?
Ridgely: I got into bouldering through a friend. He would always go into the woods. I was curious and went with him one day. Been hooked ever since. I started climbing in the purest way, no pads, no chalk, rattle snakes, and getting chased by turkeys. Attended Tennessee Temple University and eventually dropped out, cause all i wanted to do was climb. After dropping out, i travelled a bit. Climbing became my lifestyle.

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FH: What gets you up in the morning?
Ridgely: Nothing gets me up in the morning, (light chuckle) if i could sleep all day, i would. The only things that get me up in the morning is coffee, my son Ronin, if he want to play, and bouldering, of course.

FH: Why did you move to Hawaii?
Ridgely: I moved to Hawaii because of my son Ronin. Wife at the time, was stationed out here through the military and I was committed to going where ever he went. After three months of living here, I opened up the VRG in Waipio.

FH: How does the culture of climbing in Hawaii differ from the climbing on the mainland?
Ridgely: The bouldering community overall is a friendly community, but from my experiences, the culture of climbing in Hawaii is a bit more social compared to the mainland. On the mainland, there’s more opportunity to have a competitive edge, where people tend to be more to themselves or in smaller crews. In Hawaii its more about motivating each other and building community, since the sport is still so young in Hawaii. No matter what level of climbing, everyone encourages each other.

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FH: What is the difference between climbing indoor and outdoor?
Ridgely: The difference between climbing indoor and outdoor is that, indoor you’re climbing on holds rather than climbing outdoors, you’re climbing feature (A protrusion or indentation on an indoor climbing wall which is permanently moulded into the wall itself). But its a progression, climbing indoors is practice for outdoors although, they are both very different. You wont understand until you go outdoors and climb. When indoors you’re willing to take more risk and make more dynamic moves because you have something to break your fall.

FH: (If you could tell the future) Where do you see the sport of bouldering going in Hawaii?
Ridgely: Since opening the gym, the bouldering community has grown. Bouldering in Hawaii has always existed, but there’s so much more rock to go out and discover, we gotta start going outer island.

FH: Before closing the interview Ridgely wanted to say a few words…
Ridgely: Just want to thank everyone and the community. In Hawaii, community support is everything. Support encourages me to get better whether its climbing or running the gym. Hawaii is surrounded by motivated people. Thank you, and if you know of any boulders anywhere email, call, or come to the gym!

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Volcanic Rock Gym
432 Keawe St.
Honolulu, Hawaii 96813
Phone: (808) 397-0095
Email: gym@volcanicrockgym.com

I also had the honor of following Ridgely, along with Kurtis Loo, Bryce Yafuso, and Tyler Williams deep into the jungles of Oahu and experience the adventure of bouldering outdoors.

The Journey to Kong Boulders from FITTED on Vimeo.

WHAT IS HAWAIIAN SALT? IT’S A MIXTAPE

Wednesday, April 3rd, 2013 by

This was cross-posted on Aloha Got Soul.

Fitted x Aloha Got Soul: Hawaiian Salt

Let me explain the name behind the Fitted x Aloha Got Soul mixtape project that’s coming out on April 20th. First of all, we’re calling it  Hawaiian Salt.

What is Hawaiian Salt? For many, it’s an expensive alternative to the all-too-familiar stuff you douse on your food to add flavor. Except unlike table salt, Hawaiian salt comes in all kinds of colors and flavors, meaning you can pick the appropriate seasoning to compliment the dish you’re serving.

For those who dig a little deeper, Hawaiian salt reaches back thousands of years to Native Hawaiians who cultivated this sacred, medicinal, healing mineral on our islands in order to preserve humankind’s most important commodity: food.

One thing is certain: Native Hawaiians have cherished salt for its most important use, preservation.

And that’s exactly what Fitted x Aloha Got Soul are doing with this mixtape: preserving the funky, flavorful music of Hawaii’s past.

I could go on and on with clichés and puns about salt. So let’s break down a few reasons why we chose Hawaiian Salt as the name of this seminal project.

Most importantly, Hawaiian Salt preserves

Is music nothing but food for the soul? Every time I listen to music, I can feel my soul fill up with some kind of feeling—whether it’s joy or sadness or empathy.

But these feelings won’t be nourished or provoked if the music isn’t preserved.

Our main goal with this mixtape is to document and preserve the music of Hawaii’s past—a time when soul, funk, and groove flowed through the islands, fueling a renaissance of optimistic energy during the 1970s and 1980s that propelled what I see as one of Hawaii’s most musically prolific eras ever.

We want to preserve this incredible era of our the music of our islands.

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Hawaiian Salt also adds flavor

That’s an obvious one, right? But I tell you, after going back-and-forth on this project with Fitted for the past two years, this name—Hawaiian Salt—hit us like an apple on the head.

When we brainstormed this name 14 months into the project, we knew it was perfect because it spoke of exactly what we were hoping to achieve: preserving Hawaii’s musical past and imbuing the local community with incomparable sounds of the island.

Evidently, those sounds are as mixed as the sounds you’ll hear on the mixtape: disco and funk and soul and pop and jazz and groove and anything else that sets you up on the dancefloor. Just like the music, the salts of Hawaii come in a variety of flavors:

* Red: salt mixed with volcanic clay
* White: the original un mixed salt
* Black: salt mixed with charcoal
* Green: salt mixed with bamboo leaf extract

With so many flavors (and with 27 tracks on the Hawaiian Salt mixtape), you too can season up your musical collection with the Fitted x Aloha Got Soul mixtape. Forgive me, I couldn’t resist that pun.

hawaiian salt at fitted

Where can I get this mixtape??

On April 20, 2013, Fitted will release an exclusive Hawaiian Salt tee with the mixtape online and in-stores. Read stories from the musicians themselves at Aloha Got Soul.

BAGEL FIX

Tuesday, March 26th, 2013 by

bagels

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TREEHOUSE

Tuesday, November 20th, 2012 by

Freeyermind is a train of thought that Bobby Asato owner of the newly opened Treehouse lives by. The graphic designer turned small buisness owner is drawing from his deep retail roots as he mans the helm at Treehouse. The store is a fresh concept for Hawaii with its focus being on getting today’s tech savy keiki away from the computer screen and back in touch with real life art. The second floor Ward area space is stocked with art and craft supplies geared to give children an old school approach to getting creative. Bobby is no stranger to arts having been dedicated to his own passion project Bland Brand for over 15 years. The proud father of two has a firm belief in the importance of giving kids a alternative to the computer screen and mouse by way of tangible art. Treehouse isn’t kids only the store also stocks cool finds for mom and dad. With this Saturday being Support Small Business Day stop by and talk story with Mr. Asato.

250 Ward Ave. Ste 233
(808) 597-TREE

SUPPORT LOCAL MUSIC: THE HOT RAIN BAND

Wednesday, November 30th, 2011 by

For nearly 12 years now, Hot Rain has been a prominent figure in Hawaiʻi’s thriving reggae scene, serving as in-house and back-up band for international reggae superstars Junior Reid and Tanya Stephens as well as local staples Fiji and J Boog. Over the past couple of years, they’ve managed to climb from behind the shadows of their predecessors and walk into the spotlight and shine on their own. With the recent release of their debut LP, cleverly titled Self Titled, the inner-fire of these new, rising stars has ignited and begun to burn feverishly. 15 tracks deep, Self Titled features a hardy mixture of roots, lover’s rock and songs that will have you “move your dancin’ feet”. Three of the 15 tracks have hit #1 on local radio, including Cuz I’m, Love and most recently, Heavyweight Love, and if there was any indication of where Hot Rain is headed, these three songs charting highly is definitely a prophecy of what’s to come. Make sure to cop the album (now available at FITTED as well as Amazon, iTunes and CD Universe). #SUPPORTLOCAL MUSIC

FITTED: Two part question: What is the creative process when coming up with a concept for a song? And have you guys ever came up with a song idea that manifested into reality from a simple joke? If so, what song was this? (Sorry, I lied, that was three questions)

Hot Rain: It varies. At times, the lyrics are written first, then music is built around the lyrics. Other times, the music is created first, then the lyrics are written to fit the music. The track “Crazy Woman” was created from actual events that Cako experienced with some girl he hooked up with. He shared the story with the band and we all laughed about how crazy this chick was. Hence the name “Crazy Woman.” [Laughs]

FTD: You guys have nearly traveled the entire World. What are some of the most interesting stories you have experienced while on tour? In contrast with that question, what are the most horrible situations you guys have been in?

HR: There’s too many stories to share, but I guess we can mention a few. Let’s see…In Alaska, Cako disappeared with an Eskimo girl and ended up stranded in some uncharted territory, in the snow (that’s a crazy story) [laughs]. In Guam, we traded some beverages to a local in exchange for Big L to ride his water buffalo. In Japan, we hit up Club AgeHa and watched the sunrise on the rooftop where the DJ was spinning dancehall reggae music.

As far as horrible situations go, our last tour broke the mold by far. We recently did a tour in Australia. The tour flopped and we were stranded without flights home. We ended up doing a few last minute shows to pay for our way back home. It was rough but now we know, and knowing is half the battle.

FTD: When will be able to see some new cooking segments with Leslie?

HR: There will definitely be more video segments, not just cooking though. We try not to do too much with Les because he has a tendency to get naked [Laughs out loud]. Stay posted with our YouTube channel.

FTD: There has been a missing gap in music that celebrates the love of plus sized women. You guys have a new song on the album that has been receiving steady radio burn, so you’ve definitely bridged that gap. How did the concept of Heavyweight Love come about?

We’ve always wanted to write a song that was different from the norm. Big L mentioned that nobody writes love songs about “big girls.” When you hear love songs that talk about women, the descriptions are usually superficial. So we decided to create a song that was real and showed love to all the big, beautiful ladies…randomly, Chris Reezy took up the task and came up with “Heavyweight Love”!!!

FTD: As a group of friends and musicians, it’s quite obvious you have all been through some trying times as well as some honored times. Where do you guys see yourselves as a group in say, five years?

HR: Like Martin Luther King Jr. said, “I have a dream…” Well, we have dreams too. Next question (nah nah nah). But for real, next question (nah nah nah). On the real, in the next 5 years we hope that when you think of reggae music in Hawaii, you think of Hot Rain. We hope to be touring the world sharing our music and to be continually doing what we love…and also to be sponsored by FITTED HAWAII, [laughs] #realtalk (sorry, we don’t know why we’re trending that).

FTD: The number one viral commercial that’s currently making the rounds around the islands is Poncho’s Solar Services. Do you guys planning on digging into your Filipino roots and doing a cover of this beautiful song?

HR: Yes, we’re planning to collaborate with the singer and do a remix. But we’re also looking into hosting our own “grindtime style” Filipino Accent Battles! So if you think you got what it takes, “Come oberrr hurrr and get some!!!”

TSUKENJO LUNCH HOUSE

Thursday, March 3rd, 2011 by

The Tsukenjo family took their first steps in Hawai’i's culinary history sometime in the late 50s when they opened a saimin stand. Nearly a decade later, they opened up the Tsukenjo Lunch Wagon in the Kaka’ako neighborhood. Unfortunately, the now famous red lunch wagon shut down sometime in late 2007, fortunately the brick-and-mortar location is still open on the corner of Ward and Queen Street – comfortably close to the old Kaka’ako stomping ground. Not really much else to say about this spot; the food speaks for itself.

Tsukenjo Lunch House
705 Cooke St.
Honolulu, HI 96813
Hours: M – F 7 AM – 2:30 PM
(808) 597-8151

“My trusted culinary advisor recommended the roast pork plate and it did not disappoint.” – Cuzzo

T.A.S.T.E. (TASTY ASIA STYLE TACO EATERY)

Monday, August 23rd, 2010 by

These days, there seems to be a heavy influx of lunch wagons opening up all over the island. Sadly, the majority of them are unoriginal, uninspiring steak plate trucks. There’s so many popping up all over that it really is pretty overwhelming, to the point where one would grow tiresome of steaks at just the mere sight of one of these trucks. Luckily there are individuals out there that are more forward thinking with instant eateries. Enter Leroy’s T.A.S.T.E. (Tasty Asian Style Taco Eatery) lunch wagon located on the corner of McCully & Beretania. T.A.S.T.E. has been open for about a month now, serving up original taco recipes with original sauces (the wasabi dressing is a winner!). One of the highlights is the char siu avocado teri taco made with homemade char siu. Check out a photo of the menu for what they have to offer. Make sure your entire palate is clean and you have some time to spare; patience is a virtue, but the mouth-watering wait is well worth it! They’re open M – F and every other Saturday, between 11 AM – 2 PM.

SPOT’S INN

Friday, July 30th, 2010 by

Finding a great, locally owned diner in a myriad of mediocre ones scattered across the island is far and thin; finding one where you’re welcomed with open arms and evokes a warm, family-type environment where the owners remember your name is much more scarce. Luckily, you can find one of the latter right down the street from University of Hawai’i: Spot’s Inn. Previously located on Dillingham Blvd., they are now situated on the reinvigorated strip of Puck’s Alley. Spot’s (fittingly named after owner Seiko’s spotted dalmation) serves up everything from freshly-made sushi, bentos and amazing sandwiches (you have to try the Crab & Bacon on grilled bread!) to comfort foods like spaghetti, loco moco and chicken katsu plates. The best part? The prices are unbeatable, even for the most malnourished pockets.

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KIAWE GRILL

Thursday, February 18th, 2010 by

kiawe-grill

Words By: Kaboe Kavapalu

I have been living in Hawaii for a couple years now, and one thing that I miss most about LA is the food, no disrespect to the plethora of culinary offerings that are available here in Hawai’i, it’s just what I grew up eating isn’t present at the moment. So before I get attacked for this statement, let me explain…

Imagine if you, growing up in Hawai’i, moved to the mainland and you realize that finding a good Hawaiian meal, such as Helena’s, is like finding a diamond in the rough; for the most part, the closest thing you are going to get is L&L. This isn’t a bad thing, but it sure isn’t a large serving of pipikaula, some lomi lomi salmon and a large bowl of poi, feel me? Trust me, I love the food in Hawai’i, just missing a couple of things, like a good taco stand, a pupuseria, traditional Jamaican food, and so on. Which brings me to why I am writing this.

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HONEY GLAZED HAMS OF HAWAII

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009 by

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Located on South King Street, just a few blocks up from the Moilili post office is a small, locally owned and operated business called Honey Glazed Hams Of Hawaii which many locals and critics alike agree make what is considered the best holiday hams on the island, bar-none. Every holiday, during the beginning of November to the beginning of January, Honey Glazed Hams prepare & sell their infamous holiday hams which is already spirally around the bone, making for an easy and ready-to-go Thanksgiving or Christmas dinner. During the peak holiday season, you can order two weeks in advance, however, ordering in advance or not, it is normal to find yourself in a line that stretches out the door. Pretty insane! During the off-peak seasons, many don’t know that their doors are still open and serving an onolicious prime honey glazed ham sandwich and a mean Portuguese bean soup. I can attest to this, having gone here for more than three years.

Honey Glazed Hams Of Hawaii is located at:
2758 S. King St.
Honolulu, HI 96826
(808) 943-0040
Hours: Tues – Sat: 10am – 5pm

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