“Hula Girls”

Imagine that it’s 1965 and you’re living in a hardscrabble coal mining town in cold, northern Japan.  Oil is about to kill thousands of mining jobs.  What’s a town to do?  How about venture into the tourist trade?  Everyone knows that Japanese folks like to travel!  And since there’s not much to see in the town but the mine and what amounts to tenement housing, how about building a…a…a Hawaiian Center!  Yeah, that’s the ticket!  And how about getting the miners’ daughters to learn hula and to put on shows in the evening?  This all sounds pretty crazy, but this really happened, and the death of a coal town/birth of the Hawaiian Center serves as the premise of the hit Japanese movie “Hula Girls,” which I viewed last night for the first time with my husband.   I expected sappiness and melodrama, but it was actually a very moving – and funny – film.  It’s also kind of funny to think of a bunch of small town politicians, sitting around, scheming up a plan to save their city.  I imagine that’s how, several years ago, one town came up with the idea to spend a government grant on making a clock out of flowers, or how another town decided to build a Shakespearan theme park.  Wacky ideas, but sometimes, they actually work.

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One thought on ““Hula Girls”

  1. Ah, the crazy world of government grants… That flower clock (in the Guiness Book of W.R. as the largest ever) is up in my neck of the woods (Shizuoka).

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