Kupuna Life: Bon dancing to stay bouncy

Kupuna Life

HONOLULU (KHON2) — Doris Matsuoka is a little shy when she first meets new people. She answers questions like how she’s doing with, “Oh, Happy,” and how long has she been with the Wahiawa Honwangi Mission by saying “Oh, about 25 years or more, I’m not sure.”

And when asked about what she likes about it, “Oh, fellowship and the music and exercise,” she said.

But the 94-year-old gladly hops on the hardwood floor when she hears the music. Matsuoka has been participating in bon dances at Wahiawa for a quarter-century.

“For the ancestors to come and visit us during the bon season, and when the event turned virtual last summer, as it did again this year, she kept going,” Matsuoka said, “I follow them.”

Not true, said her fellow dancers.

“I can’t believe for 94 years old, the memory she has remembered all the dances, so sometimes we have to rely on her to remember what the dances are,” said Karen Pang, Wahiawa Hongwanji Mission member. “She’s a very special type of person. She’s so kind-hearted, I’m going to cry. She’s so kind-hearted, she gives so much of her time to the temple.”

That time includes cooking and weekly cleaning at the temple, as well as calling people — who do not have computers or can not text — to tell them about upcoming events.

“Oh, I’m active and I like to work in the yard,” Matsuoka said.

She also stays in shape by doing yoga.

“Oh, they’re all so nice, so it’s really good,” Matsuoka said.

She is pretty open when it comes to the secret to a long life.

“My secrets? I don’t know, I don’t have any secrets,” she said.

Maybe it it is just what she is doing: Staying busy, getting together with friends and keeping up with traditions that make her smile.

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