Tag Archives: volcano

Kilauea volcano, fertility and miscarriage

It’s a sight in Hilo as regular as evening rain: groups of Japanese women wearing colored tour badges and clutching small bags board buses at the airport bound for Kilauea volcano. While their husbands in Honolulu play golf, these women journey to Hilo for the day. Men play for par while some women seek fertility.

Kilauea volcano lava flow
Lava forming new land at Kilauea volcano on Hawaii's Big Island

Pele is the Hawaiian goddess of fire. She rules volcanos, and consequently, the birth of new land. As such she is viewed by many as a powerful symbol or fertility. Women seeking to conceive or who wish for a child of a particular gender have sought Pele’s help. The story goes that if a woman makes a precious offering to Pele, she may receive help conceiving a child. The small bags carried by many of the Japanese women to the Big Island contain gold and silver coins, which they throw directly into the hot lava, before it has cooled to stone, as an offering to her.

If pregnancy does ensure, but goes awry and results in miscarriage, the Japanese recognize the importance of the event. They offer a cultural view of the aborted fetus, called “mizuko”, which literally translates as “water child”, as a being who has not fully solidified yet, according to Daddytypes.com. The Bhudda takes a special form, called “jizo”, to watch over these lost creatures and help them find their way into life through another form.

In American culture, we have few words or concepts to help mothers grieve their lost children who were not fully formed. Perhaps we can adopt the concepts of mizuko and jizo, just as some Japanese women have adopted Pele.

Where to Eat After Volcano Watching on Hawaii Island

You’re watching Kilauea volcano erupt in Kalapana near the new vent, Pu’u O’o. The sunset was glorious, and the evening lava show is spectacular. You’ve taken all the pictures you can, and you’ve oo’ed and aw’ed until your parched. Now your stomach starts to growl, and you realize it’s well after 8 PM. Where to go for dinner?

At 45-minutes away, Hilo is too far to make it in time for dinner (unless you’re willing to eat at Ken’s house of Pancakes again). The sidewalk there rolls up promptly at 9 PM. So Hilo is out. What else is there?

Pahoa is the answer. At 15 minutes away, you can make it in time for the last seating at any one of three good options.

  1. Ning’s Thai Cuisine
    –Ning’s is fresh and inexpensive. They use local produce in many of their dishes, including their summer rolls, which were packed with fresh basil and mint. No bar or alcohol service, but you can BYO. If you don’t have anything to drink in the car, there is a 7-11 down the street that offers a basic selection of beer and wine coolers. Ning’s is not fancy, but it’s deliciously inexpensive. We had a 3-course dinner for four after volcano watching and got out for about $50, including tip. On a Saturday night, they stayed open until 10 pm.
  2. Kaleo’s Bar & Grill
    –Kaleo’s is a relative newcomer in Pahoa town. They offer Pacific Rim and island fare as well as what you would expect from a bar and grill. Their list of appetizers includes blackened ahi sashmi and deep-fried mozzarella. Entree prices range from about $15-$35. They offer a full bar and wine menu, but they close promptly at 9 pm.
  3. Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant
    –Luquin’s has been around Pahoa for years, and it remains the best place in town for a cold beer, chips and salsa, which sounds divine after a few parched hours on hot lava blacktop. Their food is not what I would describe as authentic Mexican, but it’s good enough. Anyway, you can’t go too wrong with cheese, sauce, meat and tortillas. Dinner for four with two rounds of drinks and tip was $100. They serve food until 10 pm, but stay open later for drinks.

Service Details:

Ning’s Thai Cuisine

15-2955 Pahoa Rd
Pahoa, HI 96778
(808) 965-7611

Kaleo’s Bar & Grill

15-2969 Pahoa Village Rd
Pahoa, HI 96778
(808) 965-5634

Luquin’s Mexican Restaurant

Pahoa Rd (Across from Ning’s)
Pahoa, HI 96778
(808) 965-9990