I remember back in 1999, I went on my second trip ever to Okinawa. It was with the Hawaii United Okinawa Association’s Leadership Tour. The tour was organized and headed by N & K Travel. Owner Nadine Shimabukuro and Her daughter Tomomi treat their tour members like ohana, telling stories of love motels, nostalgia, and the best places to eat. I will never forget how much fun their tour was and how much I laughed! As one of the main travel agencies that connect people to Okinawa, as well as, other destinations around the world, they go above and beyond, even letting you know when your passport has expired. Returning to the motherland has, and always will be, an important part of being an Okinawan in Hawaii, people always come back with life altering stories and experiences. When you go with those like Nadine and Tomomi ,who understand that, it makes a huge difference. Right now, our friend Tomomi is experiencing some medical challenges, and needs the help of friends and family. Her sister, Ashley who lives in Chicago, Illinois, has started a Go Fund Me site to help raise funds to assist with medical bills. Ashley shared some words with me to express what Tomomi’s challenges are and what she means to her family, friends and the community.
“Tomomi has had surgery for two hepatic artery aneurysms that were terminal if not removed. It was a twelve hour procedure that was located in a sensitive area. She still has to have surgery for other complications. This is going to be a long term procedure.” As an outgoing person, Tomomi will have challenges not being able to do all the things she would like. She loves her job at the travel agency, but must limit the amount of time she works.
Ashley goes on to explain, “My sister volunteers for our club (Nakagusuku Club) at the (Hawaii United Okinawa Association) Okinawa Festival. She does tours with my mom for the business for the Uchinanchu Taikai (a major global event that takes place in Okinawa every 5 years), and she goes to the Okinawa Center to volunteer and participate by going to the events as well. For my family, she helps mom with her business, my dad with things he can’t understand, being that English is his second language, helps my brother by spending time with nephews and niece, she also helps my grandmother, which I used to do, when I used to live there (on Oahu) by taking her shopping, spending time, having lunch, and what not. She’s always there for her friends and when they’re down, she is sympathetic towards them.”
Tomomi is expected to need CT scan to check for clots in her veins. She continues to experience complications with her condition and could use our emotional and financial support. You can either help by clicking on the link to make donations or spread the word to others who can help. So many of us benefit from having Tomomi and her family in our lives, now is the perfect time to show our gratitude.
Click to Help Tomo Out