TOP > ブログ> Melodee's Blog


Rediscovering my "Roots" in Hawaii

Happy New Year!! I hope everyone's 2017 is off to a fabulous start. :)

As I shared on my social media, I recently visited Hawaii to film for a New Year's Special TV documentary that was focused on my upbringing and "roots." The last time I went to Hawaii was when I just turned three years old with my mother, father, brother, and grandmother. (Never did I think I would revisit for TV filming!) When you think of Hawaii, the first thing that comes to mind would probably be the beach, delicious food, etc. (which I was looking forward to very much), however, that wasn't the main reason why I visited. I flew to the island to rediscover my "roots" by interacting with Japanese Americans living in Hawaii.


If you missed the TV airing, you can watch the full episode ➡︎ HERE!



First off, getting to Hawaii was quite a journey. My original flight had aircraft issues they couldn't solve after boarding us all, so I ended up having to take off 15 hours later than planned. I was worried this entire filming wasn't going to happen, but thankfully, I was able to get to Hawaii in the end. *phew* Everything we had planned had to be entirely rescheduled, but I was very thankful that everyone I encountered during this journey and the crew was incredibly understanding and kind enough to make last minute adjustments in order to film for this. My body was extremely exhausted after the long delay/flight + jetlag, but once I landed, I got ready and went straight into filming at Waikiki Beach. Luckily, the sun was shining bright this day (even though the forecast said it was going to rain all week!), and I instantly felt energized. I felt very grateful to be welcomed by wonderful people and weather, and today, I'd like to share my experiences through this blog post.

でも実は、今回ハワイへたどり着くまでが大変で、飛行機が15時間以上遅れて出発するなど。。。この企画自体ができなくなってしまうのではないかと心配になりました(;_;) その為スケジュールも大幅に変更し、取材先の皆様、スタッフの方々の敏速な対応と優しさで、どうにか無事撮影を終えることができました。今回の取材は取材の内容だけでなく、ハワイの方々の誠実さと優しさに包まれた忘れられないものとなりました。そのハワイのエピソードをご紹介します。

Thumbnail image for hula.jpg

I was expecting Hawaii to be very warm, but it was quite cold and VERY windy!!
ハワイは一年中とっても暑いイメージがあったのですが、この日のビーチはすご〜く風が強くて意外と寒かったです!! でもやっぱり景色はため息が出るほど美しく、海を眺めているだけで癒されました。

I had the wonderful opportunity of learning hula from Kumu Blaine Kamalani Kia and the Women of Halau Ka Waikahe Lani Malie! It was my very first time doing hula, so they showed me the moves and taught me the meaning behind each movement. I strongly felt that dance (in all forms and genres) is truly a language of its own with no words necessary. After this, I continued filming by visiting several shops (such as International Marketplace and ABC Stores) to find the perfect souvenirs and a beauty mask that you can only get in Hawaii. :D

続いて、はじめてのフラを体験!! フラとバレエは全く別のジャンルですが、言葉なしで、一つ一つの動きを通して表現する事は同じ。歴史あるフラをプロの先生に教えていただき、もう一つのハワイの魅力を体験できました。

Thumbnail image for 15732460_1200737779996990_1355943505707215734_o.jpg

The next day, I met Mr. Lloyd Kawakami of the famous (and oldest) family-owned Hawaiian aloha wear, 'IOLANI. Lloyd-san's grandfather immigrated to Hawaii back in the day as an issei (first generation Japanese), and Lloyd-san's father began the 'IOLANI brand. I was so surprised to find out that the famous aloha shirt was first created from a Japanese kimono and that it was created by Japanese people! The photo above was taken on day two when we returned to Waikiki Beach to film around sunset hour. I never get to really experience the calming sound of waves and relaxation in New York City, so I instantly felt my mind and body feel so refreshed.



Living in a very busy, fast-paced environment in NYC doesn't really allow me enough time to sit down and think about my identity and roots... However, I got to visit the Japanese Cultural Center of Hawaii for the first time. I must say I was in absolute shock when I read the heartbreaking words and saw countless photos of Hawaii's history. (I will refrain from posting too many photos here because I would truly like every person who visits Hawaii to experience it themselves in person.) It was an extremely eye-opening experience to discover the unimaginable hardships the isseis and niseis went through (first and second generation Japanese), and they are the reason why the people of Hawaii and Japanese Americans can live proudly today.


Thumbnail image for Lloyd Melodee.jpg

After having the tour with Lloyd-san, we sat down and spoke for nearly an entire hour regarding the history of Japanese Americans and our dreams. Hearing Lloyd-san's heartfelt words really made me realize that we cannot take it for granted and must never forget the true heroes that fought for our generation and on.



I also met the most adorable local girls in Hawaii. They mentioned that they have never been to Japan but cherish Japan and the culture very much. I was so touched by how pure their hearts were and how connected they were with their own culture despite being so far away.


On my last day in Hawaii, I woke up at 3:00am so we could go see the sunrise at the beach in Hawaii. (It is a Japanese tradition to see the sunrise for New Year's, so it was perfect for this.) Unfortunately, the forecast said it was going to rain, so it was very dark, gloomy, and windy as ever when we were heading there. I was unable to see the beautiful sunrise in Hawaii, however, after I finished speaking about my feelings looking back on this journey, the sunshine miraculously peaked through the clouds! It was only for a short moment, but I felt like the sun came out to show me the beauty of Hawaii one last time. I could not be more thankful to each and every person I encountered in Hawaii, and for treating me like we have been friends since long ago. Although it was a very short and sweet trip, it was one I'll never forget. I was gifted with lots of love, kindness, and inspiration.... and the glimpse of sunshine I saw on the very last morning was the perfect way to end this journey in Hawaii. :)


Thumbnail image for IMG_1612.JPG

Thank you so much for reading, and I hope that your 2017 will be the best year yet!


My YouTube Channel InstagramFacebook PageTwitter

ツイート  LINEで送る
January 3, 2017 11:53 AM

Christmas in New York! 2016

The jolly holiday season is here!
New York City is most well-known for places like Rockefeller Center and Radio City Music Hall during this time of the year. Apparently this year's tree (pictured below) is the 2nd highest one in history! :)



Since you may be familiar with these spots already, I'd like to share with you a very festive and unique place you may have never heard of before!


Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 5.32.34 PM.png
This shop opened this July and is actually open throughout the year!
What makes this place special are the ornaments and objects they carry.


Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 5.19.38 PM.png
Here are some of the special ornaments they have! As you can see, there are Christmas ornaments of all kinds of people and jobs including policemen, firefighters, nurses, dentists... the list goes on! This is only a tiny selection, so you can certainly find something for everyone.


Screen Shot 2016-12-13 at 5.19.13 PM.png
I got to personalize my own family ornament as well! :)
They have a wide variety of options and designs, so you can select your fave according to how many people you have in your family, gender, age, etc.



and this isn't it... there's something even more incredible downstairs!


When you go downstairs and walk down the aisle, you are greeted with tons of singing
(and dancing!) Santas + adorable Christmas scenery.



White polar bears living in the Arctic!
All the life-size dolls and polar bears were moving as well!


Thumbnail image for IMG_0994.JPG
Here are adorable Santas gathered together enjoying their time!
If you look really closely, the Christmas tree is pizza ornaments on it.
They're drinking coke, and it reminds you of a scene in a nostalgic storybook. :)

コーラを飲んだり、ピザを食べたり... どこか懐かしい風景。


If you're in the NYC area, I highly recommend you to go check it out in real life because everything's phenomenal! You'll certainly be able to find some awesome gifts and get great photos here. In case you missed the TV airing, you can watch the full episode online to see everything in action. Please have a wonderful Christmas and New Year!! :) xoxo

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!

My YouTube Channel InstagramFacebook PageTwitter

ツイート  LINEで送る
December 13, 2016 6:52 PM

Fall/Winter 2016 Upcoming Events in NY & LA!

The TV episode on NY and LA events for the month of November aired on 11/01!
If you missed it, you can also watch it online HERE! This episode is in Japanese, but please refer to the list below for all the details on the events mentioned. It's getting cold outside, but I hope you keep yourself nice and warm and enjoy these festive events! :)

「NY&LA 11月のイベント情報」は11月1日にテレビ放送されました!

★ November Events in NEW YORK ★

TCS New York City Marathon 11/6 (Sun) 8:30am~

The Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade 11/24 (Thurs) 9:00am~12:00pm

Rockfeller Center Christmas Tree Lighting 11/30 (Wed) 7:00pm~9:00pm

★ November Events in LOS ANGELES ★

AFI FEST 11/10 (Thurs) ~ 11/17 (Thurs)

The Great Los Angeles Walk 11/19 (Sat) 9:00am~

Hollywood Christmas Parade 11/27 (Sun) 6:00pm~



New York has become quite chilly, but that also means it's time for Halloween and the holiday season! :D Yesterday, I had TV filming and narrating for introducing exciting upcoming events in New York and LA!



Holiday decorations and window displays have begun...!

Below is one of the locations we filmed atーRockefeller Center! This is where tourists gather from all around the world to enjoy the holiday season in NYC. It was very windy and cold, but I got through the shoot with my fluffy faux fur coat and heat-technology innerwear. As you can see, the ice skating rink is complete as well! I can't wait to find out how the world's most famous Christmas tree is going to turn out this year!

ニューヨークのホリデーシーズンといえば観光客が世界中から集まるここ、Rockefeller Center✨

Rewinding back one month... The most famous event in November would certainly be the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade! This year will mark it's 90th parade, so I'm sure it's going to be a very grand and memorable one! :)

NYではやっぱり「Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade」が一大イベントですが、
歴史あるパレードがどの様に盛り上がるのでしょうか?(o^^o) I've mentioned, I will also be sharing events happening in LA that you should certainly check out! They will range from active outdoor events to relaxing ones that'll be perfect to spend quality time with your friends and family. I won't write too much here since I don't want to spoil everything... so please stay tuned for the TV airing/online episode to come out at the beginning of November! :)



ツイート  LINEで送る
November 1, 2016 12:02 PM

MCed at the JNTO Visit Japan Tourism Seminar in NY! 安倍総理もご出席!観光訪日セミナー in ニューヨーク

Last week, I had the greatest honor to MC at the JNTO (Japan National Tourism Organization) "VISIT JAPAN" Tourism Seminar in both English and Japanese, and over 200 media and VIPs attended from the states and Japan! Prime Minister Abe also attended despite his busy schedule, and he shared about all the alluring aspects of Japan and the "omotenashi" spirit in preparation for the Tokyo 2020 Olympics. From left to right, the special guest speakers for the event were Olympic medalist Ms. Kasumi Ishikawa, Mr. Bobby Valentine, Mr. YOSHIKI from X JAPAN, and Olympic gold medalist Ms. Kaori Icho!

Thumbnail image for j1.jpg
Thumbnail image for j2.jpg


正力松太郎賞も受賞された千葉ロッテマリーンズ 元監督のボビー・バレンタインさん、
2012年のGolden Globe Awardsのテーマソングを作曲されたX JAPANのYOSHIKIさん、

j3b.jpgScreen Shot 2016-09-28 at 4.35.37 PM.pngThe first person I had a one-on-one talk session with in English on stage was Mr. YOSHIKI from X JAPAN! He was the perfect guest for this event, as he is a true legend representing Japan through his world-famous rock and classical music pieces as well as fashion. He composed and performed a piano concerto to commemorate the Japanese Emperor's 10th anniversary of his reign, created the theme song for the 69th Golden Globe Awards, and the documentary film "We are X" played in theaters all around the globe. During the event, he shared his creative passion and love for Japanese kimono through his "YOSHIKIMONO" collection including a screening of the show's runway and performance. He is one of the most down to earth stars I have ever spoken with, and you will get to see more on the TV episode airing on FCI tomorrow morning!

そして千葉ロッテマリーンズの元監督 ボビー・バレンタインさんにさせて頂きました。


melodee morita YOSHIKI.png
Then I invited Mr. Bobby Valentine on stage who was the first American to accept a management position in the Pacific League of Japan and also led the Chiba Lotte Marines to its first Asian championship! He was also the first foreign manager to win the prestigious Shoriki Award that is given to the person who contributes the most to Japanese baseball. He shared the Japanese hospitality and cultural experiences he had during his travels across Japan, and because Japanese people were always so welcoming and kindhearted to him, he gave back to the country by conducting a week-long baseball clinic during the 2011 Tohoku Earthquake and Tsunami which brought back many, many smiles. (One story he mentioned about his experience in Japan: When he would ask Japanese people to figure out how to get around the city, instead of just receiving directions to get somewhere, they would literally take time out of their day to go to his destination together, and after making sure everything was alright, they would leave without expecting anything in return. This is something I actually experienced as well the very first time I visited Tokyo!) Mr. Valentine's humorous, outgoing, and thoughtful words were very powerful and inspiring. :)



Thumbnail image for j6.jpg
Lastly, I had a panel discussion in Japanese with Olympic medalists Kaori Icho and Kasumi Ishikawa! Ms. Icho (Olympic gold medalist in wrestling) shared her stories and wonderful aspects of her hometown, Aomori, which is where she lived until age 15. Aomori is well-known for apples, but what I thought was really interesting was a snack called "senbei-jiru." Apparently most people living in Japan have never heard of it either, so it's a very "Aomori" thing! "Senbei" is a Japanese rice cracker that comes in various flavors, shapes, and sizes, and the "shiru" is like a soup. Ms. Icho shared that the senbei specifically made for senbei-jiru usually has a very light flavor, and you dip it into the shiru (often shoyu based) to enjoy! It sounded very yummy and I really hope to try it out one day in Aomori. :) She also share about her hometown's famous matsuri, her favorite "power food" natto, as well as her love for onsen because she can open up and strengthen her friendship with foreign athletes in the relaxing environment. When I asked about her other favorite places in Japan, she mentioned that she trained in the mountains of Niigata (where there used to be no service or anything other than the training facility), and that is where the Japanese wrestling team grew a lot more powerful. She shared that what she loves about Japan and Japanese people the most is that they are extremely hardworking and have the drive to never give up on themselves. Speaking with her made me feel so motivated and gave me the energy to keep aiming higher!




Thumbnail image for j5.jpg

Ms. Ishikawa is around the same age as me, so she was also very wonderful to speak with! I could immediately feel the super sweet personality she and her mother had when I had a briefing with them prior to the event. Ms. Ishikawa is from Yamaguchi, and she spoke about the beautiful views the city offers including the Kintai(kyo)-bashi. If you ever visit Yamaguchi, be sure to check it outーshe really wants foreigners to go there because of its extremely unique shape that makes it challenging to walk across! When I asked what other activities she would like visitors to do in her hometown, she shared that creating your own ceramic through "hagiyaki" would be a very memorable experience. As for food, she shared that people in Yamaguchi say "fuku" for "fugu" (pufferfish) because they believe eating "fuku" brings lots of happiness and good fortune. Everyone in the venue could tell how much she cherishes her hometown through her big and adorable smile as she spoke!




X Japan YOSHIKI Melodee Morita.JPGI could keep writing on and on about all the stories they shared, but please tune into FCI tomorrow morning to see more from the event! I felt incredibly inspired speaking with some of the most talented and genuine people in this world, and I was so honored to have been a part of this event. Thank you for reading my TV blog, and see you on your TV screen tomorrow around 7:45am (EST)! :)
*Update* : If you missed it on TV, you can watch part of today's airing online HERE!


My YouTube Channel InstagramFacebook Page Twitter

ツイート  LINEで送る
September 25, 2016 1:39 PM

Trendylicious: Authentic Japanese Fish Market in NYC! OSAKANA

If you're looking for extremely fresh and tasty fish in the states, OSAKANA is the place to go! This is a new store that opened in New York that provides top quality fish that is on par with what you can taste at places like Tsukiji fish market in Japan. The expertly sourced and prepared fish here is what makes this place extra special, and what they carry each day varies since they only bring in the best of the best. I even discovered some rare fish I've never heard of before while reporting!



Not only do they sell fish that'll be perfect for sushi/sashimi, they also have a selection of fish that are already carefully flavored (such as "miso zuke") so you can create and enjoy Japanese-style fish dishes at home! It instantly feels like you're in Japan when you step into the store, and when you proceed to the back, they provide special classes that'll teach you how to properly prepare and cook fish along with incredible recipes you would've never thought of! If you missed the airing on TV, you can check it out HERE with subtitles by pressing the CC button. Be sure to stop by if you're in the NY area for a happier and healthier diet! :)





Screen Shot 2016-09-21 at 7.46.59 PM.jpg

ツイート  LINEで送る
September 21, 2016 11:57 AM
1 2 3 4 5


Melodee Melodee

TV Reporter & Director, Bilingual MC, YouTube Artist, Professional Ballet Dancer.
ロサンゼルス育ち、ニューヨークを拠点に活動しているテレビリポーター&ディレクター、MC(日英両語)、バレエダンサー。全て一人で作成しているYouTubeチャンネル(合計登録者数 30万人以上)では、英語と日本語で世界に向けて様々なジャンルの動画を配信!

rss instagram youtube

▶︎ My YouTube Channel

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Health, Exercise, Beauty, Travel, Cooking, & Lifestyle videos
in English & Japanese!



Recent Posts






お住いの地区をクリック/Find FCI in your area
NY/NJ/CT Washington DC Chicago Los Angeles San Francisco Seattle Hawaii 放送に関するお知らせ
Back to Page Top