UMAMI MART MATSURI FESTIVAL
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Four friends find themselves in a secluded VRBO (Vacation Rental By Owner) on the North Shore of Oahu. They thought paradise was at arm's length, but they were wrong. One by one each thirty-something is lured by the mysterious, irresistible charms of the tropical landscape.

Kayoko, the strong-headed of the group, is on a one-woman search for the best poke out there. Sampling pokes from Marukai, Don Quijote, Malama Market and some random leftovers Washi brought home. By day two, there were stacks of plastic containers, with two or three pieces of fish left for someone, ANYONE to eat.

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Poke over rice.

Johnny, hellbent on finding an "Aloha Burger," tunes into every channel on his scanner for a clue, only to eavesdrop on local dramas like: room 202 needing an extra beach towel at the Sheraton. It is not until the third day, he realizes that the best burger was waiting for him all along, right in front of him, literally, on the lanai that he was facing while watching Cops the day before -- and the day before that. The group enjoys two rounds of burgers on the lanai before their eventual demise.

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Johnny's lanai burgers.

Washi, the idealist who never gives up, searches for the best way to kick back with something-on-the-rocks, spending his days on hold with several grocery stores in town to find out if they carry the elusive Hawaiian shochu: Namihana. This shochu claims to be Hawaii's own, yet none of the locals seem to have ever heard of it. In his last moments he still persisted, living just long enough to find out that he came so close without even realizing it (their VRBO was a stones throw from the source, the Namihana distillery). A simple Google search was all it took to procure this information.

Yoko, the eventual killer of the group, quietly strategizes the most unsuspecting method of murder. Quickly realizing that all in the group find pleasure in grocery shopping, she knew that the weapon of choice would have to be found at a market, and preferably be a local offering.

Although usually unlucky in a game of dominoes, Yoko hits the jackpot at the Haleiwa Market. An unsuspecting ingredient from the soils of Paradise: the Luau Leaf (taro leaf).

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The quartet returns to their secluded cabin (except for the family of 5 staying above them from the Carolinas) with the screech of their Jeep tires rolling over the gravel turnout. Yes, Kayoko make those gin & tonics Yoko thinks in her head as she soaks the luau leaves in water. Luau leaves are supposed to soak overnight, but the group was was none the wiser, and Yoko pulled out the leaves after 30 minutes.

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The shot implicating the murderer.

Yoko fried the some minced garlic, mushrooms and onions in a pan and threw the coarsely chopped luau leaves in the pan. The aromas were intoxicating (mostly the garlic, actually).

As she rubbed her hands together like a hungry fly thinking to herself This is going to be gooood, she tried a bite. It tasted a little bit like concentrated spinach with a soft, spongy texture. By then, Yoko's judgement was off and she took another bite. Her plan to poison everyone around her was falling apart. Trying to save the situation, she offered a taste to Kayoko -- knowing that she would not resist a bite of anything.

Yoko, started to grab her throat, as if to give the universal sign of "I'm choking." Kayoko, started wailing her arms around, exclaiming that her throat was constricting. The thorny feeling in their mouths were spreading to the roof, tonsils and throat like wildfire.

The evidence was found the next morning in the trash bag for compost.

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Death by Luau Leaf.

Signed,
I Know What You Did in Paradise