Sunday, February 25, 2007

How'd You Like to Live on "Mutlilated Lizard Street"? You Might If You Live in Hawaii

An updated edition of Rich Budnick's "Hawaiian Street Names: The Complete Guide to O'ahu Street Names Updated" was recently reviewed in the Honolulu Advertiser.

On Oahu/Honolulu Country, at least, all new street names must be given Hawaiian names.

As a result some otherwise-sounding beautiful names have been found to mean something quite different than was perhaps intended.

Take 'Aikanaka Place in 'Ewa Beach. In Hawaiian it means "To eat human flesh!" Perhaps Hannibal Lector is looking for a new neighborhood near to some good local eateries!

Or 'Ilipilo Street in Kailua: "Smelly Skin."

How about Komai'a Drive in Manoa: "Dragging bananas."

Na'ipalaoa Road in Wai'anae? "Whale Genitals" of course!

Na'opala Lane in Kalihi? "Rubbish." Popoi'a Road in Kailua? "Fish Rot." Kaluamo'o Street, again in Kailua? "Lizard Pit."

Hepa Street in Wipahu means "Idiot, Imbecile or Moron." Nalulu Place in Wai'alae 'Iki means "
A Dull Headache" (anyone want to spend their honeymoon on Nalulu Place?).

Then again there is always Hanakealoha Place in Palolo Valley: "Lovemaking" or nearby Pa'ale'a Street: "Pleasure-loving" or Ho'oha'i Street in Pearl City: "To Flirt" or Poli'ala Street in Waimanalo: "Fragrant Breast."

Then again, almost any of these would be preferred to having to live on Kauhako Street in Hawai'i Kai: "The Dragged Large Intestines."

By the way, if the name "Mutilated Lizard" captures your fancy you might just want to move to Kuli'ou'ou. The street you are looking for is called Mo'omuku Place.

Some folks have clearly been having a lot of fun at the expense of us non-Hawaiian speakers! But it all goes to show that a good sense of humor can be found everywhere . . . even hidden in unexpected places.

And when I visit San Francisco's Chinatown (where I once worked for two summers in a Christian Daycamping program) I always pause to pay my respect to may favorite street name anywhere: Wong Way!