Today’s song comes from 1935, during the Japanese period, and celebrates the memory of gorging on doughnuts. I am guessing that the song title — Komorisang — refers to the love object for the singer, a person whose name was probably Komori-san. Perhaps Komori was the source of the doughnuts that everyone ate up while they hung out at the dock at Mengeremong. It is kind of a silly song. My take on this is that the singer sneaks out at night where Komori-San is waiting, perhaps expecting some “mengurs a ngurd.” But she sees the donuts and is more interested in food than in Komori-san. A love story for food.
Doughnuts must have been a special treat in Palau of the 1930s. Mechas Iwesei Rengechel recalled her childhood days during Japanese time [1, Story 47] and recalled that:
After school finished, I sometimes visited Nanbo (South Seas Trading Company) on my way home and saw my father working there. He gave me some money and I bought aberabang (oil bread), shaved ice with sweetened syrup, ice cream or karinto (fried dough cookies). I ate them on my way home.
Donats sesei de kung a koliang
Karinto is a classic Japanese snack made from flour, yeast and brown sugar and deep fried, kind of hot-dog shaped. Others remember Okinawan doughnut balls. Mechas Barbara Telams worked at the Watanabe bakery in 1941 and her job was to make dough into balls [1, Story 30], presumably for doughnuts. Mechas Ochob Giraked recalled that during that period [1, Story 36]: “It was fun to go to a store with my friends and buy sweets. We could buy two donut balls for 5 sen from an Okinawan store.” Rubak Techitong Rebuluud recalled [1, Story 45] that when he had reached third grade, he started to work after school at the houses of Japanese officials, earning 1 yen 50 sen a month: “At that time you could buy a shirt and pants for less than 1 yen. We could buy an ice cake or donut ball with the change.” Mechas Ngerair Kozue Rechelulk recalled [1, Story 48] similar prices: “We could buy two pieces of twisted donut for 5 sen.” Mechas Paulina Towai recalled [1, Story 56] that “there was a Japanese store in Ngerbeched and they sold coffee, beer, rice, shaved ice with strawberry syrup, tama (donut balls) and other sweets.”
The doughnuts that the elders remembered might have been Sata Andagi, Okinawan-style doughnuts, pictured above. There is a fascinating story about these doughnuts being used by a mother to secretly hide gold coins for her soon-to-be exiled son because the king and her son were in love with the same woman, and that story leads to their alternate name for these doughnuts: koban age [fried gold coin].