Wear your Ryukyu Pop Culture in style with the new Karakui t-shirt! Available in 3 colors in quality t-shirts from the fine folks at Cotton Bureau.
Living outside of Okinawa and Japan makes it difficult to find sanshin and supplies (kunkunshi, bachi, uma, karakui, etc.) so I’m always looking for online stores that service musicians outside of Okinawa/Japan. While you may not be able to have a real snakeskin sanshin shipped outside of Okinawa/Japan, you can a synthetic one shipped to you along with the aforementioned supplies.
An online store I’ve come across is the (bear with me as it’s a long name) Sanshin Craftsmen’s Business Cooperative Association of Okinawa (online store link). A great thing about them is what their name implies: they are an online store that features instruments and items from craftsmen with workshops in and outside of Okinawa. Another great thing about them is that they’re also active on YouTube, Twitter, and other social media platforms. They also have a sanshin class via Zoom (international students are also welcome to join) the intro of which is featured above.
They respond quickly to email messages so contact them with your questions. I can confirm the quality of the items and their shipping having recently received an order from them. There are other online stores out there but it’s difficult to tell if they’re still operating and it’s definitely something you don’t want to take a chance on.
If you know of any other online stores, be sure to leave a comment and I’ll take a look.
Uchinanchu are lucky to live Hawaii as we have many Okinawan-owned restaurants and businesses. During the pandemic, many of these businesses have been hit hard so let’s do our best to help them and others too. The Okinawan FEASTival website has a list of places to support and keeps a Google Sheet with up-to-date information for what’s open or closed.
Here’s an excerpt from their website:
We are extremely lucky to have so many Okinawan dishes regularly available for us to eat. Not just for a special week but ALL YEAR. Okinawan dishes were not on regular menus but added on by request. The owners thought Okinawan food would not sell. If we don’t regularly order these dishes, then it will prove it’s not worth it to keep on menus. 😦 We need to prove that wrong!https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/okinawan-dishes
I’ve been fortunate to have visited many of these places in the past so it’s definitely time to make my rounds again. Maybe I’ll see some of you out there. 🙂
Travis Seifman is probably one of my longest Twitter follows and I’ve learned so much from him about Ryukyu/Okinawa. He has so many amazing Twitter threads that it’s difficult to select one so I chose one of his more recent ones that happens to be linked to his blog post Ryukyu: Empire of the Sea. Speaking of his blog, 上り口説 Nubui Kuduchi, it’s the best English-language resource to learn about Ryukyu/Okinawa on the web.
Here’s an excerpt from the blog post mentioned above:
It’s rare enough to see whole special exhibits dedicated to Ryukyuan history, and as wonderful and special as it would have been to do a Shuri-centered or Okinawa-centered exhibit (both in general, and in the wake of the fire at Shuri gusuku in 2019), it’s really something to see them do a show based on perspectives from outside of Okinawa Island. I have to wonder, when was the last time that any of the most major museums in the greater Tokyo area did a show focusing specifically on these “outer” parts of the Ryukyus? And, not only that, but as I’ve mentioned on this blog before, there a several current trends in Ryukyu Studies for reassessment of the Ryukyu Kingdom as an “empire,” reassessment of just how unified even Okinawa Island really was prior to the 15th or 16th century, and an increased focus on these outer islands and the differing perspective they can offer.https://chaari.wordpress.com/2021/04/15/ryukyu-empire-of-the-sea/
Featured in a Rolling Stones Japan article and already having a song (Kingyo Sukui — her 1st digital single nonetheless) chosen to be an ending theme for a TV drama, is MATSURI set to become the next big breakout from Okinawa? Listen to the song on YouTube or on Apple Music to decide for yourself. Personally, I’m already a fan.
Aragaki Yui “Gakky” will appear in NHK’s 2022 Taiga Drama Kamakura 13. She will play the role of Yae, who is the main character’s first crush. In her 20+ years as an actress, this marks her first appearance in a Taiga Drama.
Speaking of Taiga dramas, there was one called Ryūkyū no Kaze from 1993 that wasn’t directed by, starred by, or had music composed by anyone from Okinawa. The first actor/actress to appear (in this case star) in a Taiga Drama was Nakama Yukie in 2006’s Kōmyō ga Tsuji, followed by Gackt in 2007’s Fūrin Kazan, and Nikaidō Fumi making an appearance in 2018’s Segodon.
Cocco’s YouTube channel recently hit 60,000 subscribers and in typical Cocco fashion she released a fun video to commemorate it.
An interesting thing to note about her YouTube channel is that she directs her own music videos. So she’s basically writing her lyrics, writing her music, and directing her music videos! She’s so talented! If you watch the video closely you may catch a glimpse of her beautiful sanshin.
Subscribe to Cocco’s YouTube channel
@Tenjou_Beta on Twitter created an amazing build of Shuri Castle on Minecraft. It’s mind-blowing.
New singles and albums released from January to March 2021
2021.01.06 [Single] Anly – Star Wink (星瞬～Star Wink～) Links (featured in the YouTube clip)
2021.02.10 [Album] i-dushi (いーどぅし) – HOPE Links
2021.02.17 [Album] Cocco – Kuchinashi Links
2021.02.24 [Mini Album] AI’s “Not So Different Remix feat. Awich” Links
2021.02.24 [Album] HY – HANAEMI Links
2021.03.07 [Single] AKINA – Our Time Links
2021.03.12 [Single] Miura Daichi (三浦大知) – Backwards Links
2021.03.17 [Single] DA PUMP – Dream on the street Links