November 1st is Luchu History & Culture Day

via Website

November 1st is designated as Luchu History and Culture Day (琉球歴史文化の日) and a special website has been created that has information on workshops and special contests. For the contest portion, the logo mark design has already been decided but there are three other contests that run until the end of the month (9/30 Uchinaa time):

  • Photo & Catchcopy Contest is open to children enrolled in elementary, junior high, high school, and special schools in Uchinaa.
  • Kajadifu Video Contest is open to all Uchinānchu and they’re looking for video performances of “Kajadifu” (YouTubers Ryukatsutyu has a perfect example of this) showcasing the scenery from your part of the world. A special note to add that you will be using their recording of “Kajadifu” that can be downloaded on the contest’s webpage. Even if you don’t participate in the contest, be sure to download the song as it’s an amazing recording by Higa Yasuharu-shinshii (Ryūkyū Koten Ongaku Nomura-ryū Hozonkai).
  • Ryūka Contest looks like it’s open to all Uchinānchu (although it’s not clearly stated) and the rules are simple since it has to be a san-pachi-roku Ryūka and use Shimakutuba.

The bad news? Most of the website (except for the Kajadifu contest page) is only available in Japanese (at this time). So here’s the English translation of the website using Google Translate. Chibariyo to everyone entering the contest and leave a comment if you’re participating.

2nd Okinawan FEASTival

We’re so happy to see a return of Shari’s Okinawan FEASTival! This year it’s running from September 1st to the 14th and there’s a lot of food 🍱 and drink 🍺 to be excited about. 😋

From the opening of American Cafe in 1923 to today, there has been over 350 Okinawan owned restaurants in Hawaii. Most of the original restaurants have closed but there is a new generation operating today. In the spirit of Yuimaaru (communities supporting one another, especially in times of need), we are asking the community to help support these local Okinawan owned restaurants. This year, FEASTival is teaming up with the Okinawan Festival! Festival will be virtual this year at okinawanfestival.com on  September 4th & 5th.

https://www.hawaiiokinawans.com/about

Be sure to check out the website’s FEASTival Specials page as there are limited time specials that can be pre-ordered. Be sure not to miss the handy text-only timeline version Shari created so you won’t miss out any specials.

Miss Okinawa’s Popular YouTube Channel

Due to the pandemic, the three 39th Miss Okinawa Iwamoto Kana (Sky Blue), Yamazato Hikaru (Cobalt Blue), and Shinzato Mizuki (Clean Green Gracious), looked to YouTube to fulfill their duty of promoting and showcasing many of Okinawa’s businesses and locations. Their work has paid off as they have grown their channel to over 2K subs since starting last June. Their videos feature foods and beverages that are unique to Okinawa (like the bukubukucha video below), visits to various locations on Okinawa, and several cultural activities like learning Ryukyu buyou (dance). They have also hosted livestreams too.

Miss Okinawa makes bukubukucha

With over 100 videos and new ones being released several times a week, there’s a lot to watch and choose from. The timing is also perfect with the next year’s World Uchinanchu Festival coming up. What better way to find out where the most trendy restaurants and locations are to add to your bucket list. Their goal is to reach 10,000 subs so be sure to subscribe (link below).

Miss Okinawa no Okinawa Kankou TV on YouTube

Okinawa Memorial Day

Today (June 23rd Okinawa time) is our Okinawa Memorial Day (Irei no Hi). 🙏

… During the occupation of Japan, in 1961, Okinawa Memorial Day was made a holiday by the Government of the Ryukyu Islands in order to remember and pray for their family members and relatives who were killed during the Battle of Okinawa. In 1972, when Okinawa was returned to Japan, Okinawa Memorial Day lost its recognition as a holiday, but this was restored by the prefectural government in 1991. In Okinawa, it is treated like one of the Japanese national public holidays.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Okinawa_Memorial_Day
MONGOL800’s “himeyuri ~Himeyuri no Uta~”

Ryukyu Shimpo sent out a Tweet asking its followers what their recommended songs are for themes of peace and the Battle of Okinawa. I found it interesting that they started off with two that aren’t from Uchinanchu artists but are very famous songs (The Boom’s “Shimauta” and Southern All Stars’s “Heiwa on Ryuka”) nonetheless. It’s definitely an interesting Twitter thread to keep an eye on. (Of course mine is the song above by MONGOL800.)

There’s another Twitter thread started by Tamaki Eriko that’s worth checking out too.

Koh Flippin with the Ryukyu Golden Kings

via goldenkings.jp

My Twitter feed exploded with news of Koh Flippin joining the Ryukyu Golden Kings team. The 25 year old 6’2″ Torrance, California native (his mother is from Naha) comes to the Kings from the Chiba Jets and plays guard. I love his tweet announcing his joining the Kings: “Haisai! I’m Koh Flippin. Yutashiku!!”

A comment from Koh on the Kings’s website says “Okinawa is a special place for me that is my roots and and also my identity.”

沖縄は、私のルーツ、アイデンティティーでもある特別な場所です。

https://goldenkings.jp/news/detail/id=15872

We look forward to watching his amazing plays!

Ichariba Choodee Podcast

A recently launched podcast called “Ichariba Choodee” gives a new voice to our community.

There are many more names for the peoples of these islands. Hear the many voices and stories of those identifying as Shimanchu (or Uchinachu).

Celebrating and preserving our culture, connecting the diaspora, and both proudly and humbly educating and learning along the way. Hosted by Tori, Erica Kunihisa, and Mariko Middleton.
 

Ichariba Choodee is a beautiful Ryukyan saying translating roughly to, ‘When we meet, we become brothers, sisters, family.’

https://www.shimanchupodcast.com

Added! I listened to their first episode and I’m excited to watch them grow. Subscribe (link to Apple Podcasts) to their podcast on your favorite app.

Floating Room’s Upcoming EP “Shima”

Floating Room was recently featured in an NPR article for 11 Oregon Artists to Watch in 2021 and this little bit got me really excited:

Floating Room is set to release an EP called Shima on Famous Class Records in November.

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/02/1002272360/11-oregon-artists-to-watch-in-2021

I’m looking forward to listening to Shima and I have so many questions about it that will hopefully be answered when it’s released. Floating Room’s latest EP is Tired and True (just started listening to it again 😊) and it’s available on streaming services and on bandcamp.

7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Logo & Slogan Contest

via WUF

Showcase your creativity and earn fame and money by submitting a logo and/or a slogan for next year’s 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival! The application deadline is Friday, July 9, 2021, and the winner(s) will be announced in late August (subject to change). As the slogan can be emailed and multiple entries are being accepted, I’ll definitely be giving this a go.

Learn more about it and download the applications on the WUF2022 webpage. (h/t to @JTBUSA_Honolulu)

7th World Uchinanchu Festival

The 7th World Uchinanchu Festival has a date set! It will take place in 2022 from October 31st to November 3rd (note the website counts October 30th as the Festival eve).

The “World Uchinanchu Festival” honors the achievements of Okinawan people from all over the world, recognises the great value of the community heritage of Okinawa , and seeks to expand and develop the Uchina network through exchanges with Okinawan citizens around the world. The purpose is to bring people together, reaffirm their roots and identity, and thereby be able to pass them on to the next generation.

The festival is sponsored by the Uchinanchu Festival Executive Committee of the world, which is organized by Okinawa Prefecture and related organizations, and has been held approximately once every five years since the first festival in 1990 (Heisei 2). It has been held 6 times so far.

https://wuf2022.com/en/about
WUF Promotion Video

JTB has a newsletter you can sign up to for tour package information. They will have escorted group tours and are also able to help you plan for individual travel packages too. Check out their link for more details.

Follow WUF 2022 on Twitter for the latest updates.