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.
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.
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.”
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.
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)
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.
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.
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!
I was recently interviewed by Melissa Chang of Nonstop Honolulu / Hawaii IRL to talk about bon dancing. David, president of the Young Okinawans of Hawaii, and I had a great time chatting with Melissa. Enjoy!
A smile. Whenever I pick up Lee Tonouchi’sOriental Faddah and Son, I can’t help but smile. The book’s cover is nicely designed and at 152 pages, it should be a fast read (compared to the 925 pages in Haruki Murakami’s 1Q84 which I’m also reading) but in reality, it’s not because I often find myself rereading passages like “Why I Hate Teachers Who Nevah Seen Star Wars,” the content of which is both funny and rather sad.
From the Bess Press website:
Oriental Faddah and Son delivers “Da Pidgin Guerrilla’s” most entertaining yet poignant work to date through a combination of lamenting and humorous poems. As you read, you will journey with author Lee A. Tonouchi through childhood and adolescence into adulthood. You will laugh out loud, sometimes cry, and maybe even discover things about yourself along the way. Award winning author Tonouchi delivers a captivating, semi-autobiographical tale through his mastery of the Pidgin language. Tonouchi intricately weaves life’s most basic human elements—love and loss, birth and death—with uncovering the identity of one’s true self. In the “Guerrilla’s” case, it’s the essence of being an Okinawan in Hawaiʻi.
Now is the perfect time to pick up your copy as the Bess Press website has a holiday sale for 40% off (till 12/30/2011) so grab it now!