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.
Our last post was 6 years ago at both Tumblr (link) and here at WordPress. Why now? Although I took a break (yep, it was a long break) from writing here, I’ve still been active on Twitter (i.e. on my personal account) and noticed a lot of new voices coming from like-minded people outside of Okinawa — something clicked in me and I felt that now is the time to come back to this space.
I’ll be working on new posts as well as doing much needed housekeeping on the backend. I was also quite pleased to find that no one had claimed my karakui domain in my absence so I’ll have it back to Karakui.com soon.
For those who have stuck around and those new to Okinawan pop culture, nifee and mensore!
Japan Update recently launched a new website that they bill as a guide to Okinawa called OkiStyle. So far, they only have information for housing in Okinawa so it’ll be exciting to see the other things they come up with for the site.
I came across this website by accident while reading the latest Japanese baseball news from Japan Times and of course, it was the name of the team that caught my eye: Ryukyu Golden Kings (琉球ゴールデンキングス), a professional basketball team. I think their logo is rather cool too and will surely be picking up a t-shirt if I can find one.
The following is from their website:
The Ryukyu Golden Kings are Okinawa’s first ever professional basketball team. In fact, the Kings are Okinawa’s first ever professional sports team. In a day and age where sports have become ubiquitous in society, the birth of the Ryukyu Kings is a huge milestone for Okinawa. Chosen as an ideal franchise location because of its strong affinity for basketball, Okinawa boasts the largest percentage of middle school basketball players in the nation and has won the national tournament a record 6 times. In addition, the strong influence from the American presence on the island has helped boost the popularity of the sport. For example, NBA telecasts have been broadcast in Okinawa since the 1980s. Similarly, basketball fever is highest in Okinawa city, due in part to the nearby American bases.
I like it that their website contains information for their shop in Yomitan. It’s always great to order on the internet but there’s peace of mind knowing that they have an actual store too. They also accept all types of payment from PayPal to major credit cards for purchases and ship worldwide.
For all of you bon dance lovers out there, Donna has created a new website for you to keep up-to-date on where the action is at as well as posts that show you what bon dancing is all about through wonderful photos and videos.
It’ll be great to see others in different parts of the world (so far only the Hawaiian Islands are represented) join in on her website so be sure to contact Donna with your information and let’s make this the place to go to on the Web for bon dance info!
I’m happy to share John Potter’s wonderful website, The Power of Okinawa. John is the author of the book The Power of Okinawa: Roots Music from the Ryukyus, which I purchased 9 years ago (released in October 2001) and I’m happy to hear that he’s released a 2nd edition which has been “extensively revised, expanded and updated to include new chapters and more interviews with the people involved in making roots music from the Ryukyus.”
The Power of Okinawa website has a link to order the book and he ships worldwide.
In addition to his book, the website’s Features section is an awesome resource containing John’s articles from fRoots magazine. Also be sure to check out his Power of Okinawa blog — I’ve already added it to Google Reader. 🙂
Two cousins embark on a mission to research the music and culture of the motherland: Okinawa Island, Japan. One a recent high-school graduate in search of like-minded Okinawan indie rockers, one a not-so-recent college graduate in search of the native cultural roots of those modern musicians. Both looking for a way to not enter the workforce for three more months.
Lots of nice photos can be found on their Flickr. Be sure to add both to your news reader!
Upon hearing of okinawa-sanshin.net’s kunkunshi database my first thought was “cool, there’s finally a website that makes available kunkunshi for all to enjoy.” But, alas, the website is actually a database for existing kunkunshi books. Still, it’s a great way to search for a song to find out which kunkunshi book it’s in to save you time with your collection at home or if you’re out shopping for one.
All we can hope for in the near future is to see these book companies take the next step and go digital for say, Apple’s iPad. 😉