A dedication to my mother and in hopes of inspiring others (younger generation).
Slowly over what seems to be a very long period of time, I have been able to gradually learn more about my Okinawan Identity. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so difficult if I lived near mom in Hawaii, perhaps if I spoke and understood Japanese I could speak with elders of the community, or perhaps if I was able to visit Okinawa and Saipan I could do the research I want to get the answers and resolution I seek. After all, I have also sought to one day visit my Uncle Chogi (Fukuhara) in Koza where my mom is from (grew up) and pay respects to all those who passed (due to the war) with my mom and my family. I want Uncle Chogi to know he isn’t alone and very much missed and loved by his sister (my mother) who hasn’t been to Okinawa since she left to get married (50 years?).
Learning has been a journey, a sad one especially for my mother to recollect events and her childhood. I am collecting these memories and information as we are working on a way to share this. I have found myself very sad to learn things I never knew growing up in Hawaii. (I wonder … Would knowing this back then have changed my life or the direction I took with respect to my Okinawan identity and if so how? Could I have changed anything and/or would I?)
How does then one write a book and share this? If I was a film maker, I would want to do this more from a documentary stand point as the result of the war which devastated Saipan and Okinawa. I wish to enlighten the younger generation as well such as my children or even my generation (my age) and share this background/perspective. Encouraging the younger generation to be proud and more involved (i.e. cultural community events) and to interact with the older generation more (i.e. their parents) with more love and understanding. Honestly, this applies not only to Okinawans. Being proud of one’s identity applies to all of us and we can all learn about ourselves by learning about others.
So, learning about my identity has honestly been overwhelming at times which has distracted me much not only from the radio show (Radio Okinawa by Tuigwaa-chan) which I enjoyed. Researching my Okinawan Identity has been very much emotionally draining at times. I also have been struggling with various health events which also makes doing the things I want a luxury so I try to find satisfaction in the little things I find I can do and take things one day at a time. Okinawan dancing and sanshin are two simple things I find I can do which ease my mind and not too difficult to do at any time of day. Recently, I have taken a deeper interest in martial arts and it’s origin (history) as well as styles. (I have always been interested.) However, Aikido in particular and the philosophy has helped me. Here’s an interesting Youtube link. Since I see martial art applications in Okinawan dance, I wish to learn all I can. Okinawa as an island nation naturally had an exchange of many things to include martial arts which is part of it’s culture.
Well, we live in a fast paced world and time flies so don’t forget to share love with your loved ones.
Give your parents (or even friends) a hug ~ even if it is a virtual one.
Cheers for now,
Chirp ~ Chirp 😉