Aloha & Hai-tai mina-san,
It is especially enjoyable when family unites to practice and play together. It brings warm feelings of comfort for me (in such a cold place like Virginia during the winter) to know one day my children will have something to share among themselves as siblings and ultimately to share their cultural journey with their children. They will remember dad taking the pictures and video just as I do with fond memories. They will also know my struggle but hopefully continue my quest as theirs, to make more progress in learning about their heritage than I did as I feel I am at a dead end at times. Though I will do my best to get the answers so they won’t have to struggle like I am/have been. It’s just that as time goes by, it seems that the folks who have the memories of any relatives will no longer be around as well as pictures. I wish I knew my grandparents on both sides, but with respect to my Okinawan side, I do not have pictures of my mother’s parents as she has never had them, yet, my hope is that my journey will enable me to piece together as much of our family connections (pictures, history, etc) as possible.
Although I have yet to learn my grandmothers full name, I believe she also shares our experiences and joy. She is with my mother, I have told her, yet my mother doesn’t know what I am saying. My biggest fans are my family (Okinawan family like Tsuruko) who are not here but passed who support me through such difficult times though my Okinawan journey. It is difficult to explain and also very difficult for most to understand.
Well, my initial thought was that my daughter (inagungwa) would perform Asadoya Yunta dance. However, her interest and independence prevailed. She preferred and took a liking to 小浜節 Kumoma Bushi (also called Kubama) so I kept an open mind. She did much better in practice than on stage but that isn’t important to me, it is much more important that she had the chance and memory of dancing with her friends and 2 brothers playing sanshin and dancing for the first time with me. It was important for her to express herself and share the beauty of Okinawan culture.
Thank you to all who support us, and taking the time to read this note.