Okinawan Jewelry Brands

Isetan Department Store is a major landmark in Shinjuku and known as one of the prime department stores in Japan (if not Asia) in high fashion. With that said, I look forward to the success of TILLA-EARTH, a jewelry brand from Ishigakijima. Shizuka Taira, the owner of the store, will sell his jewelry for a limited time from June 27th ~ July 17th on the first floor of Isetan. He will also set a booth at the well established Ginza Mitsukoshi (July 18th ~31st).

There are many other Okinawan jewelry brands, many simple and charming. Here’s a list of some of them (the website may not have English translations):

Grand Blue (known for rings with natural star sand in them and minsa motifs)

KAI (jewelry section of the Okinawan brand, Kaiso)

Ruca (jewelry using coral reefs)

cicafu (accessory inspired by Native American jewelry)

Grain (furniture design, but they sell rings made of Yakushima cedar)

 


OKINAWA ART in NY Exhibition

The Nippon Gallery in New York will hold “Okinawa Art in NY” Exhibition from June 20 – July 27th, 2012. Artists include renowned Seikichi Tamanaha (painting), Yoshiharu Higa (photography), Michiko Uehara (weaving), and other Okinawan artists living abroad. There hasn’t been anything like this before in the United States, and Okinawan Art is finally receiving the recognition it deserves.

For more information, please see the following websites:
http://www.nipponclub.org/upcomingevents.php

http://www.compass-art.com/archives/projects/okinawa-art-in-new-york

Ryukyu Golden Kings wins Japan-BJ League

Drawing audiences totaling 9402 people, Basketball Japan League (known as the BJ League) playoff finals took place on the 20th at the Ariake Coliseum in Tokyo. Ryukyu Golden Kings (Okinawa) defeated Higashi-Mikawa Phoenix (Hamamatsu) 89 – 73. This is the Golden Kings’ second time winning the title since 2009.

Tree Project – A message about biodiversity through art

Last year in early November, environmental artists Tim Collins and Reiko Goto were invited to the Ryukyu University to run a workshop on how art can visually express the importance of biodiversity.
Traditionally, Okinawans have worshiped nature. Holy grounds known as utaki are usually in forests and by rivers, sometimes  an entire island. Approximately 400 to 500 utakis exist in Okinawa, including the upstream of Sembara pond behind the Ryukyu University’s Northern Cafeteria.
Workshop participants saw the Kyuyo bridge across Sembara pond as a gateway to the biodiveristy of Okinawa and creatively conveyed this message with a performance art using leaves.

source:http://www.u-ryukyu.ac.jp/top_news/hot/student24_2012033002/

http://eden3.net/residencies/okinawa/index.html

Cherry Blossoms in Okinawa

Hanami (literary meaning “flower viewing”) is one of the most popular Japanese traditional customs practiced, starting when cherry blossoms bloom in March or April. People come together to sit under the cherry blossoms trees, have picnics, and get a little buzzed. It’s one of my favorite times of the year in Japan, but in Okinawa, hanami starts in January/February since the cherry blossoms bloom earlier. These photos were provided in courtesy of a relative, so please do not steal them, but I hope you enjoy the beautiful cherry blossoms.

Kin-Cho(金城町), the Taco Rice Town

Kin-cho Town has delcared itself as the official “Taco Rice Town.”

Taco rice, symbolic of Okinawa’s champuru culture, was created in 1984 at Parlor Senri, just outside of Camp Hansen. Popular among American Marines and locals, taco rice became part of Okiawan cuisine. In November 2010, Kincho received the Guinness World Records for making the world’s largest taco rice, weighing 746kg.

http://www.kin.cc/downloadkinfiles/tacorice.pdf

unmei no hito

The drama, based on Toyoko Yamazaki’s novel, illustrates the fate of journalist Ryota Yuminari as he unfolds the truth behind the revision of Okinawa. For more information, visit Tokyo Broadcasting System Television’s official website: http://www.tbs.co.jp/eng/nowshowing/index.html

In the last episode (which aired on 3/18/2012 in Japan), 80% of the film location was in Okinawa. Some of the locations include: Mae Misaki in Onnason, Nuchishinujigama, Park Avenue/B.C. Street, Kakazu Takadai Kouen, etc.

Made in Okinawa

I have been browsing to find out about the Okinawan fashion scene lately, and I came across this website:

madeinokinawa.com

They are a group of creators, not limited to fashion but music and art as well, that embrace traditional techniques, originality, and the stories behind the locally made items. madeinokinawa also collaborates with creators from around the world (namely Europe and Asia… and it seems they’ve also got an atelier in France, which is cool!)

you can window shop online through the webshop, and I find this bingata one-piece dress very attractive…! http://madeinokinawa.shop-pro.jp/?pid=23855509

Toufuyou

For those with daring taste buds, toufuyou is a must-eat cuisine only loyal families ate during the Ryukyu Kingdom era. Fermented with jiuqu, moascus purpureus, and awamori, toufuyou is a reddish tofu delicacy, rich like urchin meat (meaning it’s creamy and thick). If you’ve ever tried Chinese fermented bean curd, you have an idea of what it might taste like.

http://benihamashop.jp/toufuyou/
(in Japanese)