Uchinanchu Festival 2011

Although the Uchinanchu Taikai gathering of thousands of Okinawans from around the world does not officially start until Wednesday, October 12, the festivities are well under way with the Naha Festival. Today is the Naha Ozunahiki or Tug of War with the world's largest rope.

One thought on “Uchinanchu Festival 2011

  1. My wife is Hideko Margie Baldwin of the Shinjo family of Aguni-jima. her last time in Okinawa was 1979. She actually left Okinawa in 1964. She is there with the Okinawa Kenjinkai group of Florida-United States. She arrived ocotber 5th, 2011 and is already having a wonderful time. This is a poem I wrote to her for her arrival after so many years of being away.

    Hideko-san !!! Welcome to Okinawa !!!

    Can you hear it?

    The heartbeat of the waves thumping onto the shore of the pristine beaches

    is beating faster as your feet touch your native soil once more….

    The wind is whispering sweet welcome to the returning raven haired maiden

    and the birds join in unison with a warm blanket of music that comforts the soul

    like a steaming fresh bowl of shiro miso and udon on a cold day…..

    The rattling of your ancestor’s bones under the backs of the turtle’s tombs,

    they are coming alive with joyous percussion

    like that of booming taiko drums during O’bon just to see the sweet maid again…

    Can you see it?

    The castle ruins of your ancestry are standing taller as your plane came into view…

    The waters that form the stalagmites in the Gyukosendo cave weep tears of joy knowing you’re near…

    The mongoose are chasing away all the snakes to ensure you safety…

    The RGB control of the flora and fauna are maximized for your viewing pleasure…

    The Shuri gate is extending it’s arms to welcome you home…

    Even the dragonfly’s aerobatics has more life in them…

    Can you smell it?

    The plumeria and hibiscus blossoms are perfuming the air so that no offense is given

    as you breathe again the island kingdom air that gave you life on the day that you were born…

    The spicy curry aroma, the tonkatsu with it’s delicious sauce and the bubbles of the tempura oil lifts

    the atoms of each panko wrapped delicasy lovingly to your nose as if to say,

    “Come, eat your fill and be comforted our dear child of Okinawa.”….

    Can you taste it?

    The sweet/sour pungent excitement to your taste buds with each pickled plum you devour…

    The melt in your mouth sweetness of warm andagi gently caressed with island sugar…

    The garden blending of island crisp vegatables in a dish of okazuya and gohan…

    The firmness and fire born flavor of the roasted corn and

    crispy skinned confectionary pleasure of Okinawan raised sweet potatos….

    The earthy comfort of a cup of mugi-cha putting out the fire of wasabi flavored fried green peas…

    Can you feel where you are stepping?

    You have arrived at the point in time and place ,

    where you get to touch, what I have felt and known all these forty plus years,

    it is the spirit of generations of Okinawans that came before you….

    you have journeyed back to the source of the love and comfort

    that dwells in the heart of all that is Okinawan and shall surely dwell continually in your heart too.

    Welcome back home dear one and in this case may you realize you get both pleasures…

    The joy of the journey and the happiness of the destination.

    I pray that all the Uchinanchu participants have a great time of enjoyment.

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