Sketches of Myahk

Directed by Koichi Onishi, "Sketches of Myahk" is a documentary film about traditionally inherited chants in praise of God and sacred songs of Miyakojima vanishing in the time. The film received Special Mention by Semaine de la Critique of Locarno International Film Festival 2011. To learn more about the film, go to this link: Makoto Kubota, musican and the film's supervisor, released the album "Sketches of Myahk" under the Blue Asia project to complement the film. Continue reading

Unfinished magatama discovered in ruins of Goeku Castle

On January 16th, the Okinawa Municipal Museum announced its discovey of magatama (a comma-shaped bead) in the ruins of Goeku Castle, where King Sho Taikyu of the Ryukyu Kingdom ruled during the 15th century. This 5cm stone-made magatama is considered very rare because the center hole is missing, indicating that this piece is still unfinished. Found in the 12th to 14th century stratum, experts believe Noros (women priests) wore them during religious rituals.

Night rainbow Night rainbow, Lunar rainbow, Moonbow, space rainbow. There are many names you can call it. Gekkou (月虹)is a rainbow produced by moonlight, usually faint and appears white to the human eye. This incredible natural phenomenon which is believed to bring happiness was observed by the Ishigakijima Astronomical Observatory on January 7th, 2012. What a beautiful start for the New Year!

Okinawa Oden

Winter is here, and tis the season to crave for oden in Japan. Boiled eggs, daikon radish, potatoes, devil's tongue, and fish cakes soaked with soy-based dashi broth bring smiles to people's faces across the country. Regional variations exist, but Okinawa oden is its own kind. Okinawa oden's main ingredient is tebichi (or pig's feet). If pig's feet sounds somewhat unappealing, remember about the collagen in it which softens your skin and helps prevent spots and wrinkles on your face (not to mention it's also very delicious). Okinawa oden differs from mainland Japan because it also includes green veggies such as lettuce, bok choy, spinach, and Chinese water spinach. Here is a link (in Japanese) to stores in Okinawa that serves oden:

Toumaiahkah (泊阿嘉)

Toumaiahkah is an Okinawan version of Romeo and Juliet created by actor Ganeko Yaei in 1911. The Romeo of this story, Tarukani from Akajima (阿喜島), falls in love with Umichiru. Sprung, he writes poetry for Umichiru, but she burns them... Doesn't Umichiru sound like a heartbreaker? What we don't know is that she kept the portion of the letter because she secretly desires Tarukami (turns out she is a tsundere instead). Eventually, love grows between the two, and they become bonded by a special relationship. Continue reading

Okuyama no Botan (奥山の牡丹)

Okuyama no Botan (English title: The Peony of the Deep Mountains) is one of the famous, tragic Okinawan Plays along with Iejima Handuguwa and Toumaiahkah. Due to his father's dissipated life, the son from a loyal family lived in the countryside where he fell in love with a woman named Chi-rah. They had a child together; however, their relationship was not approved due to class differences. Wishing a better future for her son, Chi-rah decides to let go of him go and disappears into the deep mountains. (It's also said Chi-rah is separated from her son by the loyal family's servants.) When her son grew older, he travels to find his mother. However, a tragic ending awaits the two... The play was written by Inchiki Ihara (伊良波尹吉) who was born in Yonabaru-Cho in 1886.

Iejima Handuguwa (伊江島ハンドー小)

Written by Yukou Majikina (真境名由康),Iejima Handuguwa (伊江島ハンドー小)is an Okinawan play considered as one of the three tragic love stories of Okinawa along with Okuyama no Botan (奥山の牡丹) and Toumaiahkah (泊阿嘉). The story takes place 180 years ago in Iejima. A deputy landlord's son, Kanah-hee, traveled to Hentona in mainland Okinawa where he falls in love with a beautiful girl named Handuguwa. However, Kanah-hee's uncle forces him back to Iejima, splitting the two. Depressed and unable to forget Kanah-hee, Handuguwa travels to Iejima, but a boatman on board warns Handuguwa not to go and looks after her. Continue reading