A Travellerspoint blog

Goodbye Canuks

semi-overcast 20 °C

My friend Steve left yesterday and I went with Miles to the airport today. I took the monorail back to Kensho-mai and walked back to Hotel Taira by my self. I also changed rooms once again. This si the third time 307 was too noisey from the busy street 601 was quiet but dark and no internet so now I'm in 905 I'm literraly moving up in the world. Of course there was a problem with the internet but it's solved now so I should be able to leave the laptop on longer. It's lunchtime so I need to go and find a cheap street vendor. P

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A good Kata he said

sunny 23 °C

The Yagi dojo is the 'Sistine Chapel' of dojo's 5th 6th 7th and 8th degree belts train with and help the lowly 2nd degrees. Watching and 8th degree who has been practising since he was 5 years old is inspiring. You can hear the wooden floor groan as he twists his toes into the grain. The hardwood floor has several patches where heels have stomped and shattered the one inch boards; thses guys are concentrated power. The kata I've been trying to learn is called Seisan and as the second lowest belt I had the eyes of many masters on me when I performed. When I was finished Sempei Ota corrected a hand movement and then a seventh dan commented that I had a 'good' kata with lots of 'power'. Compared to my first try at the kata when all I got were pusseled looks of where do we start to help this guy out; this was a most satisfactory moment for me. I can only hope that one day I will be told again that I have a 'good' kata P

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Going Kareoke

sunny 22 °C

Perhaps calling Okinawa, 'Japan' is like calling northern Ireland 'England' I always feel guilty about giving the country name as Japan.
Sense i Yagi took us out for a steak dinner at Georges (they put butter on their steaks here) then we walked down a couple of blocks to a tiny bar. I mean small; two four man booths and perhaps eight chairs at the bar. Sense i Yagi keeps a bottle of expensive Awamore there with his name on it. Kareoke is verey popular here and Sense i has a very good voice and sang songs in English, Japanese, Chinese, and Tagalong. When it was the Canadians turn I searched wildly for a song that I knew, not much luck so I wound up doing Willie Nelson and some old Peter Paul and Mary. I really wish I had a hammer for that Kareoke machine. As a finale I sang a duetto with the lady owner 'The Tenneesse Waltz. At 10:30 we were about to leave but a woman who had a very good voice ( the daughter of the owner) came in we sat back down killed the bottle, got another and didn't leave until 1:30am Getting up this morning was a bit of a trial. I think the black mold they use on the Thai rice to ferment it got to me a little. It was fun. I'm going to have to make sure I party Sense i Yagi Canadian style when he comes to Ontario. P

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Okinawa World

sunny 20 °C

Actualy the official name is the Okinawan Cultural Centre. The locals call it Okinawa World a play on Disney World and yes it s a tourist trap. To see all the exhibits is 1600yen a person add 30% or another 500 and that's $21.00 loonies apiece I went for the cheapy at 1200 yen. The cave complex is one (may be the only one in the south that was not destroyed) by the Japanese defence force clearing: for storage or hospital use, or blown up by the allies during the invasion. Discovered in 1964 by a couple of school kids (wouldn't that be an adventure!) the tourist part goes for about two kilometers maybee 20% of the complex. Flowing water, dripping water, water on the walls and floor, waterfalls. If a drop of rain lands on a Hanbu snake in a cane field it eventually finds its way thru the limestone to the sea. My guess is that there are plenty more cave waiting to be found. The tourist trap on the surface will take your picture; dressed up in period costume, with a huge snake, or a pretty girl. I spent my 1000yen on a couple of beers from a local micro brewery. The local artists rent stalls, do glass blowing, fancy konji character painting jewelery etc. they all seem to do a booming business with the mainland Japanese tourists. P

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Himeuri War Memorial

sunny 21 °C

Near the end of the war Japan had already lost Okinawa prepared for invasion. Girls as young as 15 were conscripted to train fight and nurse. The Japanese army retreated to a series of caves in the southern part of the island. Hollowed out through the limestone by millenia of dripping water they honeyconbed the limestone coral. Out of slightly more than 200 girls only ten survived. One out of every four inhabitants of Okinawa died: 60,000 Japanese, a few thousand Allies; mostly innocent Okinawan civilians. Herded into an ever decreasing and ever shelled area they were indiscriminantly slaughtered by naval artillery and ground forces shells including the use of flame throwers to roast the cowering wounded and their nurses. So many wasted deaths for a war that already lost. Something that needs to be remembered by the old men who decide that war is the only option. P.

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