Monday, March 13, 2006

okinawa (day 2-pm)

The next stop was Fruitland. This park had all kinds of fruit trees found in Okinawa. Most were similar to those seen in Hawaii. I also saw the vanilla plant and was surprised at they way it is grown. It looked like green beans on a vine. There was also an area with exotic birds and butterflies. The oogomadara butterflies cocoon (sanagi) is golden.

We made a short stop at Manzamo. Manzamo is a cliff area looking out over Manza Bay. During the war, many Okinawans jumped from this cliff to their deaths for fear of being captured by the Americans.

The next stop was Mori no glass kan, it is a work area where glass craftsmen blow glass and make different glass items such as cups, bowls, dishes and other interesting items. First the craftsman heats the glass in a large flame, then shapes the glass while it is still hot. After the desired shape is reached, he gently taps it off from the pole, then puts the piece into another kiln like oven to set.

Ryukyumura (Ryukyu is another name for Okinawa) this park has a little village of traditional Okinawan homes where you can try different crafts such as weaving.

Dress up in the traditional costume (the big hat is called hanagasa). My in-laws.

Enjoy tea with po-po (Okinawan crepe made with kokuto (black sugar) and flour).

When you visit an Okinawan home, you'll see their family altar. It is this huge thing (on the right with the bottle of awamori (Okinawan sake (rice wine)) in front) that looks like a cupboard.

And see a traditional performance of eisa. Eisa, is a powerful and dynamic Okinawan dance performed with taiko (drum). This dance is usually performed for ancestors during the Lunar Bon Holiday. Eisa means to chant from a Buddhist prayer.

After a long day of sights, we then checked into our hotel, the Okinawa Miyako Hotel. This hotel is just down the hill from Shuri-jo (Shuri Castle). And 10 minutes from Kokusai-dori (International street). Kokusai-dori is a street filled with tiny shops and restaurants a great place to shop.

Okinawa Miyako Hotel
40 Aza Matsugawa
Naha, Okinawa
Phone: 098-887-1111

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