A small bird on a journey; searching for her Okinawan identity.
A little about Tuigwaa-chan
Aloha and Hai-tai!
I grew up in Hawaii learning to appreciate Okinawan culture from both my parents. Although my father was haku-jin (Caucasian), he was proficient in Japanese language, culture, history, and more. While stationed in Okinawa, he met my mom. He loved my Okinawan mother ( 普久原 富士子) and things Okinawan.
While not much is known on my father's side, I know a little bit more than I do on my mom's side. Thus, I am fortunate to have the opportunity to now find out more about my mother's side (she and her surviving siblings were war orphans). For those not familiar, Fukuhara is a prominent name and she explains tearfully how her father was a samurai/established businessman in both Saipan and Okinawa and how her mother passed of a broken heart due to the war.
I don't understand; I don't know; for I am far not only in distance, but in generation terms as well as unable to converse (Okinawan/Japanese). Truly left to wonder, to journey ~ I seek answers for me and also my family.
Reluctantly I now share this in hopes to learn more about the history (geneology) on my mother's side. Inspite of a distinguished family name (i.e. she is related to Choki Fukuhara - from her father's side), mother received nothing (emotional, mental, or physical) just like her siblings as a result of the war....only painful memories and yearning for her parents/sibblings (deceased), family, and simple things we all enjoy today.
If possible, my family would like to meet her brother in Okinawa, my Uncle Chogi, and show him how strong Uchinanchu spirit is so far away - not forgotten just because his youngest sister (my mom) left Okinawa when she was young.
First and foremost is my family.
When I find time, I perform and study Okinawan dance to include musical instruments; sanshin, kutu (Okinawan koto), etc. I also study martial arts which has been challenging for me. However I feel this is also an important part of the culture as Okinawa was involved in trade and due to it's location, naturally things such as this was integrated as well as many other cultural aspects (i.e. folktales, martial arts, food, customs, attire, etc) which can be seen through influences by countries such as China, Thailand, Japan, and Korea.
I am fortunate to have a supportive husband and family (children) and feel blessed to have had the opportunity to be a teacher, simply by being a mother. I am also blessed to have amazing and patient teachers who inspire me.
My hope for the future would be to teach/share/exchange these joys one day with others and for my family to pass a better understanding about their Okinawan identity to the children and their children one day.
The journey continues and I strive with this in mind... and I say, make every day your best effort ~ focus, be patient, and be positive, true to yourself and others the best you can.
Mahalo and thank you (nifee debiru),
Chirp ~ Chirp ~
Copyright 2011 Tuigwaachan. All rights reserved.
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