Jikoen Temple was once again filled with Okinawans wanting to learn and hear about their culture. This time, the topic was on Okinawan obon. The celebration, rituals, meaning and values were all covered, along with explanation on eisaa and how it ties in to obon. This year, Okinawa obon falls on September 1-3. There were many youth who attended, and who have been “hungry” for information on their culture and identity.
It seemed appropriate to be at a place that the issei helped to establish, as Jikoen was sort of the center for Okinawa community before the Hawaii Okinawa Center came up. The bon dances there were visual reminders of our identity and culture when it used to be only Okinawan. Now, its only on the Friday, but hopefully will soon return to only Okinawan again. Everyone seemed to agree that there needs to be a return to the roots and connection to our ancestors again. They were the core of each family and the community and its in returning to that that we can find answers and be ground in who we are as Okinawans. Thank you to all of you who came out and supported the workshop. Your continued attendance helps us to want to continue to provide whatever we can, and to learn ourselves from our kupuna. Hope to see you all again.
Here are sample greetings for Unke-, and U-kui.
For Unke-“Chuu ya Unke- natoibin. Ukituijurasa- shimisoochi. Shiraakusa, kwan nmagwa, miimanti kwimisoochi. Waregafuushimisoochi kwrimisooriyo.”
For U-kui: “Chuu ya U-kui natoibin. Rippani, ukituijurasaa shimisoochi. Chaawaregafuu, shimirachikwrimisoochi. Iruiru ippe nifwedebiru, miimanti kwrimisooriyoo.
We hope maybe this part of our culture can be observed here in Hawaii, to reconnect us to our LooChoo, Okinawan heritage, and identity.