The Ukwanshin Gakumun Tour was an amazing experience. Signs and happenings throughour our tour showed us that our ancestors are still closely connecte to us and want us to continue their legacy. The kinds of emotions the flowed through and brought together not only the tour members, but also the people we met, was great. I believe it hit everyone in the gut. It gave a stronger foundation of who we are as shimanchu, and also a purpose for continuing the legacy.
The weather held up when it needed to. The typhoon changed its path away from us. Reltaives were found for some, and connections re established. Unexpected information on family trees being brought out and shared to make the connections even stronger. Also, a possible voice from the past that called Okinawa relatives to foretell the arrival of the first grandson of the family’s first Okinawa visit. The laughter and tears were all a part of the energy that actually strung all of us together, as words didn’t have to be spoken, but we could understand what everyone was going through and thinking. The meeting with the two living treasures, Matayoshi, and Taira, was a priceless experience which gave us a glimpse into the past as well as a tangible symbol of the real Okinawan heart. However, it was kind of sad to think thay they will not be with us forever, and within a decade or so they may be gone. It is now our obligation to continue their “chimugukuru” and do what we can to pass on our real identity. The time of shame and prejudice on our Okinawan identity is passed. It is now time for us to realize our inborn obligation and to remember who and where we are connected to that makes us shimanchu. For most of the members on our tour, I think they have made a commitment to continue the journey. We are the rocks that will come together to make our identity and culture strong again. One rock at a time, one person at a time. Being Okinawan is in us.