The Ukwanshin Gakumun Tour was an amazing experience. Â Signs and happenings throughour our tour showed us that our ancestors are still closely connecte to us and want us to continue their legacy. Â The kinds of emotions the flowed through and brought together not only the tour members, but also the people we met, was great. Â I believe it hit everyone in the gut. Â 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. Â The typhoon changed its path away from us. Reltaives were found for some, and connections re established. Â Unexpected information on family trees being brought out and shared to make the connections even stronger. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â 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. Â It is now our obligation to continue their “chimugukuru” and do what we can to pass on our real identity. Â The time of shame and prejudice on our Okinawan identity is passed. Â 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. Â For most of the members on our tour, I think they have made a commitment to continue the journey. Â We are the rocks that will come together to make our identity and culture strong again. Â One rock at a time, one person at a time. Â Being Okinawan is in us.