Sharing the Wealth again…

Hello everybody,

So I had a friend in town this past week, hence the lack of blog. I had the pleasure of showing a friend the Okinawa that I have come to know and love with all my heart. It was a busy week full of work, training and more training and sight seeing.

Last year when I first got here I was welcomed into Sensei’s dojo and I had much trepidation over what it would be like. I arrived on a Friday night and was welcomed in by Sensei (of course) and three karateka I now consider friends and dojo brothers: Paul, Cesar and Mattia. Of course, you can go back to October for ‘Goju Heaven’ for all those details.

The title of this week’s blog reflects the fact that I have been given so much:  a job that allows me this life, friends who accept me for who I am,  a Master that is not only generous with his training but with himself and the karate family that goes with all this. I owe a debt to everyone for all these things and I hope that I am able to share Okinawa through this blog and visits as a thank you for this.

martial arts monument
Naha-te memorial of Miyagi Chojun and Higaonna Kanryo.

So as I say, I was a neophyte in Okinawa when last my friend Mattia visited and did not know of many places to go. I decided when he visited this time, I would show him some of the things he has missed out on.

For those of you who have not visited and trained here, you have the day to do what you want and then you head off to the dojo…and what goes on there, stays there (much like Las Vegas). That being said, it is difficult if you stay in Naha to see other parts of the island since there are limited resources that will allow you to sight see and get back in time.

I planned on correcting some of that by virtue of the fact that I live in Ginowan, which is north of Naha and closer to some of the prettier parts of the island.

I took him on the JA tour of favorite places and haunts: Cape Manzamo for the iconic rocks that are Okinawa.  Onna/Seragaki Beach –  the place that makes my heart sing, Yomitan for the pottery and Ryu Kyu glass shops and Sunabe Seawall.

Cape Manzamo
beware of habu
Habu are everywhere!
bathroom at yomitan
Okay Okinawa, this is too much! This is Ryu Kyu glass in the panels of the public bathroom near the workshops in Yomitan.
bathroom windows
I’ll say it again, this is outside of the bathrooms! Everywhere and everything is about beauty here.

So on Saturday we had our last training day, but before that there was much shopping and  errands to run. Mattia offered to show me many of the historical sites having to do with karate and Goju Ryu in particular. I wrangled my friend Amanda into coming along and should apologize for all the Goju talk she very patiently listened to. Off we went to Naha to see the sites and have lunch.

Mattia told us about this restaurant and it was spectacular, like something you’d see in a Japanese movie. There was a coi pond and greenery everywhere, traditional tables and Okinawan food. What a lovely place.

the long walk
A long walk to school for Miyagi Chojun in Kinjo-Cho. This is the stone road near Shuri Castle.
amanda and mattia
Good friends – Amanda and Mattia at Sui-Dunchi
restaurant courtyard
The grounds behind Sui-Dunchi where they had a small museum where you could look at their awamori and all sorts of other fabulous things.

So it was a great experience to have my first houseguest and to be able to share my Okinawa. What a great time to spend time with a knowledgeable karateka and friend. I only have one complaint…there is still bread in my house!!

bouganvilla pink and red
Gratuitous photo of bougainvillea that is blooming all over the island now. I know what flower it is because a very nice cab driver told me.

Have a great week everyone and thank you for your patience!

I have to go and practice Sanchin now …