By Jenifer Tull-Gauger

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We were able to stop over in Hawaii for two full days, plus a little longer, before we landed on the mainland (U. S. A.).  Several years prior, I had come across the Hawaii United Okinawa Association online while researching Okinawa.  I had determined then that if I ever went to Hawaii, I would do my best to visit this Okinawan cultural center.  I was the only one of our group to visit, and I’m glad I did.  The property was smaller than I’d imagined, but beautiful nonetheless.  They had a large main multipurpose/ballroom building.

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Jane in the office of the HUOA had e-mailed me back and made me feel welcome to visit while in Hawaii.  I met her, and she introduced me to Bonnie at the desk near their museum area.  Bonnie told me about the karate-related items they had on display, among other things.

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This is a soybean grinder for making tofu.  Does the wooden handle look familiar?

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A collection of shisa, and the description of their use:

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Here are my favorite photographs and their descriptions, etc.

Kata at Shuri Castle, 1937:

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Kentsu Yabu as a boy (bottom, right):

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And a man (front, center):

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Okinawan Sumo!

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A collection of rocks from the homeland of Okinawa, sent from many prefectures:

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If you’d like clarification on the name(s) of karate, read this sign in the small museum:


Outside the main building, there is a statue of Kyuzo Toyama, whose fight for freedom and civil rights led him to bring groups of immigrants from Okinawa to Hawaii in the early 1900’s.

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Bonnie said that if I had come on the weekend, I could have attended one of the many events they had going on.  She also mentioned the big festival in Okinawa that is held every five years.  I enjoyed HUOA’s Hawaii Okinawa center.


We were able to stay at the Hale Koa, a beautiful hotel for military personnel and their guests.  Thank you Peery Shihan for being our host, and also for your service to our country!  If you are going to Hawaii with someone military (active or retired), you could have the privilege of staying there.

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Kaicho’s aunt and uncle on his dad’s side were as awesome as the other side of the family.  They live in Hawaii and had our group over for a big barbecue dinner.  It was delicious and the hospitality was great too.  We also enjoyed some time just relaxing at the beautiful beach adjacent to our hotel:


Rodney, a local, said that every year on Labor Day weekend there is a big Okinawan festival at a park near the hotel.  We had to fly back to Los Angeles too soon.  Here, we have landed, and you can see we even had some ukulele music to celebrate with.


(Here is #21, the last installment of my Okinawa Trip blog, with a list of things in Okinawa [and Japan], poems I wrote while traveling, and the kata video that was a trip highlight.)