Wednesday, January 7th, 2009

Okinawa Diary

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Okinawa has a special spot in our heart. Although your Rhodia Driver has never been to this southernmost prefecture of Japan (at least, not yet), one of its chain of islands is the birthplace of an old friend from college. We met while studying at a university in Tokyo. He was a regular student, and your Rhodia Driver was a one-year exchange student. Ironically, we only became good friends the year after, when it was his turn to become an exchange student at our university in the Philippines. Over dinner or cold beer, we would engage in lively debates from culture to religion, to relationships. He just got married to a college friend, who is now a doctor, and they are currently in Washington D.C. while he’s taking his MBA at Georgetown University.

Coincidentally, another friend and close confidante, a fellow Scorpio, is now being stationed at a military base in Okinawa. A Filipino by birth, he would find some comfort from the tropical breeze of Naha, the cool waters of Heiji Falls and the beach at Hedo Point, even as he complains about the overpriced goods at the supermarket. Thanks to technology, he is now able to get a phone with a Merrimack, New Hampshire number, so we would often burn the line. He would report to us that his unit might engage in a military exercise in the Philippines, which excites him no end.

Recently, while studying American history, Okinawa came up again as a part of a discussion on World War II and the Allied campaign.  Predictably our discussion would touch on the intense naval and ground assault of American forces of the Ryukyu Islands. Intense fights would erupt between the two forces, claiming thousands of casualties. Now, the chain of islands can only be described in a more peaceful manner.

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And that’s where we find the author of the fascinating Okinawa Diary. She describes herself as “daughter of a sushi chef, wife of a logophile, and lover of anything funny.” We’d like to add, terrific storyteller and photographer to that. In a not-so-recent entry, she wrote about a delivery man who can draw using his two hands, simultaneously. Yes simultaneously!

Mr. M is a delivery man, but he’s not your typical delivery man. He is more like a comedian or an entertainer pretending to be a delivery man. I suspect that working as a delivery man is merely a disguise for him to get to know people he can entertain.

What actually first caught our eye to this entry was the picture of dragonfly and the haiku in Kanji, a form of Japanese writing that is based on Chinese characters. We do not know what kind of Japanese ink Mr. M has, but knowing how Japanese regard art, good taste and keen eye on detail, we can speculate that the ink he is using possibly is an ink stick called sumi. Has anyone ever used the traditional Japanese ink? We would like to hear your story.

You can read the story and many more Okinawa stories here.

Photos via the Okinawa Diary


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