The other day I received an email from my host sister. They had gone to Okinawa and taken a picture in front of Shisa. Of course, I haven't told you readers much of Okinawa. So here is another installment, very belatedly. Welcome to Ryuukyuu Mura.
This was part of our bus tour. Ryukyu Mura is a park showcasing the culture and traditional homes and crafts of Okinawa, or the Ryukyu Islands. The Ryukyuan people are the indigenous people of Okinawa, who had their own kingdom prior to being brought under Japanese control. The kingdom was officially dissolved in the Meiji period, but had actively engaged in trade with China for a long period of time. They have their own language, which is related to Japanese, and a distinct culture. The homes in Ryukyu Mura were taken from throughout Okinawa and reassembled in the park, which offers musical shows and skits for the entertainment of guests, besides providing a cultural education.
There is also a snake show, featuring the Habu, which fights mongooses - not in the show, of course. Due to our time constraints, we were unable to see the show, but it plays on a schedule throughout the day. Incidentally, the habu, which is poisonous, gets put into sake.
The little elves in the tree welcome you into the village.
There are displays of Ryukyu fashion, like above. Ryukyu Mura also showcases their clay-working skills (below). You can buy many clay trinkets and cups, etc, which are made on location. I bought a pretty turtle necklace for my aunt.
You'll also be able to see dances (they encourage participation).
Martial arts demonstrations can be seen too, but we unfortunately missed them. We did, though, manage to catch a short skit:
Near the exit of the park, the brown sugar mill operates, still run by a water buffalo, just as it was in the old days. The brown sugar is used to flavour many things, including the cookie-biscuits which are often seen in souvenir shops, said to have been the food stuff of kings.
There are little food shops, as well as souvenirs of all sorts. The food vendor that had this lovely fellow out in front of her window sold a delicious coconut drink, which Doro happily partook of. Mmm, coconut!
This is a must-go place, in my estimation. There is an ample variety of things to do and see - we did a lot of seeing, but guests are encouraged to try their hand at Okinawan crafts as well - and the area itself is quite beautiful, full of flowers and lush vegetation. It was a hot day but very cool in the shade of all the trees.
I will また来る！I will!