Okinawa cultural exchange draws crowd
American and Okinawan children at Kadena Circle in Kadena Town, Okinawa, on Saturday practiced the essence of an old Okinawan saying, Ichariba chode: Once you meet, you are brothers and sisters.
Sports and cultural-exchange events highlighted Ichariba chode and Bilateral Friendship Day, sponsored by the Okinawa Defense Bureau of the Ministry of Defense.
About 200 Americans and Okinawans enjoyed food, music and such games as obstacle races, children’s dodge ball, and tamaire — the Japanese game of throwing balls into a basket.
Inside the community center, about 40 women from Kadena Air Base and Kadena Town shared their culinary skills. Okinawan women offered up yakisoba noodles and okonomiyaki, a Japanese-style pancake containing vegetables and meat or seafood. Americans made potato soup — from scratch — and crisped rice treats.
The cooks made enough food for everyone attending the event.
Music ranged from traditional to contemporary. Children could learn the basics of playing the sanshin — a banjo-like, Okinawan, three-string instrument. And a local youth group performed hip-hop dance music.