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The Island People’s Treasure: 沖縄が興味深い

March 18, 2010

As some readers may already know, I have an interest in all things Okinawan. (Hence my obsessive dragging of willing peoples to the supermarket in Ginza, Washi).

One day I would love to speak うちなーぐち (uchinaaguchi, the Okinawan dialect) – despite the island being part of Japan, it has it’s own distinct language, so distinct that even the average Japanese person can’t understand it either!

Aside from gorgeous weather and equally gorgeous beaches, another thing that draws me to Okinawa is the 三線 (shanshin; three stringed instrument) and the traditional lilting siniging style.

One of the most famous songs from Okinawa is 「島人ぬ宝」 (shimanchuu nu takara; The Islander’s Treasure):

僕が生まれたこの島の空を、僕はどれぐらい知っているんだろう

How well do I know, the skies of this island where I was born

輝く星も流れる雲も、名前を聞かれてもわからない

I couldn’t tell you the names of the shining stars or passing clouds, even if you asked

でも誰より誰より知っている、悲しいときも嬉しい時も、何度も見上げていたこの空を、

But more, more, than anyone, I know, in the good times and bad times, that sky I have looked up countless times to

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