O-RI TO-RI！Our third day in Okinawa had us flying out to the Yaeyama Islands of Ishigaki and Taketomi. These beautiful southern islands of the Ryukyu chain holds some of the worlds most beautiful beaches and traditional images. They love their culture and it shows in the surrounding and its people.
We landed at the new Ishigaki International Airpot and toured the island, focusing on the minsa a textiles of Okinawa. Our members took their time looking at the beautiful work and time it takes to make such pieces that has a long tradition in these islands. They also spent equal time shopping for omiyage to bring back, as well as gifts for themselves. After doing some sightseeing, we found a folk arts store which specialized in Yaeyama goods, and where the owner makes “saba” , lauhala slippers. This art is quickly dying due to the younger generation not wanting to spend the time in making or learning this art.
We then went to the Yaeyama High School to visit with the students who will be visiting Honolulu and presenting a Yaeyama music and dance concert. They have placed numerous times in Okinawa and All Japan performing arts contest. They have also taken the overall titles numerous times and will once again be representing Okinawa in the finals at the all Japan National contest. Watching these young students, you could feel and hear their love for the culture and music of the island, as well as their passion. Although almost half of the students who helped to win the all Okinawa title had just graduated, the younger members have stepped up to the plate and are giving it their all.
After watching the practice we went back to our hotel and had dinner with the Yaeyama High school teacher, Nagahama. He arranged for us to go to a friends place and try yakiniku featuring Yaeyama beef, which is supposed to be comparable to Kobe beef. Its from Ishigaki anyway that matsutake and Kobe beef started. The marbling of the meat was amazing, and the tenderness and taste was more than what I expected. くぬ牛や椅っぺマー細微異端。This beef was amazing! It melted in your mouth! There was so much food and the other things we did this day was amazing. I’m looking forward to the next day.
The next day we took a ferry to Taketomi