I Dream Of Okinawa…

I’ve written about some of my time in Okinawa, a journey that took place exactly one month after 9/11 happened and the world changed forever. 9/11 just happens to be my birthday, which made it all the worse. I don’t pretend to compare my personal pain with any that the people directly involved with those tragic events have to have felt but I know that it affected me in ways I still haven’t recovered from, as well. And although I realize that I’ve often written about the martial arts aspect of my time overseas, I’ve never really spoken about some of my personal experiences in Okinawa. And that would be a fuckin’ shame…

I could get into the entire journey TO Okinawa, which included a couple of cities in the US as well as some within Canada… I still have camcorder film of the entire journey (yes, I still have a camcorder) but I’d rather share some of the feelings I experienced while over there. Okinawa was among the best experiences of my life. Besides the fact that it’s the birthplace of karate, my journey and time there changed me in ways that never would have happened if I hadn’t gone over there…

Once we were in Naha, Okinawa we checked into our hotel. I wish I could remember the name of the place but all I remember is the Japanese pronunciation of my room number, which was “San-Yaku-nana” (room 307). Picture what would be a cold October morning in Canada… chances are that you’ll wake up shivering if your furnace isn’t going yet. in Naha, we were woken by temperatures in the mid to high 30’s… We usually shared a breakfast of eggs and toast together in one room before deciding how our day would go.

Outside of our obligations to the Uechi family, we spent a good amount of our down time on the beach. Although it was 40 degrees Celsius during the afternoon and extreme summer weather for us, it was actually late autumn for the Okinawans. They were all in long pants and jackets while we were in shorts and splashing in the ocean. It was a strange contrast, especially since the Okinawans were curious and watchful of the strange white people who were cray enough to swim in the ocean during the “cold” months.

During the evenings, we would enjoy Japanese beer and Sake while reminiscing of our time in training… Memories that no camcorder could capture. During the day, we visited Zen Buddhist monasteries at my request as well as shopping locals that featured much of the culture that makes Okinawa uniquely beautiful. I got to experience chocolate-covered grasshoppers and prayed in a few different monasteries. It was great. Nothing quite like getting a front row seat to the culture one was raised on, to change one’s perspective.

The sense of peace and belonging I felt in Okinawa hasn’t been replicated since. The people, the culture and the beauty hasn’t struck me in the same way ever since. The thought that Sensei has been back about three times since then breaks my heart, because I was never able to join him. But one must never live life with regrets, right? I only bring it up now because I’ve recently been dreaming of it… Okinawa has penetrated my very soul. Maybe I’ll get back there someday. in the meantime, karate may be the only piece of it I have left to hold onto. ☯️

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I am a practitioner of the martial arts and student of the Buddhist faith. I have been a Type 1 Diabetic since I was 4 years old and have been fighting the uphill battle it includes ever since. I enjoy fitness and health and looking for new ways to improve both, as well as examining the many questions of life. Although I have no formal medical training, I have amassed a wealth of knowledge regarding health, Diabetes, martial arts as well as Buddhism and philosophy. My goal is to share this information with the world, and perhaps provide some sarcastic humour along the way. Welcome!

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