|Fuji from the plane (14/1/11)|
All I can say about Okinawa weather in January is that it seems a bit like Wellingtons weather. We were promised warm weather but it is nasty, the wind is blowing and the rain is going sideways.
Today I have been to see the underground bunkers where the Japanese Navy officers committed suicide as the Americans invaded during WW2. I went there because I have some Japanese friends whose father was one of the officers who died. His poor wife was left with 8 children to bring up alone.
I got horriby lost getting there and had to hail a taxi and pay heaps to get back to civilsation - so much for following the brochure instructions to catch bus 33.
Then I went to Shuri Castle which was the centre of the Ryukyu Kingdom, who were the rulers of the Okinawa Islands before the japanese. from there I walked down the hill to see a Bingata fabric workshop and couldn't find the other two I was hoping to see. I then walked all round the market and in and out of every fabric shop. I didn't buy any fabric because it is all in big rolls, or is small pieces of incredibly bright 'fake Bingata' which is so bright it looks like Hawaiian fabric. The real Bingata is so much more subtle!
|Bingata display at Shuri Ryusen studio|
|Bingata at Shuri Ryusen Bingata studio|
|Geta sandals in the market|
|Bingata in the market (on the left)|
|Kimono fabric rolls and geta sandals|
|Window stacked with kimono fabric|
Then I went to the Naha City Museum of Traditional Arts and Crafts, followed by the Okinawa Prefectural Art Gallery and Museum. There are good examples of hand stencilled Bingata kimono in both museums and a good video showing in the Craft Museum on how the fabric is decorated. First a stencil is cut, then rice paste is squeegeed through the stencil and allowed to dry on the fabric. Coloured dyes are pasted onto the fabric where there is no paste resist, then after all the fabric is coloured in, the dye is fixed then the paste is washed out. The colours are often beautifully shaded from light to dark within the coloured areas.
My feet are dead and I feel like I need tomorrow to recover. We are off to Nago which is further North as my husband is going to a conference there.