images to enlarge.
the Capital City
the island's largest city lies on the southern part of the Island.
It is the political, economic and traffic center of the island.
Shown above is the capital
city of Naha as seen in 1955. I was there a few times, but, we
mainly shopped in the markets of small villages closer to where
we lived. Within
tiny cubicles under a tin-roofed structure, the
men and women sat upon tatami mats on the floor, surrounded by
their wares. These were the poor, post- WWII years. Everyone in
a family might be selling something to support their family.
I had most of my clothes tailored by seamtresses there. The seamstresses
could copy anything I showed them from an American magazine, such
as Seventeen. Sometimes, I designed my own clothes, adapting
some of the traditional island materials and designs. The island
is still known today for its beautiful fabrics, created by traditional
techniques unique to the island.
There was anything and everything for sale in the adjoining stalls!
Dried sea snakes hung in the rafters, along with many other exotic
items. The melange of aromas of all sorts have never left my memory
to this day. I would recognize them anywhere!
image to enlarge.
images to enlarge.
(International Street) is the most crowded place in Naha. The
street is called "the one-mile miracle" because it is the center
of the island's reconstruction after World War II. About 1.6 kilometers
long, it is now lined with department stores, shops, movie theaters,
restaurants and coffee shops and
the Makishi Public Market.
islanders' diet is based on fish, seafood, pork and local fruits and
This includes seasnakes (shown right end of the next-to-last row).
Rice wines and an alcoholic beverage called Awamori are also shown 3rd
island has its own unique culture...
Its people have their own distinctive music,
their own unique language, and their own steadfast traditions
which began centuries ago when the island was the Ryukyu Kingdom,
the Island Kingdom. From the late 1300s and for the next 400 years,
Ryukyu was its own nation, ruled by royalty. It was a prosperous
time when trade flourished with China, Japan, Korea and the East
Indies. It was a time when peace and stability were embraced.
On the following pages, you will find some of the unique aspects
of the island culture and its traditions.
The People, Costumes,
Traditional Arts & Crafts and Architecture...