Activities for the 2nd Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival have begun

Activities for the 2nd Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival have begun

In the meeting room in the Okinawa Association of America's office, Yuko Yamauchi (from right), Hiroshi Yamauchi, Itsuki Gramkow, Natsuki Marsh, Noriko Inafuku and Head of the Association Kimiko Goya.

December 24, 2012 Sadao Tome Correspondent of Ryukyu Shimpo

Two months have passed since it was decided that the 2nd Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival will be held in Los Angeles around July 2013. Two representatives from Okinawa have already been to the United States, and on November 9 three members living in the United States visited the Okinawa Association of America. Those three also participated in the 5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival as representatives of American youth, and since then have had ongoing discussions through Skype once a week.

They met on this occasion to discuss the location of the next festival and to get to know each other. The members who visited Los Angeles are Natsuki Fukuhara Marsh from Uruma, but now living in Alabama, Noriko Inafuku from Nanjo, now living in Seattle, Washington and Itsuki Gramkow Yokota from Uruma and now living in Houston, Texas.

Gramkow participated in the Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival Brazil 2012. Reflecting back on the World Festival held in Naha in 2011, Marsh stated that it was the second time for her to participate, and that she was proud of having been born in Okinawa and to see people gathered from all over the world. Inafuku said that the opening ceremony was particularly memorable for her. Gramkow, who has an American father and an Okinawan mother, talked about his identity as a representative of youth at the closing ceremony. He said that he is proud that he is an Uchinanchu and gave a speech designed to inspire others.

According to Yuko Yamauchi, the executive chairperson of the Okinawa Association of America, they expect a total of 150 people to participate in the Worldwide Youth Uchinanchu Festival, including 80 people from the United States and 70 from Okinawa and other countries. Youth is defined as people between the ages of 18 to 35 years, and the festival accepts observers depending on the nature of the event. They will put together the detailed program from now. One of the representatives from Los Angeles, Hiroshi Yamauchi from Okinawa City, looked after the three members.

After staying three days and two nights, the three left Los Angeles promising each other that they will meet at the festival next year.

(English translation by T&CT, Lima Tokumori and Mark Ealey)

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