South American students of Okinawan descent come to Urasoe student exchange
November 24, 2014 Ryukyu Shimpo
Elisa Mary Higa Morikawa and Bruna Mariko Oshiro are students from a training project for descendants of Okinawan migrants to South American countries. They have been selected for the program for the fiscal year of 2014 organized by Urasoe City. On November 17, they took part in an after-school session for students at Urasoe City Miyagi Elementary School. They interacted with pupils through a workshop on South American toys and karuta, traditional Japanese playing cards.
Elisa is a fourth generation Okinawan Peruvian and Bruna is fifth generation Okinawan Brazilian. They introduced themselves to an audience of pupils from the first to fourth grade, and told the story of their ancestors moving to South American countries from Okinawa.
After that, Bruna taught them how to make a Brazilian toy Vai E Vem. Elisa brought playing cards with Spanish words and the pupils studied the Spanish while playing.
Learning that Vaca means cow and Ajo means garlic in Spanish (both mean “stupid” in Japanese), the pupils had a good laugh.
Bruna said, “We are learning about Okinawan culture as part of the study project. We would like to teach Okinawan people about our cultures. I think the pupils learned about our ancestors.” Elisa said, “Okinawan people all welcome us and are warmhearted. I really enjoy staying in Okinawa.”
(English translation by T&CT)
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