Everything Okinawa

LIHUE — The paint will have to come later, said Alan Hiranaka, husband to Gloria Hiranaka, the island coordinator for Warabi Ashibi at the Kauai War Memorial Convention Hall last week.

“We tried to let the shisha puppets dry, but it’s still not dry enough,” Alan said on Thursday. “The kids are going to have to do it at home. But they’re dry enough so the kids can use them in their performance.”

A mini performance by the Warabi Ashibi students and their youth leaders wrapped up two and a half days of the Okinawa cultural day camp.

Translated to mean “children at play,” the Kauai camp, sponsored and presented by the Hui Alu Okinawa club on Kauai, is the last of five being offered throughout the state.

“We look at Okinawa dance and drumming and see if we can make it work for the kids,” said Karen Kubo Hori, Warabi Ashibi adviser from Honolulu. “This is the last camp for this year after we hosted camps on Oahu, Maui and the Big Island. When we see something, we ask, ‘Hey, can we do this for the kids? Can it be done inexpensively?’”

Alan said this year’s new feature was the creation of shisa, or Okinawa lion, using recycled half-gallon paper drink containers.

“In a lot of our projects, we incorporate crafting as well as culture,” Kubo Hori said. “As an example, when we made the drums, the kids learned how to play the drum. This year, they made shisa, and using help from the instructors, they learned a dance to perform using the shisa they made.”

During the two days, the students learned about Okinawa history, terminology, floral arrangement and culture.

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