A Knitter in Transition

My adventures - in knitting, marriage, and moving across hemispheres.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006


Finally, some pictures! Just threaten it, and your blogger will straighten right up!

A few weekends ago, the Lt and I made a trip south, as far south as we could go. We went to Peace Prayer Park and the Ryukyu Glass Village. More on Peace Prayer Park later.

The Glass Village is just that, a teeny little "village" packed with ovens and people moving in a molten assembly line to make gorgeous glass pieces. They make everything from $5 shot glasses to $1000+ work-of-art-vases. Their art glass is stunning. I happen to love glass as an art craft, and fell in love with several highly-yen'ed pieces. I came home with some equally beautiful, lower-yen'ed pieces! It's really neat walking thru a shop and seeing the finished version of what the workers are making right then. (Does that make sense?)

We watched them make several little bowls with a lip/spout thingy. In this shot, she's heating a little blob of glass. Once it's all melty-like, she takes it to it's next stop where a guy sticks the blob to the bowl, and smooshes it into a little lip. (Yes, these are the technical terms.)

When it's all cooled and hardened, it looks a little something like this:

Earlier the same day we went to the Ryukyu Glass Village, we'd been to visit Peace Prayer Park. It's a memorial park for WWII. It reminded me of Washington D.C., kind of like a mix of the Vietnam War Memorial, the National History Museum and Arlington National Cemetery all in one. It's a huge park, looking out over the sea, with the Okinawa WWII museum at the base, and semi-circling out to memorials for students and soldiers, U.S. and Japanese alike. Out to the right of this, there is a maze of what we think are family crypts, or regional crypts. (There was no English explanation for them.) The entire park is very serene and beautiful, and the Lt and I were very impressed with the museum.

It really made me feel for the Okinawans as a people. Okinawa is a centrally located, beautiful island rich in agriculture. So, they found themselves between a rock and a hard place on more than one occasion. The century started out with China and Japan at odds over "whose" island this was. That got settled with Japan taking over. (Think how England took over the Scots.) Women were raped, children murdered and people starved to death. Their native religion and language were outlawed under penalty of death, and they were propagandized into the culture of the Japanese empire. Not long after this is underweigh, we get pulled into the Pacific side of WWII with Pearl Harbor.

The Japanese recognized Okinawa for it's perfect location to stage battle with the west. We saw the same potential to stage battles with the East. The Japanese empire declared they would fight for Okinawa until every last person on the island was dead. Of course, the vast majority of those people were Okinawan, so Okinawa payed a heavy price. The death toll of Okinawans overshadows by far both U.S. and native Japanese deaths.

The park is a testament to the strength and resilience of the human spirit. The Okinawans picked up what pieces they could, clung together and survived. I wouldn't say they "bounced back," it wasn't a boxing match, but the Okinawans have definitely made their own way.


  • At 7:17 AM PDT, Blogger Sarah said…

    Looks like a great trip.

    I love seeing glass being blown!

  • At 9:33 AM PDT, Blogger Heather said…

    I love glass and would have loved watching them make it. When we go to the Ren Fair the kids love to watch them make the little glass animals.

    What a fun trip you had!

  • At 12:32 AM PDT, Blogger knitannie said…

    I once had a go at blowing glass when we visited Venice. It's much harder than it looks.
    Thanks for the history lesson. I've always wanted to visit Japan and you've just added another reason to.


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