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shuri castle

October 6, 2005

Shuri Castle

With only a few days left in Naha, most of my time lately has been taken up with (1) failing to pack, and (2) taiko practice. The reason for (2) is the still-hard-to-believe fact that I will now be playing in the Tokyo International Taiko Contest in ten days’ time. On Saturday I will be going back to my island for one final week of solid taiko practice, and thence to Tokyo, and thence… I don’t know — my plans have been going wonky lately. Probably China, if plan A still be the plan.

Last night I went up the hill to Shuri Castle — once the seat of the Ryukyu kings, before Okinawa was finally swallowed completely by Japan. Almost entirely destroyed in World War II, but painstakingly reconstructed, the castle is beautifully lit at night and sits on a hill with a great view across Naha to the Kerama islands. It also looks very like a scaled-down version of Beijing’s Forbidden City — an indication I guess of how much closer old Okinawan culture was to China than Japan. (Incidentally, the picture above is one of the gatehouses — not the castle itself. I just liked the way the light came out in this one).

I’ve been to the castle several times before, but never at night. Night is a good time for castles.


posted in Okinawa4 comments


  1. Posted by Kim — October 6, 2005 at 11:32 pm

    > I will now be playing in the Tokyo International Taiko Contest
    Wow! That is so exciting! I am super jealous and impressed. Rock on, taiko jedi! Don’t get too many blisters practising…

  2. Posted by lva — October 7, 2005 at 1:42 am

    I am merely tinging the ting-thing. But I am still a Jedi. And I am having to learn to count for many, many, many identical bars of ting-ting-ting-ting. I have found the most effective way for me to do this is to imagine a large white number (in a sans-serif typeface) that changes on the 1 of each bar. We don’t usually have a ting-thing, but in the competition you have to have one, so it is me. The ting-thing (鳴物, if you’re being fancy) is like a large, heavy metal ashtray. It is all very, very exciting.

  3. Posted by may — October 11, 2005 at 4:02 am

    wow… have a good one!

  4. Posted by lva — October 11, 2005 at 12:02 pm

    Thanks May. I’m back on the island now, practicing every day. It’s really quite scary! Only three more days of practice, and then we’re off to Tokyo…