Well this is it. My last post before returning to Oz. The last year here has been without a doubt one of the best years of my life. I’ve met some amazing people and made some good friends. And, in a lot of ways Naha has really come to feel like home. There's a lot about this place I’m going to miss. Saying goodbye is always hard, especially 6mths sooner than I’d have hoped, but something tells me I’ll be back soon :)
I think my next biggest challenge will be maintaining my independent training when I return home. I can’t honestly say whether I’ve technically improved all that much in my time here. But, if training at the honbu dojo has changed me in any way, I think it’s really taught me how to improve myself. I've learnt a little about how to train by myself – how to make the most of my time and the importance of focused training when it comes to those weak, badly behaved body parts and awkward techniques. It certainly helps to have a good series of junbi undo, kihon and hojo undo sets to work through. I think in my next series of posts I’d like to look at these in more detail.
For now, I think I’ll end this entry with a short clip of an Okinawan folk song I’ve had stuck in my head all day. It’s called Shima Uta (島唄, Island Song) and it’s hard to go anywhere in Naha without hearing it playing in stores, cafes and izakayas. To be honest, I wasn’t a huge fan of traditional Okinawan folk music at first, but like a lot of things here it’s really grown on me. The original version of this song was actually composed by a Japanese band (The Boom), inspired by stories of Okinawan survivors of World War II. The video clip below isn't great but I do think Rimi Natsukawa does a nice version of the song. Maybe it’s just the melancholy tone of the music but today at least it certainly seems to reflect my current mood.
Deigo no hana ga saki kaze wo yobi arashi ga kita
Deigo ga sakimidare kaze wo yobi arashi ga kita
Kurikaesu kanashimi wa shima wataru nami no you
Uuji no mori de anata to deai
Uuji no shita de chiyo ni sayonara
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori tori to tomo ni umi wo watare
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori todokete okure watashi no namida
Deigo no hana mo chiri saza nami ga yureru dake
Sasayakana shiawase wa utakata no nami no hana
Uuji no mori de utatta tomo yo
Uuji no shita de yachiyo no wakare
Shimau uta yo kaze ni nori tori to tomo ni umi wo watare
Shima uta yo kaze ni nori todokete okure watashi no ai wo
* There's also a good English rendition of the song here.