We have returned from Okinawa!! Special thanks to all that have contributed to make this a successful endeavor and the journey of a lifetime!!
Please click here to check out an online journal documenting our experience in Okinawa - courtesy of Dana Sheets.
Click here for a copy of our final schedule.
begins! Chicago's OHare Airport where most of us met up for the first
Our formal tour photographer - Dai Natsuno
This is a picture from the Women's Martial Arts Festival with all the karate participants, the Women's Friendship Tour and the women from Okinawa that prepared demonstrations for the festival.
Presentation of appreciation plaque to WFT by Inada Sensei.
Presentation of Okinawan Bembo laquerware to Peggy Hess
Presentation of flowers to Sensei Jack Summers.
Here is a link to our joint demonstration with the marines at Camp Courtney.
This was the landmark that we were close to headquarters.
Okikukai Headquarters - We started almost every morning with a briefing from Peggy and then a two hour workout.
The black/green board announce the current days schedule and tomorrows schedule. It was updated frequently as our schedules changed frequently!!!
Gift presentations from WFT to all senseis.
Group picture at Okikukai headquarters
We practiced (for hours!!) on lining up and moving on and off stage for the two presentations we did. Imagine meeting people from all over the world and two days later doing a presentation and needing to look like you've all worked together for months!!
Time for some fun! We had a welcome party with traditional dancers and speeches and wonderful food!
Traditional bingata costumes for the Okinawan prefecture. (above and below)
All parties end with the Okinawan Friendship Dance!
Formal welcome party photo. Taken at Soie Restaurant in Chatan.
Sensei Tomoyose gave us a history lesson and introduced us to the Uechi Herb.
Formal welcoming committee headed by the mayor of Okinawa City.
Koza Dojo - Okuhama Sensei
Sensei Minioru Myagi's Dojo in Yomitan
Ginowan Dojo - Katsuji Tamayomse Sensei
Steve's 'B' group
Peggy's 'A' Group
Chatan Dojo - Shiguru Takamiagi Sensei, Toshio Higa Sensei and Yamashiro Sensei
The German's and Peggy at Chatan Dojo before WFT arrives
Historic Nago Dojo with Hiroyasu Uechi nephew of Grandmaster Kanei Uechi
Awase Dojo with Tobaru Sensei
Urasoe Dojo - Nobuhide Azato
Once we had been here for a few days it was time to tackle the local grocery store . . .
Although the language was obviously different and some of the foods were different the setup was easy enough to adapt to.
Outside The Uechi Family Futenma Dojo
Steve Banchick, Jinkichi Uezu (translator and chaffeur extrordinaire!) and Peggy Hess in front of the door to Futenma Dojo
The Uechi family grave - we lit incense to honor the memories of Kanbun and Kanei Uechi
The Shureido Gi Factory
WFT outside of the historic Futenma Shinto Shrine
Outside the Prefectural Museum
Kadena Street - Gate 2 Shopping
Inside Shuri Castle
Okinawa is home to the second largest aquarium in the world. We got a chance to quickly visit it. This picture is outside the aquarium. There will be more picture from inside posted shortly.
We also visited an authentic recreation of an old RyuKyan Village. This is the vision that greets you as you enter!
After the demonstration with the marines at Camp Courtney we visited an art exposition given by Machida Sensei.
WFT group with Toyama Sensei and his daughter. He is a direct student of Kanbun Uechi.
We received Intensive Training Certificates after our last class at Headquarters.
The Intensive Training Program certificate
The successful candidates of the Dan Testing
Renee receiving her Shodan certification from Inada Sensei, president of the All Okinawan Karate Association
Singing and celebrating at the Okikukai Headquarters after the dan test and dinner with the Sensei's
Outside the Kita Hama Hotel -
looking toward the main street ---- and ---- looking toward the water
As we waited for the 'final bus ride' to the airport
Our send off - I'm not sure whether the teachers were being polite or wanted to make sure that we were really going home!!
* The Women’s Friendship Tour is a 501(C)3 organization and took place April 12 –26, 2004
Copyright ©April 2002 Marguerite Hess www.womenskaratetour.org
Women’s Friendship Tour ASSOCIATION, iNC Marguerite
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