Tour Documentation  

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.

Top Memories of the Tour Participants

The journey begins!  Chicago's OHare Airport where most of us met up for the first time.

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

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Copyright ©April 2002 Marguerite Hess

Women’s Friendship Tour ASSOCIATION, iNC Marguerite Hess, 3576 N.E.Skyline Drive,  Jensen Beach, Florida 34957  Tel: (772) 334- 7731 

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