Sunday, August 14, 2011

Okinawa 2

Hi friends!

This is Courtney here again! Tonight is our last night in Okinawa before we head for Tokyo tomorrow! Tokyo is the final sight for the conference, and it's crazy how fast things have been going!

Today was less focused on the U.S. base presence in Okinawa and was more reflective on Okinawa's role in World War II. We started out visiting the Okinawa Peace Memorial Park where we learned about the Battle of Okinawa. From there we went to a "gama," a large underground cave network that the Japanese Army used as a hideout, hospital, and civilian shelter during the war. After that we visited the Himeyuri Peace Museum in honor of the Himeyuri nurses (most of them girls between the ages of 15 to 19), and after that our final destination was the Arasaki beach and cliffs where many Japanese lost their lives during the war.Visiting all of these sights, especially the cave and the Himeyuri museum, was an incredible experience in the sense that it truly revealed the horrors of war to all of us, and it was a really moving and powerful day for us here at the Japan-America Student Conference. Before we move on to Tokyo tomorrow we will have the opportunity to speak with a survivor from the Battle of Okinawa, and I'm looking forward to hearing what she has to say and reflecting on all the experiences I've had here in Okinawa.

The stunning Okinawa Peace Memorial Park

Kuni and I at another Obon festival in Naha City, Okinawa.

Also, yesterday we had our Okinawa Forum at Okinawa International University, and many local high school and college students were invited to attend. And since CSB/SJU has so many connections to Okinawa, I happened to stumble upon two of the students who will be coming to St. Ben's/St. John's this year! Just another beautiful example of how our lovely school exists both locally and globally at the same time, so get ready to welcome my new friends Jinyu and Haruka to CSB/SJU!

Off to Tokyo tomorrow! Not sure what the internet situation is going to look like for us, but I'll try and update again soon. Thanks!


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