A few days ago I met Eitaro and Tamae originally from Osaka. Common friends Boon and Cheryl Lim brought me over to their apartment to bid them good bye. Eitaro and Tamae have been living in Singapore enriching lives through their artistic gifts. After several years, they are now relocating to Okinawa.
Back in 2001, I went to these beautiful islands together with Kenny Mitchell, a DJ who came alongside locals to learn of the existential conflict Okinawans faced. We were encouraged as we connected well and together inspired local Okinawans on how they could make a difference.
I first heard of these Japanese islands through the stories of a World War II veteran who was stationed there. He told stories of difficult battles and scenarios. Nolan McDaniel was my kids’ grandfather and he was a big man with a bigger heart.
Like many groups all over the world, their own heritage, culture and language had been swallowed up by a much bigger nation. The Okinawans’ case is further complicated by many years of US rule (until 1975). Today, they face a fractured existence defined by allegiance to their national identity as Japanese while at the same time recalling the rich inheritance from their ancestors, all in a world saturated with American influence.
A few days earlier as I went back to the US, my plane flew right over Okinawa and I was stirred as I recalled my visit there. From 30,000 feet in the air, I took a picture. Little did I know then how meeting a Japanese couple in Singapore would be woven with my past there.
Eitaro and Tamae plan to establish themselves in Okinawa and bless the people there with their artistic gifts, allowing normally introspective people to express themselves in fresh ways. Their theme is Love and art is their medium.
As I listened to them it made so much sense to use art as a way to integrate fragmented hearts. Eitaro agreed with me and we committed to stay in touch as they explore how to heal hearts, restoring the elusive dignity and destiny that people there are craving