Alicia Ang’s “Echoes from an Island”

A book about Okinawa? We’re all in! Alicia Ang’s “Echoes from an Island” is the author’s self-published book debut featuring poems and short stories with Okinawa as its theme. The book’s introduction mentions that Alicia was working on a YA (young adult) historical fantasy with the protagonist starting off as a refugee in Okinawa — how amazing is that! That story is in this book as “the moon princess” chapter.

Told through the eyes of a woman visiting Okinawa, Japan, Echoes from an Island takes readers on a search for meaning that stretches across cultures, kingdoms, and eras—experiencing ocean wonders, feminine strength, and spirituality, leaving one with a sense of awe and a touch of magic.

Seven Oops New Single “Yoake” Has a Full Music Video

(via Twitter)

Yoake” (released 3/13) is the 3-piece Okinawa pop rock band Seven Oops‘s 14th single and their first release in 3 years! The song is amazing and we’ve had it on repeat since its release. The topping on the cake is that the band recently released a full music video for “Yoake” that has us feeling nostalgic walking the streets at dawn. We love the part where Nanae, Maiko and Keita are running and when Maiko catches up them they’re all smiles. 🥰

Seven Oops’s “Yoake” Music Video

Amazing Okinawa Minyo Ongaku-mura New Year Concert

(via Twitter)

Maki from Campus Records recently shared an archive of the Okinawa Minyo Ongaku-mura (in Okinawa City) New Year Concert on YouTube! The concert features the following utasha (musicians): veteran Taba Seishin, Shimabukuro Tatsuya, Matsuda Kazutoshi, Akamaami, and Yui Yui Sisters (Yamakawa Mayumi was unable to attend due to health reasons). Enjoy!

When Apple Music Trolls You

We were pleasantly surprised to see Apple Music’s recommendation for “Essential Okinawa Albums”. Who knew that they were even keeping track and the recommendations are legit with BEGIN, Yonaha Toru, Nenes, Hajime Chitose, and not pictured: Aragaki Mutsumi, Oshima Yasukatsu, Ara Yukito, Natsukawa Rimi, and Oshiro Misako. It’s a mix of deep cut albums and popular ones and the interestingly cool thing is that Amami-Oshima artists are represented too.

And the above was recommended after listening to the China Sadao Den Kyo album and actually tweeting about its lack of Apple Music Sing. We already had all 3 albums in our catalog but seeing Hajime’s “Uta nu Itu” made us feel like listening to it again. So yay, Apple Music.

In all of our years with Apple Music/iTunes (and our love/hate relationship with it), it’s nice to see they’re finally noticing us. 😊

4-Piece Rock Band Girls Or Boys

(via Twitter)

From Okinawa ✔️. Cool band name ✔️. Music widely available ✔️.

We’ve seen our share of cool indie rock bands come out of Okinawa (one of our favorites was/is cat bears — but where have you gone⁉️) and one of them (green note coaster had their big break winning the theme song contest for the World Uchinānchu Festival — BTW, you can still download the song here). So this time we’re here to introduce Girls Or Boys a 4-piece rock band that checks all of our indie rock boxes. The band’s 2nd single, “Soubaku” is available on all streaming platforms and on their YouTube channel. They’re good and we’re looking forward to hearing more from them.

Popular Fashion Magazine Mens Non-No’s Latest Model is Nakatsuka Riku

Okinawa Times Feature: Nakatsuka Riku

The latest model for popular fashion magazine Mens Non-No (many famous actors started out as models for the magazine) is nineteen year old Nakatsuka Riku of Itoman. The young model/actor also made an appearance on the Okinawa-based (kinda-sorta) TV drama “Chimudodon” and commented that its star Kuroshima Yuina was his inspiration (she’s also from Itoman). In a space there the majority of stars from Okinawa are female, it’s nice to see Riku get a start.

Orion Beer Announces Orion The Premium 🍺

Orion The Premium Lineup

First teased on their Twitter account, Orion Beer is releasing a new drink called Orion The Premium on 10/25. Made with a “miracle yeast” from Okinawa, it has a rich taste that’s not bitter like other beer and leaves a clean and smooth aftertaste. (Sounds like the perfect beer for us!). The new beer’s motto is “From Okinawa to the World” so hopefully we’ll see it imported at your favorite local store. Karii! 🍻

Orion The Premium CM

Oh, and if you notice the voice for the CM’s song, that’s Awich and it’s a cover of Mongol800’s “Ryukyu Aika” which she’s releasing (see her Tweet below)!

“Kuro-chan” Cooks Okinawan Food with Anne (YouTube)

Yuina Making a Kokuto Chai

This is back in April (yup, we’re still playing catch up!) but Kuroshima Yuina (“Chimudondon“) appeared on Anne’s YouTube channel where she was introduced as her friend “Kuro-chan”. Yuina and Anne cooked Okinawan food with vegetables sent from her father in Okinawa. If you’re not familiar with “Chimudondon” (which just finished airing this week), Yuina plays the role of Higa (later Aoyagi) Nobuko who is a chef that runs an Okinawan food restaurant in Japan and later in Yanbaru so it’s neat to see her cooking outside of her character. The video is English-subtitled so we can all learn how to cook Yuina’s Okinawan recipes — especially the kokuto chai pictured above.

Kuroshima Yuina (“Chimudondon”) on Anne’s YouTube Channel

Okinawa Web Drama “Akari no Akari ka.” Off to a Great Start

Preview of the Okinawa Web Drama “Akari no Akari ka.”

A new Okinawa web drama just completed its 2nd episode and it looks to be worth watching till the end (9 total episodes). “Akari no Akari ka.” (presented by the Okinawa soap brand SuiSavon) stars upcoming actress Sakihama Rico as Akari and she’s supported by an amazing cast of actors starting with Yamauchi Chigusa, Tanahara Riho, and Toguchi Masato among others. The drama is Okinawa-made and is filmed on Okinawa, has an Okinawan cast and director (Nagata Kensaku).

The story follows Akari who returns to Okinawa with her mother after her mother’s divorce. We see Akari meet new people and encounter new things in Okinawa as the mother and daughter learn more about each other as the story progresses. New episodes are released on the last Sunday of every month on SuiSavon’s YouTube channel with the final episode expected to run on 4/30 of next year.

NHK’s Morning Drama “Chimudondon” Starts Airing on 4/11

via NHK

The countdown has begun since we’re days away from the 4/11 start of the much anticipated NHK morning drama “Chimudondon” that’s set in Okinawa (Yanbaru) and in Japan. After a long wait, we also know the musician that’s singing the drama’s theme song: Okinawa’s Miura Daichi and his song “Sansan” will be released on 4/11 (no links to streaming services at this time).

Let’s look at the shimanchu actors for the drama.

  • Higa Nobuko (the heroine of the drama): Kuroshima Yuina (Itoman)
  • Higa Yuuko (Nobuko’s mother): Nakama Yukie (Urasoe)
  • Arakaki no Obaa: Kyan Hitomi (Naha)
  • Amuro no Obaa: Ameku Michiko (Ginowan)
  • Masutaa (hamburger restaurant master): Kawata Hiroki (Naha) of Garage Sale
  • Kaneshiro Junji (a fellow shimanchu at a Yokohama izakaya): “Shiisaa” Fujiki Hayato (Okinawa) — he’s also in charge of shimakutuba for the drama
  • Narrator: Jon Kabira (Naha)

“Chimudondon” is the 106th in the Renzoku Terebi Shousetsu (morning drama) series from NHK and follows “Jun to Ai” (87th, aired 2012-2013, set in Miyakojima and Osaka), and “Churasan” (64th, aired 2001, set in Okinawa [the first to be set in Okinawa] and Tokyo). We’re interested to see the Tsurumi (Yokohama) location of the drama which is known for having an area called Little Okinawa and has many Okinawan, Brazilian, and Korean stores. It’s also where many shimanchu reside.