And another piece of Okinawan culture and history.
I don't know how this didn't come up yet, but a very distinctive feature in
You can see them almost in every entrance to a shop, house, public building etc. Basically they come in pairs, a female Shisa and male Shisa, one with his mouth open, and the other one closed (I think the male is with the open mouth).
Here are a few examples:
This is me next to one, and Iris next to the other:
Obviously, when you have such an iconic figure, people start making it in various ways and shapes:
And our personal favorite, Mongo Shisa:
Now to our trip on last Saturday –
Up to the 19th centaury, Okinawa was an independent kingdom, called the
As you can see, Okinawa had a big influence from both
Sadly, it was destroyed in WWII, so every thing is reconstructed, but they did a really good job.
At the tour we found out that on every interesting site in the castle, they have a stamp with its picture, and they have a cool sheet, which they put the stamps on it. Very cute.
Also, we saw an old couple, that decided to wear THE SAME SHIRT!! Like two 5 years old brother and sister. It was ridiculous. But also KAWAII (cute in Japanese) I suppose.
So, here we are in front of the Shurei-mon - the castle gate. It is very famous - it is the picture on the 2000 Yen bill - it represents Okinawa. Also, for the Karatekas among the readers - this is the symbol on the Shureido Karate-gi.
By the way, as you can see, Iris started to do like the Japaese women, and hangs around with a sun umbrella...
Some pics from the castle grounds (Notice the Shisa):
A bell and I:
This is the palace itself:
And this is the man who took our picture - he, like all other employees of the place, wears traditional Ryukyu clothes:
The royal throne:
And royal water taps.... kidding, it is in the bathroom... but it is cool:
That is it for today,