Shoji Kudaka

Spotlight on You: Shoji Kudaka

Let's explore together!

by: Shoji Kudaka | .
.
published: February 22, 2016

Hisai! (Greetings in Okinawan dialect)

I am Shoji Kudaka, a native Okinawan and new writer for Stripes Okinawa. It’s my pleasure seeing you folks in Okinawa, and I look forward to sharing with you what the islands have to offer.

Have you already had a good time relaxing on Emerald beach? Did you try Okinawan soba noodles topped with pork ribs and seaweed? Does Shuri Castle look more colorful than you imagined? I am sure a lot of you know what I am talking about. For those of you who don’t, no need to worry.  I will bring you up to speed with reports that will cover the best of Okinawa, and take you on a journey you have not experienced before.

Starting with basic information on where to dine and shop, my reports will include in-depth coverage of what’s happening in the local scene, focusing on up-to-date information on emerging businesses, products and people.

If you go out in Okinawa, it won’t take long to note that there are a lot of new things happening across the prefecture.  Take a walk in Naha for example. You would be surprised to see a large theater standing at a location which only a year ago housed a department store. Or if you go out to Miyakojima Island, you will enjoy a picture-perfect ocean view as you drive across a new bridge that runs to Irabujima Island. And it goes without saying, we have many restaurants, shops and cafes open every year.

It is my hope that my reports will make you feel groovy tunes played by young local musicians, laugh your heads off at goofy comedians (we have many of them), and savor the taste of sizzling Ishigaki beef steak served by up-and-coming chefs.

It’s time to go out and feel the Okinawan vibe, folks! Oh wait, Let me remind you one thing. Although it is good to chase up-to-date scenes, traditional culture is still big. Festivities like our Dragon Boat races, tug-of-wars and Eisa dance date back hundreds of years, but still attract so many crowds. And the art of making Yachimun pottery and dyeing clothes in the traditional Okinawan Bingata way are still passed down from generation to generation. These art forms may have reinvented themselves by adopting modern designs, breeding fashionable items and clothes, but they still carry on the essence of their origins.  

Of course, Okinawa can also proudly show off its beautiful nature. Scuba diving. Whale watching. Fishing. Hiking in the mountains. You can enjoy it in so many ways.

As you can see, there’s a lot to be explored. But it is not just coincidence that the Okinawan islands have so much to offer. Okinawa is known for its Champroo, or hybrid, culture. I believe this Chanmproo spirit is a driving force behind Okinawans’ ability to create new and diverse things. I know this spirit is what has made me who I am today.

I am a native Okinawan who grew up passionately learning English, watching WWF, NBA games, and sometimes Star Trek on AFN Channel 6. My childhood love for American culture carries on today, which was a motivator for me applying for this job. But this time around, my job will be about another kind of love: my love of Okinawa.  

kudaka.shoji@stripes.com

Contact Shoji Kuduka at
kudaka.shoji@stripes.com or 645-3357.
Kudaka’s office is located on Camp Foster in Building #5642
 

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