Sunday, August 15, 2010

Nagasaki Trip, Post #4: Postcards from Okinawa

I've gotten so many cool gifts in Japan, small little presents which often times a Japanese activist would hand to me, respectfully bow, say their name and where they were from and then be gone. In both Hiroshima and Nagasaki, I received several thousand paper cranes, sometimes tied together in huge bundles. I also got cards, letters, pictures, posters, buttons, stickers, bookmarks and plenty of other wonderful little gifts.

Some of the nicest gifts I received were from activists from Okinawa. I got a number of small, multi-colored, stuffed animal dugongs, which is an animal of national importance in Japan and whose habitat will be threatened if the US goes through with its plans to build new military facilities in Henoko Bay. I also received from an Okinawan delegate a set of three postcards, each of which was meant to provide a different perspective or piece of information on the struggle there against US bases.
The first postcard was a picture of Henoko Bay, which when I first saw, could not help but think of Guam in terms of similar natural beauty. In addition to the large shot you can find smaller images of the coral of Henoko Bay as well as the gof matungo' na dugong. The second postcard was of an aerial shot of Futenma Base which is dangerously located directly in the heart of Ginowan City in Southern Okinawa. This base is known as being the most dangerous US base in the world, due to the fact that thousands of people live in areas around the base which US laws require be empty in case of accidents. If Futenma was located in the US it would have most likely been closed or moved long ago, but since it is in Japan, the US is trying to force Japan to let it expand another base in order to replace Futenma should it close. The third postcard is of a protest in Okinawa several months ago which drew close to 100,000 people. The postcard has a tiny insert which is a picture of a sign at that protest that reads (I was told) "Do Not Trample on the People of Okinawa!"
Here are the images from the postcards below. Unfortunately I did not write down the name of the activist who gave me these postcards, but I did want to say Si Yu'us Ma'ase for them, and to all the people in Japan who did give me presents whose names I didn't note down either. Si Yu'us Ma'ase ginnen i mas tahdong gi korason-hu.

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