Ryler Nielsen Carries Okinawa in His Heart

Alan Suemori
Special to The Hawai‘i Herald

In his dream, Ryler Nielsen is walking through the winding streets of the neighborhoods of his youth in Chatan and Yomitan on the island of Okinawa, surrounded by old friends and familiar landmarks. Nothing has changed, and yet, everything is even more beautiful.

“When I go to the [Okinawan] Festival at the Hawai‘i Convention Center, I first hear the drums and then the music,” says the six-foot-tall, red-bearded Nielsen. “It really speaks to my soul and it makes me miss my home.”

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