Hawai‘i Herald Columnist
“Okinawa is such a beautiful place, not just the ocean and scenery and culture, but the people. I’ve been treated well and taken care of by many people here in what has become ‘My Hawai‘i.’” — Colin Sewake
HAWAI‘I-OKINAWA SOFTBALL TOURNEY PREPS
Location: Yomitan; February 2018
For about a year now, several of us have been helping to plan the Hawai‘i-Okinawa Goodwill Softball — HOGS — tournament, which will be held in Okinawa next month. The idea for a tournament surfaced during the Sixth Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival in October 2016 when several senior league members from Hawai‘i played against teams from Itoman. They wanted to continue the friendship-building here, so they scheduled three days of games against teams from Okinawa-Shi (City), Chatan, Yomitan and Nakagusuku. The visitors will also be doing some sightseeing while in Okinawa.
HOGS member Gary Yamaguchi was here in Okinawa last month for work, so fellow Okinawa-Hawaii Kyoukai member Masaji Matsuda and I met up with him in his free time to go over details for their visit to Yomitan on March 9.
After meeting at Matsuda-san’s house in the Takashiho area of Yomitan and enjoying some ika (squid) and beni-imo (Okinawan purple sweet potato) tempura and kabocha (pumpkin) andagi, we headed over to the Tokeshi Sports Ground, where the Tokeshi Urashima (pictured in red shirts) were practicing so that Gary could meet their team captain. Tokeshi Urashima is one of two teams that the HOGS will play. Gary also met the captain of the Zanpai Softball Aikoukai, the other team the Hawai‘i team will play.
The Tokeshi Urashima team members took a break from their practice to meet Gary and take a group photo. Matsuda-san made everyone flash a shaka for the shot.
Gary, the two team captains and Matsuda-san discussed some of the league rules, schedule information and other logistical details. Matsuda-san and I then took Gary to the Uza Sports Ground, where the tournament will be held.
After trading numerous emails with the HOGS in Hawai‘i and calling Ma-tsuda-san many times to coordinate details and share info on this end, I am so excited that our long-awaited visitors from Hawai‘i will be here in just a few weeks.
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Colin Sewake is a keiki o ka ‘äina from Wahiawä, O‘ahu, who was assigned to Kadena Air Base in Okinawa in December 1994 to fulfill his U.S. Air Force ROTC commitment. He met his future wife, Keiko, within a month and decided to make Okinawa his permanent home. Colin retired from the Air Force and, recently from the Air Force Reserves. He now works as a customer service representative for Hotel Sun Palace Kyuyokan in Naha.