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
LOCATION: Okinawa, Oct. 28, 2017
Just thought I’d give everyone an Aloha Saturday morning typhoon report from Okinawa. Yes, it’s windy and rainy here, as we are being hit by a small typhoon. The Japanese system has labeled it Typhoon #22, but the Joint Typhoon Warning Center labeled it Tropical Storm #27 and has given it the name Saola. It isn’t as big a storm as others I’ve experienced in the past two decades, but it seems so because the eye of the storm is passing over Okinawa island today.
The U.S. military bases went into Typhoon Condition 1 Emergency (TC-1E) a few hours ago, because the wind speeds reached 50 knots (58 mph). Everything closed down (commissary, gas station, exchange, etc.) and personnel are required to stay in their homes, including those who live off-base, until the winds back down to under 50 knots and mission-essential personnel can first recover the base and make sure everything is safe (i.e., clear debris on the roads, check for downed power lines, etc.) before people are allowed to come out of their homes.
What a contrast now that I’m retired from the military and working off base in Naha. I have to go to work today! For most Okinawans, however, it’s just another day, albeit a wet and windy one.
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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. Colin and Keiko have two teenaged children and make their home in Yomitan.