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Cultural exchanges brighten summer vacation opportunities

Date Posted: 2005-07-29

Schools are in hiatus until late August, and numerous government and quasi-official agencies are looking for ways to help youngsters have educationally stimulating fun as they slide through summer.

On and off base, cultural programs are being put together to bring Okinawans and Americans closer. A popular hands on program being taught is how to make shishi dogs, a popular Okinawa figurine. Kotoe Oshiro, a creative industrial arts instructor from Okinawa City’s Awase Area is one who’s volunteering. Oshiro walks youngsters and teens through the process, with the finished product being something to take for the home bookshelf.

It begins with one of many different colors of paper clays. Each youngster selects his own. There are also pre-packaged sets available, making shishi dog making even easier.

Oshiro says the first step is to cut the clay into four pieces, each about 10cm. Wrap the clay around an empty bottle to transform it into a roll, which is used for 5cm long legs and back legs. Stick it on a second piece which is roughly blocked and shaped to be a dog’s body.

Another piece of clay is used to form the mouth, which leaves room for custom design by the budding artists. Oshiro says the product takes on individuality at this point in development, with ears, eyebrows and manes being added according to the youth’s taste. Same thing with the tails, eyeballs and teeth. The use of different color clays also make each shishi dog distinct.

Paint adds the finishing touches. Kotoe is teaching small children and senior citizens at an August 20th seminar at Okinawa Island Park, at the zoo. The seminar will run 10am ~ 3pm. To make a reservation for yourself or your youngster, call Kotoe at 080-1731-9039.

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