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Okinawans fascinated by 08-08-08 Olympic start

Date Posted: 2008-08-15

The Beijing Olympics began 08-08-08 at 8:08 p.m., a time Chinese believe carried the highest level of good luck.

Eight is a lucky number in China, and Okinawans accept it too, as it means great happiness will be experienced in the future. Okinawans didn’t miss a bit of the Friday evening excitement, with tens of thousands glued to their television sets to watch the opening ceremonies.

Nearly two dozen members of the Okinawan Chinese community visited the home of Unsei Shimabukuro, the head of the Okinawa Overseas Chinese Union, to set a festive tone for the event, waving Chinese flags and sharing traditional Chinese foods. Shimabukuro said it was important for the Olympic games to be a success, because “China has made a lot of scandals and accidents recently, but from now on, the new China will start. We want everybody to love China.”

A Chinese woman studying at Ryukyu University is excited at being at the Olympics. “I have a pass to work as a volunteer,” she said. “It was like winning a public lottery because it’s so difficult to get anything in China because of its large population. I was a lucky person.” She said she’ll promote China to Okinawans when she returns, telling them of Chinese lifestyle and its economic situation.

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