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Okinawa Market expands to Camp Foster

Date Posted: 2008-09-19

Okinawa Market, the one-stop place for Okinawa products and souvenirs, is making an expansion move, opening a store in the Camp Foster Concession Mall.

The locally-owned business is committed both to preservation of Okinawa culture and sharing it with foreigners, and believes the new location will make it even easier for service personnel and families to appreciate the many products that have evolved and been passed down from generation to generation, and are more in demand than ever. Okinawa Market’s new Camp Foster location will feature all goods carried in its main store on Chuo Street in Okinawa City, including traditional Okinawan awamori, the unique distilled alcoholic beverage.

Handicrafts, potteries, musical instruments such as the samisen, traditional dyed fabrics and herbal products are all specialties of Okinawa Market. The store strives to bring products from all of Okinawa’s districts and outlying islands, including Miyako and Yaeyama groups. There is subtle but distinct differences in the craftsmanship and patterns of goods created by artisans from each of the prefecture’s island areas.

Okinawa Market prides itself on being able to share the warm, rich traditions of the former Ryukyu Kingdom with guests, introducing and explaining the various attributes of local culture. They call it a friendship promotion, something visitors to the current store agree with.

Products include items made by the disabled, and others handcrafted from recycled items such as glass. Beach cleaning operations often bring glass and empty cans that find new lives as candle stands in the recycled section. English language instruction papers are affixed to each product, explaining the significance of the item so people can fully appreciate the Okinawan traditions behind its creation.

Samples will be offered for the food and beverage items, including the awamori. It’s a chance to experience the herbal teas, health foods, seaweeds and Okinawa salt, something you might not think of as being a tasty treat. There will be entertainment, too, throughout the opening celebration.

Okinawa Market will be going beyond simply selling goods. It will be inviting traditional handicrafts instructors to give demonstrations and lectures on Okinawan bingata, pottery and other dyed fabrics.

The new Okinawa Market will have its Grand Opening on September 20th at 10 a.m. At 1 p.m. there will be a martial arts and lion dance demonstration by the well-known martial arts master Eikou Miyazato and his wife Hitomi. There will also be live sanshin music.

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