Christina Mariko Patterson (2019 Exchange Student Sponsored by the Prefecture from Canada)
Christina Mariko Patterson
Hello, my name is Christina Mariko Patterson. I’m from Canada.
My grandparents are from Okinawa, Grandpa is from Nago and Grandma is from Hamahiga.
Currently, I go to Okinawa International University under the Okinawa Prefecture International Student Program. I will be living in Okinawa for a year, thanks to the program.
In 2016, I participated the Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival because I wanted to know more about Okinawa and wanted to become more involved in the Okinawa Prefectural Association (Kenjinkai) of Canada. As I was doing so, I heard about the prefectural funding program. I came to Okinawa to learn more about the culture, Uchinaguchi (Okinawan language), and what’s more, to understand the hometown of my grandparents.
Now that I am in Okinawa, I am learning Japanese and Uchinaguchi. Apart from that, I am also learning Okinawan Karate and Ryukyu Buyo (Okinawan traditional dance), “Kagiyadefu”. Most of all, I believe it is important to become friends with the local people and to communicate with them.
A Message to the Youth
We, as the current Uchinanchu and other young people appreciate the value of the older generations and their being, learn from them, and cherish that culture as our own identity. Because we truly value that belief, I want the next generations to create the network by taking part in workshops and gathering events. Go and have conversations with Okinawan people!
This is what I think is important.