You have to be smarter to be a teacher in Okinawa. In “One in 5.7 pass teacher employment examination,” Japan Update reports that the competitive rate for being a teacher in Okinawa is 11.5, the highest in Japan. Miyagi is next with 10.9. The rate is based on the national teacher employment exam, which is required for all public school teachers. The 11.5 translates to 1 in 11.5 of test takers.
Julie Woolery: “Bingata is a form of painting on fabric that uses stencil patterns and multiple colors of paint. It has been part of Ryukyu history for 500 years…. While it’s a very unique gift to buy for family and friends, it’s even more fun to paint yourself! My favorite place for a fun and meaningful bingata experience is at Bingata Kijimuna in Nago” (“Bingata Kijimuna,” Okinawa Hai!, 2/4/15).
Michelle Camina: “The Mēgā Gama Cave Tour offers visitors an opportunity to go spelunking with tour guides along a precarious but well-mapped area of cave that stretches one kilometer long and takes approximately one hour to complete. For a nominal fee of 500¥ (in addition to the regular admission fee) visitors are encouraged to rent a jumpsuit, boots, and gloves to protect one’s clothing and hands” (“Matsuda Mēgā Gama Cave Tour,” Okinawa Hai!, 1/23/15).
“We have a new ‘debut’ album from the three other original members of Nenes who reunite under the group name Unaigumi. It’s a bit like having the original Nenes back after nearly 20 years as only Yoshida is missing, her place taken by Emiko Shimabukuro. The others (Misako Koja, Namiko Miyazato and Yukino Hayane) are still in strong voice and the album is produced by Kazuya Sahara the keyboard player responsible for much of the original Nenes sound” (“Unaigumi: Unaijima,” Power of Okinawa, 1/28/15).
“In February, the annual Okinawa International Orchid Show takes place at Expo Park in Motobu. It is here that orchids from around the world are put on display in an array of beauty to be judged for competition. If you are a flower lover, then this is one event you don’t want to miss. According to their website, there are at least 10,000 entries from around the world” (“The Okinawa International Orchid Show – Expo Park,” Map It! Okinawa, 2/1/15).