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Miji nu Utu Warabincha nu Kui (the Sound of Water, Voices of Children) Kin Ukkaga in Kin Town
post : 2018.08.03 18:00
On a Saturday, I stopped by at “Kin Ukkaga” in Kin Town, a town where is located in the west coast of Mainland Okinawa. Ukkaga is a public well in Namisato area of Kin Town, and it is designated as designated cultural property of Kin Town in 1992.
Water started to upwell in this area around 1620, and Ukkaga has never been dried. Its water volume and size are the number one spring in Okinawa.
Blue sky, white clouds, and bright sun. This is the daytime during summer that people imagine of. When I visited Ukkaga, I saw people across generations were gathered at a portable zenzai (Japanese shaved ice) café to cool down.
Okawa Children’s Park is located across from Ukkaga, and many children were playing cheerfully near a fountain and water place. Foreign children and local children played together and splashed water to each other.
Since this park is safer for children to play than beaches, some people take their children and come here from other cities such as Ginowan City or Naha City.
As I ran away from the strong sunlight of Okinawa, I soaked my feet in Ukkaga and washed my sweaty face. Cold water energizes my whole body cell. Since clear water runs through here, its “life energy” must be good as well. It feels like not only my body, but also my feeling has been reset.
In 1924, barrages for drinking water, bathing area, washing clothes and potatoes, and bathing area for animals were built at Ukkaga. Until this area had running water in 1962, Ukkaga was the most crowded spot in this area. Residents used to come here to chat, and I can well imagine how it was like.
I found Torii (shrine gate) right next to Unakkaga, and gajumaru (banyan tree) was climbing the Torii. It looked too natural, so I almost missed it. According to a local person, “not sure when this Torii was built since there is no document which explained the exact date, but we assume that it was built between 1942 - 1944.” Actually, gajumaru next to the Torii was cut down once. However, its remained root grew up and started to climb on the Torii. The way Torii got integrated with gajumaru made me realize the strong life force in the nature.
While listening to the sound of running water in the back, I heard the echo of children’s voices and rustling of trees. The place where residents used to gather and chat before is still loved by residents as a gathering spot.
While I was looking at when children were playing at Ukkaga and Okawa Children’s Park freely, I saw a white Crape-myrtle fluttered in the wind as a cotton cap.
After the wind blew, numerous white cotton caps showed up in front of my eyesight. The white and shiny world created by cotton caps took sound away from me suddenly. I felt like I was daydreaming for a moment. When cotton caps disappeared instantly, I heard the sound of water and cheerful voices of children. It brought me back to the reality instantly.
Okinawa CLIP photo writer Mika Azumi