My Dad’s last job with the United States Marine Corps was in Okinawa. They thought it would be a great idea if I moved with them.  ” There’s a beach and a university on campus , you’ll meet a wide range of people.” They were  correct. Before leaving  for Okinawa and graduating from high school in Norfolk, Virginia-I was interested in attending Ferrum College located in southwest Virginia near Roanoke. The reason why I wanted to go there was that it was near my relatives who lived in towns near the college. A Ferrum College recruiter visited Maury High School and I listened to her speak about the positive qualities of Ferrum College. It was in a rural area and had small classes. Afterwards, I talked with her about attending Ferrum College. I mentioned that my parents were moving to Okinawa and wanted me to move with them.  She gave me  a surprising answer , ” Go to Okinawa, you will have great experiences there.”Years later, I contacted Ferrum College and told them this story. If I had  not gone to Okinawa, I would not have been published in a magazine or won an award for being an outstanding employee in music retail.  Because of the recruiter’s  advice, I donated to Ferrum College to show my appreciation.  In 2012, I visited the campus of Ferrum College and the Ferrum College admissions and philanthropy staff gave me a tour of the campus which I enjoyed. The staff surprised me with a gift, a Ferrum College coffee mug which I still  have and treasure. I took the Ferrum College recruiter’s advice and I moved to Okinawa in August,  1990. My Mom and I flew from Columbia, South Carolina. We had a long layover at O’ Hare airport in Chicago, Illinois. We were worried about our pet dog who did not have anything to drink or eat for a few hours. Luckily, the dog survived. We stopped at the Narita airport in Tokyo before landing in Okinawa. Here are a few facts about the history , language, and music of Okinawa. Okinawa is a part of the Ryuku Islands, located south of Japan. It was an independent kingdom before Japan took over in the 19th century.  Okinawa is most known for the battle that took place during World War II, many Okinawans died and historic buildings were destroyed. The Japanese were not very nice to the Okinawans, staging the battle there instead of Osaka. This might explain why some Okinawans like the Americans more than the Japanese. The Americans helped the Okinawans rebuild. Also, Okinawa has a different language and culture than Japan, their language is Uchinaguchi. Two phrases in Uchinaaguchi are ” Chagan  Ju” which means ” How are you?” and ” Nihedeberu” which means ” Thank you!”.  Their music is different from Japan, almost sounds like an Asian version of bluegrass, a popular instrument is the sanshin which sounds like a banjo . Two Okinawan musicians or bands I would recommend are Shokuchi Kina and the Rinken Band.  I attended college at a university on Okinawa for over a year. The university was on the bases of Camp Foster and Kadena Air Base. The university  was a satellite campus of the University Of Maryland. This was before the internet and online distant learning which is popular today. Some of the professors were good, others not so much.  I started learning conversational Japanese and did real good until I had to learn to read and write the different kinds of symbols or characters that represented words. The Japanese language has three different kinds of symbols or characters -Hiragana , Katakana and Kanji. Going from conversational Japanese to this was like going from basic math to Calculus. Not surprisingly, my grades began to go downward.  On the bright side, I was good at holding a simple conversation in Japanese when I would explore Koza City which was the Okinawan city located outside of the base. I would walk from my house to the city below, up and down a big hill. I would usually eat at a Chinese restaurant located in the  Plaza shopping center. I would buy books  and pick up the latest issue of a British music magazine at Tuttle book shop which was in the Plaza shopping center. I would walk over a mile to two compact  disc shops-Fukuhara Music and Teruya Music-this is where I would buy my recorded music when not buying from the store on base where I would  work from 1991 to 1993. I would eat at the Korean restaurants where they would bring you meat and vegetables for you to cook your own meal. It took a lot of hand/eye coordination to cook the meat on the grill. When you are hungry and paying for your meals, you do not want to make a mistake. I managed to cook a meal and the meal tasted good.  There was a beach resort called Okuma located in the northern part of the Island, this resort was for military personnel and their families. Our family enjoyed visiting the beach.  Things were going good and the best was about to happen.