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Kajimaya (Senior Citizens) Club

The Kajimaya (Senior Citizens) Club was co-founded in 2002 by Chogi Higa and Mr. Edward Shoichi Tamae. The club is geared towards providing our senior members a place to congregate, socialize, and attend various classes and workshops.  The club is named the Senior Citizens Club, “Kajimaya” after the “Hana nu Kajimaya,” a celebration that takes place in Okinawa when a person reaches their 97th birthday on the Lunar Calendar. Its literal translation is “Hana,” which means “flower,” and “Kajimaya,” means “windmill.” Together, they carry the phrase, “The windmill of the Flower”.  It is said that on the 97th birthday (Lunar Calendar), the senior citizens have traveled through the many cycles of life gathering knowledge and wisdom through their journey, which eventually returns them to their childhood innocence. During that celebration, the seniors hand out flower shaped windmills to all guests who attend the event, symbolizing the rotational cycle of life experiences.

The first chairperson was the late Mr. Edward Shoichi Tamae, from 2002 to 2005 for 4 years; and the supporting committee members were Paul Tamae as the event planner, Ethel Asato, Helene Shimane, Jane Kuniyoshi, the late-Mrs. Yoshiko Kamiya, the late-Ruby Inafuku, and then-president Chogi Higa. The second chairperson was the late-Mr. Haruo Yamashiro from 2006 to 2008 for 3 years; the third chairperson was Mrs. Shigeko Yamauchi from 2009 to 2011 for 3 years; and current chairperson for 2012 is Mrs. Yoneko Nakamura.

The Kajimaya hosts a luncheon each year for its members. The first kickoff luncheon ceremony was held on May 26, 2002. It was a great joy to see everyone enjoying the delicious Okinawan potluck, karaoke singing, bingo games, and the socializing that took place. We were also very fortunate to have Dr. Chishu Uezu as a special guest speaker on the topic of physical health for senior citizens.

The last Sunday of every month is
designated to have a special activity for our Kajimaya (Senior Citizens) Club. The activities ranged from lectures of senior health care, teaching kimono dressing, celebrations of the members’ birthdays, bingo games, karaoke-singing, casino trips, Hawaiian Day, and numerous other activities.

A few verses from the “Okinawan songs of longevity.”

“米ぬ高坂ん、安々とぅ登てぃ、花ぬカジマヤーん、御願げーさびら”

“Climbing up [through life] to reach the age of 88 with ease, we pray that you continue to climb up higher to the golden age of 97.”

“花ぬカジマヤーや、風切りてぃみぐる、我んや孫連りてぃ、遊ぶ嬉しや”
 


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