Saturday, June 8, 2013

Ryukyu Glass Blowing

A funny thing starts to happen when you've lived somewhere for years and you are about to finally leave - you start scrambling to do everything you wanted to do that you haven't done yet!  I know, you're probably thinking -I've been following your blog for almost four years now.  How can there possibly be anything left that you really wanted to do??  But there is - and there always will be - Okinawa is an amazing place.  It's that simple!  

Ryukyu Blown Glass is one of Okinawa's most well-known traditions - one that is unique to Okinawa apart from the rest of Japan.  This tradition of glass blowing dates back to the end of World War II when the local craftsman would gather the many recycled glass bottles from the US military bases.  Beginning with glasses and bowls, today they make everything and anything you can imagine from the recycled glass.  

While glass blowing wasn't on Matt's Okinawa bucket list, It definitely was on mine!  As a last outing together over the weekend, I went down south to Itoman with my group of co-workers to RGC (Ryukyu Glass Craft) - the largest glass factory in Okinawa.  We each got to select our glass color and took turns (I was first in our group, go figure) actually blowing our glass cup.  The workers heat up what looks like a scorching hot ball of glass on the end of a long metal stick, which they then set into the mold on the ground.  You grab the stick (with gloves and arm protection on!) and blow through it to fill the glass with air.  After that, the second step is shaping the rim of the glass.  This involves the worker heating it up in the fire once again and handing it back to you.  You roll the metal stick while using what can only be described as gigantic metal tweezers to shape the rim of the glass.  This portion of the glass blowing was not as easy as it looked and generated quite a few laughs from us girls - we were a little nervous to see how our glasses would turn out! 


1 comment:

  1. Great you got to do this...I'd seen something similar (in Italy) on the Travel Channel. Can't wait to see the finished product:)