Lesley Chinen

Lesley Chinen is a freelance photojournalist and filmmaker who resides in Los Angeles, CA. She currently works for KCBS-TV/KCAL-TV and KTLA-TV.

Updated April 2008

migration en

Meeting Cubanchu "Cousins" - Worldwide Uchinanchu Join Cuba’s Okinawans in Celebrating Their Centennial - Part 4 of 4

>> Part 3

On Saturday, our last full day on Isla de la Juventud, we returned to the movie theater in the morning where a kenjinkai “show and tell” of sorts had been planned. It was an opportunity for the delegations to talk about their respective kenjinkai and the kinds of activities and classes they hold to keep the Uchinä spirit alive. The main idea was to show the Cubanchu how they could organize the same types of activities.

Early on, our delegation had decided to present the video greetings I had gathered to show the diversity among the North American ...

Read more

migration en

Meeting Cubanchu "Cousins" - Worldwide Uchinanchu Join Cuba’s Okinawans in Celebrating Their Centennial - Part 3 of 4

>> Part 2

ISLA DE LA JUVENTUD

On our third day in Cuba, we boarded a chartered plane to Isla de la Juventud, where the commemoration activities were to be held. The flight was less than 45 minutes long.

Isla de la Juventud, or Island of Youth, is located 62 miles south of mainland Cuba and is approximately 1,170 square miles. The name of the island has changed several times, from Treasure Island to Island of Parrots to Isla de Pinos (Island of Pines). Cubans say that Nikkei named it Isla de Pinos after its Japanese translation, matsu (pine) shima ...

Read more

migration en

Meeting Cubanchu "Cousins" - Worldwide Uchinanchu Join Cuba’s Okinawans in Celebrating Their Centennial - Part 2 of 4

> Part 1

HAVANA

We arrived at Jose Marti International Airport in Havana in the late afternoon of Oct. 23. As we exited the terminal, we were greeted by a welcoming committee carrying the flags of Okinawa prefecture and Cuba. Their faces were filled with smiles and they carried a banner that read in part: “Ichariba chode chimi churasa” — Okinawan for “Once we meet we are brothers and sisters. Beautiful spirits.” “Cuba e youkosou” — Japanese for “Welcome to Cuba.”

We were introduced to Antonio Yohena, president of the Cuba Okinawa Association, and members of the Mexico delegation who helped plan the ...

Read more

migration en ja es pt

Meeting Cubanchu "Cousins" - Worldwide Uchinanchu Join Cuba’s Okinawans in Celebrating Their Centennial - Part 1 of 4

The five of us boarded our flight to Mexico with little knowledge and much anticipation of what awaited us at our final destination. Ken, another group member, was on a separate flight; he was to meet us in Mexico. Akiko, our delegation leader, had left a day earlier. We called ourselves “Choode (brothers and sisters) Without Borders,” because our trip to Cuba was not just a vacation: It was a mission.

The seven of us came from different professions and cities. Akiko was from the East Coast; the rest of us resided in cities across Los Angeles County. Among us ...

Read more