Hideki Watanabe is the beta to Andrezj, gamma of the South Texas Clan, and head of the Bravo team with his lover Tobias Walters. But before he ever made it to United States soil he was born in Okinawa, Japan, and, for all intents and purposes, is not a very Americanized man.
Okinawa, for Hideki, is still the center of his universe, his nihon no kokoro. In rough translation it is the heart, body, and spirit of Japan. What most people don’t know is Okinawa Prefecture covers the southern most two-thirds of the Ryuku Islands of Japan, Southeast of Kyushu island of Japan. Hideki was more specifically born in Naha, the capital of Okinawa, and the place of the oldest found people living in Japan in history. He spent the beginning of his life in Central Nara, a mecca of a city and densely populated, and yet beautiful. If Naha sounds familiar to you, then you may remember it from The Karate Kid, Part II (or if you’re a gamer, like me, from Call of Duty: World at War).
“I still remember traveling down Kokusai-dori, International Avenue, after getting of the Okinawa Monorail. Just imagine a mile long road full of restaurants, stores, and bars. It’s beautiful when it’s lit up at night. It’s like a dazzling star on Earth. There’s just nothing quite like it.”
When I asked him why his family chose to come to Texas he gave me an answer that I hadn’t quite expected.
“The weather. Yeah, I know, but it’s true. My family wanted to come to America but they wanted somewhere that may feel like home. We’re land locked here near Houston, but Corpus is not too far away if I feel the urge to feel the sea. In Naha the summers are hot and humid and the winters stay warm. I didn’t know what it meant to have a ‘White Christmas’. Not really. South Texas gave my family a place like home, more or less.”
Hideki is an advance study of Naha-ta, the martial arts developed in Naha that, along with styled created in Tomari and Shuri, formed the base for Okinawa-te, which formed the basis for the Karate we know today.
“The faster I kill the quicker I can help my clan member,” ~ Hideki Watababe (click to tweet)