Lynn | The Flaming Pearl

“But… if it keeps a person safe, and if it is with the Castle, why did the Castle burn down?”

January 2020

Shuri, Okinawa 

The coronavirus swept the world, and everything changed. One by one, like dominos falling to the ground, international borders, stadiums, schools, offices, shopping malls, cinemas, and theatres closed. The virus attacked congregations best, so even places of worship had to be closed. Nowhere allowed to go, the world found itself at home. It felt like the world was forced to power down. Except for the hospitals, they became battlegrounds. It was strange and uncomfortable. A world with no festivity or events. Those were important to me. I could no longer travel, yet I did not want to go home. I was craving for an adventure. There was something about Kinjo-san and her stories that compelIed me to stay. Admittedly, I found myself growing attached to her. And so, I enrolled myself in language classes at a Japanese language school. Anyday then, my student visa would be approved.

Kinjo-san was a lot better, both emotionally and physically. I learned that the Shuri Castle had a special and sacred place in the Okinawans’ hearts. It was a proud symbol of their legacy and heritage as children of the land.

One evening during dinner at Kinjo-san’s place, she said, “The Castle will be rebuilt, again.”


“It’s not the first time it burnt down. It was horrible after the War. In the past, two Ryukyuan princes fought for the throne and burnt down the Castle too. It will be fine. It has the pearl.”

“You mean the flaming pearl?”

Kinjo-san gave an unexpected sly smile, “You have been paying attention.”

“Isn’t the flaming pearl with the Moon Princess?”

“Yes, it was. But it eventually landed with a Ryukyuan prince who became King.”

“What is the flaming pearl? Is it from China?”

“Nah, it is not from China. The flaming pearl came from The Ancients before countries and kingdoms formed. It went through many hands over the ages. The emblem of the powerful phoenix, sometimes men, but usually it finds itself in female hands.”

“What does it do?”

“It keeps you safe, very safe.”

“But… if it keeps a person safe, and if it is with the Castle, why did the Castle burn down?”

At this point, Kinjo-san smiled again, “The pearl is beyond life and death. The Castle burnt down, but it will rise from its ashes again!”

I nodded knowingly but was completely unconvinced.

“You don’t believe me? Let me show you. Tonight, we go to the Castle grounds.”

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