A local gathering in Itoman

Last night we attended a gathering at the small Jichikaikan (or village hall) in our local area of Odo, Itoman. This was a bonenkai – an end of the year party – in which some of the neighbourhood people got together to eat, drink, talk, and inevitably to sing. This being Okinawa it wasn’t long before the sanshin was brought out and several of the locals sang and played familiar Okinawan songs such as ‘Asadoya Yunta’, ‘Densa Bushi’, and ‘Toshin Doi’.

It is still slightly surprising how readily these people will sing and it appears that almost everyone can play the sanshin. As it’s Okinawa, great quantities of beer and awamori were also consumed causing much good-natured banter, hilarity, and a great deal of unsteadiness on the feet. I was called upon more than once to help someone who had fallen off their chair and ended a very enjoyable evening escorting my next door neighbour on the short walk home.

Some photos from last night:

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