Archive for the ‘Okinawan Life’ category

Golden Week in Okinawa

May 6, 2015

The Golden Week holiday is celebrated at this time in May throughout Japan and this includes Okinawa. Today is the last day of the holidays and many people were out and about on the island enjoying the good weather and temperatures of 27 degrees.

We visited Yafu-batake which describes itself as an outdoor cafe. It looks out onto the Pacific Ocean from high up on the south-east coast. The cafe is housed in a number of open buildings and includes a play area for children and a small factory next door where brown sugar is produced.

Some photos from today:

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http://www.manten-r.co.jp

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An afternoon in Nanjo

May 1, 2015

This afternoon we visited Cafe Mori no Terrace, one of several cafes on the coast of Nanjo in the south of Okinawa. We’ve been there a few times before but hadn’t previously explored the large garden and forested area around the cafe which overlooks the Pacific Ocean.

Some photos from today’s visit:

Entrance to the cafe

Entrance to the cafe

View from the terrace

View from the terrace

The terrace

The terrace

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Garden scenes at Mori no Terrace

Garden scenes at Mori no Terrace

Awamori event in Itoman

April 11, 2015

An awamori event is being held today and tomorrow in Itoman to mark the change of name by Masahiro Shuzo Kabushiki Kaisha. The event at the company’s distillery includes shuttle buses to the site, guided tours of the awamori making process, and of course, free samples of awamori as well as free bottles for those attending early. The activities begin at 11 a.m. and go on until 6 p.m. Today’s entertainment concluded with a live show by singer and sanshin player Chiaki of the popular Okinawan duo Shakari.

Some photos from today:

The distillery's shop

The distillery’s shop

Bottles of Masahiro awamori

Bottles of Masahiro awamori

Shakari's Chiaki

Shakari’s Chiaki

Chiaki sings the song for the Masahiro commercial - with the workers

Chiaki (with Masahiro workers) singing the Masahiro commercial song

Cave Cafe at Gangala Valley

March 13, 2015

On a warm, sunny afternoon we paid our first visit to the Cave Cafe close to our home in the south of Okinawa and at the entrance to the Gangala valley. The cafe is unusual in being housed inside a large limestone cave. The Gangala valley attracts visitors for guided walking tours of the area, formed when a cave collapsed to create a forested valley rich in nature. We were happy just to sit in the cafe today, away from the sun, together with coffee and ice cream.

Some photos from this afternoon:

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http://www.gangala.com

 

 

A walk in the south of Itoman

February 18, 2015

I often go for a walk around my local area on Okinawa’s south coast of Itoman. This morning was bright and sunny and I walked inland to the village of Makabe and then back home via the coastal village of Komesu. Here are a few photos of some of the sights along the way, starting with the main street in Makabe and a field of chrysanthemums, and including a traditional shisa (lion) and some dragon fruit.

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Vissel Kobe in Okinawa

January 29, 2015

Okinawa is a popular destination for professional soccer and baseball pre-season training camps. This year several J1 football league clubs are doing their pre-season preparations on the island. One of these is Vissel Kobe FC. The squad has been on Okinawa for almost a week along with their new manager, the Brazilian Nelsinho who won a league title with Kashiwa Reysol in 2011. My old friend Shige Hasebe is still at the club and has now been made Head Coach. Yesterday we met up with him briefly at the training session held at Zampa Misaki, Yomitan.

Some photos below from yesterday’s session, courtesy of Vissel Kobe.

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A local gathering in Itoman

December 22, 2014

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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