A week in the life…

Hello everybody!

I wasn’t going to do a blog until I travelled somewhere again, but I think all my traveling is on hold until I go CONUS next month. But today marks my two year anniversary here and I had quite an eventful week so I thought I would just write a quick little blog.

Last year,  I was in my house and heard all these wild drums and looked out from my back balcony to see some sort of celebration going on. People dancing in the street, traditional clothes, loud drumming and a general good time. I went down and hung out at the tail end of it.

I learned about the festival of Obon then and this year looked forward to watching the celebration. Obon is a three day recognition of your ancestors. In a country that practices ancestor worship, there are many ways to celebrate. People clean the tombs and spend time making food offerings. The first night of Obon is to welcome back your ancestors into your house and if you have relatives, you go visit. The second night  is more time with the family. The third night, you are sending your relatives back to their world and then throw a big party to celebrate. Okinawa unlike Japan has the lovely Eisa drums which I hear randomly as people practice.

eisa dancers
final night of Obon
action drummers
drumming and dancing

This year I was ready, but I kept thinking it was earlier in the night. Around 10:30 pm, I started hearing something. I went out to the front balcony this time and discovered the celebration was two houses down on my street.

This is life here in Okinawa, my boss says it feels like time stand stills here because there is little variation in the seasons. Years pass without notice. I can relate to this as in some respects it feels as if I have always been here and in others it feels as if I just got here and everything is new.

lunch at hamby town
Lunch at one of my favorite restaurants  

So here is a random smattering of things during the last week.

Uchinanchu (Okinawan people) and Japanese are foodies. Presentation, preparation and eating are well thought out. Below is a picture of one of my free desserts from my favorite restaurant here, Kami Sushi. I am a regular there and without fail the guys take care of me. They know I get the same thing every time. Sometimes they practice their English with me, every time I practice my Japanese with them and  almost every time I get a free dessert. Usually a creme brulee, but sometimes, like the picture below, I get something else.

 

dessert at kami
always my free dessert at Kami Sushi

I took a drive yesterday to Sea Glass beach since the typhoon missed us and decided to go to Osaka instead. We still have a lot of wind and some rain.  It is about a forty five minute drive from my house, but it’s lovely and quiet. On the way there I drove through Ginoza where the Hanshin Tigers professional baseball team have spring training.

sea glass beach
Sea Glass Beach, I had it mostly to myself during a windy day.
sunset beach
Sunset at the aptly named Sunset Beach last week. People were lined up at the right of the photo and when the sun sank into the horizon there was spontaneous applause.

I was out taking photos during the rain and wind and shot the photo below. Watashi no ie desu…my house in other words…English words.  I love my house in my Uchinanchu neighborhood on a street with no name. I wonder if U2 was thinking about Japan when they wrote that song, because most streets here have no names. It is something I could never have afforded in the US, it’s sleek and spare and all mine, except for the occasional geckos who help with bug control.  There is also my Toyota Funcargo. I am the only American I know who came over here and got a bigger car than they had at home. But there is room to camp in the back and over here, you can pull up to a beach and just camp.

my house
my house and funcargo

This morning after my favorite farm market in Yomitan, I wandered over to Zakimijo. I haven’t been here since I first arrived and it was so nice to spend time here. My friend who lives here keeps telling me of these ‘gateball games’ she sees. The locals, usually elderly, have a game sort of like kick ball on the grounds frequently. She saw one going on there after I left…curses!

stairs to the castle
Inside the enclosure at Zakimi Castle in Yomitan

 

So there was a little over a week here in my lovely Okinawa and I am still all smiles in my Hanshin Tigers hat!

Have a great week!