If you haven't heard, Chris is finally home! Woohoo! It's so nice having my better half back with me. We make real dinners, he helps walk the dog, and it's just nice to have him around. Also, our friend Pablo (he was stationed with us in England) just moved here on Friday. He's staying with us until he finds an apartment. He's a great house guest. Seriously, he even remembers to empty the lint tray on the dryer. Being the incredible hosts that we are (buy your plane tickets for a visit now folks!) we've been showing him the sites. We've gone out for sushi, taken him down to the seawall, viewed some cars, and on Sunday we went to the 10,000 Eisa Dancers Festival down on Kokusai Street. Some of you might remember Kokusai Street from our post on the Tug of War last fall. Apparently, this is where a lot of festivals are held.
An Eisa dancer is a folk dancer that is original to the Ryuku Islands. According to my students Takako and Yukiko who met us for the festival, each area of the island will have a dance group and each area's style of dance is different. This festival is held to mark the end of the Obon Festival. Obon honors the spirits of one's ancestors and was started by the Japanese Buddhists (Thanks Wikipedia!).
We didn't count, but it certainly seemed like there were 10,000 dancers there. It was really interesting to watch the dancers in all of their different costumes. There were kids as young as four years old participating in the dance. Here are some pictures of our day:
Long lost Chris and Pablo
This girl was very intense and fun to watch.
This girl was adorable. She did a great job, especially considering that her older sister was standing next to me making faces and distracting her. I guess annoying siblings are in every culture. I know Monica would agree with that, at least when we were younger.
This little boy was too cute to not take his picture!
Chris and I are as cute as ever despite our months apart.
A few locals will dress in their summer kimonos and they'll always flash the peace sign if you've got a camera.
This boy was tiny and he was awesome! He never missed a step, a turn, a song. He was great!
This was the group Pablo wanted to see, but they marched past us and danced further down the road.
Takako and Yukiko - it was nice to have locals with us so we could ask questions. This was the first time Takako had been to the festival or ridden the Okinawa monorail.
Me with some sanshin (guitars made out of snakeskin) players.
We parked at a Jusco and on our way back to the car decided to take a looksie so Brandon could see what it's all about. We were looking for the microwaves when we came across this horse riding practice machine. You can't tell from the picture, but that thing moves forward, backward, up, and down. It was a pretty sweet ride.