My favorite Okinawan bon dance to dance to. It kinda reminds me of the electric slide. Plus, who can resist the “haiya”/”ahirihiri” kakegoe?
Okinawan Festival, Kapi`olani Park, Honolulu, Hawai`i
This is my favorite song! And my favorite bon dance song to dance to! And my favorite eisa song! And my favorite piece to play on the sanshin. Lol.
On Kaua`i we dance it a little differently, though…
During Bon Dance at Lihue Hongwanji Mission on Saturday, July 14, 2012.
This is eisa, Okinawan taiko drumming. I grew up watching eisa performers at bon dances at home, but I never knew it was called eisa. I always wanted to try it, but I never had the chance.
But this past Thursday, I went to an eisa practice with two other ALTs here on Tokunoshima! It was SO MUCH FUN.
On top of that, the first song we practiced was Ashibina. Ashibina has been one of my favorite songs since I was younger. I grew up with Ashibina at bon dances and it’s one of my favorite songs to dance to. I learned how to play it on the sanshin (Okinawan shamisen) in college, and now I am learning how to do eisa to the song.
Whenever I go back to Kaua`i, I wanna join this eisa group. ^o^
So I was spacing out during work today and I imagined up a Hawaiian Mean Girls
- if youre from kamehameha why are you haole
- oh my god kalei you cant just ask people why theyre haole
- kalei is dumb kine. one time she wen ask me how fo spell humuhumunukunukuapua'a
- and evil takes human form in mahina george
- are you naturally ehu? see this is the color i want
- my father is the inventor of li hing mui
- I CANT GO TO ZIPPYS IM ON AN ALL CARB DIET GOSH KALEI YOURE SO STUPID
- is your malasada cream filled? would you like us to assign someone to fill your malasada?
- das damien. hes too mahu to function
- FOUR FOR YOU GLEN COCO I MUA E GLEN COCO
- im psychic. it's like i have KFVE or something. theres a 30% chance kawaili'ula already won merrie monarch last year
- OH HELL NAW I DID NOT LEAVE SOUTH SHORE FOR THIS
Hawaii and Okinawa are like cousins separated by the Pacific Ocean. Their populations are both just over the million mark, both have sub- or semitropical climates and are targeted by the tourist trade as havens for the overstressed in search of paradise. But whatever ‘paradise’ existed in either has been brutally disturbed since their ‘discovery’ and exploitation in the past century and a half.
They now share a less dubious attraction, as well as being swamped by golf courses and resort complexes, both have been turned into island fortresses because they happen to occupy strategic junctions on the geopolitical map and are both caught in the crossfire. Okinawa’s main island was virtually obliterated in 1945 in a return match for the ruthless surprise attack on Pearl Harbor, Hawaii, in December 1941.
The island kingdom in Hawaii was first discovered by Western interlopers in the person of Capt. James Cook on his famous 1779 trip to, amongst other things, log the transit of Venus and stake a claim to Australia. Hawaii’s strategic importance was realised by the USA in the mid-nineteenth century. In 1893 the US government overthrew Queen Lili`uokalani, and soon annexed Hawaii and established it as a forward base for the US Navy. During the 1930s, the Japanese government claimed that the US militarisation of Hawaii and the Philippines was justification for its own aggressive moves throughout the Asia-Pacific region.
After the war, Hawaii`s military functions broadened as a ‘forward deployment’ platform; in 1959 it became the fiftieth state of the Union.
Hawaii was also the destination for the first group of migrants who left Okinawa in 1899 and some 45,000 Okinawan descendants now live there. Both island groups employ about half a million people in the tourist industry and they are basically catering for the same market: middle-class package holiday-makers. Almost all visitors to Okinawa come from Japan, as do about a quarter of the visitors to Hawaii. They spend almost exactly the same amount of time, four days in Okinawa and five in Hawaii, and money, around ￥27,000 or $340.
Tourism accounts for about 20 per cent of Okinawa’s total income and more than 30 per cent in Hawaii. Although both tourist industries are now more lucrative, both also make a substantial income from US military bases. Their military infrastructure is of course connected. Both are part of the US Pacific Command (USPACOM) headquartered in Honolulu. — Okinawa Dreams OK, pg. 97. Published 1997.
Being from Hawai`i and having been to Okinawa, the similarities in climate and personality immediately stuck out to me. However there are all of these problems of cultural exploitation and military development, which have limited access to land in both places. The culture of tourism has also had a negative impact on the environment and keeps both island groups in perpetual dependance on outsiders coming in.