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Adventures in Miyakojima: The Pumpkin Cave

Well, we are now in the middle of June and the weather here in Miyakojima has really started to warm up. Which means it’s time for BBQs, snorkeling, diving, and all kinds of other outdoor activities. Since a lot of my friends and family don’t know what it’s like over here, I have decided to start shooting short videos on the different places and events that we go.

I have titled the series “Adventures in Miyakojima”. Since many of my family and friends don’t speak Japanese I am commentating in English, but there is also some speaking in Japanese as well. Check out the video and let me know what you think.

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Japanese Folk Song on the Sanshin (家庭和合)

Background - an ancient volumetric Japanese re...

Over the last few weeks I have been spending a lot of time preparing for an sanshin performance. For those who don’t know, the sanshin is an traditional three-stringed instrument popular in Okinawa. I started playing earlier this year and ended up joining a サークル (club) in my area.

Last week, the サークル (myself not included) performed at a traditional Miyakojima folk song (宮古民謡、みやこみんよう)concert. My camera unfortunately broke a few weeks ago, but I did manage to capture it with my iphone.

*If you don’t understand any of it, please don’t worry. It is sung in the Miyako dialect which bares very little resemblance to Japanese. The hardest part of learning hasn’t been the sanshin, but remembering the words in Miyakogo!

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Orion Beer Festival 09

Hi, guys! My name is Eri and I’ll be writing about Japanese culture, events in Japan, and also answering questions about Japanese! I’ll also be creating Japanese Language videos with Nick! Hope you’ll enjoy them! ヨロシク〜 😉

Summer is the busiest season for Miyakojima. (Miyakojima is a small sub-tropical island of Okinawa. It is located about half way between Mainland of Okinawa and Taiwan.)

We get the largest number of tourists around this time of the year, the kids are out of school, and yes, lots of events to go to!! 🙂 Yesterday, Nick and I attended the Orion Beer Festival here in Miyakojima. Orion Beer is Okinawa’s most famous beer company, and they hold this festival every year.I must say, people here looooooove to get together and DRINK!! It seems the entire island comes to this festival and enjoys time with family and friends.

The festival had several live performances including sanshin, taiko, and more modern music as well. And of course, beer!

*a list of Japanese vocabulary with English translations can be found at the bottom of the page.

Okinawan Drum Dancer

Okinawan Drum Dance (琉球太鼓:Ryukyu Daiko)

The type of music used for Okinawan Drum Dance is called “エイサー”. It is a traditional Okinawan music for 盆踊り(Bonodori).

Its choreography is inspired from Karate moves. Karate was originally founded in Okinawa.

I love Ryukyu Daiko!  It is かっこいい (kakkoii)!

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a local band called “Kagihana Band”

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Kampai (カンパイ!)with Orion Campaign Girls

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A local band called “Harvesta” performed a type of reggae rap.

And, Today’s special Live performed by BENI. She does TV Commercials for Orion’s.

Japanese Words List

ビール – Beer

カンパイ(乾杯)- Cheers

かっこいい – Looks cool!

盆踊り-ぼんおどり- Japanese traditional grouped dance for Summer time

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Okinawan Music and Hula Dancing!

Last night I mentioned on Twitter (if you’re not following me, click here to get my updates) that I had attended a great event at Tokyu Resort here in Miyakojima (an island south west of Okinawa) and would be posting some videos. Well, here they are! I took more videos, but these are the only ones that came out decent enough to post.

As you can tell from the video, Okinawa’s culture is very distinct from that of Japan. If I had to describe it, I would say it is almost a mix of Chinese and Japanese culture. I fell In love with Okinawan music and dance the first time I visited here several years ago and it is still my favorite type of Japanese music.

The instrument in the last video is the sanshin, a three stringed banjo like instrument of Okinawa. I have recently started learning to play the sanshin myself and will post some videos once I get a little better. (it could be a while ;).

As a note, for those who might have difficult making out the Japanese words in Okinawan music, don’t worry about it. The language here can be quite different sometimes. The music is beautiful, but not the best for learning Japanese.

Traditional Okinawan dancing and drumming to a slightly modern song

A more traditional song and beat

Hula dance performed to “Nada Sou Sou” played on the sanshin and piano

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