Rice is cooking, cocoa is steaming (complete with marshmallows and candy cane, of course), the laundry is spinning, and the wind is beating at my door. The mood is set for a peaceful Monday evening: the perfect atmosphere for blogging. Ahhh.
As promised, here is the blog of cherry blossoms (sakura, in Japanese): my experience with the time-honored Japanese tradition of hanami, or sakura viewing.
Spring has arrived in Okinawa!
Traditionally, --mmm... rice is done, just a moment...
Traditionally, small parties would gather beneath the trees to feast, drink, and soak up the beauty of the transient little flowers. These parties have developed into large festivals where hundreds of people gather to drink, enjoy live music and entertainment, and eat wonderful festival food. I am obsessed with festival food.
Speaking of festival food, take a gander at this beaut! Chocolate-covered sprinkled banana (which would have been even better frozen). Yummy! I picked up this delectable snack at the first festival of the weekend.
The Yaese Town Festival!
This is definitely not the biggest festival on the island, but it is the most local. :) The drive up to the festival site was only about five minutes from my apartment, but parking took another ten or so, and then we had to shuttle from the parking lot.
I want to name my future daughter "Sakura" :P
I attended the festival with my beautiful friends and fellow JETs, A and K. It was K's birthday, too, so we had even more cause to celebrate. Our first stop of the afternoon was, of course, the concession stands. Have I mentioned that I love festival food? I immediately ordered some yakitori (grilled chicken on a stick), but devoured it too quickly to take a photo.
Instead, I took a picture of A eating her food. :)
Next, K and I faced off in a little shooting game. We didn't keep track of who hit the cans the most, but we definitely got quite a few good shots in, despite K's claims that she didn't know how to hold a gun!
She is a natural gunswoman. ;)
I just look awkward.
We walked away with some pretty exciting prizes: two pink panther inflatable toy/weapons!
They came attached to long rubber bands which we held on to while ruthlessly beating each other. Everywhere we went, children giggled and adults groaned. We totally act our ages!
Speaking of children, four little girls approached us while we were photographing some blossoms and practiced their English with us. :) They were surprisingly good for such young girls. Later, they approached us again as we were playing more games and winning more toys, and they were so cute and big-eyed that we gave each of them an inflatable toy.
Then, I attacked them!
I chased them around with one of the toys and they had to use their toys as self-defense.
It was a blast. :)
Don't they look terrified?
My best photos of the day were taken after I spotted a gorgeous butterfly on the blossoms.
This is one of about thirty photos I took of that little guy. :P
The three of us all snapped away at about 10 photos a second. So lucky to catch such a beautiful sight.
We only stayed an hour or so, but fit in a lot of adventure and laughs. We had a few moments of beautiful blue sky, and the temperature was comfortable. Pretty great conditions for the first hanami festival of the weekend!
Oi, I was going to blog both festivals in this post, but this has already taken me two days! (On and off).
Stay tuned for the Nago festival, if you are still interested by then. :)