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The Tonaki Song June 1, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Language, Music.
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One night on Tonaki Island, we went out to this seawall with Sigrunn, new friends Kinjo and Saya, the pink guitar, the recorder, two bottles of awamori and some panda chocolates. Here was the result:

This song utilizes some traditional elements of Okinawan folk and pop music:
1) Hogen phrases (akisamiyo = oh my god, deji = very)
2) Musical battle cry “iia za za!” (a vocable = lyrics with no lexical meaning)
3) Finger whistling (yubi bue)
4) Lyrics about a drunken creeper (a.k.a. Yamada Denki)
5) Power derived from distilled liquor (and chocolates)

Now to wax poetic. (more…)


Contemporary Sanshin & Kachashi Dance April 20, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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The other day we saw a supposedly famous Okinawan singer, Yogi-san. She’s a prime example of classical music in a contemporary context.

She also offered a beginners’ lesson in kachashi, the traditional folk dance. This was after a full day of awamori taste-testing, so most of the people in this room are pretty soused.

Lo-res is the best res. Not really, but that’s all we’ve got for video.

Post-Fishing Pork Soba March 9, 2010

Posted by Jojo in Food and Drink.
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There’s no better way to treat your hangover and food coma from the previous night than drinking more and eating tons of soba and pork spare ribs for breakfast the morning after. This restaurant in particular was perfect because not only was the food hell of good, but the atmosphere was absolutely serene.

Tom and Elisa chilling.

Me and Sigrunn excited for our generous helpings of soba. We also got 70-year-old awamori on the house because Kashima was friends with the owner!

Ben and Takeshi didn’t get the greatest night of sleep.

Takeshi and Kashima getting genki’d up.

Booze Schmooze March 5, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Food and Drink.
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The other night we went to a fancy party in Naha celebrating the launch of a new brand of awamori, the Okinawan version of sake. Whereas sake is made of fermented rice, awamori is distilled Thai rice. It has a kind of floral taste, it doesn’t burn your throat, and my dad swears it can’t give you a hangover. I can stand to drink it, which means a lot coming from me.

The other girl here is Sigrunn, our fellow intern from Norway. Here’s her Japan-trip blog — it’s fun to try to read Norwegian! Together we ate about 40 two-inch sandwiches each and schmoozed in broken Japanese with some businessmen speaking broken English.