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I ♥ Street Art April 14, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Other Arts.
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This guy shows up a lot.


Filipino Soul Food April 14, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Food and Drink.
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People keep telling us that Filipinos are the largest minority on Okinawa. This was hard to believe since we never saw any Filipino restaurants, but yesterday in Koza Music Town we found four in a three-block radius!

We enjoyed chicken adobo and lumpia while watching a Filipino William Shatner and a Filipina Salma Hayek judge “Pilipinas Got Talent.”

Court Music Concert February 21, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Music.
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Okinawa’s geographic location between mainland Japan, Southeast Asia, Korea and Taiwan makes it an ideal position for the U.S. Armed Forces. But more importantly, the strategic position allows pan-Asian influence on the music. We got to see examples of the resulting product last night at the Korinza theater in Koza, a free concert of traditional Okinawan court music and dance.

The plucked sanshin came from China to Japan via the Ryukyus (and later evolved into the better-know shamisen). The Japanese koto zither bares strong resemblance to the Korean kayageum (conflicting stories on which one came first). Certain dance costumes are borrowed from the Chinese, and certain emphatic hand movements are borrowed from Indonesia.

The opening piece featured 39 sanshins/singers, nine kotos, one shakuhachi bamboo flute, one fiddle and one drummer.

My favorite piece was with a smaller ensemble and these two dancers. Our friend Michiko-san told us it’s a fishing song from Onna Village (where we moved to today). The sanshins and kotos play in unison, and the dancers correlate most with the drums.

All the songs were sung in hogen, the native Okinawan language. It’s no longer taught in schools and has largely fallen out of everyday use, so probably this is the only medium in which the dialect will survive.

Teruya Music February 17, 2010

Posted by Jojo in Music.
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Teruya Music in Koza is the first music store I have been to in Okinawa. It’s not an enormous store, but there’s a pretty neat record selection and lots of guitars, basses, and random music toys. I walked out fairly proud that I had been fiscally responsible, but I only caught a glimpse of the J-pop cassette section on my way out, so I will probably be heading back in the near future to spend lots of money.

My first non-food purchase in Okinawa: The Legend (produced by Aria) pink half-size guitar. The best part is that it’s a $70 guitar that actually sounds good.

Allan and I also bought Otamatones. It’s sort of like a Stylophone with a face.