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The Sugarcane Recordings June 25, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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Out in the country in Sashiki, the buzzes and drones from nocturnal critters was enthralling. So on our last night there, I convinced Jojo to sneak out of the house with me around 1 a.m. We sat in the middle of a dark sugarcane field and recorded some new songs with atmospheric accompaniment.

“International Cutie Pies”

“Moe Meguro”


“Manhole”?! Oh. May 2, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Other Arts, Photos.
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When my mom first returned to Okinawa five years ago, she took photos of a bunch of manhole covers. They have really unique designs, often denoting a particular neighborhood or district. I thought I better continue the project:

Tonaki Island




And my mom’s finished product

Jungle Shrine April 12, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in History, Music, Photos.
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Last week we went to Seifa-utaki, the holiest of holy sites for one of the oldest civilizations on Okinawa. Hidden away in Nanjo City, none of its buildings still stand, but the cathedralesque foliage and rock formations are beauty enough.

If I understand correctly, this sacred area was used as the religious counterpart to Shuri Castle, home of the Ryukyu Kingdom royalty. This area was the shrine’s entrance, which only royalty could pass through.

During the Battle of Okinawa, a bomb fell at this murky pond. We saw a lady singing a hippie American song as a prayer for peace.

In another area, two pots collect holy water drops from giant stalactites, which were used to foretell the fortunes of the highest priestess and the prince.

It was pretty baffling to walk as a tourist around this centuries-old religious hub in the jungle, to see what Okinawa was like before Chinese invasion, mainland invasion, U.S. invasion. And to think, what could it be like now?

On our way out, a man at the entrance was presenting an offering of tangerines and saying a prayer at lightning speed. Please excuse the twig-broom maintenance noises:

Island Life Soundbite April 10, 2010

Posted by Elisa Hough in Music.
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One of my favorite things about Okinawa is the town-wide public announcements. They’re usually about some kind of community event — a baseball game or a movie screening — but it’s nearly impossible to decipher since all the dogs in the town start barking at the opening chime. And that’s even if you understand Japanese!

Today’s afternoon announcement in Sashiki was simply a recording of a popular folk song. Hope you enjoy this rough recording: