Saturday, June 20, 2015

A Dozen Brightly Colored GIF Animations from Itoman City

dragon boat, Itoman Harbor

Annual Boat Races in Itoman Harbor



It seems like summer arrived a bit early this year.

Blue skies, most of the day, made it a perfect time for going outdoors and enjoying a festival.

pink and green uniforms, sabani boat, team

Before the sun came up, I was in the office, preparing cameras and lenses.

And, I left the lights on, knowing it would be after sunset by the time, I returned.

red team, sabani boat races, Hare

Most places in Okinawa call these Harii Boat Races.

Westerners usually call them dragon boat races.

In Itoman, the sabani boat races are called Hare and they signal the end of rainy season.

Coincidentally, the word hare, is Japanese for, sunshine.

sabani boat, racing

For events, like this, I carry two cameras and three sets of lenses.

It would be nice to photograph every team as they race and, I try but, usually miss a few.

boat, rowing, purple uniforms, team, flags

There are a few thousand spectators at these events.

Luckily, a local sabani team, invited me to stay in the shade of their tent, alongside the port.

purple and white uniforms,sabani boat race
When the sun gets directly overhead, a person could easily suffer heat stroke.

They even offered some cold beer but, I chose green tea instead.

pink and green uniforms, boat team, acing

The crowds go wild, cheering for their teams, while beating drums.

They have unusual colors for some of the team's uniforms and, it makes me glad.

I'm glad, I am not a fashion coordinator.  Oops!

red and white, uniforms, paddling, boat, team

Knowing it would be a very long camera day, I try to pace myself.

There is a lot more that will be going on at this festival than, just boat races.

3 boat teams, racing, paddling

Besides all the festival food and game booths for children, there's more.

Many people just come to watch or, participate in the sabani boat races.

watermellons, ducks, swimmers

Itoman is famous for the fishing ports and industry but, they have farmers, too.

Their contribution to the festival may be seen here.

Watermellons and ducks are thrown into the sea for festival-goers to catch.

And, whatever you catch, you get to take home, for free !

red boat team, priestess house, noro, dancing

 Very few people remain, after the boat races, for this cultural event.

Hang around with one of the sabani boat teams and follow them, into the evening.

They go to the home of a priestess (noro) after the races.

They enter the home to pray and drink some sake.

Before leaving, they carry their boat paddles, form a circle and, sing and dance.

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