Monday, August 19, 2019
That's exactly what I said one night in an entertainment district of Nago, Okinawa.
A gal who spoke English asked where I came from and I said, "Kin Town."
She said she likes to go there to buy Faceburgers. They sold them at King Tacos.
Her explanation was, "It's a hamburger, as big around as an Okinawan's face."
Now, you know what a Faceburger is, too.
Over the years, I've met many Okinawans, who call the huge hamburgers, Faceburgers.
They are getting hard to come by these days but, I found one to show you.
First I should explain something. Last night I went out and tipped a few too many.
Today, I was feeling rather extinguished. So, I decided to buy supper out in town.
That way the little lady, wouldn't have to fire up the stove and have a hot kitchen.
The burger on the right is a normal-sized hamburger. Mine is on the left.
That's a Faceburger from Gate 1 but, they call it Jumbo Burger.
Don't try ordering a Faceburger, young folks won't understand you.
It's best to just point at things on the menu if, you can't speak the local language.
Any of those 450 Yen Jumbo Burgers would be the Faceburger not, the 300 Yen size.
My favorite is the Jumbo Pork Cutlet Burger.
If they had a real USDA 100% Beef Hamburger I'd be willing to pay 10 bucks for one.
One of these days, I might have to open my own damn Faceburger Joint. Hah!
For folks interested in other types of junk food, I took these iPhone menu shots.
The staff at Gate-1 were nice to me and fixed my food in a hurry.
So, feeling not-as-extinguished as I did before eating, I thought I'd share the menus with y'all.
End of Report
Ogimi Ungami 2019
Ungami is a matsuri (festival) held in northern Okinawa on one of the hottest days of the year.
Luckily, some cloud cover and a gang of cooperative gals helped with the photography.
There is plenty of activity at this festival such as prayers, dance and boat races.
It can be frustrating, trying to compose decent photos at a matsuri.
Sometimes hundreds of photographers show up at these cultural events and, ruin the day.
Yesterday was no exception and we sneaked away from the crowds to find these ladies.
They were practicing dances before entering the congested area of the festival.
Prints will be made and brought to the Community Center, I promised.
The highlight of my day at the festival was being part of an audience of two, right here.
We were away from the crowds and got treated like royalty!
MORE: Festival in Ogimi
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Full Moon and Eisa
Just a quick post to show some of last night's activity under the August full moon.
This photo was taken shortly after 8 PM with 420 MM worth of lens on the Pentax K1.
Before leaving the house to chase Eisa, I climbed up on the roof for this shot.
That way, the heavy lens, and tripod could be left behind, to lighten my load.
This group was performing in a parking lot, as I climbed the hill into town.
Recently, children may be seen dancing and drumming along with the Eisa teams.
Some of them have uniforms, just like the big guys.
In town, you could hear the music and feel the ground shake.
If there was an award for the best jumping act by an Eisa team, these guys would win!
By 11 PM I was exhausted from watching Eisa and headed home.
Of course, all that work made me hungry so, I grabbed a chicken salad going out of town.
When Ancestors Spirits Visit
The past few evenings I've been out chasing the Eisa teams in Kin Town.
A few times the moon at less than 100% full, peeked through the clouds.
Tonight is the final evening of Obon and, the full moon, as well.
Here's a shot of the moon taken from my house on the 13th of August 2019.
Not completely round, it's at about 98% full but, I figured it would be best to capture now.
A typhoon to the north has been bringing plenty of clouds over our island.
Eisa photography actually began in the afternoon, where these characters performed.
It was at the old folks home in my neighborhood and the team was well received.
It would be after 9 PM before I saw any Eisa groups downtown
Notice, some little tykes are part of the Eisa crowd these days.
It seems there are too many old folks and, not enough youngsters to perform Eisa these days!
The Chondara (sort of a clown) entertains those on the sidelines.
They also, bring cold drinks to the Eisa dancers, to keep them energized on these hot nights.
Narrow, dark streets are light up by floodlights on vehicles accompanying the Eisa groups.
Sometimes, the lighting blinds the dancers and photographers, too.
Close to 10:30 PM this dancer was well lighted in front of a white background.
He's performing in front of a restaurant, so new, I haven't figured out what it is named, yet.
Last night's moon was at a bit over 99% full so, I grabbed this shot, while I could.
The moon will be full at around 9:30 tonight but, may not appear over Okinawa.
Wait and see.
It's a good thing those drums are loud. We wouldn't want to see anyone fall asleep.
Look at the little guy (upfront), his eyes are wide open. It's past 10:30 PM.
Some of the most energetic Eisa drummers you'll ever see, perform with this group.
They really know how to jump and shout.
Close to midnight, I photographed this Chondara and, got thinking.
It would be best, to hurry home and get some sleep.
That way, I'd be refreshed for the final night of moon and Obon photography.
To be continued.....
Friday, August 9, 2019
Different Sort of Matsuri
Activities take place at several locations, during this festival, starting and ending here.
The straw-roofed structure is known as an asagi or Kami-Asagi.
Consider it a worship house, a place where a priestess prays to the sacred deities.
Arriving at the village of Ada a bit late, I missed the prayers at this location and moved on.
Being a bit late gave me an excuse to skip climbing the mountains in the blistering hot sun.
The men (decorated with vegetation) came down from the hills on a trail bordering the river.
Following the drummer, they are chanting "Hey, Ho, Hoi" or something like that.
Three groups of men following drummers, converge on this field bordered with banana plants.
Women are waiting in the open space, where the men circle around them.
The guys used tree branches to shoo away evil spirits up in the hills above the village.
Down on the outskirts of town, they use the sticks to swat evil spirits out of their women!
It's not some sort of domestic violence. Just ritual smacks of the sticks on the gal's heads.
Look close enough and you can see them smiling or laughing.
At some of the homes in the village, I noticed mothers holding their children up to be swatted.
A sacred grove, in the center of the village, is visited by the chanting, drumming men.
Only about five minutes is spent here circling the area before, shooing away evil spirits.
Facing the sea, men kneel and pray for a good catch and safety during the season.
Rituals and prayers have been conducted in the fields, on the mountains, and along the shore.
After marching under the hot sun, it's time to get rid of the itchy decorations of the jungle.
A quick dip in the ocean cools our heroes off before they head back into town.
Many of them will jump in the river, to rinse off the saltwater before heading home.
About a three-hour break in the schedule takes place before the next events.
A field in front of the Kami-Asagi becomes center stage for the rest of the festival.
To the sound of Sanshin (3 stringed banjoes) a ritual dance is performed.
Women give the orders here, instructing men on the planting of rice.
Let's just call this a pole dance, the men are doing. Women are watching the men smiling, too.
When they poke that thing into the straw roof, I guess that could be considered the climax.
As the sun begins dipping below the mountains, women perform dances in their kimonos.
Ahum, eligible females would be wearing white uniforms. Other gals are leading the dance.
Before long, it becomes dark outside and the dances become more quickly paced.
Visitors along the sidelines are sitting on mats eating and drinking alcoholic spirits.
Time for me, to put the cameras away and do some socializing before, heading home.
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