During our 3 years here in Okinawa we came in saying we would try to experience as much as we could while we were here. Summer, although unbearably hot a lot of days, is the time for Okinawa festivals. For a small island you can pretty much find at least one festival every weekend. Some smaller than others, and most with a flair much like we experience in the US – food stalls, games, dancing and performers.
Yesterday we ventured out to one of the larger festivals on the island – 10,000 Eisa Festival. Eisa dancing/drumming originated here in Okinawa and most of the festivals feature these groups. They certainly put their heart into it when they’re performing!
Most groups are men and women, but some of the groups feature small children as well and it’s amazing to see what they can do at such a young age. The groups often feature several Chondara Clowns, which is exactly what it sounds like – Japanese clowns dancing around.
These 2 were definitely 2 of my favorite Chondara and even interacted with the children in the audience!
I really felt for all the drummers, dancers and clowns out there yesterday. The heat index was well over 100 and they were in multiple layers, long pants, long sleeves and painted faces. I was whiney enough with the few clothes I had on so I just couldn’t imagine performing in the heat. They did it with gusto though!