Do You Hear What I Hear?

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/27/2004 @ 7:16 am

Well if the latest rumor I heard is correct, then not only did the organizers of the upcoming New Year’s Eve event fail to disclose full details to all of the street association members, they totally failed to notify or get feed-back from daytime business owners as well! New Year’s Eve is one of the busiest days of the year for some of those daytime businesses (and night-time businesses as well). By closing the street to traffic, the event organizers are preventing deliveries to and from those businesses. This is beginning to sound more and more like someone on a major ego trip forcing an unwanted event down all of the throats of many of the street’s more successful businesses.

Swan Song?

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/25/2004 @ 9:40 am

Coming from a culture where individuals are taught to fend for themselves, living in a “group” based society always leads to interesting observations and questions. In a previous post I posed questions concerning a Gate 2 Street situation. Another topic that pops into my mind as far as MY misconstruing local situations is if a person or business has made it clear that they wish to remain an independent entity, why would a “group” constantly promote the appearance of anything other than that? Especially if the independent entity is, as the group would like everyone to believe, of no consequence. Why wouldn’t any group want a situation to be discussed openly and honestly? Could it be that former and ongoing situations have led to a lack of trust in the group by the public? And could it be that only through further deceit can the group continue to fight for its existence?

City Sidewalks, Busy Sidewalks

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/24/2004 @ 5:16 am

Even though I help my husband by volunteering each week at the bar, as an American wife of a local national I am often considered by some of the locals as nothing more than a nuisance that barely exists. Rarely are any of my observations taken seriously. But there have been several changes that have taken affect recently that bring-up some very interesting questions. With the sudden onslaught of youth-oriented events being promoted on Gate 2 Street, by persons that do not own or run a business on the street, one might get the impression that someone somewhere is trying to reinvent the image of the area in preparation for the new “Music Town” project that is to begin shortly. One questions is – if these same people are so concerned with the image of the area, why aren’t they doing anything about all the alcoholic beggars that confront Gate 2 Street pedestrians practically 24/7? We were driving in the area this afternoon and sure enough one of the beggars rushed-up to two young women who were waiting for a crosswalk light to change. Every night there seems to be groups of these confrontational moochers all over the street. Not only are they an eyesore, with empty beverage and food containers strewn about them, they often get belligerent as a person tries to walk by them. When are these types of situations going to be taken care of? Or are the situations not important enough because there is no money in it?

Let It Snow

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/22/2004 @ 8:22 pm

Here it is almost Christmas Eve. This year it’s difficult to get into a festive mood. The one company that used to distribute eggnog off base discontinued the product years ago. Mom Nature isn’t cooperating. The North winds haven’t begun to kick in. During the daytime, we’re still running the air conditioner as we drive around the island. Many local residents feel no necessity to wear more than short-sleeved t-shirts. Winter sweaters, ear muffs, and gloves are nowhere to be found. People on the island in general, just don’t seem to be in the usual jolly frame of mind. What we could use is a good old-fashioned Christmas miracle of a white Christmas. But since this is a subtropic island, there’s no chance of that ever happening. I hope everyone has a very safe and happy holiday season anyway.

Splish Splash

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/16/2004 @ 11:38 pm

Earlier this week Taki and I finally had the opportunity to visit the new marine exhibit at Expo Park. It opened a little over a year ago, but we wanted to wait for the “newness” of it to wane so we wouldn’t be “sardined.” I hadn’t been to the park since the ’80s and this was quite the surprise. The size and array of Okinawan specimens, well, just totally “blew me away!” The dolphin show was a cute outside break from the semi-packed marine museum. But the most enjoyable feature of this park is the caf. There a person can sip a beverage while sitting “face to face” with the marine life. It is as close to scuba diving a person can get, without facing the claustrophobic anxiousness. Outside, in the ample park grounds, there are numerous creative displays of botany and shisa art. Other than the ongoing shrieks of amazement from bus loads of school girls, this “tourist” site is very well organized and worth the long drive up north.

Carry On

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/11/2004 @ 8:19 am

It’s always sad to see a person take a destructive path in life. This is especially true if the person is a colleague or peer. Unfortunately, when some people reach the pinnacle of their careers, it changes them in a way that makes it virtually impossible to continue life as “normal” person. This can be true in the Okinawan rock n roll world. Recently, a local 70s rock music icon showed that he is unable to function in life as an everyday person. Since this was part of a destructive antisocial pattern he has chosen in the past ten years, the news media was quick to jump on it. His actions and the manner in which it was covered by the media tend to present a negative view of the overall Okinawan rock music scene. What the media fails to divulge is that this particular person has not really been active on the local music scene since the early ’90s. In addition, there are many local musicians who have been able to make a living in the music field without being antisocial and/or self destructive. Almost every day of the week a person can find some local venue presenting live rock music being performed by talented and conscientious musicians. But, I guess that’s not news

Seeing Orange

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/9/2004 @ 5:46 am

Taki just informed me of further confirmation of New Year’s Eve plans by a Japanese television network to air an event on Gate 2 Street this year. If this were about promoting the music scene of Okinawa, it would be great. (But that is not what this is about.) If a network wanted to air the real Okinawan music scene, all they would have to do is have a remote TV crew go from venue to venue. Everywhere bustles on New Year’s Eve. The organizers of this event, once again, are showing poor judgment. The main entertainment for this “special” is, once again, Orange Range. The fan base for this particular J-pop group consists of a very young audience. The venue they have chosen to hold the event at has an after-hour consumer base that usually ranges in age 20 and older! (Although, on occasion, some rock ‘n’ roll loving, cola-sipping, older teens can be found in the vicinity.) If the organizers really want to reponsibly air such a youth-based special from Okinawa, they should choose a more appropriate venue.

Have Another Hit?

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/7/2004 @ 9:48 pm

On Okinawa one of the more difficult subjects to adjust to as a foreigner, or more specifically an American, is the animosity towards the subject of alcohol. We own a bar, there’s nothing wrong in that. But there has to be some sort of responsibility in the fact that others may not comprehend the negative affects of alcohol and “fun.” Alcohol is so prevalent in Japanese society that I have seen a “little league” baseball team fund raiser being promoted by pictures of the elementary school team on bottles of awamori, the Okinawan version of sake. Although the law states no one under twenty can purchase alcoholic beverages, it isn’t uncommon to see children of various ages run to the local store to pick-up alcoholic beverages for their parents. I get quite the evil-eye when I disallow minors to purchase such beverages for their parents at our bar. My view on the subject is if someone has to send a child to get their beverage then maybe they really don’t need it.

Different Strokes

Filed under:☽2004,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on @ 8:14 pm

On Sunday, Taki and I went to a charity event in Ginowan. The event was a culmination of various traditional-style Okinawan music and dances. One of the participants was an American friend of ours that had joined a dance troupe about six months ago. Similar troupes from the island voluntarily gathered for the charity event. We knew about his participation in the local culture, but had no idea he what was to spring on us. With the local style of dance, there are female as well as male parts. So, the last thing we expected was our friend to suddenly appear fully decked-out in a female role – make-up, wig, and all! Although his golden-colored fans were trembling, he was great. Another part of the event that was extremely enjoyable for me was when “senior” local citizens, up to age 85, performed a Cuban-style samba with impressive agility. Over all, the performances were what the locals would call “tottemo tanoshi! If you ever get the chance, I would recommend attending one of these types of events.


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