As I was posting Koza (1974) pictures to the Ryukyu-no (Okinawan) Rock ??????℠ website, I began thinking about how some things go full circle. In those days on Okinawa, we would get out of Club Fire at about 5 in the morning. As we walked down the street, we would have to be careful not to step the wrong way. If you did misstep, your foot and half of your leg would end-up in a benjo ditch (sewer). We don’t have to worry about benjo ditches very much anymore. Now when we walk home, it’s regurgitated food, broken bottles, yakitori (B-B-Q chicken) sauce, and passed-out beggars that compose the confidence course. Of course, in 1974 there were a few GIs that always blew off a little too much steam. After all, it was during the Vietnam era. In the past few years Gate 2 Street has, once again, developed into one of the main areas where GIs come to let off a little steam. This year is the first time since the ’70s that I have seen groups of Japanese police patroling the street on foot. One big difference is now there are many locals, young and old, mixed-in with the GIs and numerous American civilians that call Okinawa home, for one reason or another. Maybe twenty years of having the Gate 2/B.C. Street area to theirselves, has made the locals a little less willing to give-up the area. Perhaps, twenty years of basically peaceful communication has created a new generation of locals that are more open-minded to the differences in cultures. Or perhaps, they all just want to have fun!!!
Oh yes it’s summertime on Okinawa! True to form the typhoon season is threatening a postponement of the Peaceful Love Rock Festival. The only reason it’s held during one of the hottest months is because prior records showed that typhoons normally don’t strike the island in July. As if previous records matter two, not one, of the blow-hards are lurking at our door (one on each side of the island). For now, there is the saving grace of a high air pressure system hanging over us and fending off at least one of the massive wind systems.
Ahhhh, Monday morning and another weekend is over. As we begin our 11th year at the club, and my 8th year working there, certain customer behaviors never fail to amaze me. Each week I will list the main nonsensical behavior confronted on Okinawa.
Really!!!-Pet Peeve of the Week #1:
This past weekend the main ongoing nonsensical norm was individuals who think it’s their given right to bring in their own beverages. What drinking establishment is going to allow that to happen, really!!! I suppose they think they should be able to bring their own food to restaurants too! Not only do they try to bring in their own beverages, they become indignant (even confrontational) when told that no outside beverages are allowed. These aren’t one-time incidents, it’s the same people trying repeatedly to do the same thing, sometimes on the same night. If they honestly believe that this is a proper practice, let them open their own club. I bet it would be the most popular club in town, for the brief duration of its existence!
In other local news, Okinawa is hosting the annual Peaceful Love Rock Festival this week. Bands throughout Japan will be flying-in for the event, which is to be televised and broadcast over the internet at later dates. The week is full of local band practices, with each band trying to throw together a brief highlight of the tunes that make them popular with the locals. In hopes of expanding their fan bases, visiting bands contact all the club owners to book brief guest appearances at each venue and try to gain as much exposure to the locals as possible. And as the final days approach, ongoing incessant sound checks. Oh yes, Peaceful Love week is always a challenge that culminates is two days of exploding music.
Well, here it is Friday again. Who knew in 1973, when my father received orders for Kadena AB, that this would become my permanent home. After all the only reason I came here was because mom guilt-tripped me (mom’s are good at that) about giving one year of my life so Dad could see one of his children graduate high school. Little known to any of us, less than one year later (two weeks before graduation) I would meet the man I would marry walking down a street! Now 31 years later, we run a nightclub just a few blocks from that very street. Recently every Friday and Saturday night is spent dealing with an onslaught of inebriated fans who seemed to have forgotten the meaning of maturity and respect for other human beings. Of course, being away from stateside for so long, this is could just be indicative of the direction in which the American cultural norms have swung in general. After all, norms do tend to change over time.
Welcome to JAWing On© (Changed from Just JAWing when I found out that the phrase was copyrighted. My apologies to the drunkmenworkhere.org) – Life on Okinawa! It’s been quite a while since I’ve tried my hand or should I say my voice. I look forward to sharing my life as a foreigner on a subtropic Pacific island, as well as being a local rock musician’s wife (ugh, left stateside before things went politically correct….spouse!). Anyway, hopefully you will get a good laugh out of my experiences, and who knows maybe some food for thought!
"What Good Thing Happened to You Today?"
a Just A Wife creation copyright ©2004 - 2016 D. E. Furugen. all rights reserved.
Disclaimer: This site is not associated nor affiliated with ごやんサマ＠琉球のロック姉さん,
Japan Exchange and Teaching (JET) Programme,
or O.R.S. (Okinawa Rock Music Society)