A friend of mine asked me if I was free 21st June to go to Okinawa day. this was something I had never heard of of. Okinawa is a prefecture made up of thousands of islands, south of Kyushu. The largest Island is named Okinawa Shima, or Okinawa Island, the mission of Okinawa Association U.K and London Okinawa Sanshinkai who organise the event is to promote Okinawan culture further in the U.K in order to strengthen our existing relationship between the U.K and Okinawa.
This event has occurred annually since 2009 in the Uk and they hope to strengthen the relationship between the UK and Okinawa through the annual events. They also encourage more and more U.K audiences to participate in future Okinawa related events and to create an Okinawa cultural hub in the UK.
This particular Okinawa day is before the 23rd June which is a memorial day in Okinawa to commemorate the final battle day where more than 200.000 lives were lost at the end of WWll.
Okinawa Day was held outside at Spittlefield market in London to celebrate Okinawan culture with a variety of events. They demonstrate the spirit of Uta-no-hi (A day of Songs) started in Okinawa in 2001 by BEGIN, a popular blues band. Uta-no-hi's purpose is to appreciate and celebrate Uta (Songs) which bring joy to their lives as well as to help overcome the hardships of life.
We had a great demonstration of Okinawan dancing with drummers and they even did a workshop to show audience members how to do the dance and drum.It was great to see a huge range of people in the audience from young children to the older generation coming to learn and immerse themselves in the culture
So we had a variety of singers perform folk songs, Jpop songs and had a great ensemble with Hide the Guitar player with Hibiki the top Shamishen player in the UK and Akari singing her harmonious melodies.
We also had some live Karete demonstrations which showed stances with different weapons and also a display of strength with the demonstrators withstanding bamboo sticks.
Amongst the entertainment they also had delicious food on sale including Nice Ice - perfect for the hot weather, Taponyaki (octopus balls) and even a Tea ceremony demonstration for people to participate it.
Alongside the food they had lots of stalls selling merchandise including key rings, fans, plushes, flower headbands and a few travel agents including Japan Journey's offering bespoke holidays to suit your interests at reasonable prices. Why not indulge in a manga orientated tour ? Go to http://www.japanjourneys.co.uk/site/ for more information on planning your perfect Japanese holiday.
Poppy Daisy Handmade Flower Headbands happened to have been set up in the area where lots of ladies and children jumped at the chance to adorn their heads in flowers. She sold flower headbands, clips anything to do with flowers. Selling them for six years, the owner is from Sweden, where it is traditional to use flowers in celebrations. Buy some of her creations online from poppydaisy.com as well as popping into Spittlefield market on a Saturday.
It was a great family day out and entry was free!
For more photos of the event go here:
For more information on the organisations involved or the day itself go to: