Last Saturday I went to Spitalfields market, where a small community gathered to celebrate Okinawa culture. There was music and food, and even karate! The event was very small, but had a great vibe to it, and made a great afternoon family activity.
At the centre of the event, we had performers, who played pretty much all day long.
And the musicians were sometimes accompanied by eisa dancers. Eisa is a type of folk dance that originated in Okinawa. Although it was primarily a dance used during the obon festival, a festival to honor the dead, nowadays many shows and parades in Okinawa incorporate this style of dance.
There was one musician I liked in particular: Kumiko Suzuki. She is one of the liveliest and happiest I have ever seen.
You can find a few more videos of her drumming on YouTube which are really entertaining to watch. And if you like the dancing and music, you can find out more about the London Okinawa Sanshinkai performers on their website here.
While I was waiting to watch the Karate I went around the the stalls that were there. I met Ali, from Haikugirl’s Japan, who I hadn’t seen in awhile, as well as Fran from Sequins and Cherry Blossoms and Sophie from Sophie’s Japan Blog for the very first time. It was like a mini reunion of bloggers 🙂
After leaving Inside Japan’s stall, I stopped by the Ealing Japanese Mums & Friends stall, where they had a little game of yo-yo balloons, or yo-yo tsuri. This is a very popular game that you will often find at matsuris. The object of the game is to quite literally fish for a yo-yo balloon. To be honest before Okinawa Day I had never heard of Ealing Japanese Mums and Friends. I was very glad to speak to Chizaru san though who told me a little bit about their charity. The charity was created in 2011 after the Great Japan earthquake and Tsunami that year, and they have been raising money ever since by organising small events. Of course they also attend event such as Okinawa Day. You will also find them at the next Japan Matsuri in October, so be sure to pop by 😉
And after that I just had to have takoyaki before the karate began 😀
Karate is a martial art that originated in Okinawa. So it was only normal we got a small demonstration of it that day. Watching them reminded me of the good old day I used to do Ju Jitsu and Kung Fu (and how lazy I’ve become 😦 ).
Another thing I enjoyed at this event, was seeing all the families enjoying themselves, especially the children.
But the best part was the finale!
It was really great to be able to join in with everyone at the end! It was so much fun, that when it ended everyone asked for an encore…