Category Archives: Events

2014 Rakuten Eagles Spring Camp Begins

This year’s national baseball champions in Japan were the  Tohoku Rakuten Eagles. As Champions you might expect a bit of extra attention from the media and a lot of interest in their spring training. Normally based out of Miyagi prefecture, every year the Rakuten Eagles come to Kume Island in February to train for the upcoming season. On February 1, the Eagles kicked off their camp with a ceremony at the Kume Island Stadium, with tons of fans from around

2014 Kume Island Sakura Festival

Once again the sakura begin to bloom again on Kume Island. With this year’s surprisingly warm winter weather the very first blossoms arrived on New Year’s day. Now, however, the bright colors of the many cherry trees are at their peak. The island celebrated the cherry blossoms with the annual sakura festival. Normally a two-day event, this year’s festival took place at the Fureai Park instead of the usual location Daruma Mountain. The reason for the change was the growing

Okinawan Culture in Dance and Song

This past weekend the Okinawa cultural promotion association in partnership with the Kume Island Board of Education hosted a free night of song and dance at the Gushikawa Community center on Kumejima. The event, titled Dentou Tenou Kouen (伝統芸能公演) or Traditional Arts Performance, was a two-part evening with a mixture of traditional music, dance, and plays. The majority of the performances were in the Okinawan dialect hogen, which most people no longer regularly speak. Along with the performances were subtitles

2013 Kume Island Shrimp Festival

Just two days ago, on November 23, Kume Island held its annual Kuruma Shrimp Festival. The festival is small, but popular with visitors coming from outside of Okinawa for a unique chance to see and taste the prized shrimp (they’re actually prawns but you get the idea). The festival started off with the usual welcoming speeches by the town tourism office, mayor, and shrimp industry representatives. Workers from the four local farms and the Okinawa shrimp cooperative sent the season’s

2013 Japan Writers Conference

Every year the Japan Writers Conference is an event that is free and open to the public. Those who write in English provide presentations, discussions, and workshops on a variety of subjects. Though thrown by writers for writers, it is a great opportunity for those interested in the creative process to gain new insight into a variety of fields. This year the JWC took place in Nishihara, Okinawa on November second and third. It was my first time attending the

2013 Kume Island Marathon

Every year the Kume Island Marathon draws participants from around the world. This year a typhoon almost managed to cancel the event (ferries were canceled), but still several hundred people managed to make their way onto the ferry. As with last year, I was asked to do photography for the event. I started out at Miifugaa, but then worked my way around to a few other locations. I ended up with over a thousand photos total from the day. I’ve edited

TV and Dating in Japan

Television shows are a window into the culture of their target audience. They’re built to entertain but also be full of images that people can relate to. When viewing television from another culture, it is often easy to immediately see cultural differences that might lead to stereotypes or misunderstandings. Though I’ve lived in Japan for quite a while, I’ve never really made the transition to watching much Japanese TV. When friends started asking me if I was interested in participating

Crystal Kite in Tokyo

This past weekend I was in Tokyo to attend and speak at the 2013 SCBWI Japan Showcase. While I was there, I was presented with the 2013 Crystal Kite award for the Asia/India/Middle East region.  My debut novel Samurai Awakening won this year’s peer chosen award. It was an honor to receive the award and I was able to meet many other Japan-based writers.  The trophy was presented by Regional Adviser Holly Thompson, author of The Language Inside. While I was

2013 Kanegusuku Festival and Shishimai

Every few years at the largest full moon of the year there is a small festival in the Kanegusuku area of Kume Island.  As with many events in Okinawa, the date of the event is based on the kyureki (lunar) calendar.  While this means that the event is on a different day each year, the lunar timing means that the event always takes place at a full moon.  In this case, August 15th of the kyureki calendar. This particular festival

2013 Gima Obon Festival

Obon in Japan takes place at different times throughout the year.  In Okinawa it took place over three days from August 29-21. On the second night, communities throughout Kume Island celebrate together. Since all of the small festivals take place at the same time, it’s hard to see all of them.  This year I visited the largest festival since I was talked into buying raffle tickets in advance (they help pay for the fireworks and event materials).  This year the

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