Category Archives: Festival

High School and Hawaiian Festivals

Events abound in Japan’s Autumn, and although the weather still feels of summer, Fall is definitely in swing. This weekend saw a slew of events on Kume Island, dissimilar but also with underlying threads of culture to connect them. High School Festival Kume Island has only one high school for the entire island. It has a variety of classes for its students, but with such a wide range of classes it is difficult for them to fit every activity into

2014 Firefly Festival

First off, thanks for sticking with me during my last two weeks off. With Golden Week and a lot going on at OTEC Okinawa I haven’t had as much time to devote to the blog as I would like. A few weeks ago Kume Island celebrated Spring with its annual Firefly Festival. Though one of the smaller festivals it turned out to be quite a lot of fun. The Firefly festival takes place along jinjin (named for the sound describing

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

2013 Kume Island Ha-ri-

The Ha-ri- races are a yearly event on Kume Island. This year they took place on June 12 at three locations around the island.  This year I stuck to the Maja area where locals and students gathered together for a day of races and fun in the water. While the races are the primary attraction, there is also generally a ball-toss game for the nursery school children and a tug-of-war.  There are numerous races from both locals and school participants.

2013 Kume Island Festival Day 2

August 18 schedule Time Event 16:30-18:00 Okinawan Sumo Competition 17:45-18:15 Charachter Show – Masked Wizards 18:20-18:40 Award Ceremony 18:45-19:05 Tunnaha Eisa 19:10-19:30 Student Performance 19:35-19:50 Kumejima’s Tourism ‘Lady’ Introduction 19:55-20:25 Raffle Drawing 20:30-21:30 Special Live Concert – Dynamites 21:30~ Fireworks Countdown The second day of the 2013 Kume Island Festival was a much different affair than the first day.  Where day one was focused on the giant tug of war, the second day was full of performances and fun for

2013 Kume Island Festival Day 1

Every year, Kume Island hosts a two-day festival in August, usually right before the Okinawan obon holidays.  This year, the festival took place on August 18th and 19th.  While many of the events, booths, and entertainments were similar to last year, this year marked the return of the giant tug-o-war.  For a bit of the history, skip down to the More on Kume Festival section. 2013 Schedule August 16 Time Event 16:00-17:15 Young Live – High School performance 17:45 Opening

Daidoge Festival in To-gatta

A few weeks ago, I traveled to Zao Machi in Miyagi Prefecture with the local Tunnaha Daiko group while they performed at the Daidoge festival on June first and second in the To-gatta area.  The festival was a street fair with the entire street near the local onsen being shut down.  Jugglers, musicians, magicians, acrobats, comedians, and more descended on the street for two full days of performances. The artists performed at “stages” during scheduled times, competing amongst each other

2013 Kume Island Firefly Festival

Most small communities throughout Japan have several festivals throughout the year to celebrate milestones along the way.  The largest festivals are usually derivatives of the traditional harvest festival, while smaller festivals usually are tied to specific events.  On Kume Island, the start of spring is marked by the arrival of fireflies. Since Kumejima has its own species of firefly, they have become an important symbol of the island.  The official character is even a Kumejima Firefly.  Aside from Kume Island, fireflies are

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