Okinawa Festival On Oahu!

Kaid Nickl, Reporter

Ever wondered what it would be like to travel to Okinawa? This year’s Labor Day weekend gave thousands the opportunity to do this without even leaving the island! The 2015 Okinawan Festival, held at Kapiolani park, was a spectacle to behold.

Held on Sep. 5th and 6th, the 2015 Okinawa Festival was a bustling beehive of culture. Food stands contained goodies from Okinawa such as andagi, (An Okinawan donut of sorts, with no hole.) nishime, (Vegetable stew) and champuru.(An Okinawan stir fry dish.)

Another very popular reason people come from afar is the entertainment that the festival provides. Performances include different forms of drumming, traditional dancing, and even a Bon Dance on Saturday night that is open to all! Also of note are ShiShimai dogs, a protective guardian spirit that eat bad spirits and keep in good ones. These ShiShimai, however, are manned by two people, (Not too dissimilar to a two man cow Halloween costume.) or, in a twist this year, a tiny one person dog with a six year-old child in it!

One group that many people look forward to is the Ryukyukoku Matsuri Daiko drumming, a group founded by Akemi Martin. These drummers are unique in that instead of using large, stationary drums, they hold slightly smaller drums in front of their stomach, supported with a shoulder strap.

The Okinawan festival is a sight to behold. Thousands of participants bustling around the area immerse you in Okinawan culture. One booth begs at you to look at how traditional Okinawan vegetables are prepared. Another asks you to try an Anda-dog. (A hot dog dipped in andagi dough, then fried) Sometimes there are so many choices, you don’t know where to go.

The Okinawa Festival looks forward to seeing you next year!