Floating Room’s Upcoming EP “Shima”

Floating Room was recently featured in an NPR article for 11 Oregon Artists to Watch in 2021 and this little bit got me really excited:

Floating Room is set to release an EP called Shima on Famous Class Records in November.

https://www.npr.org/2021/06/02/1002272360/11-oregon-artists-to-watch-in-2021

I’m looking forward to listening to Shima and I have so many questions about it that will hopefully be answered when it’s released. Floating Room’s latest EP is Tired and True (just started listening to it again 😊) and it’s available on streaming services and on bandcamp.

7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Logo & Slogan Contest

via WUF

Showcase your creativity and earn fame and money by submitting a logo and/or a slogan for next year’s 7th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival! The application deadline is Friday, July 9, 2021, and the winner(s) will be announced in late August (subject to change). As the slogan can be emailed and multiple entries are being accepted, I’ll definitely be giving this a go.

Learn more about it and download the applications on the WUF2022 webpage. (h/t to @JTBUSA_Honolulu)

Freshly Made Spam & Egg Onigiri at Potama

Potama Waikiki

I recently went to check out a restaurant chain from Okinawa that has a location in Waikiki (Honolulu, Hawaii) called Potama (short for Pork Tamago Onigiri). In Okinawa, pork usually refers to pork luncheon meat that’s made by Hormel (Spam) or by Tulip. Hawaii has a similar popular local food called Spam musubi that’s readily available at convenience stores and some restaurants so I was curious to eat at Potama which is made fresh after ordering and includes an egg (tamago) with several topping choices.

The Potama Waikiki is located in the Royal Hawaiian Center’s Waikiki Food Hall which is a couple minute walk from the center’s regular food court. Before heading out to the restaurant, I had already picked out a few choices that were exclusive to Hawaii only to learn that only a limited menu was being served for now (likely due to the pandemic). The Hawaii-exclusive items are: Loco Moco, Garlic Shrimp, Fried Green Tomato Wasabi Tartar, mochiko chicken, and mac salad (the last two items aren’t onigiri). Sadly, none of these were being offered. Outside of the Hawaii-exclusive items, the ones that feature Okinawan food is next on my list and while they do have Abura Miso (andansuu) they don’t have Goya Tempura (we’ve been told it’s coming). So if you do head out there, be sure to check out their current menu on the Waikiki Food Hall page instead of their official website.

I ended up getting the regular Po-tama (yeah, I know it’s basically a Spam musubi with an egg), Andansuu (Abura Miso), Cheese Ketchup, French fries, and iced green tea drink. I’ll definitely be checking the place out again when they have more menu items available. I’m looking to try their Goya Tempura, a couple of the Hawaii-exclusive items, mac salad, Sanpin Tea with Shikwasa drink, and either the iced or hot coffee if it’s from Chatan Coffee. Gori did a review of their Makishi location on his YouTube channel.

Gori (Garage Sale) Visits Potama Makishi

Follow Potama on Twitter. Potama’s website (available in English).

Sanshin from Ichintou Arakaki Sanshin-ten

arakaki34.com

Previously. we posted about ordering sanshin and supplies from Okinawa from an online store that ships internationally. Now I’m happy to announce another established store that you can order sanshin to be shipped outside of Okinawa/Japan (please check with the store if your region is supported): Ichintou Arakaki Sanshin-ten. Although you still won’t be able to order a sanshin with real snakeskin (this is the same for both stores), they may be able to accommodate an order for an upgraded sanshin (i.e. an advanced one) and swapping the real snakeskin with a synthetic one for those who are looking to purchase a better sou (neck). Also note that due to the pandemic, shipping will likely be via ship versus by air so there may be a one to two month wait to receive your sanshin/goods but I believe it will be worth the wait! The alternative is to travel to Okinawa (which is unlikely at this time) and if you do have a chance to visit in the future, they do have a store in Uruma City.

Follow the Uruma City store on Twitter. Arakaki Shigeru-san on Twitter.

7th World Uchinanchu Festival

The 7th World Uchinanchu Festival has a date set! It will take place in 2022 from October 31st to November 3rd (note the website counts October 30th as the Festival eve).

The “World Uchinanchu Festival” honors the achievements of Okinawan people from all over the world, recognises the great value of the community heritage of Okinawa , and seeks to expand and develop the Uchina network through exchanges with Okinawan citizens around the world. The purpose is to bring people together, reaffirm their roots and identity, and thereby be able to pass them on to the next generation.

The festival is sponsored by the Uchinanchu Festival Executive Committee of the world, which is organized by Okinawa Prefecture and related organizations, and has been held approximately once every five years since the first festival in 1990 (Heisei 2). It has been held 6 times so far.

https://wuf2022.com/en/about
WUF Promotion Video

JTB has a newsletter you can sign up to for tour package information. They will have escorted group tours and are also able to help you plan for individual travel packages too. Check out their link for more details.

Follow WUF 2022 on Twitter for the latest updates.

May 15th

If you follow Japanese Twitter, you may have noticed a few hashtags (like this one #沖縄本土復帰記念日) and tweets leading up to May 15th which marked the 49th year of Okinawa returning to Japan (Okinawa reversion 祖国復帰 and 本土復帰 is also used). NHK Okinawa also hosted a 5-episode special series to commemorate the date. The hashtag noted includes the word anniversary but as Fija Byron tweets, is it really an anniversary if Japan is not the moterland of the Ryukyu people? (Be sure to follow his tweet that includes a link to a blog post he wrote on the subject.)

According to Fija Byron’s blog post, the Ryukyu Kingdom dates from 1187 to 1879 (in 1609 it was invaded by Satsuma and came under its control). It forcibly became a domain and prefecture of Japan from 1879. After the Second World War, Okinawa was occupied by the U.S. government for 27 years (1945 to 1972). May 15, 1972 marks the date that Okinawa was returned to Japan from the U.S. government. Shouldn’t the correct return be the restoration of the Ryukyu Kingdom?

@kanasaorganics on Twitter

One of my new Twitter follows, KANASA Co-Operative, is one that shares words and stories from Ryūkyū in English. They also have a website with longer form articles about Ryukyuan culture that’s a great resource to deepen your knowledge. One of my favorite articles is about the hidari-gomon that I see everyday when I pick up my sanshin (it’s on the tiiga). From their website:

Established in 2019, KANASA is a modern co-operative committed to the preservation and awareness raising of Ryukyuan stories, histories and cultures, through creative editorials, art and trade.

https://www.kanasa.co.uk/about/

Follow @kanasaorganics on Twitter. Kanasa website.

Hawaii United Okinawa Association Goes YouTube

The Hawaii United Okinawa Association (HUOA link) has gone to YouTube to reach out to its community and to the rest of the world. Many of us were saddened that their annual Okinawan Festival was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic something that performers, volunteers, and visitors look to every Labor Day weekend. This year they went virtual with the festival and have continued on this path with an amazing number of videos (the one above — one of their latest — features the awesome Chinagu Eisa Hawaii group). Most of the videos are prerecorded but they also have a weekly stream called HUOA Yuntaku Live! Be sure to subscribe to their channel!

Event: 3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th

DSC 8998

3rd Eisa Drum Festival at Kapi’olani Community College on May 11th
A Celebration of Okinawan Culture with Drums, Lions, Music, and Karate

Kapi’olani Community College and the Office of Student Activities are pleased to present the third Eisa Drum Festival on Saturday, May 11 from 5:30 to 9 pm, on the Great Lawn (center of campus). The outdoor festival brings together ‘ono food prepared by Kapi’olani CC culinary program and the spectacular art form of taiko performed amid the beauty of Diamond Head under the stars. The program begins at 6 pm. The event is free and open to the public, with ample parking on campus.

Performers include Chinagu Eisa Hawai’i, Hawai’i Okinawa Creative Arts, Hawai’i Taiko Kai, Okinawa Shorin-Ryu Karate and Urizun Minyo Group. This year’s festival also features special guest performers from Okinawa, including Daiichi Hirata, acclaimed producer, choreographer, and musician, as well as members of Requios, the 2012 World Eisa Competition winner.

Eisa is a form of dance and drumming unique to the people of Okinawa. Originally performed as part of a religious function honoring those who have passed, modern Eisa is an exhilarating combination of singing, chanting, dancing and drumming. In Okinawa and Hawai’i, Eisa continues to be performed at Bon Dances. This year’s festival will feature contemporary styles of drumming, with Okinawan taiko, karate, lions, and contemporary folk music.

“The first two festivals have been described as ‘magical’ and we hope to continue that tradition in our third year,” said Shari Tamashiro, Kapi’olani CC Cybrarian, and one of the coordinators of the festival. “We’re also very pleased to have celebrity chef instructor Grant Sato and Kapi’olani CC’s famous culinary program managing the food booths.”

“The bringing together of Island People, Daiichi Hirata from Okinawa and Kawika Napoleon from Hawai’i, was so dynamic. . . it brought forth a sense of joy and pride from within,” said Dorene Niibu of Windard CC.

“When I think of Eisa Fest, I think of it as the first major event of the summer,” said Jonathan Wong, faculty member at Kapi’olani CC. “To me, it signals that summer is here and what better way to start the summer off with a bang than with drums, food, music and stars.”

Enjoy an evening under the stars. Bring lawn chairs to sit on, blankets, and jackets. Up to date information on program, schedule, parking, maps, and food items on sale will be posted at http://www.facebook.com/eisahawaii. Alcohol is strictly prohibited at the event.

To see videos of the 2nd Eisa Festival, go to: http://bit.ly/17quWKz. For photos, go to: http://smu.gs/Z4Mpbj.