This was yet another long weekend with the Monday off and we took full advantage. But first, on Friday night, I was taken out to a real sushi restaurant by my supervisor and the superindendent, aka my best buddy at the Board of Education. What a wonderful meal! Mr. Taira (the superindendant) reserved three spots at the sushi counter and we had a fantastic meal. I tried natto, which is some sort of a bean curd goo. It's really not pleasant--it has a very strong, pungent smell, and it oozes and stretches when it's picked. My students have been asking me since day 1 if i liked natto and now i can finally answer that i've tried it and no! i don't like it at all. But everything else during the meal was fantastic. We had some escargot from Kyushu, some tiny grilled fish that were eaten whole and best when with cold sake. So good times.
Saturday i drove to Kin and picked up Tracy, then we picked up a TV and a stand for Kerri from a marine kid, and then Kerri proceeded to drop the tv stand on her toe and we should have called for a refund, except the stand came free with the TV. On the upside, Kerri can now watch DVDs and we enjoyed that fact later in the weekend.
Saturday night was the fundraiser for the hurricaine Katrina at Paul and Mike's with lots of fun JETs and locals and DJing provided by Amul.
Sunday was the Naha matsuri, which involves the biggest rope in the world being pulled by hundreds (maybe thousands) of people on either side.
It was a very spirited and beautiful event and even the slight rain didn't dampen our spirits. We pulled and tug and crashed into our rope neighbors and our side (the west side) came out victorious.
I should probably let Kelly handle the historical aspects of the event, but I will mention that the tug of war has been around in the Okinawan tradition since the 1600s and is a part of the harvest festival. The rope, in its present, 40ton shape has existed since the 1997 when it was entered into the Guiness Book of Records. Every year the rope is remade because it is a symbol of good luck to take away a part of the rope, and people go all out.
We all walked away with a little bit of the Okinawan spirit in our hands and headed for the second portion of the festivities, The Orion Beer Paradise!
Chris, Kerri, Tracy, and I headed back to Kerri's to chill with a couple of bottles of Chianti and a movie. Kelly, Matt, and Yasemin (in a spectacular entrance) joined us later in the night, and we stayed up listening to Chris' guitar playing and chatting into the early morning hours.
The next day was spent drinking coffee at a Chatan Starbucks and lazing around on the beach. The weekend was capped off with a wonderful italian meal and Tracy and I headed north giddy from coffee and sweets and a feeling of yet another weekend well spent.