Thursday, October 25, 2007

last weekend was the Northern Youth Group festival. やんばる青年祭り and even though the weather wasn't the greatest, i think it was a success. This is the third time the festival has been held and the first time it was held in my village of Ogimi. I went to the festival in its first and second year and looked somewhat jealously at the young men and women who walked around wearing "staff" shirts and were busy with the organization of the fest. This year, I got to wear the shirt and look important in it! I went to help set up on friday night, but there didn't seem to be much work, so most of us just hung around and chatted and any time a job came up we'd rush to do it. At the evening's end we had food and drinks. Saturday, before the festival, we started set up at around 1pm and once again not much work was actually needed from a large group of people but we all tried to look as though we were just moments away from doing something helpful. I guess that's just how it works for most things. There are a few people who know exactly what needs to be done and do it and other that stand around until they are told what needs to be done. That was me. Standing around. But feeling pretty good about it nonetheless. My job for the fest was to help make popcorn for sale at a booth, but there was a lot of time to just walk around and watch the festival. During the day there was a hip hop group, elementary school kids danced, a jazz band performed and after 6pm it was all eisa groups from the northern villages and towns. Our eisa group performed last and that was probably my last time performing eisa. It was good times, and I'm really glad i joined the group to participate in these events.

The evening was cold, though. The wind blew from the sea and kept tossing sand in every direction. But people stuck around and a large enough crowd was there through the end. When most of the take down was finished around 11pm, the guys and some girls sat around in a large circle in the middle of the field and made speeches, ate and drank. Sunday was the rest of the clean-up which was done by mostly our group and when finished, we had barbeque and played volleyball. It was a gorgeous day, the morning of which i spent driving around new roads. I was trying to find a way from Kijoka to Higashi and also was hoping to catch a glimpse of the illusive kuina, the endangered flightless bird that lives exclusively in the jungles of northern Okinawa. I did find a way to Higashi but no kuina was sighted.

The week went well. The schedule has been through all sorts of permutations this week. Today for example this was the schedule (火曜日these kanji means Tueday and 木曜日these kanji means Thursday so 火2means Tuesday's regular second period)
crazy, really. this whole week has been like that. some of it for teacher's being absent but mostly because we were picking shiquawasa and it had to be done this week because the company paying the school for it was only going to pay full price until the end of this week. The kids (and teachers helped) picked over a ton of shiquawasa between Friday and Tuesday. Pretty cool.

Today, during lunch time a package arrived for me at the school. I thought it was the next book club book from Amazon so was surprised to see a large box. In it, to my utter amazement and amusement, I found an instant ramen set and then some! I completely forgot that about two months ago I entered my name and address into a ramen set giveaway advertised on some JET website. Somehow, I actually won it! I think they were drawing 10 names a month or something, and so I lucked out, which is amazing 'cause I never win anything.
The set is awesome. It has portable chopsticks, a cup and small burner to heat up water, a cooler sack, some cups of instant ramen and even three water bottles. There's also a wet paper towel, and a lighter to light the burner.
Here are the pics. Sorry they're tiny, I had to use my cell phone camera 'cause my digital camera is out of commission. Actually a bit irritating that. Only bought it a few months ago and the shutter stopped working last week. But since it's semi-new the warranty still covers it and the fixing should be free. So much for getting a Cannon. I've had my Minolta for over two years and have dropped countless times and it still works, but this new Cannon has already crapped out on me. :(

anyways, here are the pics. and i'm off to watch the first episode of the new season of "Heroes"! Yipee!

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