Life has been repeating itself.
I’m back in Okinawa. Holed up in my little concrete house waiting for Typhoon Bolaven to pass.
This time around however, I’ll be in Okinawa a bit longer than a month. When I left Okinawa last year, I hoped to come back some day for a longer stay. I just never imagined it would be so soon. Sometimes life doesn’t move in the way you planned. A lesson I should have learned a long time ago.
So, I’m back. Settling in. Figuring things out. It’s been fairly smooth sailing so far. I got a car. I got my drivers license. I’ve adjusted, mostly, to driving on the left (hitting the windshield wipers instead of the turn signal not withstanding). I have a Japanese cell phone (HTC Android, of course, thank you very much). I have wi-fi in my apartment. Admittedly, I’m not loving the service provider here on base, but they seem to be universally hated so I’m not alone in my frustration. I just upgraded to their fastest speed service and it still took over 4 hours to download a movie from iTunes yesterday. Sigh.
I’m still waiting for the bulk of my stuff to get here, although I was lucky to have my air freight waiting for me when I arrived. It means I have a few tools to make cooking a little bit easier and a few other comforts from home. I’ll be much happier when everything else gets here and I’m able to unpack. I imagine it will feel a bit more like “home” at that point.
My first weekend here there was a big Eisa festival in Naha. One of my regrets last year was that I wasn’t able to attend any Eisa festivals. The one time I was able to see Eisa dancing was at a local cultural center but it was a small group and only increased my desire to see a larger group perform. The festival in Naha was amazing. Each group had its own unique style and costumes.
The festival took place on the major tourist/shopping street, and worked a little like a parade in that each group would perform on one block then walk down to the next block and perform again. It was blazing hot and some groups performed barefoot. You could feel the heat rising off the pavement of the street. I don’t know how the groups managed to perform for 4 hours! They had people dumping buckets of water on the street before the groups would arrive at a new location to try to cool the pavement down a little bit.
I took a ton of photos over the course of the afternoon. Given that I don’t have much else to report, I’m doing a bit of a photo dump for this post.
Of course, for me, the stars of the day were the kids…
And this little boy in particular who was actually just a spectator but put on a show for the crowd between performances by the formal groups.
There is an even bigger Eisa festival in early September that actually takes place at a sports park next to the base. I’m planning to go with a friend from work. Looking forward to seeing even more groups perform. The festival in September is supposed to be groups from all over Okinawa, whereas the one I went to that first weekend was just groups from Naha.
While there are many things that make me excited to be in Okinawa (the beach, scuba diving, sushi, the beach), one thing I’m already missing is being able to watch American sporting events live. Its a small sacrifice to make, I know, but it bums me out more than a little to know I’m unlikely to see any live football games this season. Normally I’d be bummed about missing the end of the baseball season but as the Red Sox seem to have forgotten how to play baseball, its probably better for my blood pressure to avoid watching their remaining games this season.
Although I probably won’t watch many games, football has still been on my brain. In all honesty, I’m not a dedicated football fan. That being said, I do love a good football party, which might have something to do with the food. So today I leave you with a tasty treat to bring to your next football party.
This is my mom’s recipe. I think its a fairly common recipe as my sister-in-law makes a very similar version. However, if you haven’t tried it before, you should. Its delicious! One piece of warning however, make sure you remove any unpopped corn kernels before you pour on the caramel sauce. If you don’t, they get baked and become monstrously hard, which is just a tad dangerous for your teeth. Its definitely worth the effort to sift them out.
1 c. butter
2 c. brown sugar, packed
1/2 c. light Karo corn syrup
1 t. salt
1 t. vanilla
1/2 t. baking soda
6 qts. popped corn (two batches from an air popper)
Preheat oven to 250° F.
Melt butter; stir in brown sugar, corn syrup and salt. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Boil without stirring for 5 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in soda and vanilla. Gradually pour over popped corn, mixing well.
Turn into 2 large shallow baking pans. Bake for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely. Break apart and store in a covered container or zip-loc bags.