Amidst fears of a typhoon bearing down on the island, the 27th Annual Iheya Festival got off to a smooth and lively start on July 18 2015.
On the first day, the morning started off with an Okinawan dragon boat race, with each of the four villages represented by one team. Gakiya, Danna, Shimajiri and Maedomari teams vied fiercely for the grand prize: a goat! The winner was Shimajiri, in which district our EOF office is located, so extra special congratulations to the competitors.
In the afternoon, stalls were opened selling famous local products, goat stew, draft beer, yakitori and other delights, and a festive mood was on the rise.
The main stage was home to traditional Iheya performance art, the hugely popular young men’s Eisa dance and finally the beloved folk song “Tōshin dōi (A Chinese Ship is Coming),” to the tune of which all guests joined in doing the traditional Okinawan Kachāshī dance.
The second day began with children’s street dance performances, special appearances by Risa Junno and Tsukasa Tomioka and … violent wind and rain that caused the unfortunate closing of the main stage! The fireworks were prepared in haste and sent off much earlier than usual.
Although the festivities ended prematurely, everyone had a great time and we are all looking forward to next year’s festival.
A video of the dragon boat race can be viewed here: Youtube