Monday, November 23, 2009

Gardians of the Village


Gardians of the Village
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Shisa or lion dogs are very popular in Okinawa. Typically they are placed on the rooftops of houses or at the gates. They are believed to be protectors. One shisa represents the male and the other represents the female. The difference is best seen by which one has its mouth opened. I always had a hard time remembering which one was which so I try and tell myself that since a woman can never keep her yap shut, especially when her husband is around, the one with the open mouth is the female of the species!

Mr. & Mrs. Kijimuna


Mr. & Mrs. Kijimuna
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Kinjimuna is a elfen like creature that is a mainstay of Okinawan mythology. He loves to fish more than anything else and can get quite attached to anyone who he befriends. So much so that the only way to get rid of him is to fart in his general direction or throw octopus at him. Here he's posing with the misses.

Hold Still Dammit!


Hold Still Dammit!
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
This guy taking a picture of his wife had a really nice camera but he seemed to want to waste the shots on a woman who just would not stand still. This location was part of a film set built long ago. When the series that was filmed here ended, the place stood vacant for a few years until enterprising businessmen decided to turn it into a tourist trap. This venue was a mock 18th Century Okinawan village that is now lined with trinket shops and interactive arts and crafts vendors.

Ring of Dancers


Ring of Dancers
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
This is not really a Eisa troupe per se but a group of students who are getting a lesson. Real Eisa dancing is much more organized but when your exploring a new culture, the best way is to try and have fun with it.

Out of Step


Out of Step
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Students visiting Okinawa don costumes and give their try at performing Eisa Dances. Some folks have it and some don't. No matter how hard she tried the gal in the middle just couldn't keep in step with the others.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The Gajan-gani


The Gajan-gani
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Similar to clowns performing in a circus, the Gajan-gani is a character who dances among the regular drummers and dancers one regularly sees at Eisa festivals. Often they are made up in garish makeup and odd clothing combinations. Their claim to fame is the fan that they carry as the dance. They often dance counter to the beat of the music and flick the fan as if they are shooing flies or mosquitos away from the other performers. Hence the name "Gajan" mosquito and "gani" person.

High Stepping


High Stepping
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Taiko drummers performing Eisa at a festival in Uruma City Okinawa Japan. The dancers are often quite athletic and put on a rousing performance. The more effort they put into the dance and music, the more the spirits of the ancestors are believed to have been pleased.

Two of a Kind


Two of a Kind
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Taiko drummers performing Eisa at a festival in Uruma City Okinawa Japan. The dancers are often quite athletic and put on a rousing performance. The more effort they put into the dance and music, the more the spirits of the ancestors are believed to have been pleased.

Clacker Dancers


Clacker Dancers
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
These dancers make their subtle moves and clack the wooden clackers in their hands to the rhythem of the music. The gal in thr front of this formation seemed to be enjoying herself the most so that's why I composed this photo the way I did.

Bustin a Move


Bustin a Move
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Classic Ryukyu Style Dancers wear brightly colored Kimonos that are similar in design to Traditional Japanese Kimonos but are fastened loosely about the waist instead of tightly bound in an Obi. The funny looking hat is said to resemble a plumb blossom floating on the ocean hence the design and colors. This group included over two-hundred dancers in formation in a parade.

Tiny Dancer


Tiny Dancer
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Classic Ryukyu Style Dancers wear brightly colored Kimonos that are similar in design to Traditional Japanese Kimonos but are fastened loosely about the waist instead of tightly bound in an Obi. The funny looking hat is said to resemble a plumb blossom floating on the ocean hence the design and colors. This group included over two-hundred dancers in formation in a parade.

On Tour


On Tour
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
A group of high school students tour the royal quarters and the gardens on a field trip at Shikinaen.

Hexagon House


Hexagon House
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
This small hexagonal house was built as a place of quiet contemplation. Surrounded by still waters and manicured gardens arranged under the principles of Fang Shui.

The bridges at Shikinaen


The bridges at Shikinaen
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Two stone bridges cross this spring fed manmade lake at the royal gardens. In the background is the royal residence. The bridges are arched in the Chinese style with one made from rough natural stone and the other from mason cut and fitted stone

Uploaded by graffkeith on 13 Nov 09, 5.