Songs Day: うたの日

うたの日 uta-no-hi: Songs Day

Every year in Okinawa in late June is Uta no hi “Songs Day” concert, featuring the famous local band BEGIN, as well as other popular local bands. And every year, my halau (hula group) performs with them!

Tickets are purchased online or at convenience stores. It is easy enough I think. But I am lucky, I do not need to buy tickets since I perform with the halau.

I cannot comment as to the full experience, since for a major portion of the day I am getting ready, prepping, etc. But it is a really nice event, and I got to enjoy it once the sun was setting and our part of the performance was over. Everyone around me was having such a good time, it was easy to get into the party spirit of things. People were dancing, drinking, and just really enjoying the evening. There were some new songs, some old songs, a little of everything; though most were Japanese or Okinawan songs, so I only recognized some of them. I really like the band BEGIN and I feel that most of their songs embody the Okinawan spirit (kinda like aloha spirit). Overall, it was a really great experience, and as always I felt a little more bonded to the Okinawan people afterwards.

I also bought a souvenir tenugui (towel)– it is so cute, though I am sure I didn’t need another one. There is no photography in the event (you can have your phones but you are not supposed to take pictures of the performances since they air them on TV at a later date). It didn’t seem very strictly enforced, probably only if you were close up to the main stage.



Moon Beach Luau: ムーンビーチルアウ

It’s almost that time of year again… time for the annual Hotel Moon Beach resort Hawaiian luau.

“Luau” is spelled in katakana as ルアウ.

This is a huge event, with halau from all over Okinawa coming to perform on stage to live music at the Hotel Moon Beach resort in Onna-son. It is over 2 days, the first Saturday and Sunday in July. Often times, this coincides with 4th of July weekend for Americans.

Last year the military people cancelled all the fireworks at their bases, so Moon Beach was the ONLY place for Americans looking for a fireworks show on the holiday weekend. It usually is not a long show, maybe about ~10-15 minutes, but better than nothing I suppose!

My halau participates every year on one of the days. It is a busy time, but a lot of fun. I don’t have time to do any of the activities like catching fish with nets the traditional way or lei-making or ukulele experience though since we are busy preparing all day. I think the best part of the luau day is the sunset/evening hula on the beach, it is so gorgeous. Well, and my group always performs on the evening stage, so maybe I am biased. Most guests bring blankets and snacks (and likely beers), just enjoying the music and dancing with the ocean as a backdrop.

All the dancers are dressed up in beautiful costumes with flowers and leis, it feels so exciting. Often time we are asked for pictures. An Australian wanted pictures with some of my stunningly beautiful hula friends, but they do not speak English and he didn’t speak Japanese. Lucky for him I was there, he was so surprised to see me and hear me speak English I think. After that, I think my value increased in the group as someone who could communicate with the foreign tourists (lol).

Anyway, if you are in Okinawa the first weekend of July and want some Hawaiian vibes, be sure to check out this free event at Moon Beach resort.

(pictures coming soon).