Thursday, September 18, 2008

OIWC Luncheon

Monday, September 8th, two of my friends, Jenn and Shannon, joined me on an adventure driving to Naha. We attended the first OKinawa International Wives' Club (OIWC) luncheon of the year. Our Okinawan members hosted us at the Grand Hotel and though it wasn't easy for us to find it was well worth the challenge.

Once we arrived at the hotel we were dressed in Yukatas, the summer kimono, and joined many other foreigners (that's us) experiencing this type of apparel for the first time. The yukata isn't easy to sit in. I had an obi tied in the back so leaning comfortably against my chair is not an option.

We enjoyed a 5 course lunch: an appetizer, soup, salad, main course and dessert.

The appetizer was raw fish accompanied by an interesting green and white custard type sauce. I was brave enough to take two bites but that's all I could handle - my friends ate their entire appetizer and enjoyed it. We moved onto the typical Okinawan salad and soup. We opted not to take pictures as these dishes were not as exciting as the other courses. They were tasty though.

Our main course was rolled chicken and catfish

divided by a thin line of mashed potatoes.

The Okinawan people have an eye for making food look beautiful and taste great!!!

I avoided the vegetables, as usual,

and waited in anticipation for our dessert.

Dessert is a local specialty and as you can

see in the picture it was beautiful.

Mousse of "Beni Imo".

After getting the business of eating out of the way we moved on to the entertainment. We were blessed to watch a group of Taiko drummers perform for us from DARC - Drug Addiction Rehabilitation Center. Two of the performers shared their journey from drugs to living a clean life in their best english. It's amazing how stories of over coming life's greatest challenges crosses all language barriers. We enjoyed several performances of local Okinawan music. I call it "Happy Music" as it has this incredibly uplifting beat that you can't help but smile when you hear it. We then joined in with local Okinawan dancers trying to teach us a traditional harvest dance. Most of us never did "get" the moves but we had a blast trying.

One cool thing: Today was a great reminder of why I love Okinawa. Her people are so generous and kind. They love to include foreigners in all they do and since laughter is a universal language we can laugh at ourselves and each other as we try things we have never experienced before. So I didn't eat all the raw fish - they didn't care. They had more fun watching me try to dance in an outfit with a very wide and tight belt (aka Obi) keeping my entire upperbody stiff.


Anonymous said...

this sounds like know i'd be right there with you girl...
tell everyone we know i miss them..and i miss you immensely...Trish

Anonymous said...

I loved to hear about your luncheon! What a fun experience! If I had been there with you, I could have eaten the veggies for you!!! And you could eat the fish/chicken for me!! I'm glad that you figured out how to add pictures! You are doing a great job with this blog!!
Love and miss you,

Anonymous said...

Love your picture in the summer kimono. Why is it hard to sit? They actually look very comfortable. The luncheon looked fabulous. I'm so glad you are plugged in there with various groups! Hopefully the three years will go fast...we'll have the basement done by then and ready to host the Traquairs!! Jill

Dian said...

Great job on the blog! I love to see pictures and hear about what's going on!

Keep up the good work.

Love and miss you tons!

Pen to Paper; Spirit to Soul said...

Well, you are braver than me! I would not have even touched the raw fish!!!
Sounds like an absolutely uplifting time and I am so glad you shared!

Pamela in TX

Anonymous said...

Larissa, You did a great job with the pictures and the entire "experience". I appreciate that you are not taking anything for granted - that we might know what an Obi is, a summer kimono vs a winter kimono, etc. You are als a great writer - you could write for the daily Okinawa newspaper!! I'm enjoying your blog immensely! Great idea! Hugs, Kim

Heather Mills said...

You are making me miss Oki...would love to go back...soo much fun...and the desert and meal looked awesome...Miss you!
Heather Mills

Bill said...

This is what a blog should be!!
We must try!!
Thanks for the inspiration.
Bill & Joan

Cindi said...

Hey! this is great and it looks as though you are really getting the hang of the whole blogging thing!

I LOVE it! I always think it is so fun to keep up with everyone via "blog". I should be better at keeping mine up to date, maybe yours will inspire me!

We will have to get together for lunch one day soon- let me knw when you are free.

Blake and Hollie said...

This was such a great post. I love your Yukata. The colors and obi are so pretty. I guess it makes you sit up straight:) You are so right about how the Okinawas are so welcoming and inviting. I have noticed that and that is one reason I love it here too. I have never encountered someone who was rude to me (or my family) or who wasn't willing to help. Thanks for sharing this great post with us.

Oh, and I see you figured out how to upload our photos!! YEAH!!

Blake and Hollie said...
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