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.