My favorite part of OIWC is the smaller extensions of the main membership that we call Culture Groups. This small group provides a personal setting for learning about and sharing the many cultures that are on Okinawa. We hosted our first Culture Group gathering at my home in October and we wanted to share our culture's tradition of Halloween. We started with carving pumpkins and had a blast.
Candice is a Navy wife who is one of the members of our culture group on the American side. She lives near me in the Courtney area and we actually met on-line through a great blog for people who live on Okinawa. Her pride and joy comes in the package of a 2 year old bundle of pink energy named Jordan.
Candice jumped right in to help our guests start the carving process. We thought it would be best to carve our works of pumpkin art out on one of our balconies for easier clean-up and for the great breeze that cooled us down during our activity.
Mikako really got into the artsy part of our activity. She was very precise in her drawing and carving and the end result was great!! The pictures do not do her pumpkin justice. She is a mom to teenagers and is a member on the Japanese side.
Before we got started we thought enough in advance to wardrobe
each of our guests with one of many aprons. We knew they would dress nicely for our gathering and they thought we were very thougthful to take in account the mess we would create. I love how the pictures show how cute they each look in our various aprons. And yes, for you skeptics who know me well, I actually donated 4 aprons. You don't have to use them to own them!!! I also thought it would be a good idea to have some pumpkin seeds already baked so they could sample them. They loved the idea and each lady went home with a baggie of their own seeds to bake!!!
I was busy cleaning up seeds, pumpkin guts and keeping an eye on the lunch we were preparing but I did make time to get a little slimy and carve some of the insides out!!!!
Our Japanese guests really got into their projects and insisted we take pictures together. Candice actually helped two of our ladies since I was running around like a pumpkin without a lid!!! She is pictured with Setsuko who is a very proud grandmother and speaks great English. We are so blessed that they speak far better English than we speak Japanese!
Jennifer is a friend of mine that I met in 29 Palms a few years ago through our husbands who worked together!! Her family, Steve and their two sons, moved to Okinawa a couple of months after us. Jenn assisted Eriko with her pumpkin. Eriko is the youngest Japanese member and has only been married 4 years. She spent 7 years in Ohio so now we affectionately refer to her as Miss Ohio. She is very humble in regards to her ability to speak English and is very excited to be speaking more English now that she is a member of OIWC.
This group photo only has 6 of the 8 members on the Japanese side and I love how great they look in our aprons. Their pumpkins turned out great and they seemed to have had a good time.
From Left to right: Mustuko, Mikako, Kimie, Setsuko, Kyoko and Eriko.
We worked up a huge appetite so we moved our festivities inside to eat lunch. I got my hands on a yummy recipe that is easy to prepare and feeds a lot of people. Lara White shared her Chicken & Sausage Chili recipe with me a few years ago and it has been a hit!!!! Of course, no American lunch is complete without the perfect dessert. Jenn brought the Scary Dessert for us all to share. You create this graveyard ensemble with chocolate or vanilla pudding and crumbled cookies. Then you decorate the cookie tombs with your favorite names and add the gummy worms for effect. Needless to say, it was a hit!!! We also had a wonderful strawberry cake that Candice made but I forgot to take a picture of that, too!!! What was I busy doing??
In addition to sending our guests home with their carved pumpkins and seeds, we wanted them to have a little candy goodie, too!!! They seemed to like the homemade
tag more than what was inside!!!! It's fun to watch their faces as we presented each one with a gift!!!!
It is very traditional for the Japanese to bring a gift for the hostess. I received this beautiful pottery set from their group. It was explained to me that you can use it for sake or as a vase for a small flower. There is a small ball inside that makes it sound somewhat like a bell but the explanation for that got lost in translation. I think the tiny cups are perfect and I'm excited to have another great item that will always remind me of Okinawa!!!
I think it's safe to say "fun was had by all"!!!!!