I realized years ago that some cultures around the world are "night cultures", meaning that the really fun stuff happens after sunset and people come alive. It's certainly true of Japan, where during the day they are mild mannered and polite, but as soon as the neon comes out, they can become rowdy and festive, filling noisy restaurants and bars until stumbling home early in the morning.
We got a little taste of night culture in Okinawa last weekend when we attended an event similar to a county fair in the states. They were vendors selling steamed sweet potatoes, yakitori, goldfish and baby chicks, and Orion (Okinawan beer) of course.
They also had a stage with musical performances, but the most interesting part of the night was a very dramatic symbolic procession, honoring the seas and hoping for good harvest this year. Dozens of drummers, red cloaked women carrying torches, and Eisa dancers walked along a huge wooden boat being steered down a narrow corridor. On top of the boat were children and adults wearing traditional Ryukan clothing.
But don't take my word for it- watch this short video of some of the best scenes of the night.
This is going to sound strange, but sometimes when I travel or live abroad, I forget that I am in another country. Of course, cognitively I know I am, but I become desensitized to the "foreignness" after a point. And then, I find myself in some unexpected and unique situation and I'm hit all of the sudden with how large and wonderfully diverse and exciting the world is. It makes me so happy to be living and able to experience it.
So you know that feeling of awe that we're all part of this huge world? Fellow readers and travelers, when you felt it?