Sunday, October 5, 2008

Shi Shi Mai Festival

I've been gone a while...I think the final exam went just fine even though I only read through my notes once before taking it. Got home after that and I've been not feeling well since Thursday night...no Liz, I am NOT pregnant!! It's just one of those random cold virus things or something.

So last weekend Lee and I went to the Shi Shi Mai festival. For the first hour or so it looked like it was going to pour down rain at any moment, so we didn't break out the camera, but after sunset it cleared up so I took some photos. If we do this again, I'm gonna try to get a spot much closer to the stage...a lot of the pictures are now living in our computer's recycle bin because they were all blurry and stuff. But here you go:


They had several groups of dancers and musicians perform, so this was more like a concert/dance recital type thing than a festival. I have no idea what the two dudes in red are supposed to be since all of the introductions for each group were in Japanese. I think the festival has something to do with harvest, but I could be making that up. Everyone in the audience is just sitting on grass; would have been nice if the tour company had told us to bring some cushions or something to sit on since we were there for over three hours.


And this is where the "shi shi" part of "Shi Shi Mai" comes in. You know at Chinese New Year how they have the parades with the big long dragons and stuff? These she shi dancers are kind of similar but it's just two guys in the costume. The first act was pretty good, they had two shi shi that chased each other around and stuff, but the second one wasn't near as good--the shi shi didn't hardly move and when he did it kinda looked like he was having some sort of epileptic fit. Anyway, this one (above) was from a later act after the clouds cleared off. All the shi shi costumes and their faces are different, they'd be interesting to look at up close.


And here's a different group. There were like four or five women dancers, they have shi shi masks in their hands which is what she's holding up to the shi shi dancer. They did like a choreographed fight scene or something. I bet the act would have made more sense if we could understand the introductions :)


And here's the two guys that were in the costume, I bet they were boiling hot by the time they finished. This group was pretty good, they were interesting to watch. Each group had different musicians and singers accompanying them. I use the term "singers" loosely...there was at least one group that made us wish that we'd brought ear plugs but I won't tell you what exactly we said about them ;) Let's just say that Eastern and Western music are very, very different.


The last group had this yellow apparatus that they set up, and they had four of the shi shis dancing around and jumping all over it, two red-and-gold and two white-and-green. I cannot imagine jumping all over this thing when it has got to be SO hard to see through the mask! And the guy in back prolly can't see anything but the derriere of the guy in front of him...


And there's a better shot of the green-and-white one. All of the costumes are set up so the performers can open and close the mouth of the shi shi, and the green-and-white ones could blink too, which was pretty funny to watch. A few of the shi shi went out into the crowd and would go up to people, and one or two of them chased the photographers and had them running away :) We saw a couple of guys who must have been professional photographers, their cameras made ours look like a kid's Fisher Price toy. I think I could have gotten better pictures if we'd been up closer to the stage; I was zoomed in as much as possible to take most of these pics. I'm not sure if Lee would be too keen on doing this particular festival again next year though...

So that's that. I'm going to go through more of the pictures from my parents' visit and post more this week, so look for some pictures from Shuri Castle, and a Japanese tea ceremony at least. I need to upload some pictures online so I can order prints to scrapbook...I've got pictures for just two more layouts right now, time to order some more.

1 comment:

CCsMom said...

I can't imagine these dancers attempting this in the heat and humidity we had there in September, can you?!!! With those wooly costumes, it would have been something else.

Gotta sit down SOON and pick some pictures. I think we'll be getting with some of our old Okinawa friends this coming month and I'd like to have the scrapbook at least STARTED. Plus I'm to have lunch with my Merck friends, too. I have all these ideas for the book swirling in my head already. CAN'T WAIT!!!

My cube here at work is decorated in all things Okinawa. I LIKE IT. Have a great day and now you have one post to this addition to your blog -- so continue on. I'm ready for some more news.

Love ya!!! Mom