Hai Sai! Welcome to my Blog.

Hello, my name is Tom Corrao and I am the blogger behind the Okinawaology Blog. I created this blog to share and discuss all things Okinawan. I’m also the Public Relations Officer and Minkan Taishi to the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai. My experience with Okinawa is derived from the time I spent there during the 1980's and 90's (10 years) when serving in the United States Air Force. I've also been married to an Okinawan woman for 30 years now and have been immersed in many things Okinawan through both friends and family. I do not claim to be all knowing about everything Okinawan but I try hard and study the history and culture. I welcome everyone that is interested in Okinawa and hope that I can provide useful information to those uchinanchu that may be curious about their culture and heritage. I also welcome those who are not of Okinawan heritage but have experienced, or are experiencing, the islands culture while stationed there with the United States Military. Comments are welcomed and will be published as long as they are in good taste and on track with the purpose of this blog. My hope with this blog is to bring Uchinanchu people around the world a little closer to their cultural roots by expressing information that has started to fade in light of a more modern world. We should never forget our culture or the people who came before us and through the Blog my intentions are to meld the old with the new and implant knowledge that will help maintain the traditions and culture of an island people.

Friday, July 30, 2010

The Day Before the Kenjinkai Picnic

Today is a most busy day for the Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai officers who have been working diligently on preparing for the annual Okinawan potluck picnic. The event occurs tomorrow at the Cook County's Robinson Woods South Groves. Many things needed to be done to prepare for this annual event.

Dennis, our Sergeant at Arms, has been gathering the needed items to accomplish a successful picnic. He organizes our set-up and clean-up crews to ensure everything is just right when picnic time arrives. There are things that every good picnic needs such as paper plates, napkins, and tableware but Dennis also accomplishes the things that often go unnoticed by the general picnic goer. Things like making sure there is nothing foul or nasty in the picnic area. Lets not forget that there are many de3er and other animals wandering the forest preserves and they often do what comes natural to them even in the picnic grounds. He also sets up the tents, moves picnic tables into the area and sets them up in a way that is most convenient to our needs. This year he has purchased new coolers for our beverages and soft drinks that are much larger than we have had in the past. This should help us by not requiring as much ice throughout the event. Dennis' crew normally arrives at the grounds around 6am to begin their prep work. They always do a wonderful job preparing everything.

Mieko, The Kenjinkai's President probably works the hardest of us all because she has to keep track of everything thats going on and keep us all going in the proper direction. This is only her second picnic since becoming President of the Okinawa Kenjinkai and it appears she learned a lot from her initial exposure because things have been going very smoothly this year.

My part in this affair has been fun to this point. I was the one assigned to do the shopping for the prizes for our raffle and games. This year our prizes consist of a Sony 32 inch 1080p high definition television, a Pioneer all region DVD Player/Kareoke machine, four portable MP4 players that play multimedia music and videos, and for the kids two Ironman super-soaker water blasters. We will also have smaller prizes for games like large bags of rice for the winners of the water balloon toss and numerous toys for the kiddies. Tickets as always will be $1 each or 6 for $5.

I was also in charge of filling water balloons for the games. Maybe I wasn't actually in charge of it since I was the only one doing it but I was able to get it done. Mission accomplished.

Tonight we will be hosting a welcome dinner for members of the St. Louis Kenjinkai who have come here to participate in our picnic this year. They are a fledgling Kenjinkai and we hope to build strong ties with them for future endevors. We will be eating at Yu's Mandarin which is located at 200 East Golf Road. Schaumburg, IL. I believe it is at 6:30 that everyone will meet and greet. It's pay as you go so stop by if your in the area tonight.

Hope to see you all there! See you tomorrow.

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