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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.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Chicago's Annual Bon Odori

It's been a few days since I last wrote on the blog because I broke my tooth off and have been in pain for most of the week. The dentist was able to help me out before Saturday’s event at Mitsuwa Marketplace in Arlington Heights, IL. The event is an annual one with everyone showing up to celebrate Obon. The Japanese holiday that celebrates the ancestors returning back to the earth for a yearly visit, It involves many Japanese and Okinawans from around the Chicago area as well as everyone else who likes culture. It is a time to meet with old friends and meet new ones as well.

Saturday I met a Japanese fellow named Kohei Yoshida who was visiting Chicago on a research project involving the assimilation of local uchinanchu people into other cultures. He was looking for volunteers to interview for the project and somehow he ended up talking to me. Mr. Yoshida is a research fellow of the Japan Society for the promotion of science (Social Science) with the Tokyo Metropolitan University. If you would like to contact him he said he would love to interview anyone with possible information on his research subject. Please feel free to email him at Kohei_y_jiminer@yahoo.co.jp Yoshida san was going to Brazil and Peru after his Chicago visit but promised to stop back and see us next summer.
The Bon dance is a tradition where a group of people from a village gather to dance in celebration around a podium of lanterns usually set up in the village's gathering place. In Chicago we still celebrate the tradition by visiting our gathering place, Mitsuwa Market, where everyone constantly visits and picks up the essentials of Japanese cookery.

The Chicago Okinawa Kenjinkai has become a regular part of the celebration demonstrating its version of Matsuri Daiko a form of choreographed eisa movements to a more modern style of eisa music from Okinawa. I was there to capture all of the action to share with you here today. So here is a sample of what I took. More video can be viewed on my Youtube page at http://www.youtube.com/user/tcorrao ... Enjoy!







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