Friday, March 14, 2008

Random Photo Happiness

Hi again! It's been a while since I posted a photo that wasn't taken in our living room, so here we go. Last week I went to Cafe Unizon with LWILIO - pronounced 'luh-WIL-lee-oh' - Ladies Who Lunch In Okinawa - a small group of adventurous eaters who are currently scouring the island for new and delicious lunch opportunities). Yes, I'm a 100% dork and coined that term myself. What of it?

Below Cafe Unizon is a home store called Mix Life-Style. They have fun European-style housewares and furniture - and mind you, it is NOT cheap. However, nobody's holding a gun to your head to buy anything, and browsing is FUN. Check out this fantastic idea:

The menu is felt with iron-on transfer pictures of the food. And see the embroidery of the categories on the right? There's coffee drinks, food, and sweets. I loved this idea!
(More Unizon & Mix shots on my flickr page.)

This month is "Read Across America" month. Last week on Friday there was a literature character parade. Basically, all the kids at Mia's school dressed up like their favorite literary character (or just put on their Halloween costume again and found some book with that character in it - let's just say there were LOTS of superheroes and princesses...). Well, I didn't really want to do that - I took this seriously, and as Mia is now reading, I wanted her to be a real character in a real book she actually liked.

I didn't realize this was going to be happening until the morning before the parade, so I was a little stumped. Finally, I thought about it the other way around - what are her favorite books? GOT IT! The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein. She loves that book. I can pick up a green shirt. She can wear brown pants for the trunk. And I happen to have a headdress I made for my Halloween costume when I went to Vegoose back in 2005 (I went with 3 friends, we were the seasons, and I was springtime, of course - Aviva means springtime in Hebrew, FYI). Thank you pack rat instincts. When I told Mia about my (I thought) great idea, she winced. "I wanna be a CAT or a PRINCESS..."
"Well, everyone's going to be that stuff, you really LOVE this book, Mia. And look at the pretty hat - this blue bird here, they even exist here on Okinawa! Cool..." (Ryan, I knew you'd be proud of her thrush.) She hesitantly gave in as I gushed about how beautiful she'd look.

So the night before, I drew some apples that Mia colored in and we put those and the "branch hat" into a bag. I arrived at school early to help assemble the outfit. I even got a green eyeliner and drew leaves on her arms. (she did NOT want anything on her face - please let it stay that way!) Everyone in kindergarten is familiar with this book, and the teachers gushed about her (my) costume and idea. She was very proud, as was I, and she looked great!
After school we got rid of the paper apples, and as I was talking to my friend Ilisa I caught this shot of Ellie & Mia. The two "Nice Jewish Girls" at Bob Hope! (at least that I know of) Ellie's a doll - I'm so happy they're friends.

Ok, last topic - OIWC Luncheon in Naha. Okinawa International Women's Club (I teased this in a prior post) holds monthly meetings, every other one is on base, and the others are out in town. This was still during lockdown, so I had to get a permission slip signed by Craig's commander before I could go.

The luncheon was at the Naha Terrace Hotel, there were lots of women there, I was impressed. The food was delicious (as large group food goes) and the company was fantastic. So many sweet & wonderful women, willing to gesture and describe to conquer the language barrier. I met a lovely woman, Tomo, who literally offered to come with us to Kyoto and show us around! And she also finally taught me how to say, "May I take your picture?" in Japanese! (Shashim o to temo desu ka?)

Here is what the centerpieces looked like:
And this during this month, there's a holiday called "Girl Day". There were dolls on display which are apparently REALLY expensive, and over time it became popular belief that the dolls protected the daughters of the family. Girl Day, or Hina Matsuri, is a festival held throughout Japan to pray for daughters' happiness. Here are some of the dolls on display on stage at the luncheon:

There were even some sakura branches there - yes, they're still in bloom!
Lastly there were dances, one in honor of the sakura:
One woman who danced with a fan:

And another that was a warrior with a spear:

Well, that's it for now. We're off to dinner with some friends who are PCSing tomorrow... we'll miss them.


Ernie Santa Ana said...

Awesome pics! The traditional patterns of the costumes are quite striking. Was there any musical accompaniment; drums & flute?

aviva5271 said...

Thanks, Ernie! No live accompaniment - there was a recorded song playing for each dance, sanshin with drums. Some of the women in the audience sang along because they were familiar with the songs.

Ernie Santa Ana said...

I see a lot of that here in SF Japan Town (dancers with pre-recorded music).

It seems like there aren't enough tradtional musicians for everyone, or the groups can't afford to hire them.