Finally, after almost 2 years of living on island we made it to some dragon boat races, although not the big Naha one held each year during Golden Week…that will have to wait for next year, but dragon boat races nonetheless.
During May & June each year there are many Haarii events also known as Festival of the God of the Sea; although I only just learnt that the boats used during these races are much smaller!
Dragon Boat racing has been around for a few thousand years, although ‘local legend has it that the fearsome-looking craft first appeared on Okinawa about 600 years ago’ according to THIS article.
I had read that the Chatan Nirai Haarii was one of many taking place on fathers day and really wanted to go since I hadn’t seen any other event advertised for later in the month.
We didn’t quite make it for the 8am Opening Ceremony, but did catch some drumming as we parked the car and made our way to the wharf. Unfortunately after that there wasn’t a lot of action until some time after 9 when the racing started.
By this time we were all melting into a pool of sweat & sunscreen and the girls were already over it so we left sometime after 10 in seek of air conditioning!
What I particularly loved about the event is how it was open to all ages, we saw lots of little kids (some even looked younger than Eden) participating which I have found to be very common here in Okinawa; everything tends to be very family friendly.
We asked Eden if she would like to do it one day…she said no, but I think I will keep working on it!
I have a few friends who have competed in the dragon boat races and while I have always feared away because lets face it my not even 5 foot frame isn’t the strongest I actually think I may attempt to get on a team before we leave this wonderful place.
Even Matt thought it would be cool to be able to join a crew…lets see if we can make it happen in the next couple of years! We both concluded that being on the inside of the boat seems a lot more fun that on the outside!