Haarii are dragon-boat races, said to have been imported from China, to wish for a bumper year and pray for the safety of fishermen. Dragon-boat races are held everywhere in Okinawa, but the boats used in Naha Haarii are decorated with carvings of dragonheads and tails. The main event comes on the final day, fittingly called the main Haarii, in which 3 boats - Naha (dark green), Kume (yellow), and Tomari (black) - compete for the years grand prize, after a traditional Ugan Haarii (boat-race of prayer). Other events include dragon-boat races by students and the general public, live concerts and fireworks. source
I had to drag Jason to Naha to see the Dragon Boat Races. Jason is not a fan of crowds or fair like atmosphere. Sadly I had wanted to race, but was unable to make the time committment this year - maybe next year. There are 3 military women teams that compete annually. It looks like lots of fun. We went to the festival with some friends. Lucky for us She knows more about the culture and language than we do so she helps guide us to food us land loving Americans will love and choices that are more daring.
We only watched on race. Even though the boats are really cool to look at the race does not hold 6 children's attention for very long.
We ate yummy food. In fact I think I could have stayed awhile longer to try some other dishes. Jason disagreed, something about yen. We sampled some easy safe things like chicken yakatori and corn on the cob. It was so hot that after the race we went looking for something cool. Some nice Japanese vendors led me to Fried Ice Cream. I love it so I ordered 2. This is corn flakes and tempura battered. So it was a chewier coating than the Mexican version, but so yummy.
My friend bought Tako balls. I didn't get a picture before they were all gone. You get 6 in an order that are drizzled with a soy sauce based sauce and mayo (they love mayo). I ate it and didn't mind it. Tako is Japanese for octopus. These little balls remind me of aebleskiver that we make on occasion. We might have to start putting a piece of steak in some for Jason. (My friend says that the fish shaped pancakes are filled with sweet beans or with custard - didn't get to try one).
Snoopy was donated by a passer by. Tennyson is in love.
After a few hours at the festival we headed back to the cars. The men had the babies and before too long the 4 year olds could not carry on, so the Moms packed them the rest of the way. They giggled all they way home. This is our friend NaRee Malan and her sweet girl Elizabeth. Good friends have helped make Okinawa home.