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DECK THE HOLIDAY'S: 09/02/13

Monday, September 2, 2013

EISA FESTIVAL FROM OKINAWA, JAPAN!




   The throbbing beat of traditional drums will be heard across Okinawa beginning tomorrow, a dance celebration of Obon that fills the air with excitement and happiness amidst prayers for good health and a good harvest.
   Okinawa City is hosting what many bill as the largest Eisa festival on the island, the 53rd Island-wide Eisa Festival on a three-day run beginning tomorrow. The festival takes place at Koza Athletic Park and Track and Field Stadium, starting with a parade Friday at 7 p.m. The parade winds its way through Mutsumiga Oka Park, Koza Music Town and along Gate 2 Street.





   Eisa, an Okinawan ceremonial dance using drums, was originally performed to welcome and console the souls of one’s ancestors during the Summer ‘Bon’ season, but has evolved into community celebrations. Eisa festivals are a photographer’s dream, with the steady beat of various drums leading dances to multiple dynamic moves, while the colorful and exotic costumes get spectators caught up in the excitement.







   Okinawa City, which has generated countless famous Eisa teams over the years, has been hosting the Island-wide Eisa Festival since 1956, inviting Eisa groups from across the prefecture to participate. The festival comes the weekend after Obon holidays themselves.
   Festival admission is free, except for entrance to the main grandstand. S-seat reserved tickets are ¥2,000 in advance and ¥2,500 at the door. A-seat reserved tickets are ¥1,200 in advance, or ¥1,500 at the gate. B-seat tickets, which are actually standing room spaces in the grandstand, are ¥500 at the door. They are not reserved.






   Saturday entertainment at Koza Athletic Park begins at 7:15 p.m. with Okinawa City’s Noborikawa area young people, followed by Yamasato, Kubota and Goeku area teams. A Kachashii dance at 8:45 p.m. brings everyone together for the evening finale. Ceremonial presentations Sunday begin at 3 p.m., followed by a children’s performance.
   Eisa dance continues non-stop from 3:30 p.m. to 8:45 p.m., with performances by Okinawa City, Yomitan, Uruma City, Kadena Town, Ryukyukoku, Itoman, and Chatan groups. A Kachashii dance takes the evening toward a grand ending, with fireworks at 8:50 p.m.





   The Island-wide Eisa Festival is the granddaddy of festivals, events and exhibitions slated for this weekend, with a dozen other opportunities for people to get out and have fun. Anyone not finding recreation this weekend can only be labeled a ‘homebody’.
   Yoetsu-no Mori Park, Ishikawa, Uruma City is the venue Saturday for the free Ihijya Youth Eisa Festival, beginning at 6:30 p.m. The Okinawa Peace Memorial Park festival runs 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday at Okinawa Peace Memorial Park in Itoman City. Admission is free. Kadena Town is active Saturday, hosting the free Kadena Shin-machi Eisa Festival on Shimachi Street. Start time is 6 p.m. Uragahama Park in Heshiki Fishing Port is the setting Saturday for the Heshiki-ya Youth Eisa Festival. The free fun begins at 6 p.m.





   Two-day events start with Eisa Night at Koza Music Town in Okinawa City Saturday and Sunday. Events are free. Kunigami Village’s annual Kunigami Festival starts its weekend run Saturday at 2 p.m. at the Kunigami Middle School Grounds. At Camp Kinser, a free Flea Market takes place Saturday and Sunday, noon to 3 p.m. The Kumoji Summer Festival kicks off Saturday at 5 p.m. at Palette Kumoji Square in Naha City. Admission is free both Saturday and Sunday.






   An International Cat Exhibition kicks off Saturday at Ryubo Department Store’s 6th Floor Exhibition Hall, running until the 25th. Tickets are ¥700 for adults, while junior high school students and younger are ¥500. Entry is free to kids under three. Ryubo Department Store is located in Palette Kumoji, Naha City.






   Bullfighting takes center stage Sunday at Ishikawa Dome in Uruma City. Tickets for the 1 p.m. fights are ¥3,000. Motobu Handicraft Market runs 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.Sunday at the Motobu Market Square. Entry is free. Tomigusuku City stages its Town in the Air Sunday noon to 8 p.m. The fun occurs on the roof of the Tomiton Building in Toyozaki district.
For those who can’t get enough excitement across Okinawa, there’s  always the following  weekend. The big event ahead is the Eisa/Orion Beer Festival August 22nd ~ 24th.

CHURRO BITES!!

Churro Bites






churro bites | Cooking Classy



Please tell me you’ve all tried a churro… a real churro? Not the long, freeze and bake churros they sale at theme parks, ball games or the mall. I mean freshly fried, made from scratch kind of churros. If you said no, stop what you are doing, drive home if you have to and make these. Life needs churros :). I love churros and yes I’ll admit, every now and then I will buy those churro sticks that are sitting in a warming oven at a shopping center because how do I resist that cinnamon sugar smell floating through the air, and then I have two kids and a husband smelling the same thing so we’re definitely doomed. There is no better advertising than the scent of good food and cinnamon is one of the best. Those little bakeries don’t need banners, signs or logos, they just need to continue to put their delicious, free smells through the air and we’ll keep stopping and giving in. But please, hold out if you can and make churros at home, they are so much better. And yes, the classic churro sticks are delicious but I think it’s time for a new trend in churros. It’s like the soft pretzels, yes they are delicious in the whole form, but there’s something about the pretzel bites that’s just easier. Same with doughnut holes. Something about popping one into your mouth and grabbing another, and another until the bag is empty. It’s like it doesn’t disappear as fast or something, more savoring and more of that sweet coating.
Churros can be made with or without eggs. I’ve tried both ways and I actually prefer them without, surprisingly. They taste more like the authentic ones I had in Mexico sans eggs. These really don’t need the chocolate sauce, they are completely delicious all on their own, so it is totally optional. When making these, be sure to properly heat the oil so you get that crisp exterior and soft interior. I’d also recommend using a star piping tip (you could probably do it without) but it will make those nice golden ridges extending out on all sides giving it the perfect bite and that classic churro look. Enjoy!




churro bites | Cooking Classy
churro bites5+srbg.
Churro Bites
Yield: 4 Servings
Ingredients
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 Tbsp butter, diced
  • 2 tsp granulated sugar
  • 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil, for frying
  • Cinnamon Sugar Coating
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
Directions
  • Heat 1 1/2 inches of oil in a heavy bottom pot over medium heat to 360 degrees (Keep a close eye on the temp while you prepare the churro dough, you don't want it to become too hot, so you may have to reduce the temp or remove the pot from the burner for a moment).
  • In a medium saucepan combine milk, water, butter, 2 tsp sugar, and salt and bring mixture just to a boil. Once it reaches a boil, remove from heat and immediately stir in vanilla and flour. Stir mixture with a silicone spatula while running dough along bottom of saucepan to smooth any lumps and stir until mixture comes together and is smooth. Transfer to a piping bag fitted with a large open star tip and carefully pipe about 1 to 1 1/2 inches of dough out over oil and using clean scissors, cut dough at top to allow dough to drop into oil (to make it faster I'd pipe about 2 - 3 inches out at time and would cut 2 at once then pipe more and repeat). Work in fairly small batches being careful not to overcrowd (which will reduce oil temperature too much. You want the oil to remain close to 350). Allow churros to fry until golden brown (stirring occasionally near the beginning of frying will help keep them from sticking to each other) and remove with a wire skimmer and drain on a plate or baking sheet lined with several layers of paper towels.
  • In a small mixing bowl, whisk together 1/2 cup granulated sugar and cinnamon. Toss warm, drained churros into sugar mixture to evenly coat. For best results serve warm with chocolate sauce if desired.

HALLOWEEN TRADITIONS: NEW vs. OLD!!!








Yesterdays Halloween is not like Todays celebrated traditions, in the world of today we hand out candy to kids carve pumpkins and dress up as a spook or witch. Is the founded traditions in anyway related to todays?

    I love Halloween. You can dress up however you like, eat all the candy you want and scare the heck out of kids that want to act tough.
   Today Halloween has diverted from the ancient Celtic traditions in which Samh ain (Sow-in). marked the end of summer and its harvest bringing forth the dark, cold winter, a time associated with human death and on this night the Celts believed it was the night “Ghosts” would return to earth, cause trouble and damage crops. Which brought the Celts to wear costumes, burn their crops and sacrifice animals. The Celts were conquered in 43 A.D. by the Romans, in which they replaced Samh ain with their own twist on the holiday turning Samh ain into All-hallows-eve which would be known as All-Saints-Day.














   Today’s Halloween we use it as a celebration causing mischief and handing out delicious treats to the neighbor kids that wear costumes. Though today, most individuals could not tell you a scrap of history regarding how Halloween came to be and why we carve Jack-O-Lanterns or even how the name came to be. Ask a random person this question and you will typically get an answer from the “now trying to be a historian friend” about how carving pumpkins was thought up as a way to scare away ghosts. The real story behind Pumpkin carving involves a man named Jack and the tricks he played with the Devil. After making the Devil promising not to take his soul upon dying, and God not allowing him into Heaven, he was bound to earth on this one night with only a hot coal as his guide in which he put into a Squash. Such things are stories of course, but the tradition later evolved into carving Pumpkins to scare away “Jack".









   You may be thinking at this time: “Why is he stating all this garble?” Well to be honest, to celebrate something and not know anything about what is being celebrated is a bit Senseless, with the exception of you for taking the time to read this and further your education.
    Though the Halloween as we know it is here to stay, how long until we forget where it came from? I have not given an entire overview of the old practices, only brief descriptions of some old traditions and how they came to be.