The first of five Saturday night parties as a part of the Zamami Fan Appreciation month was a lively success. With over three hundred participants in attendance, Zamami Port was packed with fans and residents alike, lining the wooden picnic tables perched outside of the Tourist Information Center. The festivities began as the sun set over the western ridge separating the Zamami and Ama Hamlets.
All of the village restaurants and establishments set up festival-type stalls around the perimeter of the crowd. The smell of freshly prepared local favorites extended well beyond the confines of the port terminal as did the excited murmurs of those in attendance, the piercing voice of the M.C., and the various Okinawa-inspired soundtracks selected by the evening’s many performers.
Some of the entertainment included traditional Ryukyu dance and even the (in)famous Sumo Dancers. The author of this newspaper, yours truly, took on the role of Yokozuna. Lacking the grace, polish, and elegance of our preceding dance acts, us Sumo Dancers made our procession through the crowd, enjoying the sense of hilarity that our ridiculous presence cast over the audience. Out of sheer luck, I had the best seat in the house, on the shoulders of four of my fellow dancing rikishi.
Cleaning up the psychological mess that our buffoonery left behind, the local band, Za Mamies, took the stage, command of the crowd, and the entire party. Za Mamies’ repertoire always includes notable songs by the unofficial band of Okinawa, Begin. Libations abound, the crowd threw any remaining caution to the wind and began singing and dancing along; such shameless frivolity is perhaps unheard of on mainland Japan, but a typical course of events here in the Ryukyu Kingdom.
In other words, those of you Zamami fans who are planning to come to Zamami or will find yourselves in the Okinawa-area this weekend, come join us for another Fan Appreciation Month Saturday night party. It will be a good time.