The annual Okinawa Day took place at Spitalfields Market, Liverpool Street. In its seventh year of running, the event celebrates Okinawa, an island in South West Japan. I have been attending since 2013 and the event has grown considerably each year. Although the special day kicked off at 10am, I arrived mid afternoon while a karate demonstrations by Okinawan Traditional Goju Ryu Karate-do Association was in session. This was shortly followed by the London Okinawa Sanshinkai who performed folk songs on stage.
This year instead of just focusing on street performances the event sought to embrace other aspects of Okinawan Cultures. CDs were on sale featuring melodies played at the event and other traditional Okinawan folk music. Traditional Japanese food and drink were also on sale, I had a glass of Azumi, a rice wine liquor mixed with lemon. Like a typical festival there was even t-shirts to remember the day by!
The most important thing to remember about the day is the performers are all volunteers from the community showcasing their hobby and culture. Just by watching you can see a lot of time and passion into been into the performances so much it makes you want to get up an dance yourself!
Oh, and one of the best parts of Okinawa Day is that it is right by The Japan Canteen which means you can grab a Japanese meal for dinner, I recommend the Koresn Fried Chicken which is there speciality. Give it a go!