: Classifieds : MyJU :
Stories: Culture
Browse Culture Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

Local tastes and lots of fun at this year's "Murasaki Matsuri"

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-04-25

The "Purple Carnival." If you translated the name of Yomitan Village's "Murasaki Matsuri" into English, that is what you come up with. The annual event will be taking place for the eleventh time this weekend at Ryukyu Studio Park. This year's fun filled weekend will be held on April 25 and 26, and promises to be bigger than ever.

The local "matsuri" originally took its name from the beautiful, purple color of the "beni imo", a locally grown potato. The original way of writing the name of the "matsuri" was done with the kanji for purple, but it was changed about four years ago to be written as "waking up the village". However, the name is still pronounced the same way. The Yomitan Chamber of Commerce, which plans the event, thought the new way of writing "Murasaki" better represents the theme of the carnival - to promote local business and industry to a broader customer base. Sponsors include many different businesses and organizations, and it offers visitors a chance to see the many different products and services available within Yomitan.

The village of Yomitan is mostly known for its traditional crafts, which include pottery, weaving, and glass making. The "matsuri' will show case many of these handicrafts, but will also be promoting other areas of business, such as tourism, agriculture, and merchandising. Booths will be set up showing a variety of products and services, and providing information for everyone. There will also be plenty of food, beer, and soft drinks available, including dishes from local restaurants. And, there will be a few mini carnival rides and games for small children.

The scheduled entertainment is going to be fun, interesting, and original. You can enjoy live song and dance performances of Okinawan music, and you can join in on the "Beni imo" contest, where you must try to guess the correct weight of a giant pile of potatoes - the winner will receive a prize. A local version of a popular television quiz show, that features grandmothers and grandfathers as contestants, is sure to create plenty of laughter. An Okinawan play is also scheduled. The main stage will host all the entertainment from the afternoon until the early evening. There is also an ice sculpting contest for those interested in art.

A major part of the "Murasaki Matsuri" is still devoted to the "beni imo", one of Yomitan's most important agricultural products. The Okinawan potato was first grown here on the island, because of its resiliency to harsh farming conditions, and it provided a good source of carbohydrates and vitamins for the predominately fishing and farming society of Okinawa. Recently the "beni imo" has become popular because of its health benefits. The average Japanese person has a much longer digestive tract than their western counterparts, making them more susceptible to intestinal cancers and diseases. The "beni imo" is easy to digest and is nutritional, making it a healthy food for Okinawans and mainland Japanese. The "beni imo boom" has helped to create a variety of original products made form the sweet tasting potato. Some of them include ice cream, cakes, jam, cookies, and soba! All of these products will be on sale at the "matsuri", and you can see the many different ways in preparing the "beni imo".

The location of the "Murasaki Matsuri", Ryukyu Studio Park, also offers a nice setting for the event. Originally built for the filming of the television series "Winds of Ryukyu", the area has been turned into a tourist attraction. Ryukyu Studio Park is located off of Route 6, on the road that runs parallel to the Yomitan coastline. Coming from the direction of Torii Station, it is a few kilometers before the Alivila Resort.

"Yomitan has many different cultural and traditional things to see. It's history goes back to the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom. The "Muraski Matsuri" is not just for Okinawans, but we also welcome the international community to have fun and make friends with their neighbors," said General Office Manager of the Yomitan Chamber of Commerce, Chokichi Nishihira. If you are looking for a little local flavor and plenty of purple potatoes this weekend, be sure and head on over to the "Muraski Matsuri".

Browse Culture Stories: « Previous Story | Next Story »

weather currency health and beauty restaurants Yellowpages JU Blog

JU FacebookOkistyleOkistyle

Go to advertising PDF?||?|o?L?qAE?|?}?OA?N?ga`OkiStyle?A??q?qM?oeu^?I`??N?gX?<eth>?<ETH>?ni^?IWanted!!Golden Kings ScheduleOkiNightSeeker