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Naha Harii the Highlight of Golden Week

By: Victoria L. Moore

Date Posted: 1998-05-18

Wednesday marked the beginning of the Japanese holiday season called Golden Week, in Okinawa. This string of holidays is a fun filled time for children and adults that began on April 29, Green Day which commemorates the birthday of the former Emperor Showa, an avid botanist and environmentalist.

May 3 is the Constitution Day, celebrating the enactment of the Japanese Constitution. Kokumin no Kyuujitsu, on May 4, serves as an in-between day that connect the holidays for an almost entire week vacation. Finally May 5, is the pinnacle of the holiday called "Kodomo no hi," or Children's Day. Children's Day, formerly known as Boys' Day, is when colorful carp streamers (koinobori) are raised on poles, each representing a son in the family.

Many events and festivals are planned for Golden Week but the highlight of the week is known as Naha Harii, or the Dragon Boat Races. This year Naha Harii will be held at Aja Port in Naha beginning on Sunday, May 3 - 5. Aja Port is located past Camp Kinser. Travel to the second traffic light under the bridge turn right. Continue straight until you see a container terminal, turn left into the container terminal where you can find free parking. From the terminal you will see the festival grounds near Aja Bridge.

The opening ceremony begins on Sunday, May 3, at 10 a.m. on the main stage. There will be a children's show that begins at 11 a.m. The Children's Dragon Boat Races will be conducted at 1 p.m. and a Diamantes Concert begins at 7 p.m. Fireworks will end each nights' festivity at 8:40 p.m. On May 4, Yuki Taira & The Soulful Friends will appear in concert at 4:30 p.m. A Karaoke Contest will also be held at 7 p.m. Finally May 5, the Dragon Boat Races will be held starting at 11 a.m. with the finals commencing at 3:30 p.m. The crowning of Miss Naha Pageant '98 will start at 5:30 p.m. and Shigemasa Nishidomari will be in concert at 7 p.m.

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