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Budweiser's Paradise Weekend 98 a big hit with locals

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-08-07

Thousands of people headed for the Rizzan Sea Park Hotel last Sunday, August 2 for the second annual "Budweiser Paradise Weekend 98". The event was held outdoors at the beautiful beach side beer garden of the Rizzan Sea Park Hotel. The event featured a two hour concert by the popular Lisa Ono, and plenty of Budweiser beer. The Budweiser event organizers did an excellent job at providing a fun filled night for many Okinawans, and provided them with plenty of Budweiser memorabilia.

Lisa Ono gave an incredible performance, singing plenty of old favorites and some new songs as well. Ono was actually born and raised in San Paolo, Brazil, where her father set up his own business. She received her current musical influences from growing up in South America, and those early experiences helped to create a love for the soft sounds she is known for. She eventually returned to Tokyo at the age of 15, where she started to play the guitar and sing. Her brand of music caught on quickly in Japan, and she has become quite popular over the last several years.

Ono sings her songs in the beautiful Portuguese language, offering fans in Japan a taste of Brazil. Saturday night her lovely voice filled the Rizzan Sea Park Hotel Garden, as a very mixed audience enjoyed a balmy night under the stars. Many people commented on how Ono's music seemed to match the island atmosphere of Okinawa perfectly. Her performance was greeted warmly by the crowd, and she pleased her fans by coming back out for two encore appearances. Her last song had the crowd on their feet dancing the night away.

Many people stayed after the concert to watch fireworks shot into the night sky over the Sun Marina Hotel. The Rizzan beach side was filled with people into the late hours, enjoying the warm night and ocean breezes.

Those who missed the Ono concert can check out her music on her new CD titled "Bossa Carioca". The CD was released on July 16, and is currently on sale at most CD shops.

The concert was actually part of a Budweiser sweepstakes that gave away free tickets through a promotional campaign. Budweiser fans mailed in special marks located on the six pack labels of all Budweiser beer. The campaign took place between June 10 and July 10, giving many the chance to attend the concert for free.

The mega beer company started the "Paradise Weekend" event last year to help promote its popular beer here in Okinawa. Budweiser has been a long time favorite in America, first becoming the number one selling beer there in 1957. It has continued to be one of the top selling beers in America, and it has expanded its operations overseas during the last decade. Budweiser Okinawa was created last year, and the company has made waves on an island that has traditionally held strong loyalty to its own native beer. Budweiser currently enjoys a 68% market share among all imported beers in Japan, making it the number one selling imported beer in the country.

This year, Budweiser Japan entered a new original beer onto the market. The new brew is called "Buddy's", and it will be competing head to head with Japanese beers, who are known to have a stronger alcohol content and taste. Budweiser is hoping to convert more Japanese beer drinkers with their new Buddy's, which is labeled "extra strong". The new product boasts a 6% alcohol content, providing beer drinkers with a very hardy tasting beer.

Judging by the response of most people at last weekend's concert, Budweiser seems to be on the right track. It will be interesting to see how Okinawans will welcome Budweiser beer, now that "Paradise Wekend" is over.

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