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Okinawan pottery and lots of fun at the Alivia Bazaar

By: Kenny Ehman

Date Posted: 1998-10-18

The Alivia Hotel, located in Yomitan Village, is holding its 4th annual "Bazaar" this October 24 and 25, Saturday and Sunday. It is an excellent chance to view some of the excellent pottery work that Yomitan potters are known for. The Bazaar will feature the work of 14 different local artisans, who will also be selling their fine crafted wares at discounts of up to 20% off. If you have been waiting to purchase something special from Okinawa for yourself, or for someone back home, then you will not want to miss this opportunity.

Okinawan pottery was developed here about five centuries ago during the Ryukyu Kingdom Dynasty, which saw many fine ceramics brought into Okinawa through the kingdom's extensive trade routes with Asia. The traditional craft can trace its early roots back to the area of Yomitan known as "Kina". Here, the baking process of "Kina-yaki" was developed, and local potters labored to produce kitchen ware, as well as the fine crafted red roof tiles which Okinawan homes are well known for. Today, the potters of Yomitan carry on the long tradition of making beautiful Okinawan pottery, mixing tradition with new designs and techniques.

Even if you are not a pottery fan, you will still enjoy the fun-filled atmosphere of the Alivia Bazaar. The outdoor area will include a stage with plenty of performances by local entertainers, which the whole family can enjoy. Scheduled for Saturday, starting at 3:20 pm, will be a "shi shi" lion dance performed by children. Smaller kids will especially enjoy a balloon sculpting show, which will begin at 4:50 pm. This will be followed by the "Zampa Ufujishi Taiko" drummers, who are very well known throughout Okinawa. The group has traveled as far as America to play, and their energetic drum performances are spectacular. Some easy listening music by solo artist Isao Shinzato will start to cool things down before "The Bumps" take the stage at 7 pm to close the night out with some "pop" music and dancing.

Sunday will host basically the same entertainment with a few changes. The addition of some children's martial arts demonstrations will start things off at 2:40 pm, and the "Mamas" will also perform in place of Isao Shinzato. Both days will also hold a pottery charity auction for the Yomitan Social Welfare Center.

Food is another part of the Alivia Bazaar that is sure to keep you content. There will be all kinds of special food products flown in from Hokkaido, packaged and ready to be taken home. Hokkaido salmon, crab, and many vegetables and dairy products will also be on sale. The northern most prefecture of Japan is famous for its fresh farm produce and seafood.

If you are looking for something to fill your stomach at the Bazaar, then you will not be disappointed either. The Alivia Hotel makes special efforts to provide a wide selection of good food, going well beyond the simple foods you find at your average Okinawa "matsuri". Shrimps, crab, scallops, and shell fish will be some of the seafood being cooked up. You can also find chicken, corn on the cob, and fresh baked bread filling the air with delicious aromas. Some Okinawan and Chinese dishes will complete the international menu.

The Alivia Bazaar is definitely a nice small festival. You do not have to walk through mobs of people to get somewhere, and It has its own original atmosphere. It is a great way to get out into the community and enjoy your weekend. Any purchases you make will also enter you into a lottery for some great prizes, including a round-trip ticket to Hokkaido. And, if your interest is in culture and traditional crafts, you will especially enjoy all of the fine pottery available for purchase.

To get to the Alivia Hotel, head north from Kadena on Highway 58. Turn left on Route 6 and head toward Torii Station. After passing Torii Station continue on Route 6 for another five minutes and you will see a Kanehide supermarket on your left. Stay to your left, where the road splits at the traffic light. Turn left again at the sign. The road will then curve to the right and run parallel to the coastline. Continue going straight through the farm fields and you will see Alivia Hotel on your left. The entrance is located a little further along the road. Keep an eye out for the signs. For more information please call 982-9111.

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