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Island comes alive for New Year’s festivities

By: Bill Charles

Date Posted: 2004-12-30

T’was the week after Christmas, and all round the house…every creature is stirring.

And everyone wants out!

Good idea, and Okinawa’s got plenty of action these last couple days of 2004. Gather up the family and friends, charge the batteries in the digital camera, put film in the backup, and get ready for fun.

The Peace Lights Festival runs daily from 6 p.m. at Nishizaki Park, Itoman City. We profiled this festival in last week’s Island Market. Admission is free.

The Kinoshita Grand Circus is under the big top at Omoromachi, Naha City, through the 26th of February. Performances are in the mornings at 11am Monday through Wednesday, Fridays at 1 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays at 10 a.m., Circus performers take a break on Thursdays. Advance tickets are ¥2,300 for adults and ¥1,300 for kids. Admission is at door for adults, and ¥1,500 for kids.

Settle into the Ashibinaa Theater in Korinza Mall, Okinawa City, tonite for Gonchichi Concert 2004: “The Most Comfortable Music On Earth”. The show starts at 7 p.m. Tickets are ¥4,800 in advance, ¥5,000 at door. Also tonite, Yukito Ara is live at Ryubo Hall in Naha City. Her performance begins at 7pm, with tickets ¥2,000 in advance, ¥2,300 at door.

New Year’s Eve has plenty going on. A big concert takes place on Gate 2 Street in Okinawa City, as a local pop group performs live for you, and for a worldwide audience on NHK television. The action starts at 7:20pm, but you’ll want to get there early for a good spot to watch.

Mardi Gras New Year’s Eve Party begins at 8pm at Club Red, on Highway 330 near Kadena. There’s a Special New Year Cruise starting at 10:30 p.m. at Naha Port, Tickets are available for ¥5,500 each.

Tomorrow and Saturday the Okinawa Memorial Countdown “Fire & Bell Festival” takes place at 8 p.m. at Okinawa Memorial Park in Itoman City. Admission is free.

Also tomorrow, “Next Wave” Music Start Volume One begins at 10 p.m. at Bunka Tembus Hall, Kokusai Street in Naha City. The New Year Concert in Itoman starts at midnight at Peace Memorial Hall, Itoman City The tickets are ¥500 for adults, ¥350 for children 12 to 18, ¥250 under 12.

For a change of pace tomorrow, get outside for exercise and some delicious fruits. Tangerine Picking Start – Izumi region. Tickets are ¥1,000 and includes one bag of self-picked tangerines

A Shuri Castle New Year Ceremony runs 9 a.m. – 5 p.m. Saturday through Monday at Shuri Castle Park. Admission is free.

When the parties are over, enjoy January 1-3 by visiting Ocean Expo Memorial Park for a New Year Ceremony – 9 a.m.-6 p.m. at Ocean Expo Memorial Park, Motobu Town, Okinawan classical dance and eisa performances will be featured, along with taiko drummers, Okinawan donuts (sata andagi) and giveaways. The admission free.

It’s the season. Whale Watching Season starts at Tokashiki Island on Saturday, with tours available through the weekend.

A select number of activities are available on base during the holiday weekend. MCCS Clubs are featuring dinners through New Years Eve. Events listed in the MCCS website show the clubs closing at 9pm.

On the Air Force side, Kadena Officers Club, Rocker NCO Club and Banyan Tree Club have New Year’s Parties running til 3am the first. Other base restaurants will operate to mid-evening New Year’s Eve.

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