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    Okinawa Sailor Drums During Eisa

    OKINAWA, Japan (August 26, 2018) – Naval Aircrewman (Mechanical) 2nd Class Javontae Cooper, from Snow Hill, Md., assigned to Fleet Activities Okinawa, got the chance to play the paarankuu, a small hand drum, during the Kadena Eisa Festival August 26.
    Eisa is a traditional Okinawan dance that is performed during Obon, a Buddhist holiday, to honor the spirits of deceased ancestors, and the Kadena Eisa Festival is a yearly event that takes place the day after the end of Obon.
    Cooper got a rare opportunity to perform with the Kadena Higashi District Seinenkai, a local community group, during the Eisa Festival.
    “It was amazing. I can’t really describe it,” said Cooper. “You’re the center of attention, for just the whole town, everybody is watching you.”
    With very little time to practice, Cooper used video recordings to learn the intricacies of Eisa dancing, which impressed the other performers.
    “I heard he practiced the moves at home as well,” said Agarie Takaya, president of Kadena Higashi District Seinenkai. “Because of that, it didn’t look like it was his first time performing and everyone was happy.”
    He was the only service member to dance this year, but the Seinenkai encourages members of the military to join them next time. “We would like to be recognized as a welcoming district,” said Takaya.
    Cooper added that service members should try and do some of these cultural experiences. “It’s worth the time and effort,” he said. “Once you get done, it’s the greatest feeling you can have.”
    Fleet Activities Okinawa supports the full spectrum of Navy operations on Okinawa, and its major tenant commands are Commander Task Force 76, Naval Mobile Construction Battalion 5 and Patrol and Reconnaissance Force 7th Fleet.



    Date Taken: 08.26.2018
    Date Posted: 08.28.2018 02:50
    Story ID: 290532
    Location: OKINAWA, JP
    Hometown: SNOW HILL, MD, US

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