Snake Wine 2021.07.08
The heat we had endured the first few days in Okinawa had made us forget that a typhoon was heading slowly but surely to its shores. We were reminded the next day when we walked into town and hailed two taxis. We asked them to drive us down to ‘Okinawa World’, a unique theme park with exhibits on local culture, history and nature, plus a massive natural cave. We were starting from Miebashi in Naha and driving down to Nanjo. It was fifteen kilometres away but only a thirty minute drive especially since the roads were quiet and everyone was at work while we were vacationing. A Japanese housemate rode with us in our taxi and thanks to his cheerful character and lovely personality, (he is truly one of the most genuine, kindest, sweetest persons I have had the pleasure to meet) the taxi driver gave us a discount and the fare was not as daunting as I initially thought it would be. As we headed down, we could see the beginnings of the typhoon heading inland. The rain was heavy and continuous, the wind was strong and it was cold. So much for shorts on that day during a summer holiday! We feared that after all our efforts the theme park would be closed but luckily it was not. It was open but very quiet with only a few small families with young children pottering around. For a nominal fee we were about to enjoy drumming shows, a natural cave, a snake show and a wine refinery exhibit. We scampered in and out of the rain between buildings and exhibits, enjoying food, drinks, souvenir shopping, natural wildlife and a very jungle like feeling amongst the trees and grasses shrouding the pedestrian streets. We got out of the rain and sat down in a huge crowd of spectators who were delighted and amazed by the natural enmity between the mongoose and the cobra. It was thrilling but nerve wracking to watch young handlers manipulate the unpredictable bodies of the snakes on thin sticks with hooks. When would the cobra suddenly think, “That’s enough!” and strike out at the unsuspecting employee? Next, as the wind whipped the tent around us, we were enthralled by the all women drumming team who displayed grace, strength and intelligence as they pounded at drums, big and small for forty five minutes while telling stories and making the crowd laugh, cheer and clap. A stroll through the refinery and its adjoining shop was an absolute wonder! What was this? Snakes used in the making of sake (Japanese wine). It was revolting, heart wrenching and interesting. Where had the idea come from that the essence of the snake could be harnessed and transmitted to the drinker for power and strength? Amazing!
I'm like a chihuahua. Small but fierce and full of energy. I'm generally a positive person and try to make the best of each day.