(This sign tells of a religious ceremony that happens in this sacred frove on the 28th day of June of the Chinese "Lunar" Calendar)
Such was the case just the other day when world infamous (at least in his own mind) wildlife photographer Ryukyu Mike of Ryukyu Life fame and I attempted to document one of the more rare cultural events here on Okinawa. We had known about this event for some time and it always seemed as though the Gods worked things against us. If it wasn't that we had already made commitments to attend other events, weather related events like category 3 or higher typhoons raging the area or the age old "I forgot" excuse we give our better halves whenever hanging out with the guys takes precedent over things like our wedding anniversaries or her birthday.
(The sign in the previous picture used to be posted out here at the main road. Now only this smaller sign marks the spot)
This time around we planned it out well in advance. I verified the dates and then Mike laid the groundwork by attending and photographing other events for locals just to butter them up. We even asked permission and then called back to verify. At first, it was all systems go and then over time and by having to deal with different folks the mood seemed to change. Now instead of good to go we got a mixed signal. Still, just because we know from experience that different folks need different strokes we decided to show up anyway at the appointed day and time and ask once again. This time we got a definite NO!
(The altar "pictured above" in the grove where the ceremony takes place)
But that's the way things work in the Goya Republic. It's possible that they've seen how publicity has turned similar local cultural/religious events elsewhere on the island into total gaggle-#@%'s and they don't want that to happen here. Hopefully we can change their minds the way we have with folks elsewhere and get this one done but even if we can't, love it or hate it, we have to respect that! It is after all, their island and we're just the guests. It's not just good fences that make good neighbors. Good neighbors also need to respect the rights of others. That includes privacy as well as property. That's why we always ask permission to do things here and why you should too. That's just one more reason to have a Plan "B" when things go pear shaped...
BTW (edited to add) for those of you who didn't bother to follow the link provided above, here's a video of another cultural event that has sort of gone "Pear Shaped" as a result of the publicity....