A year of island life

The decision for all the annual events is usually made by the newly elected director and manager from the public hall meeting, as their first job, on March 31st. Then, it is delivered to the people in the beginning of April, the start of the fiscal year. Schedules change every year so please check before coming to the island.
Although the first day of the new year, on the Gregorian calendar, is not dubbed as a special occasion here, recently, families welcome their members home during this time of the year and celebrate the New Year. In the old days, they went rice-planting to Iriomote Island.
The winter in Okinawa is dry, with strong north winds, so please be aware that the temperature here can be lower than the main island.
During this month, Ryukyu violets are in bloom, momotamana trees (tropical almond) lose their red, egg-shaped leaves, and 'yaeyamaookoumori' (huge fruit bats) come to eat their nuts.
Amid this month, temperatures can drop down to 10{degrees} some days. As heaters are not available in many guesthouses, you might want to bring some warm clothes, just in case. Winds are strong and the sea is often rough, but during the week before Old New Year's Day, the sea suddenly becomes calm and there is a soft tropical wind. This phenomenon is called 'hatirohshihpubai', a warm south wind.
The shore is covered with emerald grasses, and it is the best time of the year for gathering ahsa (seeweed). Fresh ahsa has a wonderful smell and color, and its taste is, of course, incredible.
This is also the season to harvest island garlic (pin), a bit thinner than that found on the main island.
When 'ningachikazamah-i', the first spring storm, blows, the sea becomes extremely rough. It is essential to be able to know, and sometimes predict, the weather conditions simply by looking at the sky before sailing.
Gathering natural mozuku (seeweed), which is bit thick and solid, begins in this month. From graduation to entrance ceremonies, Deygo's scarlet flowers are in full bloom on the path from the port to the village, and Nahji well. Bulbuls and Japanese white-eyes fly to the island to enjoy the sweet fruits.Swallows also come to build nests.
The beach is opened to bathers in the middle of March, the earliest in Japan. The temperature is high, but it can get a little windy, so bring a windbreaker.
When the colorful akashoubin, red small birds, migrate from the south, it is the sign that Uruzun season has begun.
Trumpet lilies and amaryllises bloom abundantly, and Gettoh, whose slender leaves contain sterilizing power, is in bloom. With its beautiful white flowers dangling, the sweet fragrance hangs in the air throughout the island.
In this month, it is possible to wear a T-shirt, when it's not raining. On April 21st, the Day of Spring Tide, people celebrate the female festival for March 3rd(Sanichi) by doing Hamaori (When the tide is ebb, gather shells, eat them, and play at the beach.) Sesame seeds are sown and preparation of island soy sauce begins.
Around the end of Golden Week (April 29 to May 6), the rainy season begins, a little earlier than on main island. A mighty tropical wind, called 'shuhmanbohju', frequently blows during the rainy season.
When the 'sankouchou' (bird) appears, the sun shines strong and there are indications of a coming summer. The white blossoms on the fukugi trees begin to blossom in the Nahji village.
Also this month, the harvest of millet starts.
There are many children visiting the island this month, school excursions from Ishigaki Island, and other neighborhood islands.
The rainy season is finally over this month and 'baganatsu', early summer, begins. You can see the sun quite often now. 'Kumazemi', large-sized cicadas, start singing, and the island becomes alive. Fuhshufuhshu-kabira, the biggest butterfly in Japan whose black & white polka dotted wings span 15cm long, can be seen flying elegantly on the edge road and the path to Aiyaru Beach. When the sea is calm in the morning and night, and the 'kahchibai', the summer tropical wind, begins to blow through the island, it is the sign that summer has come.
There is no wind and the hot days continue. Hats and parasols are a necessity. The weather changes very quickly, due to typhoons. When a really large-scale typhoon hits the island, the whole island is splashed by the sea and plant leaves fall down. When this happens, it is called "Pihkaji, the fire wind attacked us!" Please bring extra clothes for the sudden showers, characteristic tropical weather conditions.
Guaba and Shikuasa (kunihoh) are ripe during this month, whose seeds are often used to make necklaces.
Adan, a fruit that looks like a pineapple, bears orange-colored fruit by the seashore. You may be able to see 'yashigani' (coconut crab) climbing up the adan trees and eating the fruit this month.
August 28th to 30th is known as Bon (shohro) Ceremony. It is a memorial ceremony to welcome ancient spirits for three days. At night, the youth on the island don woven hats and facecloths and visit each family (it is different every year). They perform Angama Dance to entertain the Shohroganashi (ancient spirits).
It is very hot during the day. Be careful of heatstroke and sunburns.
This is the busiest season on the island, due to the many festivals, such as the garlic festival. On September 28th, people gather in the elementary schools and junior high schools, where they raise the flag and enjoy a tug of war. Anyone, even a visitor, can join this event.
During September, the typhoons become bigger and bigger. Octopus move into the reef, and hide themselves in rocks, to eat crabs and shells.
The air becomes chilly, both in the morning and the evening, and a 'mihnishi', a tranquil wind from the north-east, gently starts blowing. The comfortable season arrives at last!
It is at this time that the silver grass can be seen everywhere on the island. In the old days, people used it for straw-thatched roofs. Everyone, including children, vigorously practice kyongi and dancing (for the upcoming Tanedori Festival next month) at their village halls.
Bougainvilleas are in full bloom and are exquisite this month. See if you can notice the change in color from morning to evening.
The Tanedori Festival, the biggest one on the island, takes place from November 1st to 9th.
Everyone, including the people who have left the island, take more than a week off to join this festival. The climaxes are the dedications to the gods on the 7th (Sachibudhui) and 8th (Atobudhui). It is an opportunity to show the fruits of their daily efforts to the gods. Various events are held from morning till night for both days.
The well-trimmed itobashou, a Japanese banana plant, changes the color of its trunk into brown and it doesn't have many leaves in this season. The fiber used in fabrics is gathered from this plant. The submarine hot spring locations in the northeast of the island provide an exceptional diving spot for beginners because the water there is warm, even in winter. It is possible to dive throughout the year, of course, but you should really try in the winter, when the water is clear.
This is the time to sow soybeans. It also gets a little colder so you will want to wear long sleeves.

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