Hija-lover group holds event in Oishi Park in Naha

<em>Hija</em>-lover group holds event in Oishi Park in Naha

Children enjoy a running race with goats on December 8 at Oishi Park in Naha.

December 18, 2012 Ayako Sakaguchi of Ryukyu Shimpo

On January 8, at Oishi Park in Naha, people fond of goats, or hija as they are known in the Okinawan dialect, held a year-end party and was also designed to foster friendship among people in the community. Many people, including the elderly and local children, participated in the event sponsored by five groups such as the Oishi Park Hija-Lover Club. The participants enjoyed goat races and a contest to imitate the voice of goats. Naha City Mayor Takeshi Onaga made an appearance and imitated a goat’s voice. About 30 children, including some of kindergarten age and the children who were looking after the goats, took part in the race with the animals.

Tenshiro Hayashi, a four year-old boy from Emile Nursery School, said, “I ran as fast as I could in my race with yagi-san (goat), and I beat him. He was quite slow.”

The crowd burst into laughter when Mayor Onaga attempted to imitate a goat’s voice. Naha resident Masako Nakasone said, “The mayor’s imitation was the best. His having a go made us feel a little closer to him.”

Eiichi Oshiro, the chairperson of the Oishi Park Hija-Lover Club, said, “This was the first time for us to hold this fellowship event. Children now come over after school every day to help take care of the goats. We hope that this will be a relaxing place for people in the community, where people and their children will deepen their mutual bonds.”

(English translation by T&CT, Mark Ealey)

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