Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween from Japan's Legendary Spider Jorogumo

This photo was taken October 29, 2011 and I saved it just for Halloween.

In Okinawa we call them Banana Spiders but they are really Golden Orb-web Spiders.

Nephila clavata is what the scientists named them.  Some folks call them a Joro Spider.

There's a Japanese Folk Story about Jorogumo, the spider who can turn into a beautiful woman.

She tricks a guy into getting romantic and, I guess after he falls asleep, ties the poor soul up and eats him.  AHHHhhhhhhhh !  It's a HORROR STORY I read in WIKIPEDIA.

So, I just kept on digging on the internet, way past Wikipedia, to see if I could come up with something to scare the girls, too on Halloween.

It just so happens, a place called NATURIA something or other had this to say:

"The Male is so tiny that he can live in the female's web, stealing her food, often without her even noticing him.
She may not even notice that he has crept up and inseminated her!  Nevertheless, just to be sure, he usually does the deed when she is feeding."  End of Quote.  Ahem, ahum.....

LADIES BE CAREFUL WHENEVER YOU BEND OVER TO GET SOME MUNCHIES OUT OF THE REFRIGERATOR ON HALLOWEEN NIGHT.  SPIDERS COULD SNEAK UP ON YOU, TOO.

HAPPY HALLOWEEN !







Sunday, October 30, 2011

Sunday's Silly Sign OCT 30, 2011 To Every One Whom Visitor

Lucky me.  I'm an old grand Dad

So, I'm not going to try and figure out the rest of this Sunday's Silly Sign.

There's sorta an ass-trick on that bottom line so, I'll bet that's important.

All I gotta remember is to restrainedly rough action and enjoy myself with other people.

As long as they don't let anybody open drum shops or swing trains around me I think I could have a good time hanging out around here.

Everybody should post park signs like we have in Okinawa, Japan.  It'd make the world a better place.

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Forest, Rocks and Salt: The Less Traveled Path in Okinawa (Photo)

The past few weeks I've been traveling all over the Ryukyu Islands with that dude I keep calling RyukyuRu.  It's a blast but, the young guy acts like he's about half my age, goes up and down mountain trails, into the dark corners of caves and through the jungle like some kinda wild animal.  Half the time, I have no idea where we went.  He'll have to tell us where I took this photo of forest, rocks and salt.  He pays attention to where he's going while I just tag along to shoot the camera.

Ru, has one of those GPS gadgets.  It's great for finding stuff on Google Maps.  I just wish it had a few more important features built into the system.  Like, it would be better if it had a built-in flashlight for dark places.  And, it would be nice if it reminded people the sun is going to go down a few hours earlier when you're in the jungle or a cave, than it does when you're at the beach.

RyukyuRu's real name is Lou.  It's just easier to say Ru, around here, because they don't have any "L's" in the Japanese dictionary.  Whenever I introduce him to anyone here,  I just say his name is Ru.  That way I don't get stuck giving free English lessons to everybody.

One of these days I may do a blog interview and Lou can let you know all he wants to about himself.  Meanwhile,  you can snoop around MAP IT OKINAWA and learn things about him while seeing more photos of where we've been in the Ryukyu Island Chain.

Today, I chose to title this post Forest, Rocks and Salt: The Less Traveled Path, because of what we experienced yesterday.

We observed two women at worship in a well-marked UTAKI (SACRED SITE)  early-on in the day and steered clear so as to not disturb them.  They had placed three piles of salt in different locations throughout the Utaki.  Some were placed alongside the trail,  some on rocks, some at the base of trees in the forest and others at small stone or cement shrines.

After we left that sacred site, we went to the less traveled paths.  Places where we found caves, water wells, springs, thick brush, jungle and hills a mountain goat wouldn't enjoy climbing, we kept running across three freshly laid piles of salt.  We're fairly certain the same two women had traveled off the beaten path and reached every location ahead of us but, never saw them again the entire day.  Dozens, if not a hundred, or more, remote locations and probably a few kilos of fresh salt had been placed in locations where we had to beat our own path.  Big mystery here.  Hmm.

After I'm done picking all the burrs out of my undercarriage, I wonder if I should go try and solve this mystery about the forest, rocks and salt piles on the less traveled paths of Okinawa. 

Or, should I  just stay home and drink beer ?




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Saturday, October 29, 2011

On the Beach in Okinawa, Japan We Have Everything

There's sand, surf, beach volleyball, swimming, boating, fishing.....

... and sometimes.....


.....sometimes.....


.....SOMETIMES.....



WE HAVE WEDDINGS AT THE BEACH.

Do you have everything, including weddings, on the beach where you live ?


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Thursday, October 27, 2011

How Do You Prefer Your Ghosts, Visible or Invisible ? (Images)

Here you see them.
Now, you don't.

How do you prefer your ghosts, visible or invisible ?

These photos were taken at UNESCO Shuri-jo Castle SEP 2011.

Usually, I delete the images with ghosts in them, but this year saved a few for Halloween.

They may also come in handy for future Photography Tips.  We'll see.

RELATED POSTS:

SHURI CASTLE DAY AND NIGHT

UNESCO Shuri Castle at Night: Ten More Photos



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British Shipwreck (Photo) The Indian Oak a Plaything, Now !

In an attempt to make this look as close as I could to the real deal, here's a photo of Britian's Indian Oak, shipwrecked off the coast of Okinawa, Japan in August of 1840.

It looks like it was involved in some Opium Wars with China when it got smashed, during a typhoon. The people of Chatan Village went out to rescue the 67 man crew, salvage what they could of the cargo, and even built them a new Chinese-style junk to sail home on.

This, of course, is a replica. Don't expect me to go wading around in the ocean looking for the real deal because I don't like getting all that wet and they have critters that bite you for no good reason in the ocean.

The people of Chatan built this replica of the ship and fixed it up so kids could climb nets and say, "Matey, Aye, Bounty, Walk the gangplank" and whatever stuff pirates say in movies, I guess.  So, the poor old Indian Oak is just a plaything, now.

Most things of any importance, I like to research before posting.  I looked at this photo of a plaque on a rock (see the ghost reflection?) and did some online searching.

The "Nautical Bulletin and Naval Record" of the British Museum either got the day off, or just doesn't want me snooping around in there because I couldn't find them online.

But, I did find an article about TONY BLAIR BEING INVITED TO THE PLAYGROUND 

Whenever I find these items of hysterical/historical significance I think it's important to share the link so folks know I just don't make this stuff up.

More on Ships Calling on the Ryukyu Islands 18th through Mid-19th Century MAY BE SEEN HERE



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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Editor's Picks (Photos) for the Month of October 2011 + A Hint

These photos were selected as Editor's Picks by the judges at Better Photo for the month of October 2011.
Todoroki Waterfall
Momohara

When It's Wet in the Forest

Shimahigiri

Sunflower on a Stage


HINT:  ALL OF THESE PHOTOS WERE TAKEN USING A TRIPOD.






Monday, October 24, 2011

Photo Essay: A Cameraman's Dream, the Nago Museum

Wow, they have this museum in Nago City Okinawa, Japan that really rocks !

Not what you'd call a big fan of indoor photography, I had a blast shooting in this place.

Lots of museums won't let you use a camera these days for whatever reasons.

And even the few that let you take photos, don't exactly have the best lighting.  Most of them have those glaring flourescent tubes that reflect off of glass cases and ruin your pictures.

But, the Nago Museum had incandescent lighting and everything was on display out in the open.

There was pottery for the pottery culture crowd to see.


Displays depicting good old fashioned weddding scenes with all the food and booze.  They even had a grandma tucked away in the corner.  Who doesn't love grandmas ?


If you were trying to learn the culture of Okinawa, you could see it all, right here.


Most of the things you see in this museum, you could probably still find in someone's house today.


But, there are many items which have been replaced by modern gadgetry.


People don't walk around with old wooden buckets anymore.


It's getting harder to find wild boar on anyone's menu.


A man used to be able to take the dogs out hunting.


He'd get him some wild boar to take home for dinner.

The little missus would do the gardening, gathering, cooking and weaving and be wearing one of these fancy homemade skirts.

The folks at the Nago City Museum were nice enough to let me set up my tripod and camera anywhere I wanted.  So, next time I go I'll bring another lens, an umbrella and some reflector boards.  There's lots of the culture from days gone by, that I missed.

NOW, WHAT'S SHE YAPPIN ABOUT ?

 Dang, can't a cameraman dream, anymore ?


YES DEAR,  I KNOW,  I PROMISED TO TAKE YOU TO THE MALL !



NOTE TO LOCAL READERS: DIRECTIONS HERE


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Saturday, October 22, 2011

Sunday's Silly (Photo) OCT 23, 2011: Drives a Daihatsu Naked

There are still plenty of these hot little cars on the road in Japan.  A few years ago they were flying off the shelves faster than sliced bread and canned beer.  Mostly girls were buying them.

Whenever some dude was trying to impress the ladies with his Ford F100 and got around to asking a gal, "So, what kind of car do you drive?",  she could say, "I drive a DAIHATSU NAKED".



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Sweetheart of the Month (Photo) The Orion Beer Girl

There's still some time left in the month of October but, there won't be anyone able to come closer than this girl to being my sweetheart of the month.  She's the Campaign Girl for Orion Beer.

Do you remember me talking about BEER IS BETTER FOR YOU THAN ORANGE JUICE ?

Well, it's true.  You don't see sweethearts like this campaining for orange juice.  Do you ?







Friday, October 21, 2011

Friday Photo + When Does a Rock Become an Island ?

For a Friday Photo I always like to come up with some sort of catchy title.  Some days ideas just pop right into the head.  Today nothing was popping so, I just looked at this photo and started asking myself some questions.  Stuff like,  "What do you see out there, rocks, or more islands?"



The photo is a view of the Pacific taken at a remote beach somewhere along the east coast of Okinawa, Japan.  There may be thousands of islands in the Ryukyu Archipelago but, the experts say we have about 160 islands that are part of Okinawa's territory.  I'll get to as many of them as I can.

For this picture I found a new source of information that's a real knee slapper.  I'm bookmarking this puppy because it seems fairly accurate.  They even used the Guinness Book of Records as a reference to answer someone's question, "When does a rock become an island"?

And, they had tons of other answers to important questions people around the world asked, like:

When does a mountain become a mountain?

When does a stone become a rock?

When did Scotland and England become one country?

How do you become fat?

How do I become a movie star?

When does a wood become a forest?

When does parking become free in Kilmarnock?

If a person dies with unpaid bills, who gets stuck with the tab?

This isn't stuff I just pull out of my hat.  Go and see for yourself.  Some of the questions are probably from living, breathing humans determined to find answers and make something of themselves.

The only island in this Friday Photo is the one under my feet when I shot the scene, according to:

 KGB ANSWERS: WHEN DOES A ROCK BECOME AN ISLAND?





Thursday, October 20, 2011

Watching Waterdrops in a Cave: Just Three Photos

Lately I've been out shooting the camera all over the Ryukyu Islands, not just the main island of Okinawa, Japan but, some other ones I've never set foot on before.  Today found me in a cave I don't know the name of, on an island which I haven't learned the name of, yet.  I've been busy.  But, there are times when I'm waiting for the lighting to change at a cave entrance and instead of getting bored, I find something to do. 
Like shooting waterdrops hanging on to stalactites until they drop off to form stalagmites on the cave floor.  Why should I get bored ?


Here's a waterdrop in natural light near the cave entrance.


It gets a bit elongated.


Then, when you least expect, it makes a mad dash for the floor.

This particular cave had some pottery and arrowheads discovered in it that were over 6,500 years old.

That got me to thinking.  I wonder what the cavemen did when all their important tasks were done and they were waiting for the light to change.  They didn't have cameras to fool with, the internet, or even black and white TV's.  I don't think beer was even invented, yet.  Dang !

Do you suppose they just sat around watching waterdrops in the cave, too ?

RELATED POST:

GOING DOWN (PHOTOS) HOW I GOTTER DUN


PHOTOGRAPHY TIPS: LONG EXPOSURES IN A TOURIST TRAP


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Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Whoa, Baby. Looks like We've Captured a Codiaeum Varigatum !

Like any respectable man who didn't sneak out of the house early enough, I got caught this past Sunday.  So, I took the wife shopping.  Then, after we put all the stuff away, went one step further and took her out for a Sunday drive. Being the romantic person I am, I promised I'd just bring along one of my small cameras.  See, the wife thinks the cameras are my girlfriends and I don't pay enough attention to her.  She's probably right but, I won't let her know.  She knows too much, already.  Like she knew the name of this plant even though there are hundreds of different variations of the dang things.  It's a Croton (Codiaeum varigatum) Kuroton,
 クロトン, in Japanese.
After I captured photos of the same plant from different angles at varied exposures I was ready to drive somewhere else up in the mountains.  These plants,  I've noticed,  are found at many of the sacred sites on Okinawa, so I always figured they had some special meaning.  I would never touch one except, maybe to move a snail out of the way for a better photo, or something like that.


The Missus says there's nothing special about the Kuroton Plants being around sacred sites.  They are just planted because they are pretty.  Then, SNAP, she captured one, too.
The cutting is growing in my front yard, now.

My connections over at WIKIPEDIA tell me this Codiaeum variegatum is a Flora of China.
It is native to Indonesia and Malaysia but, it's cultivated in Fujian, Guangdong, Guangx, Hainan and Yunnan provinces of China.  That tells me there's more behind this plant than, it's just pretty.

Much of the culture and spiritualism practiced in Okinawa, Japan came from China back in the days when this island was called the Ryukyu Kingdom.  It will take more investigation for me to determine if the Croton Plant has some special meaning.  While the wife is nursing along the little plant she captured, I'll steer clear of it and only capture other variations with my cameras.
Not that I'm superstitious; just cautious.



Tuesday, October 18, 2011

When Birds in the Wild Don't Want to Pose

Getting more than one bird in the wild to pose for your camera can be a real challenge.

There always seems to be one that doesn't want to cooperate. 

Sometimes, you just have to shoot as many photos as you can.  It may take hours.
And, you may fill up some SD cards with plenty of photos to delete.
When you edit the photos after downloading just crop the uncooperative birds out.

These Black-winged Stilts (Himantopus himantopus) are migratory birds that visit Okinawa from November through March.

See more of the BIRDS OF OKINAWA HERE



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Monday, October 17, 2011

When It's Wet in the Forest (Photos)

On a rainy day, when the forest is wet, you can walk quietly.

The wildlife won't be out but, you can hear the waterfalls.


Streams of fast-moving water splash over the rocks.


And they swirl around them, making white patches in dark areas.


When everything is wet, brown colors look dark but, greens look greener.


When it's wet in the forest, you can have the place all to yourself.  Try it sometime.  It's cool.



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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunday's Silly Sign (Photo) OCT 16, 2011 Catch and Get Off

This Sunday's Silly Sign came from a museum in Naha Okinawa, Japan.

"Please catch the handrail and get off."

Now, that might confuse some folks not used to going to the big city.

It had me scratching my head for awhile.

But, I looked around and found a set of stairs going down into the museum display rooms.

Sure enough, they have a nice stainless steel handrail.

For those people so inclined, I suppose you can catch it and get off.

Me, I just got as far away from the thing as I could and went down the stairs.

And I sure am glad I didn't run into anybody getting off at the bottom.


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Saturday, October 15, 2011

Wildlife Photos: The Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle

Here is a series of shots taken in Okinawa, Japan today.


There weren't any blue skies and bright light as seen in my introduction photo but, I was happy to catch these shots on the rainy day we were experiencing all over the island on this mid October day.


The Buzzard Eagle usually doesn't arrive on Okinawa until November.


They migrate from colder climates and stay until March sometime.


This bird was stretching and flapping its wings, trying to shake the water off.


Unlike my other raptor friends, the Osprey,  Grey-faced Buzzard Eagles don't go diving in fresh or sea water to grab fish.


These birds are meat-eaters.


Rodents, snakes and frogs are what's on the menu for Buzzard Eagles.


They can fly and swoop down on dinner lots faster when their feathers are dry.


Once this bird got enough of the rain water off its wings, it was ready for the hunt.


It spotted something on the ground, took a dive below the treeline, out of my sight, never to be seen again.  That's alright by me, Mr. Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle.  I'll visit you again on a brighter day and have a little longer lens on the camera when we meet next time.


MORE ABOUT THE GREY-FACED BUZZARD EAGLE MAY BE SEEN HERE


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