Monday, October 23, 2017

Bingo - The Best Reuben Sandwich on Island Discovered Today !

Reuben Sandwich, Chatan, Okinawa

Running Late

Just a quickie tonight because I'm later than usual. Vegetarians, don't have to look.

Hanging around the island for some forty years, I've never had one like this.

The place was recommended to me by the proprietor of Bingo's Pub, in Kin Town.

It's called Five Star Deli.

Poke on the link and, you can get directions, see more photos and read my review.

For now, let's just say, I'm on a secret mission. Bye. 

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Super Typhoon Lan Cleanup

It Missed Okinawa

The weather dudes got it all wrong this time but, it gave me some time off.

Typhoon Lan, is a big one and will probably, cause some damage in mainland Japan.

Last night, I crashed at 7 PM and, woke up 3 AM this morning, to see the action.

That's what time, they predicted winds and rain would be severest.

It was a little windy but, dry outside so, I walked the dog and, bought some coffee.

At 4 AM, white clouds were visible, in the dark skies. By 5 AM, I was at the office.

Cleanup Some Bird Photos

There wasn't any typhoon cleanup required.  Yesterday was wasted, for no good reason.

So, I dug up an old bird photo from 2015, to demonstrate cleaning up an image.

There are distractions in this photo which, take away from the subject. Get rid of them.

bird, image, Night Heron, before

The subject is a Black-crowned Night Heron, located in Namisato, Kin Town, Okinawa.

To make the photo "pop" some sticks, twigs, and undesirables, had to be removed.

A few minutes, of photo editing and, my cleanup would be done. Call this BEFORE.

bird, image, Night Heron, after

Here's the AFTER Image

Had I wanted to spend a few more minutes time, some of the off-colored items, would disappear.

Just in case, another wildlife photographer wants, to find the spot, I left it natural.

The cement block and colored rocks are more than likely, still there.

One Other Item

One of these days, WiFi will need to be installed in my house.

Sitting at home, checking email accounts was next to impossible the past 24 hours.

One email, from Academia, came through and, really had me curious.

But, there was no sense in pushing "View Now" because I knew, I'd get nowhere.

48 mentions, Michael Lynch, Academia, email, screenshot

They Got Me Confused with Someone Wearing Shoes

There's plenty, I could tell you, about ways of the world and, ladies of the night.

But, I ain't got no Doctorates Degree!

So, I had to get some cleaning up on that Academia site, too.

Don't get me wrong. People with that level of education, I admire. Some, are my friends.

"Michael Lynch" (the guy in that email) probably, is way more educated than me.

So, I spent a few hours, getting my profile, over there, spiffed up.

There are a few thousand, "Michael Lynch" characters on this planet, I'll bet.

But, I bet, there ain't many, doing their research, wearing yellow flip-flops!

My Typhoon Cleanup is done for the day.

NOTE:  For the best typhoon information (On Okinawa) go HERE

Friday, October 20, 2017

Endangered Bat - The Ryukyu Flying Fox

Someday Might Become Extinct

This 2008 image was found and cleaned for presentation and, the research was done today.

It started last week, when a gal asked me, "Are those owls, flying around here at night?"

Out behind my office, the visitor from Hawaii, caught me while on a smoke break.

There haven't been any owls, spotted by me, in the few years, I've occupied this office.

She mentioned, the critters hang from telephone wires, upside down and, I knew immediately.

She was talking about the Ryukyu Flying Fox, which is a Fruit Bat.

Scientific Name: Pteropus dasymallus 

Five subspecies of this animal, exist in the Ryukyu Islands, Taiwan and the Philippines.

First the Fun Facts

  • These bats, won't bite people. So, don't scream as, they swoop down and surprise you.
  • They are nocturnal and, usually start flying as the sun is going down. During daylight hours, they hang in trees and, are fairly well camouflaged.
  • Adults, with a wingspan of a meter (3 feet) make a good swooshing sound, when they flap.
  • Fruit Bats, don't have radar, like others. They navigate, using their eyes and ears and fur.
  • The diet of these flying foxes is mainly fruit and leaves, with an occasional insect.

Holy Bat Shitman !

Bats are categorized differently, from one country to another, based upon population size.

At one point the species was declared extinct, in Taiwan. But, somebody spotted, two.

Squirrels, feral cats, dogs, typhoons, deforestation and hunting, wipe the bats out.

Critically endangered on the Japanese Red List, these bats have been declared Natural Treasures.

The IUCN Red List has this bat listed as Vulnerable.

But, they go on to say, "Local illegal cults, operated by farmers in response to crop damage, 

are a major threat, which has been ignored, so far."

In the Philippines (Not all bad people) on certain islands, the bats, have it worse.

Poachers, go after these bats because, they are considered, a delicacy !


Monday, October 16, 2017

Psychedelic at the Festival - Just One Photo

fireworks, hanabi,festival,matsuri, Okinawa, Japan, Kin Town

Mind Twisting Drugs

This won't be a long story, I promise. The doctor gave me these drugs.

For the second night, in a row, I went and shot photos at the Kin Matsuri.

Saturday, I took one of these pills, slept for 3 hours and, went to work.

They said, "Don't operate any machinery, until you feel used to the stuff."

That's why, I took a long nap.  A camera, on a tripod isn't really all that heavy.

At the matsuri,  I tried avoiding beer because, I wasn't sure it would be a good idea.

Eventually, I caved and, tossed a few before the fireworks even got started.
Then, shot a bunch of fireworks and, went out drinking beers until 2 AM.

Skipping the nighttime dosage, I slept fairly well. 

Next morning, I did an internet search on Lyrica, the pain killer, they gave me.

Oops. You shouldn't consume alcohol or, only drink in moderation if, you have to.

Well, moderation, to me, would be, no more that 20 and no less than 17 beers.

Just kidding. Taking the dosage the pretty doctor, put me on, I won't be drinking at all.

Pain killers and I, don't exactly, get along with each other, I told the doctor.

Why in hell, anybody would want their brain numbed beats me.

Figure out, what's causing the pain and, fix it. Numskulls.

Anything stronger than Aspirin, is too much, for me. Beer can make me numb.

With two women in the room (wife and doctor) telling me, I need these drugs, I groaned.

There's no sense getting in an argument with experts, who know everything about anything.

So, I'm taking this medicine for the next two weeks. I had to make a promise.

No heavy lifting. Can't lift a cement block, over my head 150 times a day.

That would be dangerous, with a numb skull and psychedelics on your mind.

One hundred and fifty push-ups, a day, doesn't sound too bad, though.

Processing Fireworks Images

All hopped-up on medicines, I'm going through about 300 photo files, for developing.

The bright light and colors was really getting to me, today. Dizzying.

Every 20 minutes or so, I went outside for a break and, a smoke, usually.

Do ten push-ups for each cigarette, you smoke and, it adds up to 150, quickly.

Without cleaning-up the images, I put 50 or more, in a Facebook album.

This one, had some editing done, to remove the smoke, trailing behind the explosion.

Some psychedelic GIF animations, could be in the making, at a later date.

For now, I'm limiting my work, to things which are simple and enjoyable.

Some reporter, wanting to interview me, had to be told, to go find someone else.

A guy, like me, might say something offensive, when taking mind-bending drugs.

We, wouldn't want that to happen, would we ?

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 18 MM

Exposure: f/11   1/sec  ISO 100

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: OCT 10 2017   8:58 PM  

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Almost Missed Fireworks at Kin Matsuri

hanabi, fireworks, festival,Japan

Thanks to an Alert Granddaughter

The sun was still blazing hot when I arrived at the Kin Town Matsuri.

Placing the tripod and camera under a food counter, I did some serious BBQ eating.

The only photos I planned on shooting, would be the fireworks.

hanabi, fireworks, festival, Japan

Some friends, hanging around the festival food booths, were drinking beer.

Some medications, I'm taking gave me an excuse to, not join them, enjoying the booze.

hanabi, fireworks, matsuri, festival, Japan

Along came the Mayor and, he wanted to chat, meet my friends and, drink beers together.

The next thing, you know, everybody's buying beers and doing cheers.

That was my excuse, to partake in a little bit of beer drinking. Not to insult the Mayor.

hanabi, fireworks, festival, Okinawa, Japan

The Mayor, doesn't speak much English and the gang, didn't speak Japanese.

Even though, I'm not an official translator, I had to do some simple translating.

Like, introducing people and, telling the Mayor their ages and occupations.

Maybe, stuff like, "Wow. She's got nice jeans." When some gal walked by.

Other than that, everybody kept buying, each other, cups of beer and saying, "Kampai."

fireworks, festival, Okinawa, Japan, Kin Town

That's what folks do, when drinking and making toasts in Japan.

The Mayor, floated away in the festival crowds so, we kept drinking beers without him.

Along came a granddaughter, who knows, I have a camera, for the festival, somewhere.

She asked if, grandpa remembers, why he came to this festival.

"I came to shoot the hanabi (fireworks), I told her."

"Where's your camera, Grandpa?"

"Over there, under the counter."

"Hurry up and get ready."

"Why" I said, "The hanabi don't start, until 8:45."

"She came back with, "Grandpa, it's 8:40 now!"

Holy crap. I had to slam my cup of beer and run to get the camera set up.

These shots were taken between 9:00 and 9:02 PM, the last few minutes of the fireworks.

More Photos on Facebook in the Kin Town Matsuri 2017

Friday, October 13, 2017

Shadanhojinhokubuchiku - Yow !

Hospital in Nago, Okinawa

Prettiest Doctor on Planet Earth

Scared to visit doctors, from previous experiences, I only use them when I have to.

The past few months, I hadn't been feeling well but, try to hide it.

Finally, I got half scared to death and decided, it would be a good time to turn myself-in.

Almost three years ago, I had been in this hospital for surgery. It's up in Nago, Okinawa.

They cut me open and installed some mesh, to patch a blowout in my belly.

It was fun, joking with the nurses and sneaking off the fourth floor, to get outside.

No smoking rules, forced me to ground level, past the mortuary, to get outside and smoke.

The doctor let me cut my visit a few days short because, I recovered so quickly.

Shadanhojinhokubuchiku is the hospital, I was in and decided to go back there.

Attorneys Love Things Like This

Those mesh patches, feel sorta funny, when installed in your pelvis.

After awhile, you get used to it and, life goes on, as usual. It beats being dead, I think.

Some gal back in the USA, won 57 million dollars because of a mesh lawsuit.

It seems Johnson & Johnson, got caught selling defective patches and has to pay, now.

The woman, had all sorts of problems, with the mesh and, felt like she was on fire.

Back around June, of this year, my mesh started burning, down there in my lower tummy.

Not really interested in becoming a millionaire, I decided to get a checkup.

What if, they quit selling that mesh in the USA and, sent some to Japan ?

Surgery, Orthopaedics, sign, hospital, Nago, Okinawa

Hospital Visit

Certain, I was about to be admitted, I traveled light. Just carried a few extra smokes.

All appointments, for the next few weeks, were put on hold.

Keys, a few hundred dollars, cameras and, other junk I usually carry, were left at home.

Just the wife and a daughter, drove me to the hospital. The dog I said, "Later Stinky."

When you check-in at the front desk, they decide, where to send you next.

This, I'll call station #4.  There must have been 35 people, who arrived before me.

Orthopaedics, I had to google. I figured, it had something to do with bones.

An hour wait at the front desk and, another hour stuck here. Groan.

Blood pressure, heartbeat and a few other things, eventually got checked.

Poor little nurse, couldn't reach high enough to measure my height so, I did it myself.

Once, they decide, which doctor you need, you get to wait another hour.

Soon, I started telling the wife and daughter, "It's a miracle. I'm cured. Let's go home."

Beautiful Woman Doctor

A gorgeous, late twenties, almond-eyed, long-haired, gal in a blue uniform, greeted us.

The wife comes along, to help with the hearing and translation.

She gets informed about my last visit and, pulls up all my records on the computer.

Meanwhile, I do stuff like, look at her fingers and, see there are no rings.

She has me, get up on a table for examination and, I had to pull my shorts down, a little ways.

She started poking around, looking for the scar, from my last surgery.

Sort of a gorilla, it took her awhile to find the spot. Then, she pokes around there.

"Does this hurt?" she asks.  "Yeah. That's why I came here. It  burns, like fire." I told her.

She wanted my pants down lower and had me raise my fanny up a bit.

Then, she pulled everything down to my knees and had me spread my legs.

Holy crap. The gal started, sticking her hands all over my crotch, probing and squeezing !

"Does it hurt here? How about, when I do this? Pain here?" 

"No, sweetie. You're making everything feel fine. It doesn't hurt down there." I told her.

Off to the Echo Chamber

The doctor determined, some sort of internal images, should be taken and, away we went.

"That gal's too young to be a doctor. She's cute. Did you see what she did to me?" I asked the wife.

"Why didn't you punch her in the face?" I said, while we walked to the next station.

The wife said, "She's a doctor, doing her job. Maybe, she's an intern. That's why she's young."

Well, I sort of enjoyed it but if, I saw some young guy, do that to you, I'd knock them out."

At the EKKO Station, the missus, waited outside and, I went in with a 3/4 good-looking gal.

She slapped some grease on me and, watched a TV screen, while rubbing a machine around.

Both sides of my pelvis got viewed but, she kept away from the Tinker Toys. Yeah !

Another hour or, two and, we got to see my favorite doctor, again.

The doctor, after looking at the pictures, said everything looks normal. I could go home.

Duh. My belly's on fire. That's not normal, to me !

Let's Try a CT Scan

That's one, I have never experienced and told the doctor. MRI, I've done some.

She said it was similar to an MRI, just a different machine.

They gave me some sort of transfusion machine, hooked-up and taped to my arm.

Took some blood and, pumped juice in me and, I'd have to wait an hour.

No eating lunch. Dammit, it was going on two o'clock and, I was hungry.

"No smoking," a gal told us. But, the wife whispered, "She said, one was OK."

Radiology, Japanese, hospital, sign

The wife, couldn't stay there in the room. "No problem," I told her.

In case, they spoke Japanese only, I could understand, "Hold still and, hold your breath."

The machine, was similar to an MRI, just smaller. It wasn't like going into a coffin.

The gadget, on my arm, got colored juice, pumped into an artery.

The machine buzzed and, I spent about half an hour on the table, moving in and out.

When done, they unhooked me and, when I stood up, felt like a drunk.

That's something I've become accustomed to so, it was easy navigating through the hospital.

The results of the CT were delivered back to the nurses at my doctor's station.

Knowing it may take another hour, I had the wife and daughter waiting and, got more smokes.

The lady doctor, finally had us brought in but, didn't feel me, this time.

After looking at all the evidence and, consulting with the big doctors, she knew.

The burning sensation is caused by some nodules. I can get pain killers.

Nope. I don't want some drugs, to numb my brain so, I won't feel the burning.

We settled on some medicine, that's like Vitamin B 12. I got a month's supply.

And, I have another appointment, with the lady doctor in two weeks, for a checkup.

When she asks how I feel, I'll say, "I don't know. You tell me."

Total Damages

The wife knows, I like to clown around and, is happy to have me home.

She told the daughter about my thrilling experience with the young lady doctor.

They both had a good laugh and, we went out to dinner, while in the big city.

With my Japanese health insurance, it cost about 150 bucks, for everything, yesterday.

It would have totaled over $17,000 if, I had no health insurance. Probably more, in the USA.

When I go back, I'll ask the doctor, "Could you add a little Viagra, to that medicine?"

Then, start dancing around the room singing, "I'm the Hoochie Coochie Man."

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

Just a Halloween Reminder

Halloween scene;Okinawa

It's Almost Here

It seems like, the stores have been pushing Halloween since August.

Now is a good time to post something from last year and, a few reminders.

Some folks, have to go out and buy costumes for the event. Others, don't really need them.

For photographers: You might want to go out and catch some of the attractions, to photograph.

This image gave me an idea. I think I'll just stay home.

Saturday, October 7, 2017

GIF: Six Minutes of Clouds and October 2017 Moon

October 5 2017 full moon, GIF, clouds

Nine Image Animation

A lot can happen, when out shooting the full moon on Okinawa.

The series of photos, used to create this scene, were taken between 6:20 and 6:26 PM.

 The wind was blowing black clouds through the sky and shaking my camera lens.

The color of the moon, changed during that time period, too.

After downloading the camera and, posting images on the blog, I went out for a drink.

Joking with a guy in the bar, I said,"The moon's a moving target."

He agreed and said, "I know. I'm a meteorologist."

That was my chance to ask him, "How come the color of the moon changes, so fast?"

Well, about that time, a beautiful woman, walked into the bar.

So, I quit paying attention to the weatherman. Amen.

Friday, October 6, 2017

Problem Solved - It's the Girl with the Cutest Nose

Children drumming and dancing at Full Moon Festival

Children Perform Eisa at a Full Moon Festival

October 4th 2017 a Kangetsusai (moon viewing) Festival was held in Kin Town.

Wanting to travel light, I used a mono-pod and 18-250 MM lens, with the Pentax K1.

The mono-pod, would make it easier, to avoid having drunken revelers, shaking the camera.

The thing had been collecting dust, in my office for a few years.

It was my first time, using such a gadget and, it worked out pretty well.

I was standing at a level above most of the crowd and zooming-in on the stage.

Two younger grandchildren came along and said, "Jiji." That's Japanese for grandpa.

I hugged the girl and patted the boy. It started raining. I toweled his bald head, dry.

The granddaughter told me, "Kannon's up there doing Eisa."

Kannon, is a sixth grader and, daughter of my favorite daughter-in-law.

What kind of crappy grandfather, would I be if, I missed photographing her ?

A Busy Time of the Year

Celebrations, festivals and sports day events keep me going, around the clock.

There are probably thousands of images, waiting processing in my files.

The wind picked up, rain was falling down, on and off, during this matsuri (festival).

Some folks, ran off the field, seeking shelter. Others, popped open umbrellas.

The last time, I saw my granddaughter perform Eisa, she was wearing purple head-wear.

Assuming she'd be dressed in the same uniform, I concentrated on purple.

Then, used continuous firing on the camera's shutter button. Like a machine gun.

Frame the compositions, to include everybody in the crowd and, I couldn't miss her.

The weather or, something, even broke the loudspeaker system and, music stopped.

But, those spirited kids, kept on drumming, chanting and dancing. They were amazing.

At any Eisa event, there's always someone, whistling loud, like a whippoorwill on steroids.

Local men, fired-up on kettles of Okinawan spirits, contributed to the merrymaking.

After the Eisa

Along came my favorite daughter-in-law and, she saw that I had brought the camera.

"Papa, did you get photos of Kannon?" she asked me.

"Of course, I get photos of everybody. What sort of crappy grandpa, do you think I am?"

By the end of the event, I was exhausted. Dropped the camera by my office and, called it a day.

There were over 800 photos taken. I left a computer, downloading and, locked the door.

Out shooting the full moon, the past few nights, I haven't done much photo processing.

Here it is, a few days later and, everyone wants to see the pictures of Kannon.

Going through the image files, I couldn't find her. I looked at hundreds of photos.

Enlarging them on the screen and, looking at purple scarves, I didn't spot my granddaughter.

Bummed Out Grandpa

It's a good thing, I only have one daughter-in-law, in Okinawa. She's still my favorite, here.

The other one, in the USA is, my favorite American daughter-in-law.

It's also a good thing, I didn't delete all the photos, of those kids wearing purple.

After checking all the kids faces, on the stage, I noticed something.

Bouncing up and down, on the ground, were drummers, in red head bands.

All of a sudden, I spotted this doll, with a drum and a cute little nose, I'd recognize anywhere.

Why in the hell, didn't anyone tell me, the color of my granddaughter's uniform ?

Thursday, October 5, 2017

Two Images of October 2017 Harvest Moon Over Okinawa

astronomy; full-moon, photography, Okinawa, Japan

Last Night We Celebrated

There was a big festival, known as Kangetsusai, in Kin Town, under the almost full moon.

Of course, I was out there, with a camera and, extremely busy.

Everyone kept offering me alcoholic spirits to enjoy, along with them.

But, I don't drink, when using the camera. It's against my religion, I guess.

The moon, wasn't quite 100% round. It was 98 or 99% if, you ask me.

Knowing, it would appear more full tonight, I got outside early.

This photo was taken at 6:23 PM using the Pentax 300 MM and a 1.4 converter.

astronomy, harvest moon, full-moon, Okinawa, Sigma

A Few Minutes Later

Clouds would come and go and, a second series of shots might not have happened.

Going back downstairs, I switched to a Sigma 50-500 MM lens with a converter.

Stretched out all the way, the lens gave me 700 MM of focal length.

It was 6:39 PM, when this photo was taken. Notice, the change in the color of the moon.

If, you want to catch the moon, appearing orange, don't be 16 minutes late.

More about the Harvest Moon

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Wordless Wednesday

Finck's Overalls, sign, hamburger joint

GIF: Okinawa Dance at Beiju (米寿) an 88th Birthday in Japan

Grand Event in Okinawa

The 88th birthday celebration takes on a new meaning in Okinawa, Japan.

Friends, family (from Hawaii and Washington state) and, I was even there.

A hall, down in Gushikawa, hosted the event and, Kin Town, provided bus transportation.

Traditional Okinawa dance performance on stage

Normally, you would never catch me in a suit and, wearing shoes.

But, I got all dolled up for this because, it was a formal event, in honor of Mrs. Yamashiro.

She's the sweetheart, who's always smiling and gardening behind my office.

Lots of bugs, butterflies, flowers and vegetables become subjects for my cameras.

She's always trying to give me vegetables, to take home but, I politely refuse.

The Camera Stayed at the Office

The reason, the town provided transportation, is some serious drinking might be required.

And, that's the reason, I didn't take along any expensive camera equipment.

It was an all-you-can-eat-and-drink type of affair. So, that's what I planned on doing.

While relatives and family, did performances on stage, I consumed plenty of refreshments.

Snapping a few hundred images with the iPhone,  they got sent to the cloud.

When I got back to the office Sunday night, an idea struck me. "You're drunk, go home."

Seven Day Work Weeks

Monday, I decided to spend the day at home and, rest the weary bones.

The wife agreed, it might be a good idea and, the dog loved it. We slept a lot.

Apple's iPhone and that iCloud  are some strange characters.

The camera takes, alright photos and they are fairly large, in size but, need work.

Once a GB of storage in the cloud, gets used up, they want you to pay for more.

The rest of the week I'll probably, decide which photos to keep and process.

Then, a Facebook album, may be created, for Mrs. Yamashiro's friends and family, to see.

Standby for more.....

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Last Conversation with Apple's Siri

It was a Beautiful Day

The sweltering summer heat and humidity, sort of, got blown away.

There hasn't been a better day, in the month of September, to go for a long hike.

A quick check of emails and, I'd be out the door with the cameras.

Beeps and bings, started going off on the computer and charging iPhone.

Some sort of update, needed to be installed, the iTunes told me.

After going through all kind of frustration, even fingerprinting, I was all set.

Push the Start Button and Here Comes Siri

A long time ago, I got rid of that useless witch but, the update brought her  back.

Every time, I turned the phone on, I couldn't get my home screen to show.

Siri, would turn herself on and, ask the same stupid question. What can I help you with ?

First I asked, "How can I get Siri off my iPhone?"

She said, "I can't help you with that."

Apple Should Get Rid of Siri

People who want to impress themselves with, talking to robots, can buy phones elsewhere.

They want to act like some kind of astronauts or something. Join NASA.

Regular earthlings, like me, don't need stupid robots, to talk to. 

Almost a whole day was wasted, trying to get my phone, working again.

Finally, I caved and played Siri's stupid game because, there was nothing left to do.

I explained to her, the update made my usual iPhone home screen disappear. 

The witch goes, "That's an interesting question Michael."

And, she never came back with a solution. Just left me hanging, smoking and cussing.

Finally, I went and Googled "How to turn off Siri."

Got rid of her and,  learned some new stuff along the way.

Triple clicking, rebooting and punching the phone around the office, it began working again.

Since Apple got my fingerprint, I figured I'd better not cuss at Siri.

So, I toned it down a bit and, sent her my last message. I really wish her a fertile future !

End of rant

Thursday, September 28, 2017

Travel Agent Academy: Croatia - A European Hot Spot

Croatia Specialist, certificate, Travel Agent Academy

Another One Bites the Dust

Just the other day, I was wondering how I got into the Taiwan travel agent program.

Checking with the Travel Agent Academy, it wasn't listed, there.

As long as I had logged-in, I figured I'd look around, for anything new.

There, I discovered a new course on Croatia. Went back and, checked it out today.
After some grueling, culture, geography, history and language studies, I took the tests.

What the Hell Has That Got to Do with Ryukyu Life ?

Well, I've been taking travel agent courses around the globe and, I'll tell you.

The most successful travel countries, do the best marketing, of the country's features.

So, I kind of know, which places, are most likely to get the most tourists.

Pick out what's unique about a place and, tell folks, where, when and why, they should see it.

Snow festivals and skiing probably, wouldn't go over big, on these islands.

But, water sports, karate, UNESCO sites, culture and foods, might interest some folks.

Telling the travelers, the best and worst months for activities, is important, too.

Visa requirements, transportation, lodging, shopping, museums, all kinds of stuff.

Adventure, amusement, entertainment, camping, cycling and hiking, the list goes on and on.

I take, what's good and, ignore what's poorly done, by every country, I take travel exams in.

One of these days, I might make my own exams, for Okinawa Travel Specialists and Experts !

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Taiwan: The Heart of Asia -- So I Took Their Tests

Taiwan Agent Specialist Certificate

Close to Home This Time

Taiwan Tourism contacted me today and, encouraged me to finish this course.

Somewhere along the line, I had enrolled but, never took the tests.

Awhile back, I was planning a trip to Ishigaki and Iriomote Islands in the south of Okinawa.

Right before, I was ready to pack up and leave, I got hacked.

Credit card and an email account, somehow got compromised. Groan.

Two banks, notified me of suspicious activity. I chopped up the card and ordered a new one.

Well, I was busy and forgot all about Taiwan and the travel professional's school.

All is well now, with the banks and email so, off to the online course, I went.

Taiwan Would Be a Fun Place to Visit

It's just a little over an hour flight time from Naha, Okinawa. I could handle that.

It's been awhile since, the last time, I visited Taiwan and, that was just the big city, Taipei.

Now, that I've learned some culture, history and geography, I want to see all of the island.

They have stuff like, bears, deer, monkeys and wild boar plus, lots of migratory birds.

Mountains over 12,000 feet, big raging rivers, lots of jungles and, a mild climate.

Heck. It would take me hours, to get to Africa, Hawaii, Mexico or Switzerland !

Should I disappear suddenly, for a week or three, you can probably guess, where I'll be.

Travel Agent Academy

This course was an external one, not at the Travel Agent Academy.

But, taking their courses was probably, how I got referred to Taiwan Travel Bureau.

Around the globe, I have been taking travel agent courses, not because I'm a travel agent.

A travel professional, isn't necessarily a travel agent. It's someone involved in the industry.

Writers and photographers, can be travel professionals, too.

Most to my photography and writing, has been about Okinawa. That's my specialty.

But, I like to peek at other countries and, see what they're promoting for the tourism industry.

It gives me ideas, when I see them, promoting whatever is unique, about their location.

Things like, the fastest train, slowest train, tallest mountain and widest river.

Okinawa has the best beer !

Monday, September 25, 2017

Two Animations from Kin Town Sports Day

Elementary School Undokai

An Undokai is a school sporting event, held this time of year, throughout Japan.

They have relays, gymnastics and a tug o war but, my favorite part is the Eisa.

Eisa drummers dancing

Only a small portion of the orchestra is visible in this GIF.

That's because, I'm up on a hillside, trying to get a good composition.

It was a blazing hot, sunny day which, reminded everyone of mid August.

The kids, down there are from Kin Elementary School. It was October 24, 1017.

Chondara dancing barefoot, photographer

The photographer, in this animation probably, got some great close-ups.

But, I was happy, being off the athletic field, taking my shots from a distance.

Actually, I was outside the school grounds and, I had a plan.

As soon as the Eisa was over, I'd be heading for some shade and, wouldn't run into a crowd.

It seemed like, two or three thousand people, were in attendance. The place was packed.

Twenty minutes of walking, had me back in an air-conditioned office, downloading cameras.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

The Winner Is Photo #1

Yotsudake dancer performing on stage

Getting Business Cards Printed

A decision had to be made about, which image to display on my meishi (business cards).

Last night, I posted three photos on Facebook and, asked folks to help me decide.

There's a lot of Okinawa experts on Facebook and, I value their opinions.

But, to get more rounded advice, I went the extra mile and, did some bar hopping.

Using an unscientific method, I asked only Ryukyu people, which photo they'd choose.

Mejiro in cherry blossoms, birds, flowers, sakura, Japanese White Eye

When you look at the photos, which one most represents Ryukyu Life ?

Knowing, there are bird lovers, around the globe, I knew they would vote for the Mejiro.

Some, even suggested gold or silver text, would make this image pop.

But, other folks said the Mejiro, doesn't necessarily represent Okinawa.

These little birds live in mainland Japan and, Hawaii, too.

Girl performing sign language with a band, Okinawa

This image of an 8 year old girl performing sign language with a band, is a favorite of mine.

It was selected by men and women, on Facebook and, out in town.

It was especially a favorite, of those who heard the story, behind the image.

It's another photo that would go great with white, gold or, silver print.

First Photo Got the Most Responses

There was no need, to tally the numbers and, scratch them down on paper.

Verbally and, on Facebook, the top picture, represented Ryukyu, to the most people.

If you found 3 women in a bar, 2 out of 3, would select that image.

So, I had plenty of fun, doing my research last night. Business is business. I work hard.

One guy, came up with something, I hadn't thought of, though.

"Mike, there's no Eisa picture in there. Eisa is Ryukyu," he said.

But, out of the three, he liked photo #1 the most.

A bit more editing on the Yotsudake dancer above and, she's going to the print shop !