Tuesday, February 28, 2017
Windjammer® Is the Name of This Model
There must be half a dozen broken, twisted umbrellas, I've been saving.
We get some pretty wicked rain and winds in Okinawa and, I don't like getting wet.
When a typhoon comes along and wrecks my umbrella, it ruins my attitude.
But, I keep the busted things in a collection, for future use, as models.
Don't you think, that would be an interesting subject ?
A bunch of different colored umbrellas, all mangled together, supporting each other.
Next I Want to Become a Test Pilot
I got this idea, when the rain stopped, just about the time, I wanted some.
They claim, this gadget has been tested in some sort of win tunnel.
People in Portland, Oregon are the designers for this rain gear.
And, they are like experts on rain because, it rains a lot over there, I'm told.
So, I plan on writing to, whoever the Windjam Dude might be and, make him an offer.
Typhoon season will be on our island shortly so, we have to hurry a bit.
Here's the deal, Mr. Windjam - A free test pilot is volunteering.
A few of my friends are crazy enough to video, me walking in the rain during a storm.
If, these umbrellas can handle it, we could sell plenty of them for you.
62" Is a Huge Umbrella
This model is large enough to shelter three, normal-sized people and probably, more.
Suppose a bunch of young ladies, decided to accompany me, for whatever reason.
That way, you wouldn't have to worry about, me getting carried away by a typhoon.
We would all squeeze and hang on tightly together, for safety.
Until the rain starts pouring down and high winds come along, I'll be patiently waiting.
Let me know if, you're interested in selling these umbrellas to my friends.
Or, was that just a joke, the part about the lifetime warranty ?
Checkout the ShedRain Website
Monday, February 27, 2017
Cameras Only Used Indoors
On a beautiful, sunny day, business took us to the south and east on Okinawa, today.
It was almost 2PM by the time I snapped, this first picture.
The primary mission, was to do some shopping on Chinen Peninsula.
Some people, asked me to pick up Okinawan Folk Stories if, I could find any for sale.
Inside the souvenir shop in Nanjo City, I was lucky enough to discover five of them on a shelf.
Just in case, someone else might need a copy, I purchased took four of them.
Two, are already promised to those who were smart enough, to contact me.
The remainder I hold on to, until some high bidders come along and, they'll get sold.
When's the Sanguacha Came Next
For those who don't know, Sanguacha is a festival, held annually on Henza Island.
It's an unusual sort of, off the main road event, worth seeing and, I wasn't sure of the dates .
The entire matsuri, covers about 3 days but, the best part will happen March 31st this year.
Adventurous sorts of people, walk at low tide, to perform some rituals offshore on some rocks.
My body, has plenty of adventures already. I just go to see my sweethearts.
Ikei Island Was the Last Stop
While waiting for our order, I walked over and took the photo of the mermaid.
That's when I announced to Doc, "This is the first photo, I shot today."
The image, doesn't show the whole meal. Rice, soup and another salad, came too.
That meal was so large, I couldn't eat it all. And, it was only about seven bucks !
It was time to head home, before I realized, only 3 photos had been taken, all day.
The last one was an image of scarecrows, hanging on the wall.
There's no sense in scaring people so, I'll save that for some other time.
Should you ever get hungry while visiting Ikei Island, don't pass this place up.
It's the restaurant at Ikei Beach and, prices are unbeatable.
Sunday, February 26, 2017
Sing a Little Tune While You Work
Imagine what a shock it was, to discover this during my daily stockholder's meeting.
Sitting inside the crap-house, I noticed someone had cracked the wooden door.
There probably wasn't any criminal intent involved. I think I know what happened.
This isn't one of those old fashioned outhouses. It has running water and electricity.
Out behind my office, anyone wandering the back streets can gain access.
It may have been some drunk, somebody's grandma or, little kids that needed to use the potty.
When you close the door tight, it sticks. And, they may have kicked it, to get out of there.
Only, they didn't know, it's best to kick the door frame, not the plywood veneer. Dagnabbit !
People Around the World Shouldn't Get Upset So Easily
Somebody busted my outhouse door. Big deal. At least nobody crapped in the alley.
It's a cold rainy day and I haven't repaired a busted door in ages. Smile and have some fun.
Over on Facebook, plenty of people keep whining about the new US president.
Well, they only had two dumb-asses to chose from and, one of them actually won.
It would be nice if, everybody, would just get on with their lives and, look at the bright side.
There's crazy things like girls buying fake camel-toe underwear on Facebook, too.
Instead of getting my underpants, all up in a wad, I decided - Go fix the door on the crapper.
Be happy and sing or, whistle a little tune, while getting the chores done.
This isn't some five star resort, I'm working out of so, repairs would be kept inexpensive.
A guy like me, doesn't pay much more than two-hundred and fifty bucks for rent.
So, I figured the repairs could be made with items, hanging around my work-space.
A couple of C-clamps, scissors and duct tape, had the job completed in minutes.
While the damn wind was blowing the door around, I started singing.
"Swinging on the outhouse door. And there was granny, swinging on the outhouse door."
Danged if I could remember the rest of the tune. But, I had fun, anyway.
The veneer was squeezed with C-clamps, a little bit too much and, a chunk popped out.
So, I skillfully wiggled it back into place. "Don't let the outhouse door ruin your day" I said.
And kept singing, trying to remember the rest of the song. Like a busted record, I was.
But, I was happy and, left a little note on my completed repairs. Do Not Kick.
Maybe, I'll go back later and write, Kick Here over on the door frame, later.
The Rest of the Story
Just to prove (to myself) I'm not crazy, I had to do some research on that song.
There really is a song, "Swinging on the Outhouse Door."
From Arkansas University Digital Collections, granny was "swinging without her nightie."
Somebody at Mudcat Cafe says "Grandpa was yelling More, More More!"
The James T. Callow Folklore Archive says Grandpa yelled "Get your nighty back on."
Over at Ultimate Camp Resource, Grandpa found the nightie and went swinging with her.
If, you want to spend 99 cents, go to Amazon and, I guess the tune's available.
I've already invested enough in repairing that door so, I ain't spending any money, today.
Checking out the Camel-toe undies, I found out, they are popular in Asia.
Let's just hope, no animals are being harmed in the production of this new fashion !
Related Post: Throne Makeover (DIY) and The Dancing Queen
Related Post: Throne Makeover (DIY) and The Dancing Queen
Friday, February 24, 2017
A Musician Named Touji Hatten
The mission was to photograph cherry blossoms on Mt. Yae in Motobu, Okinawa.
Sakura blossom season was kind of disappointing this year. Scattered blossoms, I'd say.
Doc and I had our fill of flowers and the mountain. We decided to move along.
Coming down the hill, we spotted a sign with some Japanese writing on it and investigated.
It had romaji lettering, too. Said, "Shaku Hachi" after I moved another sign out of the way.
It reminded me of an alley, back in the 60's. It was located down south on this island.
Joking with Doc, I said, "That has something to do, with ladies of the night."
Along Came This Gentleman
Maybe, he was wondering what two foreigners were doing, poking around those signs.
He spoke less English than, we do Japanese but, we wound up getting along just fine.
Next thing you know, he invited us into his house, for some coffee and entertainment.
See, I call this an impromptu portrait because, it wasn't actually planned.
Touji, cranked up the CD player and played some tunes on that bamboo flute.
His woman, served us hot coffee and brought out some munchies for us.
In between tunes, we got some history on these flutes called Shakuhachi.
They've been used as musical instruments for over 900 years, in Japan.
The music was soft and relaxing. He told us why. It's good for meditation. A Buddhist thing.
After awhile, I wasn't so relaxed and started wondering. I do that sometimes.
Leaning over to Doc I whispered, "Wonder how much we'll have to pay, when this is over?"
Everything Turned Out Alright
On a break, we learned, Touji wasn't an Okinawan. He came from mainland Japan.
He showed us CD's and posters, with him accompanying musicians at concerts.
For whatever reason, he decided to live in the hills of Okinawa, about 7 years ago.
I asked if, it would be alright to take some photos of him playing the flute and he gave the OK.
Then, next time he took a break, I asked if, he'd sign a model release. Good to go !
An A4 size photo was printed, for him today and, I'll head back to present it to him.
The photo probably, won't get sold for publication. Look at the distractions.
An Idea Popped into My Head
With some serious, time consuming photo editing, distractions could be removed.
But, to me, this image is a gem, just the way I photographed it. It has character.
Google "Einstein's Office Photos" and take a good look at them.
Guess what I'm going to do, the next time the missus, tells me my office is a mess ?
Tell her this is the way to get some serious meditating done. I learned in the mountains.
Tell her this is the way to get some serious meditating done. I learned in the mountains.
What a genius !
Thursday, February 23, 2017
God Carried Them Together
Many years ago God carried the sun and moon on a wooden pole, across his shoulders.
They were like children to him. Moon on the left and sun on his right side.
That would confuse people, nowadays. The sun and moon rising together every day.
They say, there was never night time on the Ryukyu islands; the sun and moon shined together.
The light just got a little darker, when God walked on the other side of a mountain.
A Decision Had to Be Made
God loved the sun and moon. One day he decided to ask them, where they wanted to go.
The sun, shining brilliantly said, "Let's go east, towards the ocean."
Moon said, "No. Not that way. I want to go west to the other side of the mountains."
God, liked to please everybody and, wasn't sure how to handle this situation.
The sun kept bouncing up and down, demanding "East, over by the ocean."
The not so bright moon, jumped around, demanding, they head west, to the hills.
God had never heard such a racket coming from these spoiled children.
They were squirming around, shouting "East. No. West. No. Ocean. Mountains."
God was trying hard to please them but, "This way. That way." What should he do?
He was trying to figure out a solution, while walking, tripped and fell to the ground.
The pole, he was carrying them on, broke. "Aki-sami-yo" (dagnabbit) he said.
The sun escaped and flew off towards the east and, the moon flew off to the hills in the west.
Since that day, the sun has risen in the east and, goes down in the west.
The moon, rises in the east and reflects the sun's rays, as it sets behind the western hills.
God shed so many tears because, his family became separated, rivers began to flow.
At least, he can still see them, as they rise and set, causing what, we call, day and night.
Okinawan Folk Stories ISBN978-4-99009-146-0 P. 10
Okinawan Folk Stories ISBN978-4-99009-146-0 P. 10
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
Monday, February 20, 2017
Once A Beautiful Nature Attraction
It's usually a pleasure, finding spots like this to show the world, through photography.
This gem was captured, riding along with the Map It Okinawa dude, last month.
Google Maps, asked me for a review because, they know, everywhere I go.
There's a cozy, little building on the hill, overlooking the waterfall.
It took a bit of trick-photography, to make this place, look attractive to travelers.
There is a small park, across the street, which appears to be maintained.
Back in 2015 the city of Tomigusuku, held a Lantern Festival at this location.
The waterfall and, this building are now Off Limits and, not maintained for visitors.
Who knows ? Maybe, there's a ghost hanging around !
Saturday, February 18, 2017
Yotsuba no Kuroba (よつばのクローバー) in Japanese
If I had been looking for a four leafed clover, I wouldn't have found this.
Out back, getting some fresh air and nicotine therapy, I was sitting on a concrete block.
Today I didn't feel like, pumping concrete weights over my head.
Looking at green, helps relax the eyes if, you've been staring at computer monitors.
My eyes were relaxed, the cigarette ran out on me and, I started heading back to the office.
That's when I saw it. The first four leaf clover, I ever found in my life.
Maybe, it was trying to say "Pick me. Pick me."
I grabbed it even though, it wasn't in my garden. Mrs. Yamashiro, won't mind.
She's always telling me to pick some of her vegetables and, take them home.
Probably, won't notice one four leaf clover, turned up missing.
Once inside, I experimented with a few different compositions with the leaf.
It's hard to tell, that's me and the clover in front of a mirror and, I'm shooting the Pentax.
My fingernail, should give you an idea of the lucky leaf's size.
When enough photos were taken, I started feeling guilty and, took the thing back.
It's in the center of this image, just about where it originally came from.
That's not the end of the story. Next, I did my research and, learned a lot more.
Causing Me to Go Back and Find It Again !
These clovers are so rare, you're supposed to eat the thing if, you find one.
A genie will show up and, give you three wishes, which must be used within the year.
They are so rare, only one in 10,000 clovers develop with four leaves. Dang.
You can read all about them at Wikipedia if, you believe those folks.
More about four leaf clovers in Japan, was discovered in JAPANREFERENCE.
Another, fortunate find today, was Hanakotoba. I'm bookmarking this one.
In Japan, you can give someone a flower, not talk and, they'll get the meaning.
Certain flowers mean love, longing, sex, truth, respect, faith, shy or, whatnot.
Well, just like many other places, the four leaf clover means, "Lucky."
So, I ran back and swiped the clover from the garden, again. I have a plan.
It got straightened out on a white background and wrapped in wax paper.
It will be given to someone special, in Japan, for good luck.
Checkout Wikipedia's Hanakotoba and, learn the language of flowers.
Friday, February 17, 2017
Sometimes When I Flip the Bird
Going back through the files, I decide to do more research, to find current information.
This creature, a Lapwing (Vanellus vanellus) has been seen on the blog a few times.
Once in awhile, I hook up my Japanese audience with links, they can read.
Sometimes, I get more information by, poking Japanese into Google search Japan.
A Latin nomenclature, might work or, I use Japanese to copy and paste for searches.
Fooling around with Japanese, which I'm fairly horrible at, can become time consuming.
How About a Japanese Picture Dictionary
That's what this bird helped me discover and, it's quite a handy tool.
Call it a "pictionary" if, you like. That's what I'm gonna do, from now on.
It has pictures, English, Japanese Kanji, Hiragana, Katakana and Romaji listed.
Animals, birds, fish, insects and flowers, are what I'd use it for, mostly.
If you're lost for words in Japan, this site could help with almost anything.
They have astronomy, basic words, banks, bathroom, body organs, clothing, sports and more.
This is a goldmine, worth bookmarking because it has thousands of uses.
For example let's just say, you get upset because it's hard to find large size underwear in Japan.
Walk down the aisles until you find somebody, who looks friendly and say, "Help."
Then if, you saved this on your smartphone, show them a picture of what you want.
They'll point you in the right direction and, probably be amazed at this technology.
Get ready, get set, email this link to yourself "Japanese Pictionary." That's what I did !
Thursday, February 16, 2017
Tired of Snow? Visit Okinawa
It gets a little chilly and windy sometimes, around here but, it doesn't snow.
Out back this morning, I was doing slome stretching and, suddenly stopped.
The brain was tired from testing yesterday and, the body was sore, too.
When I spotted this flower, it gave me an idea. Shoot it for the poor folks in snow country.
I listened to my brain and body, cancelling physical training for the day.
Camera: Pentax K1
Lens: Pentax 50MM
Exposure: f/2.5 1/4000 ISO 800
Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan
Date and Time: FEB 16 2017 8:35 AM
Wednesday, February 15, 2017
Monday, February 13, 2017
A Couple of Them Were in the Cherry Blossoms
Before, I tell the wife about chasing tits, I'll show her this photo so, she doesn't get angry.
Doc and I went up north, looking for cherry blossoms and wound up chasing tits.
Whenever I come across some bird, I've never seen before, I have to research it.
Over at Avibase, they say, you could call this a Chestnut-bellied Tit.
The Handbook of Birds of the World says, they eat nuts and spiders.
At Wikipedia, I read they eat seeds and caterpillars.
At Wildlife Okinawa, I got アマミヤマガラ (Amami yamagara) the Japanese name.
The scientific name: Poecile varius amamii
The simple English name: Varied Tit
The mountain, we were on, when these tits came along was Oppadake in Nakajin Village.
Now that I know, they have tits flying around, up there, I might go do some camping at that location.
Sunday, February 12, 2017
Kin Town Sakura Matsuri 2017
Every once in awhile I spend a good 20 hour day, getting myself exhausted.
GIFs from events that took place late yesterday, will give you an idea of the fun I have,
It's been chilly and windy so, some heat was provided, under the festival tents.
If, you've ever burned a treated fence post, to keep warm, you'll know, why I stayed outside.
I don't know if those fumes are poisonous but, they sure don't smell too healthy, to me.
Okinawa has strong ties with Hawaii so, it's no surprise that hula dancing is popular.
There must be thousands of Okinawan families living on the Hawaiian Islands.
I'm no expert on dances but, they seem to have the movements down pat.
The gang in the sound and lighting tent, must have thought, I was nuts.
That music and gals dancing, got me wiggling around with my camera, dancing too !
They had a gang of belly dancing girls but, I thought this one was the most photogenic.
There was two groups of these dancers. Let's just call them the older and younger clans.
Elder's better if, you ask me. The young ones are skinny and wear false eyelashes. Yuck.
See, I figure the elder ones, don't want to get married and make babies.
For them, the dance is an art. Young ones are probably, looking to catch a rich guy. Hah.
When the skinny gals danced, I got way back and used the zoom lens on them.
My legs are sore today, from all the things I was doing, to keep the sound booth entertained.
From now on, I'll let the professionals, do the hula and belly dance, without me.
There were children, of all ages, demonstrating their karate movements.
The weapons that guy and gal are using, are know as sai.
One end of the tool can be used to puncture you. Or, they can punch you with the other end.
Many more images were made of the youngsters and their sensei.
As they get processes, I'll add some here or, to a Facebook album, at a later date.
From the festival grounds, I had to get back to my office and change camera lenses.
Here's the Bonus
At 7:42 PM the clouds moved away from the moon and, I was ready for it.
At that point, I'd done a fair share of work but, had plenty more things to do.
The camera got downloaded and I threw the battery in a charger, to hurry out of here.
For a whole month, I hadn't been to any of the watering hole, drinking.
Last night, the wife and I, went on a bar hopping date, I guess you'd call it.
It was a blast, we must have hit 4 or 5 joints, drinking and singing karaoke.
At one place, I met a witch doctor (yuta) who joked and drank beer with me.
Mixing with the locals is part of my job and, that's how I learn plenty about the island culture.
The night went on and on and, by 2:30 the bride and I, decided to take a taxi home.
We were both having some trouble navigating but, no taxi cabs were available.
"It's only a five minute walk, downhill, to get home" I said. It took a bit longer.
We held on to each other and wobbled/rolled/ sort of stumbled to the house.
Once I got to the kitchen table, I looked at the clock. It was 3 in the morning.
That's how I figured out, it was another one of those 20 hour days.
PS One of my reliable contacts, told me, the moon will be bigger and brighter tonight.
Gotta run and get the camera ready !
Saturday, February 11, 2017
Fast Moving Clouds
By Okinawa standards twelve degrees Celsius (53.6 Fahrenheit) is freezing weather.
Laugh if, you want but, I had to bundle up like an Eskimo, to shoot these GIFs.
Strong ocean breezes at those temperatures make you want to move somewhere else.
It was impossible for me, to get a clear shot of the whole moon last night.
The skies may improve somewhat tonight but, it's supposed to get, even colder.
Late this afternoon, I'll be going to a Cherry Blossom Festival.
It wasn't on my schedule, to go but, I found out something interesting about the event.
Belly dancers will be there. So, I guess I should cover it. The festival, I mean.
What would you rather see, belly dancers or more moon shots ?
Friday, February 10, 2017
Everybody Should Grow These
When I first started to research this plant, I thought it was some kind of fern.
There's a batch of them, covering part of the rock garden behind my office.
This close-up photo may be a bit misleading. I should have stuck my thumb in there.
Five or six, of those tiny leaves, wouldn't cover a thumbnail. Hence, I figured they were ferns.
Walking around with a Canon G12, I spotted these, growing on a cement block wall.
Just going to grab some lunch, I decided to see how many of these plants, I could find.
The leaves, are unmistakeable. Little, bumpy, heart-shaped things, I'd know anywhere.
They grow in places you'd never believe a plant could exist.
It looks like, as long as they get light and moisture, they can grow on any surface.
That rusted shutter door probably, hasn't been opened for at least a few months.
Here's an example of the vines, climbing up a tree trunk and, they'll reach the top, I bet.
Notice how the vines thicken as the plant matures.
Who Would Have Guessed ?
These climbing vines, make figs !
A few of the above photos, were sent to a Facebook Group for identification.
It's called "Determinatie van planten en dieren" whatever that means.
See, I don't speak Dutch but, they understand English and got me a scientific name.
Within a few hours, two members responded, "Ficus pumila."
Once I had a Latin name, the research was easy and, I learned plenty about this climber.
In the lower right corner, are some baby leaves on the vine.
Centered, is what the mature leaves look like and, one of the fruits this plant produces.
The fruit was liberated from somebody's plant and, brought to my territory.
It was for a instructional purposes (higher education, let's say) so, that's not stealing.
The fruit makes a tasty jelly, according to Eat the Weeds.
Cover your house with it if, you can't afford ivy to hide the walls from graffiti artists.
Okinawans use it to treat high blood pressure and diabetes.
It's Fun Researching Plants
With a scientific, botanical or Latin nomenclature you can learn tons of good things.
Over at Philippine Medicinal Plants, I came up with valuable information.
In China, they use the leaves of this plant for treating painful or swollen piles.
That's why I recommend "Everybody, grow this Climbing Fig."
Get some planted on the rocks behind your house, before the next family gathering.
When one of those relatives starts complaining about their rear end problems...
TELL THEM TO GO OUT, DROP THEIR DRAWERS AND SIT ON THAT ROCK !
Thursday, February 9, 2017
Serpent of Yara Muruchi
Over 700 years ago an enormous, dragon-like serpent lived in Yara Muruchi Pond.
It was believed cycles of 7 months drought and 7 months of storms were caused by this monster.
King Gihon (1248-1260) consulted a shaman (yuta) concerning the problem.
The severe weather caused economic losses for the fisherman and farmers of the island.
The elderly woman, he talked to, was a person with extraordinary psychic powers.
She claimed, a 20 year old virgin girl, must be sacrificed to appease this demon of a dragon.
Then, farmers and fishermen, would have fair weather and the economic situation would improve.
The yuta told the king to have an altar and an incense burner built, overlooking the pond.
She would officiate (in private) rituals to placate the monster, serpent.
King Gihon, was already unpopular with the islanders because of economic losses.
Now, he had to devise a way to get someone's young daughter for a sacrifice.
Who Wants to Be a Millionaire ?
The king devised a plan, that would lessen his guilt in dealing with the wicked soothsayer.
He would insure, that no men would have to take part in the old woman's demonic rituals.
Couriers were dispatched throughout the kingdom, delivering messages to each village.
The family, willing to sacrifice a maiden, would live as royalty, the rest of their lives.
One attractive young maiden stunned her family, volunteering to offer herself.
She would give her life in order to benefit family, community and country.
It may have driven her parents to madness but, it would end everyone's misery.
In a private meeting with the yuta, the girl was questioned extensively by the old woman.
She wanted to know the youngster's Zodiac sign, favorite foods, colors and fertility cycle.
From this conference, the shaman decided, when the sacrifice would take place.
It would be on the night of the full moon, during the sixth month, by the Lunar calendar.
Nervously the girl asked, “Will I be ravished, eaten alive or, both?”
The elder replied, “That is something, only the gods in heaven know.”
She was told to return on the appointed day before sunset, wearing her finest clothes.
The Fateful Night
An hour before the sun went down the maiden arrived at Yara Muruchi.
She was met by the yuta, carrying a wicker basket, on the road above the pond.
The priestess assured the girl, no other villagers would witness the event.
It was a hot and humid summer night. Slowly they walked down the forest trail.
Their sandals stirred up scents of decaying leaves and, the buzzing of mosquitoes.
Cicada bugs chirped loudly in the trees surrounding the wooded area.
Nearing the pond, the priestess stopped, placing her basket on the ground.
She instructed the girl, to remove her undergarments fold them and put them on the altar.
Apprehensive as she was, she did as she was told.
No one disobeys or, questions a Ryukyu yuta.
The shaman brought her ritual container to the altar and placed some burning incense.
She sprinkled flower petals and liquid scents on the offerings and clapped her hands twice.
She ordered the girl, to walk near the water's to edge where she should stand and pray.
The yuta began muttering and praying, in some unintelligible language.
The water rippling in the pond, suddenly raged and roared, as the monster appeared.
High above the pond, it hissed and stared down at the girl.
The sound of her knees knocking, drowned out the noises forest insects had been making.
Imagine her prayer - “Just one big swallow, please!”
Then it happened. An angry god, tossed a golden sphere.
It hit the serpent in the head and exploded. The monster disappeared, never to be seen again.
The virgin was spared. She would become the bride of a royal prince.
Her family was invited to live in the castle and cared for, the remainder of their lives.
Periods of drought and floods ended and, the islands prospered once more.
Every year, on the 15th day of the 6th month, by the Chinese calendar a ritual takes place.
Villagers pray at the altar and, toss eggs (gold spheres) into Yara Muruchi pond.
More Okinawan Folklore
More Okinawan Folklore