Saturday, October 18, 2014

Today I went Down Some Spooky, Old Stairs: Photo Essay

Halloween,broken concrete stairs

Originally Published OCT 2011




Reviving this popular post may be a good idea.

It happens, the Map It Okinawa dude and, I are going on a ghost hunt tonight.

Enjoy this old Halloween tale just in case we don't make it back before sunrise !

In order to get in the good old Halloween spirit I have come back and edited this post.
Halloween doesn't really have the meaning, over in my part of the world, that it does for most western cultures.  In fact, if it hadn't been for a great friend on StumbleUpon (LINDARAMA)  sending me mail when she read this, I wouldn't have known Halloween was just around the corner.

On the outer islands of Okinawa, Japan there are many old caves and sacred wells.

Some of them are pretty cool and they make great subjects for photography.

It's best to make sure you don't disturb anything when you go to them.

There are a few places where the stairs are so old they are crumbling.

Wherever I go, I try to get the best possible photos without disturbing anything.

That plastic ladle just didn't seem right next to those old coins I wanted to shoot.

So, I moved it out of the scene for a few seconds.

Then, put it back exactly where I found it.

People in Okinawa believe there are spirits in these old caves and wells.  Many of them come to worship and make offerings at the sites.  So,  I like to make sure nothing has been changed by my presence.  You should do the same, anywhere you go.


The culture of Okinawa consists of a strong belief in spirits.  So strong, that something like Halloween is really unnecessary.  Spirits are felt and communicated with on a daily basis.

While I may have been raised as a Christian in my early years, I have also studied some Confucianism, Buddhism, Shintoism, Taoism, Animism and even a bit of alcoholism.  We happen to have a little bit of all those here, along with a strong belief in ancestor worship.  There are gods of the sea, mountains, rocks, wind, trees, earth, fire and all of nature (called kami sama) you'd rather see smiling than frowning upon you.  That's in addition to any departed members of the family tree.

So, on any given day you may see me raise my eyes towards the sky and and talk to "Kachan" (departed mother-in-law) and thank her spirit for my good fortune.
Or, I might say something like, "What are you trying to do to me?"

Whenever I find myself going to some sacred site in Okinawa, Japan like those spooky old stairs, it's not the ghosts or goblins of Halloween I'm thinking of; it's the spirits of someone else's ancestors I have to worry about.  Some people had mean old mother-in-laws, you know.
I wouldn't want to cross paths with their spirits.

There's really no such thing as ghosts.



To get yourself in the Halloween spirit, or add your goulish story to an already excellent collection, visit my good friend in Australia, LINDA HEAPHY, she'll get the hair standing up on the back of your neck !

Sharing this post with Budget Travelers Sandbox will be my contribution to the world of travel photographers for TRAVEL PHOTO THURSDAY


Unknown said...

Great shots Mike! Koreans don't celebrate Halloween either, except in private English institutes...haha.

RyukyuMike said...

Not sure if I have time to squeeze it into my schedule but, there are stores here that sell some of the Halloween candy and costumes, I'm guessing, just to attract the western population. Commercialism, there's an other religion I forgot to mention !

Jim said...

We'll be parking the dog behind the front door when the blessed kids come knocking for Halloween.. Gives then such a fright when they knock expecting treats. Meanwhile we'll be treating ourselves.
Very interesting shots. Amazing how when one gets interested in photography, nothing looks quite the same any more.

HikeBikeTravel said...

I liked your description as much as the photos Mike.

RyukyuMike said...

Jim and HikeBikeTravel,
Glad you stopped by and thanks for the comments. I hope you take the time to visit that site in Oz. There are some really interesting spooky articles over there!

Julia said...

Ha ha, definitely the best Hallowe'en post I saw out of the many that appeared. We've been known to study the odd bit of alcoholism, too. Glad you replaced the plastic ladle. ;)

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you. I could hug you for the sweet comments but, mother-in-law is always watching me !

photos by jan said...

these are fantastic photos. Looks like a great place to explore!

RyukyuMike said...

Thank you. It may be a great place for photos but, was a tad dangerous.