Friday, August 31, 2012

Photo of the Week: Eisa in the Hills of Motobu

It's Obon in Okinawa, Japan and I'm right in the middle of it.

Today, up in the hills of Motobu, I got so busy, I forgot to ask these dancers something.

Like, "Which district are you from and where are we located right now" ?

Well, I'm hearing drums beating outside my office as I type this and the full moon is rising.

Time to run !

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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Mini Landslide, Mini Tornado, Mini Hangover All in One Day

Last night the Ryukyu Missus caught up with me before I finished my 3d beer.

But, that was alright.  She had enough cash to buy beers for both of us.

We had a grand old time until the wee hours of the morning.

By 9:30, or so, Doc Graff and I were headed up north to look for typhoon damage.

He's known me for years and knows how to cure a hangover.

That's probably how he got the name Doc.

 The landslides on the main highways were already cleaned-up so, we took some back roads.

It didn't take long to find a road that was blocked by a landslide.

 These hard-working guys let us take photos.

It's the first time I ever saw someone using a snow shovel in Okinawa.

They were telling me where it was safe to stand taking photos.

When they told me where not-to-go, I thought they were concerned about my flip-flops.

That wasn't what they were worried about.

 The ground is still over-saturated from all the rain we've had.

Water trickling out of the hills keeps bringing more earth and stones down on the road.

That means the land hasn't exactly quit sliding, yet.

So, we thanked the workers and wished them good luck with the clean-up.

And, decided it was about time for a ToTo La Bebe Burger.

On the way, there was this little twister-looking thing out over the ocean.

Doc called it a waterspout.  I wanted to be a mini twister chaser.

These things are exciting. My hangover was slippin' away.

It's probably a good thing Doc was driving.  I wanted to hurry and pass everybody.

We need to get a siren and some flashing lights.

Everybody in front of us was probably watching the twister, too.

They were driving the legal speed limit, or slower.  We couldn't pass.  Groan.

By the time we got to a spot where you could pull off the road, the thing was leaving.

Just before it disappeared I zoomed and took this shot.

When I got back to the office I did a little research on waterspouts.

Waterspouts Are Tornadoes Over Water 

They can reach speeds of over 190MPH (305K/H) !!!

That got me thinking.  We need a helicopter to catch one.

Er, maybe just stick to chasing rainbows.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Photos: Published, Contest Finalist and Off to the Book Printer

The day started off with an email from Yahoo. My latest article is online:

We All Know About The Sinking of the Titanic--

How About the Tsushima Maru ? 

Then, after I took a short break going through the 30, or so daily Junk emails where I'm always

winning lotteries in foreign countries, getting offers from girls who can't spell Facebook and 

Canadian doctors who want to enlarge me, I get back to work.

Do you spend three hours a day answering all those people ?

It's got me thinking, I could just be wasting of my time.

So, for now, I think I'll just forward them to some other country's leader.  Hah !

The Judges at Better Photo made this a Contest Finalist.

Unfortunately, I don't post the high-resolution photos they see, here.

There are people (ahem-ahum) who like to borrow stuff like that without paying.

One of these days I'll do a Photography Tip to show you how to protect your photos.

 As if there wasn't enough excitement around here for me today, along came another email.

Somebody in the United Kingdom saw this photo and wants to publish it in a book.

Well, the stuff I post online isn't fit for publishing on paper.

So, I dug up a few different versions of this Tsushima Maru model.

I made them high-resolution.

And, off to the book printer they went.

Now, I'm done for the day.

As long as Mrs. RyukyuMike doesn't go out lookin' for me and find me here's the plan:

Find an air-conditioned bar with dim girls, pretty lights and cold beer.

Er, pretty girls and dim lights, I meant.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Photo Essay: A Look at Ikei Island in Okinawa, Japan

Ikei Island can be a simple one day visit for anyone wanting to get away from it all.

It's nice to be able to visit another island without having to take a ferry.

Sun-worshipers, beach-bums, jet-skiers, swimmers and snorkelers are welcome.

 If off-the-beaten-path is your style, you can do that, too.

 Just drive around the tobacco fields and take all the side roads.

Sooner, or later, you'll come across some important looking rock.

Find a trail, nearby and go on down to see what's there.

Maybe, you'll see some Rice Paper Butterflies along the way.

Sometimes, you find a beach with nobody on it. Flip-flops not recommended here.

So I left.

 Nakabura Vestige is a restoration of some ancient dwellings on Ikei Island.

Red Helen Butterflies hangout around there, too. 

It's hard for me to decide what my favorite part of the day was on the island. 

Maybe, catching this lizard out in nature. 

Or, catching a steak dinner for under twenty bucks, back at Igei Beach's Restaurant ! 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Just A Quick Silly Sign and I'm Outta Here

Luckily, I had this silly sign tucked away for a rainy day.

The typhoon blew through here without doing much damage. All is well.

Only, someone forgot to tell the rain to stop.

After being cooped-up in the house for 24 hours cabin fever sets in.

Shucks, I can't remember the last time I tasted a cold beer.

Thunder and lightning just started joining the cats and dogs raining down.

So, I better grab an umbrella, unplug all my gadgets and see if any bars opened tonight.

What does Power Rear Under Mirror mean ?

Beats the devil outta me.

I was afraid to look in there to find out !

Visit my homepage for today's Feature Photo 

More Silly Signs are in the Doozies

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Photo: Editor's Pick for the Month of August 2012

Yabuchi Cave in Okinawa, Japan

This was the one and only photo entered in a contest for August 2012.

With the end of the month and Typhoon Bolaven, fast approaching, I doubt I'll enter any more.

The day was spent indoors, researching on these blasted computers. Groan.

And, half the time, it was sunny outside. Groan some more.

Photo details and caption may be viewed by clicking on the title.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Typhoon Bolaven Coming to Okinawa, Japan

Plans for this weekend will be something like: Stay indoors.  Groan.

Usually, I like to joke about these tropical storms but this one could be a doozie.

There's plenty of work that needs to be done in my office.

Heck, I moved in here a few months ago and haven't unpacked, yet.

So, I'll try and get caught up and, if I see anything cool blowing around outside maybe,

I'll grab a camera and shoot it for you.

Typhoons make the wind and rain blow every which way you could imagine.

Scientists ought to figure out how to get typhoons over forest fires, where they are needed.

They landed a man on the moon.  Didn't they ?


Thursday, August 23, 2012

Silly Sign: I'm More Aware of Butts When I Walk My Dog

There's no telling how I missed this silly sign back when I was doing them on Sundays.

The dude is aware.  That's what gets him thinking,



Look at that thing to the right of the cigarette butt.

Not sure, if it's an ant or, a pair of runaway sunglasses !


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Wednesday, August 22, 2012


It could happen anytime now. So, I have to keep an eye on that meter.

When it hits the one million mark, it's time to give something away.

I figure I can load up about 150 photos from the Ryukyu Islands on an SD card.

And then, give it to one of my followers along with the digital frame.

This contest is sponsored by Mike's Ryukyu Gallery.

Here Is What You Have To Do To Enter:

Make the comment on this blog post, or under the Facebook Page post for this contest:

I want to see more of the Ryukyu Islands.”

That will get you entered into a random drawing.

Only one entry per person, please. Multiple entries will be deleted. Let's be fair.

The contest starts as soon as this post is published. It ends when the view-meter hits 1,000,000.

Who Is Eligible:

Anyone (18 years of age, or older) around the world, except employees of Ryukyu Life.

Shucks, I'm the only one who works here.

Not eligible: Someone living in a country that doesn't have good relations with Japan or
the USA. Start your own giveaway if you want.

How The Winner Will Be Selected:

In typical redneck fashion, this blog post and the Facebook Page will be printed.

Then, we'll use a scissors to cut the entries and toss them in a hat, drum, or bingo machine.

We don't get a million views around here often so, I have no idea how many entries there will be.

All I know for sure is there will be some celebrating going on with beer.

And, maybe we'll get some pretty girl do do the random drawing, maybe not.

Anyway, someone other than me will gitterdun, all nice and legal-like.

Speaking Of Legal Stuff, Here's The Terms And Conditions:

                • To enter you must be 18 years of age or older.
                • Multiple entries are not allowed so, please only comment once.
                • Enter using, only a real name.
                • No entries will be accepted after the view-meter reaches 1,000,000.
                • The winner's name will be drawn at random by a real live human being, not a machine.
                • Once selected I will notify the winner through Facebook, or this blog. I am aware of privacy issues and respect your privacy.
                • I will need the mailing address for the winner.
                • Purchase and shipping costs will be paid by Mike's Ryukyu Gallery.
                • Taxes for contest winnings are the responsibility of the winner.
                • The prize is non-transferable. It will be awarded to the winner.
                • No cash will be awarded in lieu of the prize.
                • Entering this giveaway binds entrants to the terms and conditions listed above. That means you agree, or don't enter this contest.

This contest is in no way sponsored, or endorsed by any of my affiliate companies.

It is just something I am doing on my own for my followers.

A few years ago, I would have never thought 1,000,000 views was possible for

someone writing on a Google Blogger in Okinawa, Japan.

It would be impossible without those who follow me regularly.

Thank you and good luck !

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Ever Wonder How Many Kids You can Fit in a Dam Photo ?

Here are some photos taken today at Okinawa's Kurashiki Dam.

Kid's were having a blast, splashing around in the cool water on a hot August day.

It would have been fun to jump right in there with them but, I have too much work to do.

It did give me an idea, though.  

I wonder if Bill Gates has any extra millions of dollars he keeps tripping over in his house.

He could start up a Flicker Group and let us all send in pictures of dams.

Then, give a million dollars away to whoever gets the most kids in their dam photo.  

He better hurry up, though.  Pretty soon all the kids have to go back to school.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Sometimes Waiting for an Apparition Drives a Person Crazy

On one of Okinawa's outer islands today, here I was waiting for an apparition to show.

Well, I got bored and started looking for other things to do with the camera.

There was a single water lily blooming in someone's planter but, a fly decided to make it his home.

He may have been drunk, or dead.  I'm not sure.  But, he didn't move when I said, "Git".

So, I reached in my pocket for the trusty, old Swiss Army Knife.

Then, got the tweezers, gently crushed him and tossed the bum out of there.

That's the kinda stuff I do to keep myself from going crazy while waiting for apparitions.

Another thing those tweezers are good for is pulling ticks out of bellybuttons.

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Sunday, August 19, 2012

Scenes from the Trip to Komaka Island: Going and Coming

Here is a photo taken while heading out to Komaka-Jima.

The island is just a little speck on the horizon in the center of the frame.

This photo shows what things look like heading back to Okinawa.

Lately, I've been doing TripAdvisor Reviews on some of the places I've hit in my travels.

But, this island, I'll probably have to visit again, to do an honest review.

It's hard to believe, three Ryukyu Dudes went there and forgot something important.

None of us checked the toilets.

Women and people with kids need to know about the toilet facilities.

They want to know stuff, like, is it a squatter, or not, I would imagine.

They probably need to know if they need to bring their own crapper-paper, too.

Dang it !   Why didn't we think of that ?

There's a girl in California, I could probably ask but, I'm sorta shy.

I guess we should make some checklists for these excursions.

Because I'm getting the itch to hop on another boat and see some more Okinawan islands.

 Maybe, the Map It Okinawa Dude will ask a girl about the Komaka-Jima toilets.

That would allow us to save our money for a trip to somewhere we've never been.

See, I remember important stuff like asking if it's OK to bring a cooler and beer.

But, I have to write things like checking toilets down on a paper, or I'll forget.

Here's what I'll do.  I'll make some checklists on this blog.

Then, Mapit Dude can ask that girl about girly stuff.

Sounds fair to me.

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Saturday, August 18, 2012

In the Spotlight: Aki Yokoyama at the Friendship Festival

Today I went to the Friendship Festival on a local USA Military Base.

Aki Yokoyama was the opening act for the day's entertainment.

That's Boss, pickin' the lead guitar.

Late last night, my boss (Mrs. RyukyuMike) said she got a phone call.

Aki and her Boss wanted me there to take photos.

She's a real sweetheart, that gal.  She even waved when she saw me.

We should find somebody who does videos and get her on You Tube.

She was the opening performer for some American Idols they flew over here.

Hah.  I bet those poor kids were sweatin' after they heard Aki sing !

She gets hoppin, singin and dancin around the stage like someone with their pants on fire.

And, the crowd went wild.  That's why I'm puting Aki Yokoyama in the spotlight tonight.

Right after she finished, I left the festival.  

There are over 400 more photos I haven't looked at yet.

The cameras are put away and batteries are charging.

Maybe, I'll see if the beer is cold and air conditioning is turned on at

Friday, August 17, 2012

Friday Photo: A Beach Scene with the Canon G12 at ISO 80

Today Map It Okinawa came by and wanted to head north without cameras.

That's a good thing to do, sometimes.  Take a break from our normal routine.

I sneaked the little G12 into my pocket and left all the big stuff behind.

 After Map It Dude disappeared over the horizon I decided to play with the Canon.

Not having a tripod with me, I set the camera on some rocks.

This was the first time I ever shot it at ISO 80.

It was a little windy so, I removed the strap and set the timer at 15 seconds.

That gave me a chance to compose, snap the shutter button and run.

The sun was directly behind me and I didn't want my shadow in the picture.

The beach scene was taken with these manual settings:

 f/8  1/400  ISO 80 at a focal length of 6mm.

What do I think of the results ?

For a point and shoot camera, this little puppy ain't too shabby ! 

Canon G12 prices are unbelievably low, these days ! 

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Travel Photo: Scene from Komaka-Jima with the Sigma 10-20mm

This beach scene photo was taken August 12, 2012 from the island of Komaka-Jima.

The Sigma 10-20mm lens was at a focal length of 10mm.

Off in the distance is the main island of Okinawa.

What I never realized, until developing my photos from that day, is the fact that

Peace Park Memorial Tower is visible from Komaka.

Peace Memorial Park may be seen in my article published at Yahoo Voices

In that article, I made a link to Ernie Pyle, the war correspondent.

One of these days, I have to get back down there and see if I can find his name on the wall.

They just don't make writers like him, anymore.

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Wednesday, August 15, 2012

A Day Trip to the Capital City of Naha in Okinawa, Japan

Here's something you don't see me do very often.  

Today, Doc Graff and I went to the big city, just in case it decided to rain.

Right off the International Avenue (Kokusaidori) they have a covered shopping mall.

The shops run air-conditioning and it feels great, after you've been out in the August humidity.

 We went through the meat market and took a few photos.

 Then, hit the fish market to shoot some of those colorful fish on ice.

Looking at all that food makes a person hungry so, we grabbed a quick lunch.

After eating, Doc knows we better get moving or, I'll fall asleep so, we left the city.

Naha wasn't very far behind us when I remembered I had some more business to do.

Probably, twenty years has gone by since I last stepped into this place.

They have the awesomeyummiest ice cream in the world.

I know.  That ain't a word.  But, it should be.

And, I really didn't need a scoop of strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

So, I had two.

Back up in the neck of the woods I call home, we had to break for coffee.

Richamocha Cafe was my temporary office for a few months so, I had to stop by and say "Hi".

The gals working in there know how to make a mean cup of coffee.
All my photos from the big city are developed and, I never even took my afternoon nap.

Maybe, on the way home I better stop off somewhere and have a beer !

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Note: Richamocha Cafe recently was reviewed by me on TripAdvisor.

Stop on by sometime and see all the reviews done by RyukyuMike.