Thursday, October 31, 2013

No Ghosts Captured Yet So Here's a Skeleton

skeleton skull on display in museum


Happy Halloween Wherever You Are !




It would have been nice, to have captured a big, fat, juicy ghost story for you.
The rascals, wherever they are, just didn't cooperate.
My ghost story, has to have photos, to go along with it. So, the hunt goes on.
And, it has to make the hair stand-up on the back of your neck.
Or, at least have you rolling on the floor, laughing.
Simple requirements.  Be credible or, incredible but, make sure it's verifiable.

It Probably Helps to Believe in Them



That's my biggest downfall.  I don't.
Give me someone with a ghost tale they have experienced and, I love it.
By looking at their eyes and facial expression, you can tell.
They believe it.  They might be drunk, lying, or the village idiot.
If the story is believable and, I can get some photos to go along with it, I'll do it.

Some Interesting Spooky Stuff


Over the past month, plenty of time has been dedicated researching this stuff.
From locals and foreign sources, I have gathered:
  • A baby ghost cries and is seen in the home of a childless couple.
  • No paranormal equipment is required in hunting ghosts.
  • Most,  ghastly sightings or occurrences, happen late at night. Groan; drinking hours.
  • Some people get telephone calls from the deceased. I want to see their phone bill.
  • If you see a ghost, don't go straight home or, it will follow you. I never go straight home !
  • Taxi drivers, have ghosts hop in their cabs.  They are hard to find. They quit.
  • Some people have met friendly ghosts.  I want to meet one but, want some scary ones, too.
  • Ghost stories are usually associated with unnatural deaths.
  • Some ghosts bum, cigarettes and lights.  That's probably not good for their health !
  • Other ghosts, just make noise or, move things around. You never get to see them.


 My Apologies for Not Catching a Halloween Ghost



Seven days a week, I'm out there, keeping myself gainfully unemployed.
The spook hunting has cut my drinking time, exactly in half !
But, I won't give up; I'm having too much fun.
The thought did occur me, though.
Maybe, I should open up another bar.  One with a ghostly theme.
Have people come in a relate their spooky stories.
Would you like to be a Ghost Speaker ?



Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Plenty of Wildlife and Nature Activity at the Nagahama Dam

Birds Were Everywhere Today


Yesterday, I just posted a photo showing the park below the dam.

We went there today with some cameras and here's what we saw.


An Egret in flight buzzed by my lens at  9:44AM.

bird, Grey Heron in flight,Japan

At 9:53, a Grey Heron put on a show.

That got me thinking, this would be a great place to take your kids and teach them about nature.

When there aren't any birds flying, I shoot butterflies and dragonflies.

bird flying,Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle,Japan,wildlife

About 10:20AM Grey-faced Buzzard Eagles showed up overhead.

bird flying,Cormorant,Dam,Okinawa, Japan,nature

By 10:40AM, I was out of coffee and, getting restless; it was time to move on.

A minute later, I shot this Cormorant flying over the dam.

Statue, Shisa, Lion dog

Heading back to the car, I just had to take a photo of this Shisa statue.

There was clear blue sky in the background.

And, it looks like the character is trying to say something.

Before putting the camera away, I decided to look down below the dam, one more time.

Don't ever leave your little kids with me, to learn about nature.

Because some things, I wouldn't know how you would want to explain them.

If your young'uns saw the next scene, what would you tell them the birds are doing ?

birds, mating ritual,humor,egrets,flight

Probably, I'd say, "Oh.  That's just how birds fax each other."

"Now, let's get outta here."

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Travel Photo: View from Top of Nagahama Dam Okinawa, Japan

view looking towards sea from top of dam

This scene gives a view of the terrain facing the East China Sea.

Nagahama Dam is a great place to get out and enjoy a walk, observe nature or, just relax.

There's no entry fee so, you see me hanging around there lots of times.

If they would put an iced coffee machine up there, I wouldn't leave until sunset !

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Does Watching Too Much Ballet Cause Blindness ?


Depends on How You Look at It I Guess




Last night, I was viewing ballet through a camera viewfinder at a disco.

And, I was blinded by the light.

stage scene, ballet dancer, feet, candles

Maybe I'm getting old or, something.  I should call John Travolta and ask him.

Didn't disco die awhile back ?  Like,  during the last Century ?

ballet on stage, candlelight

These girls were some kind of special dancers.

candlelight, ballet, scarves

More than a few hundred photos were taken and it was a real challenge.

ballet, candlelight, reflection in mirror

See me, over in that mirror ? 

I was running all around the place trying to get some good shots.

Sorry, if I blocked anyone's view or, spilled their drinks.

ballet on stage with candlelight

The truth is: This was the first time, in my life, I ever watched a live performance like this.

candlelight, ballet

Well, I did the best I could with available lighting and a prime lens.

Those talented gals were dancing around lit candles.

There was no sense, using flash.  They might have blinked, fell down and set the place on fire.

ballet, candlelight

It was nice to see this girl in white because she made it a lot easier to focus.

candlelight, ballet

Performers like this should be placed on a pedestal not, under disco lights.

candlelight, ballet, stage

It took me awhile to figure out how to get the best compositions, under these conditions.

ballet dancer does split on candle lighted stage

Get down on the floor.

Remember When People Wore Those Furry Hats ?

Those raccoon things, with tails hanging off the back.

Daniel Boone or, Davy Crocket style, I'm talking about.

Well, some of my friends are loosing their hair but, they don't wear coonskin caps.

That's because they aren't fashionable, anymore.

Let's ditch the disco lights.  OK ?

Cattle Egret Shot While Hanging Out the Car Window

Not the Preferred Method




This photo was taken back on July 15, 2013 at about 5:30PM.

Riding along with RyukyuRusty, I spotted the bird in a field below the Kin Bridge.

red and white Cattle Egret in field

Normally, I'd make a shot like this, using a tripod and, the big 500mm lens.

This photo was taken with a Pentax KD10 and the 18-250 lens at 250mm.

All I did was lean out the window and spot focus on the bird's eye.

Three quick shots were made using burst mode.

Then, I told Rusty, "Close the window.  It's hot out there"  !

Saturday, October 26, 2013

10 Bug Photos and Some Stuff About Beyonce's Derriere

These Things Just Happen





Normally, you wouldn't find me going online to look at some gal's rear end.

There was a girl wiggling her bunny tail in the bar last night.

I just looked at her because we're friends.

fly on a flower

 This morning I decided to get this unidentified bug out of my files and, do some research.

black and red fly on weed flower

Somehow, a fly with a golden rear end got named after Beyoncé.

This young scientist, from Australia, figured the bug with a golden fanny, was "bootylicious."

So, he named the thing Scaptia plinthina beyonceae.

fly with golden rear end

Checking several sources, for a positive ID, Beyoncé fanny photos kept showing up.

fly with gold rear

The fly with the golden tail is what I wanted verification on.

Fly rear view

We have photos, taken from many different angles, to assist in getting identification.

dise view of black and gold fly

The media folks like to show photos of Beyoncé from different angles, too.

A fellow couldn't help, but notice.  So that's what I did.

close up of fly on flower

When identifying insects, there's other things worth looking closely at.

detail view of fly

 The rear end, is important but, so are a lot of other parts.

fly on white flower

Something about the bug's face, colors, marking and, wings told me this was a different one.

hoverfly on flower

What we have here (Trust me, I verified everywhere) is a Hoverfly.

The Latin name:  Phytomia zonata



More News from Okinawa


Everyone came out unharmed by recent typhoons and earthquakes.

We are having beautiful, cool weather.

The Missus and I, may even do some celebrating tonight.

Do you suppose that crazy rabbit will be, at the bar, wagging her tail, again ?



Friday, October 25, 2013

This Rock Requires Further Investigation

The Bandit Rock in Okinawa



Criminals Used to Hangout Here



Named Fere Rock, it's located in Onna-son, Okinawa, Japan.

Mr. Miyagi, from the Onna-son Museum, gave me a Onna History & Culture brochure.

The nice thing is, the manual has both English and Japanese writing in it.

That's how we located this historical site.

And, we would never have heard about the highway robbers, if we hadn't read the book.

Everybody Loves a Dumb Criminal Story



Way back in the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom the mountainous road was well traveled.

This rock, standing tall alongside the highway was the scene of repeated crimes.

Fee-ree, according to my Okinawan Dictionary, means, holdup or, stick-up.

And, these bandits used it to their advantage.

People, going along this highway would have their belongings snatched.

The highway robbers would be perched on top of the rocks.

They took long poles with hooks at the end and grabbed traveler's valuables.


How Slick Was That ?



It got me thinking. They hadn't even invented the helicopter, yet.

Once they snatched someone's saddlebags, where the hell did they think they were gonna go ?

As the story goes, some gal from Itoman, chased them away with her wits.

And, another version says, a karate dude ran the crooks off using his sickle.


We Better Go Back and Climb That Rock



All bandits aren't as stupid as:  The 10 dumbest criminals in the world.

What if these guys had an escape route somewhere inside that rock ?

Mr. Miyagi, please, don't give away any more of those books, until I check it out !

Directions for those wishing to visit this historical site

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Caterpillars Can Be Cute or Creepy (Photos)

It Depends on How You Look at Them


This little guy was crawling around outside my office.

The door just got locked and I was waiting for a ride, without my camera.

So, I shot it with my cell phone.

black caterpillar

If Mrs. RyukyuMike saw it, she'd scream and squish the thing.

Green stuff, squirts all over the place when she does that.

I picked the little critter up and and put him in a neighbor's planter for safekeeping.

caterpillar on plant

When I got done shopping, he was still there.

So, I grabbed a real camera and shot him.  The, put it back on the ground where it came from.

Here's a video, I found where people make this guy look cute:

The common name for this caterpillar, when it sprouts wings, is Hawk Moth.

Its scientific nomenclature:  Theretra oldenlandiae

Learn more about them at Hawk Moths of Australia

Would you call these critters cute or, creepy ?

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

In the Spotlight: Artist and Naturalist Ichiro Kikuta

On Exhibition Right Now !




hand painted Japanese screen

This is something I need to spread the word about, quickly.

The Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology (OIST) has his gallery on display.

We went today and have to go back before the month is over.

painted foldling screen

The folks at OIST were friendly and, gave me permission to take photos.

Well, I didn't bring the lens or, lighting required to do this artwork justice.

And, lucky for them I read the signs that said, "Do Not Touch."

OIST Is Really A Big Place

Scientists kept walking up and down the hallways where I was trying to shoot.

They were busy, I guess.

Trying to do long exposures (over one second) was looking impossible.

When you are a guest, you can't just yell, "Everybody Freeze."

Just when, I thought the moment was right and quit (quietly) cussing, it happened.

Map It Okinawa, tapped me on the shoulder.  I was blocking traffic with my tripod.

Click, went the shutter.  Wait one second.

Behind me, a gentleman, was waiting.  I apologized for blocking the hallway.

He said, "You're RyukyuMike.  Aren't you?"


We just met a Vice President.

And, even wearing orange flip-flops, he recognized me !

But, everything turned out alright.

He reads my blog !

Back to the Artist

Ichiro Kikuta is one of those artists, you're lucky to meet once in a lifetime.

It was my pleasure, to have found him in the northern area of Okinawa.

Just, a week ago, we located his studio in the village of Ada.

Ichiro, showed us some of the things he does to handcraft these panels.

The artwork, depicting nature, doesn't get copied from photos.

He goes into the forest with a sketch pad.

Then, sketches what he observes.

From the drawings, he re-creates the scenes as black ink paintings.

Instead of, having to visit the Yanbaru forest, he brings it to you, in all its splendor.

Don't Pass Up on this Opportunity

The exhibition at OIST  lasts through October 31, 2013.

More details available on the OIST Website

For those unable to attend, have a peek at this OIST Video:


Monday, October 21, 2013

Protect Your Home from Evil --- Get an Ishiganto !

Here's What They Look Like



Ishiganto stone in front of a home


The carving on that rock says, "Ishiganto."

Believing that evil spirits travel in straight lines, you might need one of these.

In the Ryukyu Islands, if your house is on a corner or, intersection, Ishiganto protects it.

Ishiganto on wall at intersection

You don't have to buy a big rock,  smaller Ishiganto are available.

The other day, walking my dogs, I spotted one that had done its job.

It was smashed, like a truck or something had crashed into it.

So, I figure, it saved the guy's wall and, house.

It would have been nice to show you a photo of it but, I didn't take one.

That's because, I'm not very innocent looking.

Some Folks Call It Superstition

There are over 10,000 of these on walls, throughout the Ryukyu Island Chain.

Like my college professor used to say, "It's their beliefs not, superstition."

All you had to do, to flunk a course, was use that "S" word.

So, I took it out of my vocabulary.

Today, I found a twenty page paper (PDF), done by Takahashi Seiichi.

Everything you ever wanted to know about this good luck charm, is published there.

For example, you can find them everywhere, from China to Hokkaido.

And, he even uses the term, "Ishiganto enthusiasts."

How cool is that ?

Easier than pronouncing, superstitious people, I think !

Learn More About Ishiganto:

Bamboo Can Drive You to Drinking !

stand of bamboo

Almost Scientific Evidence Gathered Today Proves It



Catching-up on processing photos, taken in February 2013, I made this discovery.

There are over 300 types of this plant.

A person could do their college dissertation with access to all the information I found.

To keep it simple, I'll just provide one link.

Check the Bamboo Garden.

If anybody's looking for me, I went drinking !

Sunday, October 20, 2013

Photo of the Week: Celebrating Kajimaya

man and woman celebrating age 97

In Okinawa When You Turn 97 -- It's Time for a Party !


Pictured above are Ito Tomoyoshi and Yamashiro Katsu.

Last Sunday, in the Yaka District of Kin Town, festivities were held in their honor.

They only have to wait three more years.

Then, when they get to be 100, the Prime Minister of Japan sends them a letter.

They will probably be the youngest centenarians in town !

Related Post:

  The Lady of the Year:  Photos from an Okinawan Kajimaya




Saturday, October 19, 2013

Flower Photos: Mexican Creeper Has Lots of Names

pink flowers, green background

People Either Love or Hate This Plant




Some sweetheart working for Kin Town called it Queen's Necklace, her favorite flower.

She spotted the plant on my feature photo, yesterday.

So, I pulled-up my pending flower files to show you some now, that we have an ID.

Antigonon leptopus, plant and flowers

Scientists would call it Antigonon leptopus.

Coral Vine or Bride's Tears, flowering vine

It is also known as Coral Vine or Bride's Tears.

pink flowers

University of Florida Center for Aquatic and Invasive Plants isn't too wild about them.

pink flowers, vine and leaves

The Wikipedia folks say aboriginal Baja Californians, used the seeds like popcorn.

flowering vines, Queen's Crown

Queen's Crown and Queens Wreath are some other names the vine is called.

And, in Cajun country they call it Rose of Montana Vine.

That's just a few of the names, I saw at Dave's Garden.

bee on pink flower

They say, birds, bees and butterflies love these flowers, too.

From what I've seen, the vines can grow fairly long and, high.  So, it got me thinking.

house nearly hidden by pink flowering vines

If you planted some of this stuff around a house trailer, bill collectors wouldn't find you !