Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Discovery in Okinawa: The Perfect Cheesecake

cheesecake in box with Japanese writing

A Few Qualifications

  • A cheesecake has some weight to it.  Lift it, and it weighs as much as a light bowling ball.
  • It isn't like a pound-cake.  It is thick and, will break a plastic fork.
  • It is stored in a refrigerator because, if it's left out on a shelf, it will spoil.
  • Siberian Huskies love cheesecake as much as I do. So, this one won't go home with me.
  • Good cheesecakes are hard to find (almost impossible) in Japan. But, they do exist.

The Awesome-yummiest Cheesecake



It's been, just down the street from my office, all along !

Instead of focusing on bugs, in front of my office or, the moon, I should have looked.

streetside view of cheesecake bakery

The building, across the street with the striped awning has it.


front view cheescake bakery


There's even a sign, in English, that says, Cheese Cake !

inside view cheesecake bakery

So, I went in and ordered one.

cheesecake in opened box

This baby had some texture and was as heavy as a bowling ball.

There isn't any fancy silverware around my office.

So, I had to get my camping saw off my backpack, to slice it.

Plastic forks would break so, I used a spoon, instead.

Licking plastic spoons isn't bad for your health but, licking camping saw blades hurts.

After, eating about half the cake, I put it in the fridge.

And, went back to ask if I could take some photos of the place.

As soon as I hit the publish button on this blog, I'll see how much more I can eat.

It's the best cheesecake, I've tasted in over 30 years.

So, there's no sense sharing it and letting things go to waste.  Right?

People living in Okinawa might want to know where to find Taimo Kobo Kinta.

For anyone, interested in making their own, here's a recipe.

But, I doubt, it comes anywhere near the discovery, I made today.

Back to attack the rest of my cheesecake and, take a little nap.

New Year's Eve, is always a long day and night, around this part of the country.

To all my friends and followers, have a safe and Happy New Year.

Let's hope 2014 has lots of Ups.

And, may any Downs you have, be gentle ones!

Where is it on Google Maps?

Monday, December 30, 2013

A Most Respectful Bow in Japan (Photos)

The Deepest Bow Seen in 2013




Bowing, in Japan, is more common than the Westerner's handshake.

When you see it done and, do it everyday, it just becomes something like a reflex action.

The Missus, in my house, even bows when she's talking to someone important, on the phone.

What I want to show you is three frames of photos, shot in less than one second.

This is to demonstrate, the most impressive bow, seen in Okinawa this year.

Hamburger shop owner receiving award

Notice the man in the red shirt. He is receiving an award.

comencing to bow

The bow, starts with a simple lowering of his head.

taking a deep bow

And, continues until he has bowed to a 45 degree angle.

He is the owner and Master of Toto La Bebe, being given an award.

It is for the Best Hambugrer on the island of Okinawa, Japan.

And, he made that, the Bow of the Year, if you ask me.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Wakamizu -- The Sacred Water of the New Year in Okinawa

12 Photos of What Takes Place

These images were taken at ceremonies conducted in December of 2012 and 2013.
It may take another two or three years to capture all of this cultural event.
Reviving some of the history and traditions of the Ryukyu Islands is challenging work.
Most of the documentation was lost or, destroyed prior to and, during the Battle of Okinawa.
A group, the Shuri Tonokura Community Association, has revived of this tradition.
shrine dressed in greenery for ritual ceremony
This is the sacred hut (asagi) in Hedo where rituals begin.
Arriving in the village, the day before the event, was a good idea.
It gave me the chance to learn how to build the covered roof from kuba leaves.
And, by the end of the day, I was no stranger in town.
straw-roofed hut and preparations for blessings
Early the next afternoon, preparations for worship began.
procession to shrine by costumed officials
A procession climbs the hill to the house of worship.
man carrying special leaf known as kuba
Some of their costumes represent royalty.
women wearing white robes in procession
The women in white are priestesses or, noros (local dialect).
gold hairpeice on white robed woman
To be determined: Whether this woman was a high priestess or, royalty.
She certainly, was the center of attention, at all the ceremonies.
Prayers and offerings are made at the asagi, before proceeding to draw the first water.
worship at a spring in jungle
The well, called Ookawa, is reached by taking a long, winding trail down the mountain.
Water, drawn from here, is placed in clay jugs and taken to Shuri.
water well where sacred water is drawn
A week later, in Urasoe, Okinawa this well (Takushi Hiija) is visited.
praying and making offerings at a well
Prayers and offerings are made before drawing the water from this well, too.
worship by priestesses and dignitaries below Shuri Castle
At a shrine named Enkaku-ji, just outside Shuri Castle, the water from both wells is mixed.
procession to castle
From there, the procession heads towards the castle.
worshipers entering castle via stone stairs
The castle is entered through the gate named, Kyukeimon.
Here, the sacred water is presented to a woman of royalty with best wishes for the New Year.

That's the part of Wakamizu my cameras haven't captured, yet.
But, we're working on it.

Thanks to the Ryukyu Shimpo, I got this video you can watch, though.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Motobu Okinawa -- The Oceanic Culture Museum

wooden sabani boat display


An Attraction Worth Visiting Twice


Yesterday, four of us bloggers, hit this site, at the same time.

It was a good thing, a busload of tourists or, children, didn't show up while we were there.

museum display of wooden sailing ship

Museums are always great places to visit on cold, rainy days.

Taking photos, can be challenging, because of the harsh lighting.

wood sailing ship display in museum

The group of us split up and headed out in different directions.

The place is pretty huge and it is chock full of treasures.

Now, I want to go back and spend more time there to get all the details.

The plan, after leaving this site, was to get two other things done.

First we were going to check on the Cherry Blossoms.

Then, we planned to go eat the best hamburgers on the island.

So, I went breezing through the place, in sort of a hurry, because I was hungry.

 The OkiNinjaKitty, made this video, showing some of the Oceanic Culture Museum.

If you watch, closely, you may see me in it.

It's a good thing she added that music. You probably can't hear my stomach growling !


Friday, December 27, 2013

Cherry Blossoms Opening on Mt. Yadake in Okinawa

Sakura (桜) Report #1



The Cherry Blossom Season started early, again this year.

The pink and red flowers were spotted by Doc Graff this morning.

So, you know where I went today.  Up that mountain.

It's cold and windy up there.

The little flower buds, are just starting to open.

flower, cherry blossom,sakura

Not being a real mathematician or anything like that, I'll take an uneducated guess.

sakura, cherry blossom,flower, Japan

Maybe, less than one percent of the Sakura (桜) are blooming.

barren cherry tree

Most of the cherry trees, still look like this one.

So, if you want to join the crowds of sakura chasers, start making travel plans.

By the middle of next month, Cherry Blossom Season should be going full throttle !

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Looking Back at 2013: Monthly Memories in Photos

Picking Out These Images Was Fun




A year sure does fly by in a hurry.

Going through the monthly files of undeveloped shots was a good idea.

It reminded me of all the places we've been.

And, assured me, I'll never run out of things to do if all my cameras just disappear, someday.


pair of Grey Herons

Grey Herons in Tomigusuku



cosmos flowers in bloom

Cosmos in Kin Town



purple iris close up

Iris in Ogimi



t-shirt of woman at pool bar

No model release required


city and ocean scene from hill in Itoman City

Itoman Port from above



young men in traditional clothing pose at house of a priestess

At the Home of a Noro in Itoman


sailing sabani boat and crew at sea

Sabani sailing in Ginoza


woman sings and plays drum in  okinawa

Live House Festival in Kin Town



dancing lion dog on stage at full moon festival, harvest moon

Full Moon Festival in Kin Town


Grey Heron flying

Grey Heron in flight over Yomitan


white flowers and blue berries

Unidentified blue berries on Mt. Yonaha



priestesses in white making offerings in Okinawa jungle

Observing a ritual in Hedo

The thought had occurred to me, someone could make a calendar out of a year's worth of photos.

Calendar making just isn't one of my acquired skills.

Ain't that a shame ?

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Surprises: Santa in Okinawa, Japan 2013

Santa went to Kanna in Ginoza, Okinawa, Japan today.

Over a hundred children were surprised, to see him show up.

There were a few surprises for Santa, too.

Credit for the photography and video go to the Map It Okinawa Dude.

The Christmas Dude has other stuff, keeping him occupied and is too busy, to blog.

Enjoy the YouTube Video and see how well behaved these children acted. 

It was a big surprise, to Santa Claus.


The biggest surprise of all was that boy, sitting with Santa, in the photo.

He either, didn't know or, wouldn't let on, to the rest of the students.

He was sitting on his Grandpa's lap !

Santa and child, Motion GIF with snowflakes

Sometimes We Get Off The Beaten Path (Photos)

trail in mountainous forest

Another excursion in the northern hills of Okinawa had me wondering.

mountain trail

What do we do this kind of stuff for ?

rocky trail in mountains of Okinawa

A person could slip and fall, especially when it starts raining.

stone stairs along mountain trail

The huffing, puffing and sore muscles make me ask myself, "What all this climbing good for?"

Then, I come across something like these flowers, growing in the wild.

yellow flowers

They would never have been seen by me, if I hadn't gotten off the beaten path !

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Zuckerberganator Dudes and Dudettes -- I Ain't Buyin' It !

Little Message from Facebook





Mike's Ryukyu Gallery's post "Will meet with..." is performing better than 90% of other posts on that page.
Promote it to get even better results.

Screenshot of Facebook message

So, I take some screenshots and see what's going on.

Will meet with him, when I'm a little... 65

Couldn't wait 'til Xmas so, I'm wear...104

That'd be alright by me. A Pink Chr...98

These folks got me trazzeled: http...143

Time to bug out of the office: http...56

Something Just Doesn't Add Up Correctly There

screenshot as Facebook tries to boost a post for a price

Maybe, a few of my redneck cronies fall for the gimmick.

For anywhere from a dollar, to $30 a day y'all can give me a boost ?

I ain't buyin' it.

End of rant.

PS  It would be nice if somebody could get those red bubbles, to quit moving around, too.