Friday, January 31, 2014

Yellow Angel's Trumpets in Kin Town (Photos)

This Plant Became a Tree

It's Chinese New Year's Day where I'm living.

Walking the back roads to my office, I spotted these flowers in someone's yard.

It was early afternoon and the sun was shining a little too brightly for my comfort.

So, I planned on taking the cameras over there sometime after 3PM.

Flowers,tree, Angel's Trumpets

It's not nice to just walk into somebody's yard and start shooting their plants.

So, I stayed out in the driveway and used my zoom lens.

Out came the owner of the house, probably wondering what some old geezer was doing.

I had to think quick. 

Flowers, tree, Angel's Trumpets

 Happy Lunar New Year, is a good way to get started, I figured.

Then, I asked if I could shoot those pretty flowers.

It worked, I got to go inside !

Flower, Angel's Trumpet

 By 6PM my photos were all processed.

The Fiji Film guy had this one printed for me and, I went back and delivered it to the owner.

The whole family was gathered around some tables.

They may have been celebrating the Chinese New Year, too.

I thanked them for allowing me to take the photos.

When I asked, no one knew the name of the plant but, I told them not to worry.

It's something I could research online.

Brugmansia suaveolens, is something I've seen before. It's called Angel's Trumpet.

For those who wish to read in Japanese, I found a link for this flowering plant:

Useful Resources for Angel's Trumpets

Sub-tropical Flowers in Okinawa p112  ISBN4-9901917-3-0

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Himawari Matsuri -- Sunflower Festival in Okinawa

Today was the first time I ever went to the Sunflower Festival.

For a minute it looked like we would lose the blue skies.


So, I hurried and shot this.

Then, said, "Lets get outta here and go back up north to see cherry blossoms."

 It isn't that I'm scared of sunflowers or, anything like that.

But, what if I would have lost one of my yellow flip-flops in those fields ?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Cherry Blossoms Bustin' Out Everywhere !

Today just two sites on Okinawa were visited.

Weekdays are the best time to go.

Traffic was non-existent and, it wasn't crowded up at Mt. Yaedake.

Flowers, trees, cherry blossoms, sakura
Lots of cherry trees were in full bloom.

Sakura, flowers, cherry blossoms

The sun shined and, we had blue skies.

Sakura, Cherry Blossoms, flowers, trees

At Nakijin Castle, the best blossoms were along the road, going down the hill.

Ocean view, Cherry Blossoms, Sakura, Flowers

Where else, in the world, could you get weather like this, in the month of January ?

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Nisshudo Cave in Kin Town is Where It's At (15 Photos)

Entrance, Ticket office, Cave

The Starting Point


The day began here.  When I asked if I could tour the caves with a camera.

That's how I discovered I needed to make an appointment.

Year of the Horse, Sake bottles

 2PM was the next available tour so, I said I'd be back.

Sake bottle display

Arriving early, I shot some photos of sake bottles, to kill time.

I figured there would be a big crowd of tourists.

Taking photos in a cave, with people moving around, isn't much fun.

Entrance to cave

But, I got lucky. Nobody else showed up.

stairs and ladders within cave

It got me thinking, if the gal who drove me would leave, I could have the whole place to myself.

She flipped on the light switch and left, saying, "Come back this way when you're done."

Maybe, that's because, I think too loud.

Sake stored within cave

All by myself, down there I went.

stairs and railings going down into cave

Man, I was happier than a kid turned loose in a toy store.

Cool temperatures ideal for sake storage and aging

They have more sake bottles stored in there than anyplace I've ever been.

hundreds of sake bottles on shelves

It would be a good idea to go back and ask them, how many are kept in there.

Thousands of sake bottles aging

Thousands, would be my guess.

Sake bottles labeled with owner's names and date stored

Maybe, there are tens of thousands.  I don't really know.

But, I know I fall asleep just singing 100 Bottles of Beer on the Wall.

So, you really don't want to see me count sake bottles.

coins offered at a small shrine within cave

One spot in the caves, had a place where people left offerings of coins.

stairs leading out of cave

That made me remember, I needed to find a coffee machine so, back up, I went.

Deep within cave

You could get lost in there, if you don't follow the arrows on the floor.

stone marker outside cave entrance

The gal who drove me there was sweeping the cave entrance when I returned.

So, I told her to take her time and shot this sign on the way back out.

This cave, I've photographed and written about before at CNN Travel and TripAdvisor.

But, today's excursion, was through a part I have never seen before.

There will be plenty coming on this gem of a cave.

I have to go back and get all the information and, shoot some more.

It's only a few minutes walk, from my office !


Going Down How I Gotter Dun.  You Can Getter Dun Too

Monday, January 27, 2014

Maybe A Chinese Gentleman Got Shot Today

cherry blosoms

The day started with a search for cherry blossoms.


This is what I spotted along the way.

Off white or pinkish and yellow chrysanthemum, flower

Not having a photographic memory, I decided to use the camera.

Chrysanthemum, white and yellow

Still, I'm a little challenged on the flowers in my brain department.

Can someone tell me if that thing is a Chrysanthemum or, not ?

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Trying to Capture the Four Chinese Gentlemen in Okinawa

Here's a Goal for the New Year



In my never ending search, to learn everything on the internet, I discovered this.

Centuries ago, the Chinese came up with something called the Four Noble Plants.

Nowadays, in the art world, they are called the Four Gentlemen.

plum blossoms

Plum Blossoms



Bamboo stalks and leaves


chrysanthemum design on roof tiles


Well, I got three out of the four, in my photo collection, already.

The first photo is one of some plum blossoms taken a little late in the season.

So, I need to get back out and find some fresh ones and shoot a bit more artistically.

Orchids, they will have plenty of them in Motobu, next week.

February is the month of Okinawa's International Orchid Show.

Bamboo, I can find plenty of places on this island to shoot images of, any day of the week.

Chrysanthemums, are driving me crazy.

Do you know, they have about 150,000 different kinds of Mums ?

After about six hours of looking at them online, I gave up.

There must have been 75,000 images of them, I saw today and I still don't know if I ever shot one.

Maybe, I'm just not a flower type kind of guy.

But, I learned a lot about those flowers while searching. 

The circular symbol, on the tiled roof, behind those cherry blossoms, is a chrysanthemum.

The symbol of a chrysanthemum is popular in Japan.

 I may have to visit a flower shop, because I wouldn't know a mum, in the wild if I tripped over one.

Before 2014 comes to an end, I plan on shooting those Four Gentlemen the right way.

If anybody has a field of mums, growing by their house, give me a holler.

And, if it's a nice sunny day, we'll getterdun.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

Travel Photo: Educational Street Art in Itoman Okinawa

Historical street art depicting Okinawa fishing techniques

A talented artist painted this on corrugated metal.

It is displayed at the Uminchu Art and Craft Center near Itoman Port.

It gives an excellent overview of what to expect when you enter this museum.

The sabani boat and tools of the fishing culture are shown here.

And, they wrote the names of each item, in language even I, can understand.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Nago Mountain Cherry Blossoms at Night and a Tip

Sakura Report #4



These 10 photos should give you an idea how the little pink flowers are doing.

Last night we grabbed the cameras and went to all the way to the top of the hill.

Orion Beer lantern at night, Nago Mountain, Cherry Blossoms

My favorite brewery, provided lanterns to light up the stairway.

night scene of stage and illuminated stairs at Nago Mountain

The Nago City Sakura Matsuri, begins tomorrow.

THe festival tents and stage are set up and ready for business.

Stone lanterns glow, on both sides of the path, leading to the shrine above.

lighted stone lanterns line stairway

 It's a fairly steep climb so, I took my time and shot lots of photos.

close up lantern with night cityscape background

 There may have been a grand total, of about five people, on the mountain while we visited.

So, I had plenty of time to play with different photo compositions.

Nago City at night

Nago City, doesn't look the same, when you're up there in the dark.

shrine and torii at top of Nago Mountain, night scene

 This is the shrine at the top of the mountain.

The trail to the left was lighted by lanterns so, I went down there, too.

Before long, there were no more lights and, it got really dark.

So, I decided  to go back down the stairs, I used to get up there.

And, I remembered to shoot a few cherry blossoms, too.

sakura flowers at night

 It can be cold and windy up in the mountains during sakura season.

cherry blossoms at night

 So, I used the light from those Orion Beer lanterns to my advantage.

Travelers Tip


Some people go to these events for the festivities.

Stuff like food, drinks, entertainment and mingling with the crowds is alright.

If you want the most enjoyable experience, viewing the flowers, wait.

A week or, two later is when they'll really be blooming !

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Discoveries and a New Year Resolution

Here are Photos of Today's Discoveries

Cherry Blossoms and tiled roof in Okinawa

Sakura or, cherry blossoms, almost in my backyard.

Don't ask me why I've never seen them before.  Maybe, it has something to do with not looking.

Two doors away from my back door, there's a cherry tree, as big as a house.

poinsettia flower and tiled roof in Okinawa

Poinsettias,  I knew they were there all along.

 It's just the first time I realized, I could use the neighbor's tile roof as a backdrop.

Normally I Don't Go Running Around Making Resolutions



But, with the Chinese New Year, just around the corner, I think I'll give it a try.

Remember that snail, I suspected, might kill the banana leaf and, what I did with it ?

From now on, I resolve to not throw snails over the fence, anymore.

Well, I mean, that particular fence.  There's a fence, in another direction that might be OK.

Remember the night of the last full moon ?

Dude who was burning garbage in his yard, maybe he'd give some snails asylum !

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

2014 Cherry Blossom Report #3 With Photos

It's a Good Thing We Don't Get Paid for This



People would expect us to go places, according to some sort of a plan.

Mt. Yaedake, is already almost in full bloom but, the weather took a turn on us.

Lanterns line a road going up mountain

Doc and I, decided to head south today, instead of north.

Once we get away from the wives, we're pretty much, our own bosses. So, that's what we do.

We went to Yaese Castle Ruins, to see how the sakura, are coming along down that way.

cherry blossoms at a castle
This was the first cherry blossom I spotted.

So, I shot a quick image, just in case there weren't any more.

sakura, cherry blossoms

There isn't really any money to be made chasing sakura but, we do it anyway.

We got plenty of exercise, climbing that hill.

cherry blossoms at Yaese Castle

The place is ready for the 8th Yaese Sakura Matsuri and it's lighted at night.

cherry blossoms

The flowers just don't always cooperate with the town's schedule.

cherry blossoms

An unscientific guess, would be maybe, 10% or less, of the blossoms have opened.

cherry blossoms

If you don't like crowds of people around you, now would be the best time to go.

blossoming cherry tree

To catch a lot of cherry blossoms here, maybe you could wait a week or, two.

Motubu's Mt. Yaedake is the best place to view sakura blossoms at this time.

But, along with all those flowers, you will see lots of crowds, too.