Friday, February 28, 2014

Yomitan -- Japan's Most Populated Village !

Who Would Have Thought ?



Today we spent some time on the other coast of Okinawa, getting lost in Yomitan Village.

They have lots of old things, like the UNESCO Zakimi Castle and Museum.

But, there's new stuff, too.

UNESCO Zakimi Castle,Yomitan,Okinawa

Did you know, they have been lighting the castle walls up, at night ?

Apparently,  they started turning on the lights, from 6-9PM, since DEC 2013.

The place will be illuminated, at night, until MAR 13, 2014.

So, I may sneak over there sometime next week and do some night shooting.

The lighting, is to celebrate, becoming the most populated village, in all of Japan.

And, it doesn't cost anything to go in there.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Bird Photos: This Kingfisher Made My Day

Bird, Kingfisher, Okinawa

The Big Sigma Lens Was at Home

Today we went down south to deliver a photo to Itoman City.

One of those overcast days convinced me there was no sense looking for birds.

So, I was only using the Pentax 18-250mm lens.

After lunch in Naha, we decided to go see how the Spoonbills were doing in Tomigusuku.

If Doc hadn't spotted this Kingfisher, I would never have known it was there.

Shooting with the lens stretched all the way out, I used up about 10 gigabytes of SD card.

bird, Kingfisher, Motion GIF

Auto Awesome did the rest for me.

One of these days, I may do a blog post to show how easy it is to create these motion GIF files.

All you really do, is load 5 or more photos to your Google+ account.

And, they do the rest for you -- FREE !

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

When It Rains in Okinawa -- Go Eat Pigs !

Tropical Islands Can Be Tricky



The sun was shining as we left Kin Town for Ginoza this morning.

Just like any other island in the world, the weather can make sudden changes.

trees, firewood,stumo

The remnants of a tree photo, was taken before it really started pouring down.

Pentax camera, tripod mounted, in rain

 The Pentax K3, didn't mind getting wet.  But, I do.

outside dining area, oicnic tables

 We decided, cave hunting, could wait for another day and ended up here.

Tonga Burger, made of pork, restaurant
This is where the Village of Ginoza has everybody beat.

When you go to this Tonga place and order a burger, it's authentic.

How do people get away with calling things hamburgers, when they are made of beef ?

A Tonga Burger is made of pork.

takeout meals, pork

Today, I decided to try this Bu-Tan's meals, run by the same folks as Tonga.

display, classic car and surfing pig

After I placed my order, I noticed this little display and, had to shoot it.

pork cutlet, tray, soup, salad, rice

Pork cutlet, soup, salad and rice was just what I needed.

Everything was delicious so I told the gal cooking, this is a Five Star Restaurant.

pink pig mobile, Tonga Moblie, pork

Just before we departed, this pink Tonga-mobile showed up.

Too bad, I didn't snap some photos while the engine was still running.

It has a curly pig tail that wiggles on the back end.

parking lot scene, pink pig mobile

Wouldn't you love a machine like that ?

The next time I see this beauty, I'll have them leave the engine running.

The Auto Awesome folks could do something like this butterfly thing they made for me.

butterfly and vegetation, Motion GIF

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

10 Photos from a Two Hour Flower Walk

Irresistible Sunshine Made Me Do It



It all started with this card that came in the mail, sometime over the weekend.

The wife translated it.  Your books are a month overdue at the library.

That happens to me all the time.  I only use them to identify flowers.

yellow flower
The Missus says take the books on Monday when the Kin Town Library is closed.

That way, you just put them in a drop box and don't have to see anybody.


I'd rather wait until Tuesday and apologize by saying, "Gomen nasai."

yellow flowers

About 11 this morning, I grabbed my overdue flower books and a camera.

There's no telling what these yellow flowers are, I just shot them.

And, returned the flower books, without ever trying to find out what they were.

white and yellow flowers

After leaving the library, I decided to take a long walk and shoot lots of flowers.

No tripod was used, just a prime lens and awesome sunshine.

purple flowers, wisteria possibly

Whatever these purple things are, they're blooming everywhere.

Within a few days, I should have an identification on them, even if I have to ask somebody.

flowers, cosmos

Cosmos, I know them. They are blossoming everywhere, too.

cosmos, flowers

It's fun, trying to catch them when they're not getting blown by the wind.

red cosmos, flowers

These rascals are some more for my Pending ID Files.

That is, unless some helpful reader comes along and identifies them for me.

plum blossoms, flowers

These flowers, look an awful lot like plum blossoms, to me.

And, I'm not sure if it's early in the season or, they will be all gone soon.

It's not nice, to climb a fence and go on private property to take pictures of someone's flowers.

So, I've been thinking of taking some scissors and a big pair of tweezers, next time.

Something to poke through the fence so, I can take a sprig home.

purple iris, flower

This iris, is located, not far from my home.

It's a different breed than the ones that should be blooming soon, in Ogimi.

And, it looks more like a tiger than, a dragon, to me.

abstract, bright yellow building and staircase

Taking the back roads on my return trip to the office, I spotted this.

It's as bright as those first yellow flowers I came across.

How could a guy forget which house he lived in, if he had a paint job like that ?

Monday, February 24, 2014

Life on an Abandoned Island

small, uninhabited island, in ocean

Just a Rock Sticking Out of the Ocean



There are some crazy stories out there about people who decided to do the Crusoe thing.

It would be neat, to have your own little island as a getaway.

But, I'd probably prefer one that's not too far offshore.

That way, you could escape back to civilization when no mermaids showed up.

Research led me to Alaska and Australia. I'm guessing it was an alphabetical thing.

Alaska sounds too cold for me so, I settled on this Restoration Island thing.

An Australian man who lost millions, packed up and moved to an island.

He's a survivor. Grows his own food and brews his own beer.

He'll tell you, you'll learn to survive or, die.

That's stuff, I already knew.

And, I know there's no such thing as mermaids, too.

It's a fairly long story but, great reading, if you are interested in that sort of lifestyle.

This Man Moved to a Desert Island to Disappear.

Here's What Happened.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Dancing with a Hangover

There Couldn't Be a Better Tune for This



If you've never woke up with a massive hangover, it's your own fault.

It's a good thing, I have a very understanding bride, over at my house.

sleeping bag, cardboard box, flip flops, Macs for Dummies book

At 9 o'clock this morning, I rudely awakened myself.

It was one of those long nights, out in the town, delivering some of last year's photos.

Lucky, for me, the office showed up, on my way home.

There's a whole bunch more bars to go to or, the cardboard box and sleeping bag.

Too tired and inebriated, for decision making, I went to sleep, in the office.

Whoever invented cardboard boxes and sleeping bags should get the Nobel Prize.

More than likely, my snoring woke me up.

Once I found my coffee and desk, I fired the Apple computer up.

Facebook, pretty much, owns everybody so, I have to go there after checking emails.

 I hate Facebook and the folks who are supposed to support you over at that Mac Computer place.

The rest of the world, I get along alright with.

Facebook, made my day, when somebody shared this tune, though.

Nobody will ever take the place of this guy:

The song must have been played 3 or 4 times before I noticed I had mail on my cell phone.

That's because, I do crazy stuff, like dancing around the room with my tripods.

Listen to that tune. If you just sit still, something's wrong with you.

Don't just sit there oozin' your life.

Out of respect for Louis Armstrong, you should dance with something.

A broomstick would work or, a petrified tree. Anything's better than nothing.

The Cell Phone Mail

Oops, I almost forgot.  Map It Okinawa Dude mailed me.

It seems like about 8:15AM the wife called him, asking to check up on me.

See, she knows he has a key to my office. And, when I forget to come home, I might be there.

It took a few minutes to type answers to the wife and Map It Dude.

I let everyone know, I'm alive and well and caught my breath.

Then, went back and listened to Sachmo and danced a few dozen more times.

It cures hangovers, too !

Saturday, February 22, 2014

It was Sort of Like a City Folks Hoedown

Not Just Women Dancing with Horses



There were a dozen or so, gals in kimonos, dancing with wooden, hobby horse looking things.

Back in the good old days, I bet they were riding real horses.

Equines are probably forbidden now, at the Juri-uma Parade because it's within the city limits.

But, they had other gals, doing folk dances, that any country boy would enjoy.

folk dancing on stage

 Some of them came out on the stage hootin' and hollerin' barefooted.

traditional dance Okinawa

 They were smiling, stomping their feet and, swinging those blades.

Okinawa folk dance

Just when you think, it can't get no better than this, it does.

Ryukyu dance
The gal in charge of those with sickles and sticks, got them all off the stage.

dancing with hoes

And here's where the real hoedown stuff begins.

dancing with hoes

These girls were barefoot, smiling and dancing, too.

dancing with hoes

But, they were swinging some pretty authentic looking hoes.

Tell me, that don't remind you of a good old country hoedown !

Friday, February 21, 2014

Butterfly Photo From Kourijima, Okinawa, Japan

black butterfly, motion GIF, Kouri Island, Okinawa

It's Friday night in this part of the world so, there's a bit of a rush to get out of here.

Here's an image the Auto Awesome folks at Google+ did for me tonight.

The GIF file was created after I uploaded 10 JPEG photos from today's shooting.

There are still another 100 or so images waiting for processing.

Cameras are put away and batteries, charging.

So, I figure, I should go downtown and do some re-charging, too.

Have a great weekend.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Have You Ever Heard of the Parade of the Prostitutes ?

'Scuse My French But I Ain't Making This Up


Not to worry, ladies.  No women were harmed in this celebration.

The photos were taken, yesterday in Naha, Okinawa, Japan at a reenactment of ancient history.

Credit must be given to Okinawa2Go! Project on Facebook for some of my text, today.

women dance, riding wooden horses

They reminded me that the Juri-uma Parade was February 19th this year.

That would be, the 20th of January, by the Chinese calendar.

Kimono clad women dance riding wooden horses

The event took place in the Tsuji district of Naha City.

classic dance, riding horses,m wearing kimono

Allegedly, this was an area of brothels, back in the old days.

There were no real live hookers on the streets while I was there. I kept checking for you.

As the story goes, girls who were sold to be courtesans, were called "Juri."

Uma, means horse.  So, I guess you could call it the Hookers Horse Parade.

circle of women in kimonos, riding hobby horses while dancing

Back in the days of the Ryukyu Kingdom these girls only got to see their family once a year.

That was during the Juri-uma Parade.

dance while riding hobby horses

So, it was a pretty important celebration.

How any person could sell their daughter, beats the devil out of me.

But, if I was a girl, I would worry about it.

Didn't somebody, once say, "History repeats itself"  ?

Read more about this event at the Ryukyu Shimpo

And, here's an old video of the festivities, from way back when:

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

One Photo and a Quick Explanation

red kimono, dance on outdoor stage

From flat on my back yesterday to 300 photos in the rain today.

Here's one of my favorites.  A pretty gal, dancing on an outdoor stage in Naha, Okinawa.

Things like this don't happen everyday.  They sneak up on you.

When the wife gets wind of this, I better come up with a darn good explanation.

She was thinking maybe, I would go see a doctor today, for that cold I had yesterday.

She's going to be asking me, how I wound up in Naha on a rainy day, shooting cameras.

The best answer I can think of, at the moment, is something like this:

Good driver, I guess.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Travel Photo: Alongside a Jungle Stream

fallen tree, stream, jungle, Okinawa

This photo was taken in Kunigami, Okinawa, Japan about this time last year.

Today, I spent most of the day at home with one of those winter colds.

Lots of liquids, medicines and soup were consumed and, I'm feeling better.

But, my brain didn't feel like cooperating on the blog tonight.

So, I went and looked at the old photo files and this one inspired me to write.

No matter where you may travel on this planet, a stream like this might be found.

It would be a good idea to find one and enjoy the atmosphere.

Take a picture and save it, too. That's just in case you catch a wicked cold.

It will make you feel better, if you think like me.

Anything, is better than sitting at home, taking medicines and eating chicken soup ! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Cosmos Flowers Are Blooming in Kin Town

field of blossoming cosmos, flowers

Grab the Cameras and Shoot Them Quick



Last week when we first spotted fields full of them it was raining.

The next time the sun shines on Okinawa, I have to hurry and get out there.

cosmos, flowers, blossoming

Farmers, plant those colorful flowers in the rice fields.

They must put something good in the soil or, remove something bad.

One of these days, I'll ask them why they do it.

But, I know, at a certain point, all the flowers will be gone and rice will be planted.

field of cosmos flowers in bloom
Last night when I walked in the door at home, the wife said she just got there, too.

She was unwrapping a huge pile of these cosmos she got from Igei, in Kin Town.

The wife says, "They were giving them away, for free."

Knowing Mrs. RyukyuMike, that could simply mean, nobody was looking when she took them.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Significance of the Okinawa Sailing Sabani Trophy

The Cup Awarded to the Winning Team



This photo was taken last June at the end of the Zamami to Okinawa Sailing Sabani Race.

The sun was setting behind me and I was wrestling with glare, trying to take the shot.

"Sir Peter Blake Memorial" is inscribed on the plaque.

Sir Peter Blake, trophy, cup,Sabani Sailing Race

A recent invitation to attend the race, again this year prompted me to do some research.

Everyone knows Peter Blake was from New Zealand and won the America's Cup for sailing.

But, I didn't realize the significance of this trophy, until today.

He began sailing when he was five years old.

In his lifetime, he probably, broke more sailing records than anyone in the history of the world.

That includes, sailing completely, around the world.

They just don't make sailors like Sir Peter Blake, anymore.

Why There's a Memorial

In December of 2001, he was shot dead by pirates, in Brazil.

The criminals got caught and went to jail but, I think we should let them out.

That would only be on one condition.

They would have to volunteer to let someone take them out in the ocean.


More About Sir Peter Blake

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Photos of the FEB 2014 Full Snow Moon

Full Moon February

Last night these photos were taken from an observation tower in Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan.

Heavy, black clouds, obscured the Valentines Moon much of the night.

So, every chance I got to see it, I fired away, using burst mode.

Valentine's Day, Full Moon

Being in that tower got me away from the lights and traffic in town.

It was cold and windy up there but, I'm glad we never see snow, on this island.

North Americans call this the Full Snow or, Snow-blinding Moon.

February's Full Moon is also known as, Bony Moon, according to the Farmer's Almanac.

FEB 2014 Full Moon
In some places it's called the Hunger Moon or, Little Famine Moon.

This was one of my clearest photos.

clouds, Full Moon

Dark clouds, raced across the sky and would make the moon look fuzzy.

Full Moon, clouds

People who trap animals for fur, knew the pelts were thickest during February.

So, they called this the Trapper's Moon.

Well, after half an hour shaking in my flip-flops for that moon, I can't wait for summer.

Maybe we'll get a Full Bikini Moon one of these days !

For all those who enjoy the cold weather, here's  a Farmer's Almanac Video: