Saturday, May 31, 2014

Sneaking a Peek at Kin Dam in Okinawa, Japan

Kin Dam, Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan,early morning

It Disrupted the Wildlife in the Area for a Few Years 



Now, that it's completed, most of the construction equipment is gone.

The critters, that thrive in this kind of environment are returning, to an improved home.

The photo above, was taken at 6:33AM from the center of the Kin Bridge.

right side view, Kin Dam

By 9AM, I had taken a few 100 photos along the Okukubi River and visited the dam.

 The only lens, I brought along was a Sigma 50-500mm.

Another trip, will have to be made, with a wide angle lens so, you can see everything.

inside view, Kin Dam

With, that big lens, some climbing, to higher elevations, was required.

Okinawa Expressway from Kin Dam View Point

Getting high enough, to see the water on the other side of the expressway, was easy.

Kin Dam from View Point

They have a stairway, going up the the Dam Office, which sits on a hill.

Kin Bridge below Kin Dam

If that doesn't get you high enough, you can climb about 100 damn stairs.

And, go all the way to the rooftop View Point.

From there, if you have a wide angle lens, you could probably view the whole damn dam !

One of these days, we'll getterdun.

Kin Dam, also known as Okukubi Dam (福地ダム) is the first of this type in the world.

Friday, May 30, 2014

These Photos Got Me Itchin' to Go Back Inside Shuri Castle

interior of Shuri Castle

UNESCO Shuri Castle Is the Most Popular Attraction in Okinawa



Something possessed me today, to look at some old photos, I shot back in 2008.

There was a folder from October with undeveloped RAW files so, I processed them.

Just looking at all the bright colors and that shiny gold got me thinking.

The last time, I went inside this room, was almost, six years ago.

Shuri Castle interior

It's not like I haven't been to Shuri Castle lately.

If somebody, was keeping score, I've probably been there more than a hundred times.

One year, I even bought a Shuri Castle Park Passport.

That was probably, the smartest thing, I ever did in that town.

It costs 800 Yen admission fee, to visit the castle one time.

If you buy a Passport, for 1600 Yen, you can visit as many times as you want, for a whole year.

red and gold, King's throne, Shuri Castle

They even allow people to go in there, wearing flip-flops.

Well, I think it's high time, I got back down there and, buy me a new passport.

Then, I'll make sure, I follow all the rules and, shoot some more of that gold.

Once upon a time, we got in a bind for not-following-the-rules.

That was the day, I took these pictures. And, I haven't been back in there, since.

Well I'm older and a little bit wiser, nowadays.

If that security guard hasn't already retired maybe, he won't recognize me, anymore.

A few more grey hairs and a bit longer beard, may fool him.

It would probably be a good idea to wear blue, instead of yellow flip-flops, too.

That does it. I'm going back inside Shuri Castle.  Sounds like a plan.

More About UNESCO World Heritage Shuri Castle



Thursday, May 29, 2014

In the Wild -- A Pair of Mating Ryukyu Damselflies (Photos)

Warning: Maybe the Younguns Shouldn't Look



The research was kind of difficult on these insects but, we gotterdun.

First, I'll introduce you to the single male.

That gives you time to send the kids outside or, to play with their game-thingies.


Damselfly male, Coeliccia ryukyuensis

Ryukyurimontonbo (リュウキュウルリモントンボ) is what he's called, in Japan.

Coeliccia ryukyuensis ryukyuensis would be the Latin name.

Okinawa Yanbaru Field Guide, helped me do the identification.


That is a good guidebook, with lots of photos but, no English.

So, I use several methods to do my search.

When, you type,
Ryukyurimontonbo (リュウキュウルリモントンボ) in an English search engine,  doesn't work.

So, I take the Japanese characters and put them in one of their search boxes.

Sometimes, I even use the Chinese sites.  Whatever it takes.

male damselfly, blue tip, Motion GIF

All kinds of ignorance, left my brain today.

That bug, up there, I thought he was trying to swat the fly. Wrong.

Are Those Children Gone Yet ?




What that rascal is doing, is getting ready for sex.


He probably doesn't even know the fly is there. Other things are on his mind.

male and female damselfly hooked together

 Off he went, to grab some female, by the back of her neck.

It's a good thing, I read all the resources about how these insects mate.

My excuse for going home late tonight, won't work, now.

There's no sense, telling the wife, I met a gal with a vagina on the back of her head.

That excuse won't work, anymore but, it might have, if it was true.

Male and female damselfly mating

An expert on the subject, would tell you, the male, is using that blue tip, to grab the gal.

In the first photo, he was probably, transferring stuff, from one penis to another.

The scientists say, when the female is ready, she gets in the position above.

She has to bring her Doohickey up to meet his, is what, I think they mean.

And, they call this, the wheel formation.

Well, in Okinawa, people consider that to be the shape of a heart not, a wheel.

It may not look like a heart, to you.

male and female damselfly in heart-shaped position


Not wanting to disturb them at such a tender moment, I waited until I got back here.


And, flipped the photo so,  you could view the heart shape.

Can you see it ?

Learn more about these insects:


About (dot) Com 

 Things Biological 

 Insects of Okinawa



Wednesday, May 28, 2014

This Sweetheart of the Month Could Be Lady of the Year

She Knows the Secret to Longevity



Going through the photo files today, I decided to try something different.

Not being a portrait photographer, I take lots of photos, when I do this sort of thing.

Then, select the best one for printing and, throw the rest away.

 But, I happen to like this gal's smile so, I experimented.

A smiling Mrs. Uto Yohena in 4 frames

The Auto Awesome rules say, you have to upload 5 or more similar photos.

So, I gave them six and, waited, to see what would happen.

That Auto Awesomenator Dude must like her smiles just as much as I do.

97 year old Mrs. Uto Yohena, smiles and peace signs

That's where today's images were created.

Researchers Spent Years Studying Okinawan Longevity



Some Doctors from Canada even wrote a book about the Okinawan diet.

It's around here, somewhere.

There isn't enough time in the day for me to be cooking.

So, I quit reading the book.

But, I do remember, they said lots of things about diet.

And, the climate, exercise, lifestyle and social networks.

Social networks, back in those days, didn't mean Facebook and Twitter.

They weren't invented, yet.

They were talking about real people, with hands, legs and, faces, who talk to each other.

You know, without one of them little computer things held next to their ear.

Real people who talk to you and smile with the lips on their face.

The Secret to Longevity in Okinawa



It might have something to do with, living a long time.

If you get a chance, go visit Yohena's Hydrangea Garden in Motobu, Okinawa.

Don't be bothering my sweetheart with questions about the big secret.

That's because, if she were to tell you, it wouldn't be a secret, anymore !

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

In Search of the Elusive Ruddy Kingfisher and Barhopping

Two birds stuffed and mounted in museum

This pair of birds are sitting, stuffed in some museum.

Sometimes, I shoot wildlife like that, just to help with identification, if I ever see one in the wild.

The label, under the bird on the left, says Akachobin (アカショウビン).

That tells me, it's a Ruddy Kingfisher (Halcyon coromanda). 

Dead Ruddy Kingfisher found on road

Here's one I shot with my cell phone. It's sort of in the wild but, dead.

After tying the dogs to a guardrail and snapping the photo, I email it out.

Animal control folks might want to know what killed the bird.

Now I Want to Capture a Live One in the Wild with a Real Camera


Shooting wildlife in museums, zoos, or, dead alongside the highway isn't much fun.

The Ruddy Kingfisher isn't on the endangered species list, yet.

But, the are becoming scarce, in Japan.

They say, the birds more likely to be heard than seen.

Not trusting the Wiki Dudes, as reliable for more than a Latin name, I go on.

Neighborhood Bars Are a Great Resource


The internet has some trustworthy resources, too. I'll list them later.

Armed with the photo, saved to the cell phone and, the word, Akachobin, I went to town.

The first guy who saw the photo was wondering how I got it.

"That's an Akachobin. Where did you find it and how did you catch it on a cell phone?"

"Hah. I found it before six, this morning, 10 meters from your house," I told him.

"And, it was dead," I added.

 After a few other people at the bar confirmed what the bird was, it was time to move on.

It's always best to get more opinions. And, beers, too.

The Next Bar Hit the Jackpot


There was a woman.  She looked at the photo and said, "Akachobin."

And, she said the birds make a real loud scary noise in the jungle, especially at night.

They scare her.  So, I told her, "Don't go in the jungle at night."

And, she made the noise !

So, I put my cell phone away and had a few more beers.

I could hardly wait for morning.

Late night research kills me.

But, the wife knows it's important.


 If you live on the island of Okinawa and hear one, don't call me.

Send me mail (ryukyumike [at] and, I'll come shoot it for you, with a camera, of course.

The cell phone is just for emails, cmails and crappy photos.  I can't hear it.




Bird Ecology Singapore

Watch a Kingfisher Eat a Snail Without Swallowing the Shell at Nature Society Singapore 

Monday, May 26, 2014

Caterpillars Spotted Out Back Today

Two Motion GIFs



It's been awhile since I've run across one of these caterpillars.

The last time was in February of 2012 and, that was at a waterfall up north.

yellow caterpillar in motion

Now, it looks like they're starting to fancy city life.

When I ran to change cameras and get another lens, this guy disappeared.

caterpillar motion GIF

Luckily, I spotted another one probably a different breed.

But, it was just as entertaining.

The pavement, out behind my office looks like a murder scene.

I'm hoping nobody calls the police before I get it cleaned up.

Did you ever try shooting a camera while crawling around on elbows and knees ?

Sunday, May 25, 2014

An Afternoom on Motobu Peninsula with Three Sisters

Three Cameras Involved Too



Normally I post something here daily.

A slight overdose of fun kept me from doing that last night so, I went home and crashed.

hillside covered with blossoming flowers

The hills are ablaze in brilliant colors this time of year.

So, yesterday, the wife, two of her sisters and I,  went to check them out.

Hydrangea flowers,close up

It's Hydrangea season, in Okinawa, right now.

Locally, these flowers are known as Ajisai.

blossoming hydrangea flowers

Photo credits for some of these shots belong to the gals.

blue hydrangea flowers
There's no telling who was doing the shooting with the Canon G12.

hillside covered with flowers

Give the women a camera and, head for the hills with my Pentax cameras was the plan.

hydrangea flowers on hill with visitors

Whoever shot this, should consider making a living with the camera.

flowers on hillside

The lighting, suited me best, looking back down the hill from the entrance.

photographer taking flower photos

Little did I know, one of the gals, was shooting me, with my own camera.

Er maybe, I'd have fixed my hair.

Uto Yohena posing with three visitors

The highlight of any visit to the Ajisai  garden has to be this sweetheart.

Mrs Uto Yohena, the woman who planted all these flowers, is almost 100 years old.

She remembers me, every time I see her.

Each year when we meet, I like to get a photo of her smiling.

And, I'll print it so, I can deliver it to her or, her family.

This year, someone came up with an idea.

The cameraman will go nuts, if you just flip him the peace sign.

Uto Yohena and guest, posing, Peace Sigh and laughing

All these gals are sweethearts but, one looks rather suspicious.

small blue hydrangea flower

Hiking back down the trails a few more photos were taken.

red, blue, green, flowers and ferns

 It really was a beautiful day.

Fukugi trees in Bise, Okinawa

 After leaving Yohena's Garden in Izumi, we drove to see the trees in Bise.

The three sisters wanted to go to dinner when we got back in Kin Town.

That's when, I came up with this plan.

If they dropped me and the cameras at my office, they could go do a Lady's Night.

It worked.

Three cameras were downloaded.

And, I went home to sleep !

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Remember That Song -- Whole Lotta Shakin' Going On ?

Well I Went and Googled It for You



It's always nice to have a tune to go along with a picture.

And, nobody does it better than this guy.

birds, red headed cattle egret shaking its feathers

The other day, this flock of Cattle Egrets came by.

They aren't all that entertaining to watch but, one stood out in the crowd.

birds, cattle egret shaking feathers

So, I nabbed it on the camera for you and, sent the photos in.

The Google+ Auto Awesome Dude, put them all together.

Then, I went and found this Jerry Lee Lewis tune for your listening pleasure.


Turn the music up REAL LOUD

All you gotta do is, stand in one spot and shake like that red-headed bird.

Tell me, if that don't make your day !

Friday, May 23, 2014

5 Scenes of Kin Town's Okawa Spring After Dark

Red tiled roof over a spring under night lights

Tonight I took a camera stroll to shoot a few night photos.

Tiled roof over speing with small pine tree

This spring has been a subject of mine hundreds of times, in the past.

Close up of red tiled roof over spring and pine tree

 It was so much fun composing different photos, I almost forgot what I went there for.

View of Okawa Spring from right at night

There is a daylight scene similar to this, I want to duplicate, at night.

It might take me a few more attempts to get it right.

The original image, is in my Then and Now series.

Maybe, next time, I'll bring it along, to help me shoot from the correct angles.

Shisa, lion dog statues, holding a sign written in kanji

People going by, looked at me like I was some kind of crazy.

That's because they aren't used to seeing a old man with a camera, sitting down in the street.

They'll get to know me after awhile, though.

It will probably take all summer, for me to get his assignment done.

Because, shooting here at night is so much fun !

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Wildlife Photo: A Kingfisher Motion GIF

bird, Kingfisher, Motion GIF

Captured with a Pentax K3 and Sigma 50-500


The lens was stretched all the way out to 500mm and, I was too far away to hear the bird.

Maybe, I should have taken better care of my ears when I was younger.

It would be nice to know if that bird was doing some sort of mating ritual.

Or, do you suppose, he was just singing for his supper ?

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Sometimes a Kingfisher Loses the Fish

This photo was flipped horizontally, just for aesthetics.

The bird is looking for a fish, it just dropped back into the Okukubi River.

bird, Kingfisher in tree, wrestling with fish

There's no telling, if the fish survived.

But, this sure beat, sitting around in the office all day !

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Sometimes Construction Noises Ain't Such a Bad Thing

The Reason Behind Renting an Office



For me, it's the peace and quiet so, I can concentrate and get work done.

How people work at home, beats the devil out of me.

No distractions or interruptions is what I need.

construction equipment in front of buildings

And, it's nice, when I want a break, to unroll the sleeping bag.

The equipment, in front of my office, was he first hint.  There would be no napping today.

construction equipment at work, Motion GIF

After a late night of Ryukyu style partying, my head was hurting.

My first thought was to yell, "Hey. Have you guys ever tried to work with a hangover?"

But, you know how construction workers are.

They might have said, "Yeah. We do it every day. What's your problem?"

So, I asked if it would be alright to shoot some photos of them working, instead.

They all agreed. 

construction equipment at work, Motion GIF

This crew was good. They might be noisy but, they were friendly.

They work fast and efficiently.

A copy of their plans, will need some translation but, I like what I see.

It seems, the telephone poles and wires will disappear.

Then, all the wires will be placed underground.

Shade trees and shrubbery will line the highway, instead of guardrails.

It will be a cameraman's dream come true.

Maybe, I'll do a Then and Now on this street.

Just wait 'til we get some blue skies.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Flower Photo: Shell Ginger Blooming in Okinawa

Shell Ginger Plants in bloom

Scientific name: Alpina zerumbet

Japanese name: Getto (ゲットウ)

These plants are blossoming all over the island this month.

There are many traditional uses for the leaves of these plants, also known as Butterfly Ginger.

Most commonly, in Okinawa, the leaves serve as wrappers for the rice cakes, called mochi.

The fruits, which haven't  been captured by my camera, yet, look like miniature pumpkins. 

I better get out there and, find some for your viewing entertainment.

The little pumpkin-looking things will be posted as soon as I getterdun.

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Happy International Museum Day !

This One Caught Me by Surprise



Around May 18th each year, the world celebrates Museum Day.

It has been going on since 1977 but, I just found out today.

art depicting early Okinawan cave dwelling

It reminded me, it's time to come out of the Stone Age and get busy.

The photo above was taken in the Motobu Municipal Museum.

It shows the typical, early Okinawan dwelling, located in a cave near the sea.

International Council of Museums (ICOM) Has a Mission



It is, to make the public aware of the role museums play in the development of society.

Some locations, around the globe, celebrate Museum Day for a whole week.

Museums in Okinawa



There are some unique treasures to be found in these places.

Most of them are staffed with knowledgeable and helpful people.

But, you'll need to speak Japanese or, bring your own translator.

Whenever the weather doesn't suit me (outside) these are some of the places, I enjoy.

This list is not all inclusive and, I probably still need to visit several other museums.

For directions to each location, I'll provide some links:

The original focus of this blog was to give viewers some scenes of Okinawa.

And, the followers have been predominantly an international audience.

Keeping things light and giving readers a chuckle was my intention.

Note, the posts do not give directions.

Lately, there have been many requests for locations from readers.

So, we may have to start making some local travel guides, in the future.

 If Bill Gates or, somebody sends along a million dollars, I'll get it done a lot quicker.

Other Breaking News

In the wee hours of the morning something crazy happened at a karaoke bar.

I was sitting on a tall bar stool, singing a song.

A crowd of Saturday night revelers, came through the door from outside.

There was this girl.

She was probably half my age and twice as drunk.

She hopped up on my right leg and started riding me and singing along.

Maybe, she thought, I was some kind of musical, stationary exercise bike.

Pretending she wasn't there, was the best thing to do.

Anyway, it got me thinking.

When my body quits working maybe, I could donate it to one of these museums.

They could stuff me for display.

The only thing is, I'd want to be standing up and, have a sign put on me.

Please Do Not Touch !