Sunday, July 31, 2016

Travel Photos: Shikinaen Royal Garden

pond, trees, garden, buildings

UNESCO World Heritage Site



Every time, I visit this place, I learn something new. Make sure to take lots of photos.

A home for royal families and guests from China, it was built in the late 1700's.

palace, traditional, Okinawan, architecture, tiled roofs

Back in the old days, this was considered a palace.

The buildings are wooden and have tiled roofs like any other traditional Okinawan home.

 Everything that was here during WWII got destroyed by bombs.

Reconstruction of the garden began in 1975 and, took 20 years to complete.

interior, palace, rooms, tatami mats, sliding doors

The palace, is immaculately clean and, no shoes are allowed indoors, here.

It felt kind of uncomfortable to me so, I didn't stay very long inside the wooden buildings.

hexagon, building, pond, stone archway, bridge

Whenever you go to places like this, ask for some English brochures.

That's how, I learned about the bridge, leading to this hexagon building.

They say, it was carved out of a single chunk of limestone !

wooden room, ceiling light, electric

Here's a good reason, to take plenty of photos.  See the electric ceiling light ?

Well, I might not be the brightest bulb on the Christmas tree.

But, if I was going to reconstruct this national treasure, it would be just like the original

Do you suppose, they got electricity over here, before the 1800's ?

Not according to Universe Today if, they're telling the truth ! 

Saturday, July 30, 2016

Wet and Wild GIF of a Waterwheel

pond, garden,waterwheel,babmoo

Shooting Fish Was Fun



The koi, swimming around in the pond yesterday was a bit of a challenge, for the camera.

It's kind of difficult, to catch their eyes; they wiggle around so much.

When I downloaded the camera, I must have had 150 images, of them, to throw away.

This scene, has plenty of activity and, water splashing around in it, too.

Only nine shots, were taken, to create this animation and, I saved them all.

 The camera, lens and exposure, for this composition are the same as those, used on the fish.

To me, this motion GIF, is much more relaxing and, it gave me an idea.

I'll kick my feet up on the desk, lean back with my head against the wall and, take a nap !

Visit やまびこ Restaurant in Hentona if, you get a chance.

Friday, July 29, 2016

Koi or Carp Are Some Colorful Fish

koi, fish, carp, swimming, gif

Psychedelic Things in a Pond



These fish were spotted swimming behind a restaurant we stopped at for some lunch.

Doc and I were driving around the northern end of the island, doing what we usually do.

It consists of things like taking photos and, getting lost on the back mountain roads.

 We asked for permission, to shoot the establishment and, were good to go.

large fish, colored, carp, pond, swimming

 After placing our order, we started looking around and, spotted this.

Huge, brightly colored fish, swimming in a pond, right behind the place.

Then, the woman, who took our order saw me trying to shoot through the windows.

She asked if, we wanted to go outside and, take photos from inside the fenced-in garden.

Out back, a guy gave us a cup of pellets, to feed the fish.  Holy Carp .

We had so much fun, we almost forgot to back inside and eat !

My Only Regret



Just before leaving the office, I was wondering if, I should bring the polarizing filter along.

And, decided, "Nah, there wouldn't be anything, I'd need it for today."

That filter, would have made these images much sharper; eliminating the reflections.

On the positive side, it gives me an excuse, to go back up there again.

Those fish, were so large, three of them, would fill up my bathtub and, drive the wife crazy ! 

Camera:  Pentax K1

Lens:  Pentax 18-250 at 50MM

Exposure:  f/7.1   1/250   ISO 800

Location:  Hentona, Okinawa, Japan やまびこいや  国頭

Date and Time:  JUL 29  2016  12:51PM 

Thursday, July 28, 2016

OK This Blog Is Supposed to Be About Okinawa



Well That's Where This Photo Originated



Now, it's hanging on a wall at a place called Sleepy Hollow in Athens, New York.

And, a photo of the framed image was emailed to me this morning.

fisherman, portrait,smoking, pipe

The mail, came from my sister and, I hope she doesn't mind me sharing it with you.

" Mick, 48 years ago you walked me down the aisle.  The sunlight was shining on your picture this morning, so I snapped this one for you.

Love ya,


Sort of Stunned


Big sisters don't lie to their younger brothers but, I did the math anyway.

It got me thinking.  Um, 48 years ago, I would have been 20 years old. 

I was in the USA, after a year visiting a place, formerly known as French Indochina.

And, I was walking my big sister down the isle because, somehow, I was the man of the house.

Later that year, I would return, to the place formerly known as French Indochina.

It was like some sort of crazy internship, I was going through and, I traveled a lot.

Out of six siblings, this sister and I, are the farthest apart, geographically speaking.

But, in hearts, minds and spirits, it's like she's standing right next to me, all the time.

Well, I didn't want to get all mushy so, I sent her a quick reply:

"Wow.  Happy Anniversary!  Being a guy, I don't remember stuff like anniversaries.

 But, you just reminded me.  I think my current, upcoming one, is next week August 5th."

Back to the Island of Okinawa

fisherman, model, sky, greenery, raincoat

 Fast forward a few years and, I went to model as the fisherman again.

Chris Wilson, wanted to take, a much more dramatic shot, of the fisherman.

He shot this image of me, with my camera, while taking a break.

See the finished product and equipment, he used on the Travel 67 Blog.

If, you desire, to have a portrait taken, visit Chris, in Motobu, Okinawa.

Just, don't try to steal the part of Old Man of the Sea er, I'll come and spit in yer eye !

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Tiled Roof Monster and Dragonfly

orange roof tiles, monster, dragon, blue sky

Shisa or Dragon We Can't Be Sure



A major plumbing overhaul on my office got me out in the hot sun today.

So, I walked around with 420MM of glass on the Pentax K1 and, did some random shooting.

Sort of an old fashioned person, I haven't got one of those Pokeyman gadgets, yet.

Watching kids and adults, walking around like drones, I decided, I really don't need Pokeystuff.

dragonfly, blue sky, tree branch, gif

A dragonfly kept landing on the dead twig of a tree and, taking off again.

So, I got in position, to shoot the thing, with blue skies, as a background. 

And, I got thinking, it would be nice if, I could shoot that dragonfly from a new angle.

tiled roof statue, dragonfly, gif

It took a little while, some patience and maneuvering around, to get it done.

Well, I still had a few hours to kill and, got thinking about stuff, again.

Plenty of people running around, doing that Pokeyman stuff, are old enough to vote.

Back in the USA, they have 3 more months of mud-slinging to do, before the elections.

The monster on that tiled roof, would make a better President than, what's available now.

If he'd promise, to build a wall and, contain all the Pokeyman addicts, I'd go vote for him !

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Knife Carrying in Japan: An Insider's Tips

tape measure, metric, inches,pocket knife, kitchen knife, board

Japan Has Strict Laws



Over the past week the subject of knives in Japan has come up in a few conversations.

And, I had sort of, put the thought of writing this blog on the back burner.

This morning's news of the horrors in Sagamihara, Japan got me thinking.

A deranged person, killed 19 and severely wounded dozens of others, using a knife as a weapon.

 Now, is the time to make sure foreigners, in Japan understand the laws concerning knives.

Don't expect the laws, concerning knives, in Japan to become any more lax after this disaster.

Swords and Firearms Control Law

Guns and swords, I won't discuss here.  If you're interested, you can read the links.

The latest revision (English) that I could find on knife carrying, was dated 2009.

Don't carry a pocket knife, with a blade longer than 2.2 inches.

My folding Swiss Army knife (above) is safe, to carry in my pocket and, that's what I do.

The kitchen knife has a blade exceeding 6 inches so, it stays at home.

Does the Knife Carry Law Get Enforced ?

Yes.  I'll give a few examples, to show, it applies to foreigners and Japanese, as well.

An American traveler had a knife which was 1cm longer than the law allows.

He became a guest of the jailhouse for nine days.

Ignorance of the law, in any foreign country, can get you some time behind bars.

Whenever, I take a flight, the little pocket knife, doesn't go through customs in Japan.

It stays at home and, I use my teeth, to rip open peanut bags and, stuff like that.

Crisis Management Official Busted Too

Drinking until you are incoherent is not illegal in Japan and, that's nice to know.

When a policeman comes along, it's best, to not act stupid.

Like, this city official, who had a paring knife, 3cm over the authorized limit in his possession.

Unable to explain, he had been using it to peel fruit, he was arrested.

A Japanese citizen, who was an official of the city of Wakayama, Japan, he lost his job as well.

Comments by people, who come under American or European laws, don't wash here.

Probable Cause.  Where's the Probable Cause, for police to search this man ?

Acting stupid around police, when you're in violation of the law, would be my first guess.

Hunting Fishing and Camping



Just last Saturday, I was talking about knives, with a gentleman from South America.

He told a story about getting arrested for possession of a knife, in Okinawa.

He was going fishing and, had the knife on the front seat of his car.

Pulled over, for some minor thing, like brake lights, the cop saw the knife.

Had, he kept it in his tackle box, it would have been considered OK.

Many knives, I own exceed the limits of the law but, are used for my work.

As long as, they are stored properly and, only used for business, I'm not violating any laws.


Conversations with a Friend Visiting from USA


A backpacker, hiking and camping around Okinawa had a question via gmail:

Jul 24 2016

Hey Mike
Hope life is good... Can you tell of any knife shops around Naha/Kumoji where I can buy a good sashimi knife ?

Any hardware store I imagine but be aware they have strict laws on carrying knives in Japan.

Same Day His Response:
Thanks and I appreciate the warning. I had no idea until recently. 

For Further Reading:

Monday, July 25, 2016

A Word from the Wind Energy People

It Takes a 100 Foot Trailer to Haul the Fan Blades



But, those wind turbine towers, power over 15 million homes in the USA.

A good contact in Texas let me borrow this animation, to share with everyone.

infographic, wind turbine, energy
Photo Compliments of

Now You Can Learn All About How They Work



It wouldn't be a good idea, to start complaining about these things killing birds.

That's because, I have already addressed that problem and, no sense in arguing with me. 

You might as well, go grab your guns and, try discussing gun control with me.

Truth is, between wind, solar and the power available in the ocean, we could save lots of money.

And, tell those nuclear and oil people, where to stick the stuff !  Amen.

Related Post:

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Butterfly Photos: Grass Demon

butterfly, Udaspes folus

This was a Tough One



There isn't anybody, around here, with a degree in bug-ology, that I know of.

So, I just do the best job I can, trying to identify these critters. Correct me if, I'm wrong.

This looks like a Udaspes folus, to me after having checked some great resources.

wings, butterfly, Grass Demon, Udaspes folus, blacktop

It was out behind the office, flapping around on some blacktop when, I first saw it.

It would be lots easier to take photos if, a white background could be used. 

butterfly, white background, Grass Demon

So, I ran back inside and grabbed some old calendar pages, I had cut up.

There's pictures of nude models on the other side but, who wants to look at that ?

thumb, butterfly, blacktop

It's a good idea, to put something next to the subject, for a sense of scale.

I got thinking. Maybe people couldn't tell if, that's a thumbnail or a toenail.

butterfly, white background

 At this point in time, I wasn't sure if this was a moth or, a butterfly.

So, I figured it would be best, to take lots of photos from different angles.

thumb, butterfly, blacktop

 And, I made sure to take another shot, showing my thumbnail more clearly.

The chopped up girly calendar pages were safely stored where, nobody can see them.

Then, I started looking at thousands of moth and butterfly images.

Butterflies can be real easy to misidentify but, I think I got this one labeled correctly.

It's a Grass Demon or,  オオシロモンセセリ in Japanese.

Check the resources and, holler back at me if, you want me to change the name.

Saturday, July 23, 2016

Long Days and Nights Doing Research

scenery, beach, cliffs, ocean, sky

Mabuni Cliffs of Itoman



Friday morning the mission was, to get some photos of the cliffs along the beach in Itoman.

Leaving the office in Kin at 9AM, we arrived here, around noon.

It was sunny and blazing hot so, Doc and I took our time climbing the hills of Mabuni. 

Two cameras, were hauled along with me and, I took a grand total of six photos.

After running some errands, I was back in the office, enjoying some air-conditioning.

The cameras were downloaded, images processed and, I began my research.

It's nice to find a historical link, to help explain, what took place at a site like this.

The link, explaining the cave on yesterday's blog, got thousands of views.

And, it saved me from telling everyone, all the gruesome details of what occurred here.

 That allowed me, to get out of here early last night and get refreshed, for the evening.

guy and gal, barroom,night scene

It's Called Nominication in Japan


Take the Japanese word for drinking (nomi) and, communication.

Put them together, go drinking and communicating. That's nominication.

It's usually done by workers of the same company. Or, it could be family and friends.

Me, I just call it researching and, I'll research with almost anybody.

On the circular route, I take after a day in the hot sun, there's a few bars along the way.

One of them closed at midnight so, I went upstairs to another establishment.

I was sitting at the counter, nominicating with a guy who works at the body shop, downstairs.

All of a sudden, the door flew open and, in came a bunch of  young ladies.

And, one of them was Aki, a favorite performer of mine.

We did some serious nominicating, singing and dancing until the wee hours of the morning.

For example, the photo above was taken at 5:13AM.

barroom, daylight, outside, almost 6AM

 The next all of a sudden thing that happened was, daylight arrived.

This photo was taken at 5:45AM and, I didn't want the wife worrying about me.

So, I ordered one more beer and drank it deliberately. I got home around six.

The good lady, asked me if, I needed any breakfast and, I said, "Nah, I'm not hungry."

It was time for me to get a good 8 hours of sleep, to prepare for Saturday night.

See, I plan on going out to do more research during the cool hours of evening, again !

Friday, July 22, 2016

Travel Photo: Things Were Looking Grim

cave, statue, gate

General's Last Night



This cave was the final command post for the Japanese Army, during the Battle of Okinawa.

Generals Ushijima and Cho had their headquarters here and, knew the war was ending.

On the night of June 21, 1945, they made their final preparations.

The American forces, would soon overtake them and, surrender was out of the question.

The Generals, said their farewells and, ordered the troops to fight until death. 

Shortly after four, the next morning, they left the cave.

Spreading a sheet a little way from the cavern the entrance they did a samurai thing.

They had failed the Emperor so, poked their swords in their bellies.

If you enjoy morbid travel stories: Read It All in an Army History Book.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Animation -- Cat in the Rock Garden

white cat, plants, rocks, garden, gif

 Photographing Lizards Didn't Happen


  The plan today was, to get some shots of lizards and, they're out there somewhere.

The tripod wad set up and, I was patiently waiting for one of my little lizard friends to show up.

Things were looking sort of grim and, I was about to call it a day.

Luckily, this critter came along and entertained me for a few hundred photos.

Seven images were selected to create this GIF and, more will be completed later.

Initially, I had thought of telling you, the similarities between me and that cat.

Like make a list of, ten things but, I decided against doing it, for a few good reasons.

See, we both have almost pure white fur and, the same color eyes.

Hair grows out of our ears and whiskers stick out around our noses.

Actually, that cat and I, hang around the Buddhist temple sometimes.

But, neither of us go there to pray. Then, I ran out of things to say.

It's dark outside now and, time for me to lock up the office.

Do you suppose that cat, drinks beer, too ?

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Butterfly Images: Oriental Plains Cupid

Chilades pandava, Plains Cupid, butterfly

One Still Photo and Three GIF Animations



These shots were taken out behind my office yesterday, at various times.

Knowing, I would be out late doing moon photography, I stayed in the neighborhood.

garden, btterfly, windy, Plains Cupid, gif

 The little butterfly isn't much larger than the fingernail on your thumb.

It was hot outside but, sort of windy and, the garden was taking a beating.

plant stem, garden, butterfly, gif

 After spending most of the daylight hours, trying to identify this rascal, I remembered it.

The Chilades pandava was a guest on this blog once before. 

gif, animation, butterfly, garden, flowers

Learn more about these little pollinators at:


Tuesday, July 19, 2016

JUL 19 2016 Full Moon Over Okinawa

full moon, JUL 2016

Camera:  Pentax K1

Lens:  Sigma 50-500 with 1.4 converter Focal Length 700MM

Exposure:  f/16  1/200   ISO 100

Location:  Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time:  JUL 19 2016  9:15PM

Between rain showers and fast moving clouds, it finally got done.

This just happens to be one of the images, I liked and, I'll post more on Facebook.

Several more photos will be processed at a later date. It's time to go home.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Timeline of JUL 2016 Moon Shots

moon, blue sky, white cloud

Not 100 Percent Full Moon Yet



It was about 7PM when I noticed the moon in blue skies.

Clouds were rolling in, when this composition was made at 7:11PM.

moon, JUL 18 2016

At 7:43PM the sun was gone and, it looked like a good time to start shooting again.

moon, 99% full

The two photos above were taken using the Sigma 50-500 and, cropped differently.

A 1.4 converter gave a maximum focal length of 700MM and, I used it all.

Shortly after 7:43PM, clouds, hid the moon again.

A bit of rain started falling so, I got back inside behind my desk.

moon, JUL18 2016
 When the clouds blew by, the next time, I had switched lenses.

The 300MM Pentax and converter were used for my last few shots.

It was 7:48PM when this photo was taken at 420MM.

nearly full moon, clouds
 By 7:50PM black clouds started rolling in again so, I called it a night.

My estimate, would be the moon appears at about 99% full so far tonight.

If the weather clears, I may hang around for some late photography.

Er, go chase a few cold beers and, see what happens tomorrow evening.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Moon Shots -- Preparing for the JUL 2016 Full Moon

moon, not full

90 Something Percent



Probably, late tomorrow night. will be the best time to catch a full moon over Okinawa.

This image was cropped, placing the subject in the left of the frame, just for the heck of it.

moon, centered, image

Centering the moon in the frame, shows how out-of-round it really appears.

Both photos were taken with the Pentax K1 and Sigma 50-500MM lens.

A converter was used on the rear of the lens, to take the shots at 700MM. 

Tomorrow is a national holiday, called Umi no Hi (海の日) in Japan.

Ocean Day, would be the English translation for that event and, I may wind up at the beach.

If the weather cooperates, I could have some full moon photos, to post late tomorrow evening. 

Saturday, July 16, 2016

A Sneak Peek at the Kin Drug Store

sign, logo, Kin Drug Store

Not Really Keen on Drugs



Anything stronger than Aspirin or Rolaids, turns me into a wet noodle.

Whenever, I feel like a cold is coming on, this is where I go, to avoid seeing a doctor.

medicines, herbs, vitamins, drug store, counter

 They must have a gazillion types of vitamins and herbs for whatever ails you.

Permission was granted, to do some photography so, I shot the place up.

aisle, drug store, shelves
Medicines, hair and skin care stuff are stacked from the floor to the ceiling.

Tissues, toilet papers and diapers, for all age groups can be found. Depends, I guess.

drug store, items, shelves

They have sun screen lotions, house cleaners, bottles of water and dried fruits.

Not wanting to block any aisles, I kept the camera and tripod, out of them.

pharamcist, drug store, counter, telephone

It's a good idea, to know some basic Japanese if, you want to shop at this store.

A few days ago, I ordered something that, I wanted to buy from these folks.

They wanted my name and telephone number but, I din't answer telephones, anymore.

So, I told them to call the wife, when my order came in and, I got out of town.

night, storefront, Kin Drug Store, banners

After a day of shooting outdoors, I returned around 8PM and, the place was still open.

night scene, Kin Drug Store, street

 That's when I discovered, they are open from 8:30AM until 10PM daily.

Epsom Salt, Magnesium Sulfate,エプソム塩, receipt, box

Today, I was informed, the Epsom Salt (エプソム塩) I ordered had arrived.

Half a kilo was less than six bucks, at today's yen rate.

The people in Osaka are going to wonder, why I ordered 6 more kilos of the stuff.

All my Japanese friends want to buy this item, too.

They know cheap beer, mouthwash and this Epsom salt, gets rid of mosquitoes

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Travel Photo: Kin Bridge After Sunset

bridge, Kin Town,shisa, statue, traffic, headlights, tail-lights, evening

Animated GIF Created with Eleven Images



Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 15-30 at 30MM

Exposure:  f/16  6 sec   ISO 100 

Location:  Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time JUL 14 2016 Shortly before 8PM 

Related Post:

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Today the JUL 2016 Moon Was in the First Quarter

Waxing Gibbous, moon, image, 4PM

Full Moon Next Week



It's a good idea, to get prepared a few days ahead of the full moon and, do some practice shots.

A site called, timeanddate can tell you when the full moon will appear, wherever you may live.

Go over there and, type in your city and country and, you can, get all this stuff, free.

Last night, as I walked home, I noticed a huge, half moon, at street level.

But, I didn't feel like walking back to the office, to grab a camera.

half moon, first quarter,late afternoon, blue skies

About 4PM today, I noticed this half moon in the sky, again.

It reminded me, to check the schedule so, I'd be ready for this month's event.

See, the scientists don't call it a half moon; it's in the first quarter.

Not being a rocket scientist or, an astronomy dude, it doesn't look like a quarter moon, to me.

1st quarter moon, JUL 2016, blue sky

 I always try to shoot the full moon,  before and after the geniuses, say it's full.

1. The best images of the moon are taken at night, when it's dark outside.

2.  If the moon is going to be full JUL 20 at 07:56, it will probably be daytime.

3. Hang around outside, after midnight on JUL 19  and, I bet the moon will look full.

4. My wife, goes by the Chinese calendar and, it says the full moon will be on JUL 18th.

5. Play it safe, taking into account, the weather and, shoot the moon SUN/MON/TUES next week !