Friday, September 30, 2016

Travel Shot: Red Paper Lantern

chochin, paper lantern, festival

Yay for Electricity

This photo was captured during the Full Moon Festival in Kin Town.

These lanterns are called aka chochin, in Japan

Before electricity came along, lamps like this used burning oil as fuel.

While, the paper shields the flame from the wind, I don't think it would have worked here.

The lanterns were strung from wires surrounding the festival area.

Some good breezes, bounce things around, during typhoon season on Okinawa.

We wouldn't want to see festival goers, getting oil spilled on them, would we?

Be thankful, to the guy, who came up with this electric lantern idea !

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 180MM

Exposure: f/6.2   1/60   ISO 800

Those interested in buying Chochin Lanterns visit Goods From Japan

Thursday, September 29, 2016

A Sunny Day with White Clouds Blowin' By

blue skies and fast moving white clouds, GIF

Rooftop Scene

Walking to the office this morning, I stopped to buy some coffee at mom and pop store.

They were watching TV and got all excited about something.

Looking up, I saw what it was; Tropical Cyclone #18 might be coming to Okinawa.

The skies were beautiful today so, I climbed up on the roof to get some sunshine.

Things could get pretty dismal around here next week; lots of rain and no sun, for me.

After about two hours of soaking-up vitamin D, I had 180 photos to download.

The animated GIF doesn't have any music, to go along with it but, I like it best.

Some cool tunes were located, to spruce up the YouTube video.

Maybe, I'll go back and see if, I can make a better video, while it rains next week.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Wordless Wednesday SEP 28 2016

Okinawan women doing traditional dance in street

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Spooks and Earthquakes

Okinawan legend, Japanese sign, ghost

An Earthquake Shook the Island



There's a monument stone in Urasoe, we've been meaning to locate and, today was a good day.

As legend goes, this spot is protected from damaging quakes and, we had one yesterday.

No harm was done, to anyone, I know of; the thing was miles to our north.

Some Wicked Spirits



Years ago, folks traveling along the road from Urasoe to Shuri would get spooked.

A Buddhist monk carved some scripture on stones and, buried them here.

The ghoul or, whatever it was, soon disappeared  and the place became safe.

Even when big earthquakes occurred, the ground didn't shake at this position.

Kyozuka Monument, apple, orange, incense, stone, sake cup

We had a 6.0 quake 110 km above Nago, Okinawa yesterday.

This morning, there was an elderly woman at the Kyozuka Monument.

She, confirmed for me, this is the place to pray for safety from earthquakes.

Incense and offerings at stone monument

Looking closer, I observed sake cups, incense and fruit offerings at the site.

After asking if, it would be alright to take photos, the woman disappeared, along with her cat.

coin box for donations

Off to the right of the monument, is a coin box on a pole, for donations.

Many Buddhist places, have these boxes for coin deposits; I pretended I was low on cash.

Back in the professor's car, we had a tour brochure, I wanted to look at, for something.

Based upon the scriptures, the monk buried here, you're supposed to chant something.

Remember: "Chouchikachika" or, "chouchika, chouchika" is what to say.

It can protect you from evil spirits and strong earthquakes, too !

More About Cultural Properties of Urasoe, Okinawa

Monday, September 26, 2016

50-100 People Animated GIF of the Week

School athletic meet field, participants, audience, buildings

About 1PM

At yesterday's athletic event the sky was brilliant and, I liked the lighting.

Shooting a relay race, wide angle with the lens, I decided to show some of the audience.

If you see anybody you know in this animation, contact me through Facebook.

Maybe, we can make a deal !

Sunday, September 25, 2016

No Photo Finish Required -- She Got the Ribbon to Prove It

Kin Elementary School Athletic meet and girl running with finish ribbon

GIF Created from 8 Shots

Here are some girls finishing the 50 meter dash at an elementary school event.

The athletic meet is called an undokai (Sports Day) in Japan.

No fancy electronic devices are needed, to judge the winner in this part of the world.

The gal, busted through the tape and, took the finish ribbon along with her.

Don't you think, it would be nice if, they let her keep it?

More of this Undokai may be seen in the Facebook Album 2016 Undokai.

Saturday, September 24, 2016

Then and Now (Photos) Ryutan Pond in Shuri Okinawa

Black and White image of building on pond from 1920's

Photo credit: Okinawa Soba on Flickr

1920's Image of Building on Pond



It's been over 3 years, since my good buddy, emailed this photo for a Then and Now.

In fact, it was so long ago, I couldn't remember, which friend, gave it to me.

I had a print made and carry it around on a clipboard, to help duplicate the scene.

Wouldn't it be nice if, I could get some folks, to pose like that?

Ryutan Pond SEP 2016, building, bridge

September 20, 2016



Had some suitable subjects, showed up, I would have paid them to be in the photo.

That, wasn't going to happen but, I liked the way the lighting was, on this day.

Wide angle view of pond and building

The printed image, was left behind in my backpack, at the office. Groan

So, I figured the best thing to do, was take several photos, from memory.

They could always, be cropped and, I could duplicate the original, easily.

Close-up of bridge and building, Ryutan Pond, Shuri, Naha, Okinawa

Most of this area, was destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa.

The pond, was constructed during the 15th Century, for the first Ryukyu King.

The reconstructed version looks exactly like the original.

I just thought, it would be a shame, not to show you the arch in the bridge.

Visit Okinawa Soba on Flickr and, check out the thousands of photos he posts there.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

2 Million Views -- Photo Winners Selected

bar with disco lighting and no customers

There Couldn't Be Any Distractions

This time around, a new method of picking prize recipients was designed.

Outside the Bar & Cafe Brazil, I was waiting before they opened.

Bartender named Lanna behind bar

Lanna, a bronze skinned beauty with a heart of gold offered to help me.

Handing her a list of big words, I said, "Here's what, we'll do.

You look at the comments on Facebook and the blog and, read them.

And, pick 10 people to receive photos of the bird, based upon what they wrote."

The big words, were things like, dignified, reverent, enthusiastic and, stuff like that.

Use those big words, to describe the writing style of the winners, you selected.

She looked at me and, nervously said, "Mike, I don't speak English that well."

Beautiful girl looking at cell-phone, Corona Beer sign, bar

These were words, hardly used by anyone, these days so, I came up with Plan B.

"Go sit over there and read all the comments on my cell-phone."

She could decide, which ones she liked best and, we'd use the big words later.

This was important; my blog doesn't hit 2 million every day, you know.

clipboard numbered 1-10 with names, hand writing

She selected the 10 people whose comments, she liked best and listed them.

Then, the two of us could practice learning English, together.

A word describing, why they were chosen, would be added to the list of names.

The Lucky Winners Are

1. Bernice Wittwer: The most reverent comment

2. Shinji Ikari: The most sentimental

3. Michael Lunch Chan: The most passionate

4. Beverly Fish: The most eloquent

5. Theresa Minogue Amlong: The most Inspirational

6. Pcehs Intl Lorena Marzon: The most cheerful

7. Barry Benson: The most sensational

8. Linda Latta: The most nostalgic

9. Terumi Brandon: The most sensible

10. J.R. Sorrow: The most humorous

There's More

Special thanks must be given, to some other helpers, assisting last night.

Lanna's big sister and brother-in-law, gave excellent support.

GIF of women in a bar

Sister, sort of did technical director things and, kept us moving along.

GIF, tuxedo t-shirt, girl with winners listed holding clipboard

Yuri, the bar owner controlled lighting and photographed us.

There, I am in my customized tuxedo and, watch Lanna.

She even, blows a kiss to all the lucky contestants.

What a doll !



Those who wish to receive the photo via email, please contact me privately.

And, let me know which way you'd like me to flip the bird.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Wordless Wednesday SEP 21 2016

A bicycle abandoned in a field of grass

The Sacred Grove of Vagina Exposure

Stone in English and Japanese, Uchikanagusuku Sacred Grove

Today We Got It Done

It all started last month when I was researching this folktale.

The story was about an older sister, who had to kill her younger, monster brother.

The dictionary I use to verify some Okinawan language, comes from the University of Hawaii.

Other resources I use, are often books, written for children, to teach them culture.

Folklore for kids, isn't going to talk about vaginas much, you know.

P.65 Okinawan-English Wordbook, dictionary

For those, lucky enough to be able to read, it's OK, I guess.

So, when I discovered this in a dictionary, I had to go check it out, to make sure it's true.

Order ISBN 978-0-8248-3012-8 if, you want to read the whole thing.

It caught the attention of a couple of my camera shooting friends, too.

One's a professor and the other guy, some sort of minister, I think.

We all have Okinawan wives but, don't suppose they would be interested in this place.

The holiest guy, couldn't make it today because of another commitment.

That's a shame because, he could have seen, how we get these things done.

A stone paved trail in Shuri, Naha, Okinawa

There's no telling, how many times, we've been up and down this trail.

It's a fairly steep sort of walkway, that goes down the hill outside Shuri Castle.

What Led Us to this Location ?

The professor and I parked near a convenience store, up on top of the hill.

Then, we walked over to this Okinawan lady's shop, to ask her something.

We were looking for Uchikanagusuku Utaki, a sacred site and, she might know where it is.

Usually, I can speak enough of the local dialect, to get by so, that's all I do.

It's a good idea, to get a little conversation going before, digging for details.

The gal was surprised, to hear two foreigners, speak her language.

We let her know, we both have local wives, living way up north and, made friends.

A couple of jokes and, she was smiling and laughing. Doing good!

My ears, don't work the best so, I figured, Doc could ask for the directions.

He started asking the gal, where we could find Hoohai Utaki.

That made me cringe. "Don't say hoohai, to some lady, we just met."

It means VAGINA!

We tap danced around that, OK, I guess.

The gal was sort of surprised and, got me laughing when she did this.

She motions, with her hands cupped and says, "You know hoohai?"

And, "You know about hoohai muuchi?" "Yup, it's in my dictionary."

Then, I rattled off a few other versions, of the thing, for her in different dialects.

She gave us directions and, we bought some ice-cream from her, for being so kind.

Then, she walked off to the convenience store and, left us watching her shop !

She returned a few minutes later with a bag of ice and, off we went.

God, I love these people.

Cobblestone walkway surrounded by vegetation

In a roundabout fashion, we headed down the cobblestone walkway. 

It was really hot and, sweating, I stopped occasionally, snapping photos as clouds passed by.

If we ever get that preacher, to go along to this place, I think we'll hire a taxi.

That way, I wouldn't cuss so much and, there's a shortcut, to get us there quicker.

Stone walls, walkway and sign

Visitors, looking for the sacred grove, might want to read the sign on this stone marker.

It points out the way, you need to go, heading off the stone paved trail.

The sign, on a stone in the sacred grove is a bit weathered.

But, it tells about Onimochi and, the devil killed by the rice cake, his sister made.

This grove of trees is where my August edition of the story took place.

Using Google Japan and Japanese to conduct another search I, found an adult version:

"When the brother demon that Agne eat rice cake was surprised to robustness of the mouth of the younger sister, sister exposed genital Makushiage the kimono to moment, as the "mouth of the above eat rice cake mouth. Under the mouth mouth to smother a demon." When you think went approached to demon brother. Anioni was caught off guard was died and fell under the cliff slips a leg. Thing to say. "

It sounds like a big sister, pulled up her kimono, and exposed herself.

Little demon brother was eating the rice cake, she smothered him, and off the cliff, he went.

Unless something was lost in translation, it sounds like this:

She smothered him with her whatchamacallit ?

Monday, September 19, 2016

Tuxedo and the Hunt for Pretty Girls

Things Can Get Hectic

The blog hit 2 million views and it's time to arrange the photo giveaway.

When I told the wife, it would be a good idea to get the tux ready she smiled.

She said, "Honey, speaking of tuxedos, I want you to do something for me."

She dug out my tux and, gave me this photo she wants enlarged. That will come later.

woman, tuxedo t-shirt, nightlife

The past few evenings, I've been busy preparing for my photo giveaway.

This gal's fiance is like a giant, way over six feet tall and, has humongous shoulders.

The wife, placed my tuxedo, neatly folded, on the kitchen table.

It's been raining a lot and, I didn't want it to get wet so, I rolled it up and stuffed it in a bag.

Here I am, barhopping and carrying my camera and tux in a canvas sack.

The outfit got wrinkles all over the place and, I need it stretched. I don't have an iron.

The thing wouldn't fit the giant so, I asked the lady, to wear it for awhile.

And, I promised to give them this photo, for assisting me.

She got the wrinkles out for me and, this time I folded the thing neatly so, I should be alright.

How to Enlarge a Photo

cigarette pack, Polaroid photo, rock garden

Look what the wife gave me, to be enlarged.

It's a freakin' Polaroid snapshot, no larger than a pack of my smokes!

Polaroid photo taped to wall

Carefully, I rolled up a piece of Scotch Tape and, stuck the picture on the wall.

Not sure if this would work, I decided to experiment just to keep the missus happy.

Man in tuxedo, woman in kimono

The Pentax K1 was mounted on a tripod and, I shot as close as I could get with the lens.

Full frame images, come out of the camera at 7360 x 4912 pixels.

A few photos were taken using different lenses and exposure settings.

Enlarged photo of man and woman

When I got the photo cropped, large enough for printing, more work needed to be done.

The beauty wearing a kimono is Mrs. Ryukyu Mike; she still hangs out with me.

A long time ago, the cleaners lost my tuxedo bowtie.

Rather than make a big deal out of it, I just quit trimming the beard.

Before saving the image at high resolution, for printing, I cleared away some of the junk.

The little lady will be happy, to get her enlarged photograph, tonight.

Next, I'll probably get orders to buy her a picture frame and, an iron!

Saturday, September 17, 2016

End of the Week Snapshot -- Gotta Go

Two Orion Beer mugs and gal serving them

Beer Is Great Medicine

Sometimes, I wish I'd have brought a camera along, when I'm off duty.

Things like this, just happen when I'm out at night, preparing for the next day.

There's sort of a custom, where you order two drinks at a time, I've developed.

One, is for me and, the other, goes to whoever brings my first beer of the evening.

The model, offered to let me take this photo, and she was smiling.

Well, I told her, not to worry about her hair and posing with a pretty smile.

All, I wanted was an image of her standing behind those beers. Good practice shot.

But, the beer mugs, are a little off center and, you can't read the Orion Beer part. Dagnabbit !

It's good enough reason, to go back and, do it right next time. Huh?

What's this Got to Do with Medicine?

In case nobody has noticed, I haven't done much work around here, this past week.

A couple of days were lost do to painkilling drugs, the doctor's been feeding me.

Whatever muscle, I yanked wrong, doesn't hurt anymore.  I'm fit and fine.

But, the doc says, I have to keep taking the stuff, until it's all gone. Groan.

Painkillers and muscle relaxers, make me feel like a wet noodle.

They trick your brain. Don't drive or operate machinery. But, can you drink?

That depends, on which kind of drugs you're taking, I figured it out.

Last visit to the doctor, I wore an Orion Beer t-shirt and, asked him if, I could drink the stuff.

He said, "Beer in moderation is OK."

So, I tell whoever is waiting on me, to bring my beers in moderation. No more than, 2 at a time.

Then, I joke and tell them, "Remind me to slow down, when I hit number 17."

An Important Notice

Readers of this blog might want to check the view meter. It's nearing 2,000,000.

More than likely, my celebratory giveaway will be closed after tonight.

Arrangements for selecting winners, must be done tonight.

It could be next weekend, before arrangements, to pick winners are completed.

That means, I have to get outta here and do some more work.

In Japan, we call that nominicating. Drinking while talking, work stuff.

If, I nomicate properly, Miss Pick a Winner, could be discovered tonight.

All I have to do, is locate a beautiful girl, to make the selections.

Tell them something like, "Would you want to get some good exposure on my blog?"

Er, maybe I should say, "Just a little exposure."  Hah !

See you next week.

Friday, September 16, 2016

SEP 2016 Full Moon and Festival Animations

full moon SEP 2016

No Typhoon Yet

It was looking like the approaching typhoon might ruin things.

Kin Town, had scheduled our annual Harvest Moon last for last night and, that's where I went.

Tonight's moon was much fuller and, I was lucky enough to catch it.

Band on stage, drummer girl, sanshin players

Thousands of photos were taken and, I'll just post a few GIF animations for tonight.

The event, in Japanese is known as Kangetsusai, sort of a full moon party.

All Okinawan music is good. The gal on those drums was spectacular.

Gals, could learn something important from her.

If, you want a man, to listen to you, for the rest of your life, learn to play drums, like her !

On stage band, musicians, woman playing Japanese harp, koto

The woman is playing a Japanese harp, known as a koto.

She has musicians, of every age, playing sanshin, in the background.

Her husband probably, listens to her, too. Er, she could strangle him with those harp strings.

Eisa performers in front of and on stage, youth

Standing above, on the roadway, I figured was the best position, to setup a tripod.

At that elevation, people wouldn't be tricking my auto focus, too much.

The silhouettes, in front of this scene, are Eisa drummers, performing offstage.

They, didn't distract me, as much as, children running through my compositions.

Women performing classic Okinawa dance, kimonos

 Watch, the little rascal, pop up and, run through this scene. Oh, well.

No matter, how many times, I photograph these dolls, I never get tired of watching them dance.

Women with gold fans, dressed in red kimonos, dancing

My camera, stores images, 500 per folder, on the SD card.

Today, I only processed some photos from the first and last folders, to show you.

A couple thousand more images, will be processed at a later date.

On Facebook, my 2016 Kin Town Kangetsusai Album, has plenty more to see, for tonight.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Travel Photo Chijifucha ( チヂフチャーガマ ) Cave

rocks, trees, cave

Cultural Property in Urasoe

The photo was taken, using a Canon G12; we traveled light this week.

The only way to convince the missus, to let me out of the house, was make a promise.

Under the influence of some powerful medicines, I had to take things slow and easy.

Doc and I, were supposedly, doing museum photography and lunch, somewhere.

With a historic map of Urasoe City in my pocket, off we went.

This cave was a bit tricky to locate, even with a map. We know how to get there, now.

One of these days, I'll go back with the Pentax and some good lenses.

This is just a tiny portion of what's actually over a 100 meter cave entrance.

The cave was housing for people centuries ago, based upon archaeological surveys.

It was used to shelter people during the Battle of Okinawa, as well.

For today, a sneak preview and, the entire history and more photos, will come later.

If, you read Japanese there's More Here.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Wordless Wednesday SEP 14 2016 Festival Towel

monkies, festival towel

Sunday, September 11, 2016

Eisa at a Junior High School Sports Day

Traditional Okinawa Eisa dance at a school field meet

Gif Contains 8 Images

Today the Chuugakkou (中学校) held a sporting event known as an Undokai.

Late night commitments, kept me from catching the early morning activities; I showed up around noon.

Blazing hot sun and blue skies, were provided by some heavenly spirit.

And, thunderous Eisa drums provided just what I needed, to keep from napping in the shade.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 35MM

Exposure: f/11   1/800   ISO 200

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: SEP 11 2016  12:46PM

Saturday, September 10, 2016

Cat Image Begs for a Title

white cat on rocks in woods

The Mind Just Goes Blank

Out exploring on a camera trek, anything can pop up and become a subject.

The truth is, I'm really a dog-person, not too thrilled about kitty cats.

When the day's shooting is done I look back at what's been downloaded.

The name of the game, is "Delete as many images as you can."

Sitting and screening photos at the end of the day sometimes, I wonder.

"What did you shoot that cat for?"

Instead of deleting it, I saved it for a day like today.  My mind, just happens to be blank.

I guess, I kept this image for the cat-people.  They matter, too.

If some cat-person, wants to come along and title this photo, they can have it.

Friday, September 9, 2016

GIF of Okinawamoribatta (オキナワモリバッタ) a Grasshopper

animation, GIF, grasshopper, Traulia ornata

Multitasking Critter

This guy was munching away at a leaf out in the rock garden this afternoon.

Meteorology shamans, have been dumping some iffy predictions on the islands.

So, I've been hanging around, doing office things lately.

Staring at computer monitors for extended periods, isn't good for your health.

Every 30 minutes, I go outdoors to look at green stuff; it relaxes the eyes.

Some folks, call it nature therapy but, I need more than that.

While outdoors, I stretch and, do what you could call, nicotine replacement therapy, too.

It looks like everyone has been getting into multitasking, these days, even animals.

Just guessing, that bug seems to be doing several things, at one time.

It's munching on that leave, checking for WiFi signals and, doing some sort of yoga.

Out there, without a camera, I had to run inside and grab something. Here's what it was:

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300MM

Exposure: f/4.5  1/640  ISO 800

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: SEP 9 2016  4:07PM


Thursday, September 8, 2016

Ahacha -- A Bridge Off the Beaten Path in Urasoe Okinawa

A small, stone, arched bridge

Not Much Traffic Here

A Guidebook provided by Urasoe City Board of Education led to this find.

Buzzing along the highways and byways of the island, you never see things like this.

There are a couple dozen more treasures like this, I'll be hunting down.

signs in Japanese point to attractions

Folks who can read these signs, might find the place, quicker than, I did.

But, if they are, flying down side streets, in little 4 cylinder cars, they could miss out, too.

It's best, to get off your rump and, do some walking. Even doctors will tell you that.

Ahacha Bridge, close-up of stone work

The bridge, isn't visible from the road up above but, it's a beauty.

Stone-work like this, takes plenty of hard labor to accomplish, I know.

It should be photographed and, displayed for the whole world to admire.

View of Ahacha Bridge crossing river, taken from opposite side

Walking across, to the other side, I shot this scene, showing the river below.

More than a few centuries old, it must have been a struggle, building this bridge.

Imagine the laborers, jumping into the river, to cool off, at the end of the day.

Cobblestone lining covering bridge, close-up image

For me, it was important to, get close-up photos of both sides, showing the stone work.

What if, they had an east side and a west side construction crew?

Both crews deserve to have their work displayed. That would only be fair.

Wide-angle scene showing arched bridge below city street

Backing off with the camera, gives an idea, why it's not visible from the city street.

A Long Long Time Ago

It might help if, I explain my interest in architecture such as this.

When I was very young a stonemason from Italy taught me something.

Maybe, eight years old or so, I hauled heavy rocks, in a wheelbarrow, for him.

As fast as the stones could be hauled, he would use them, going higher and higher.

Hard labor, sweat and tears from dawn until dusk, he kept on building.

From a foundation, dug in the ground, to above the roof in the sky, he built a chimney.

That chimney and fireplace, were the first time, our house got heated.

From That Foundation

Learning hard work, mixing mortar, handling stones, did something for me.

It gave me an appreciation for architectural design and, respect for those in the industry.

Some folks, these days, would consider that work, child labor and criminal.

It wasn't. It was friends and family, helping each other and more.

Consider it, character building.  That's what I do.

With all my heart, I appreciate the work of builders, laborers and engineers.

All that's left to say is, something I should have said, way back then.

One night, when the old stonemason was sleeping, something strange happened.

Signore Caccavale, "I didn't mean, to piss in your boots."

"I'll buy you a beer, when I get to the other side. OK?"