Monday, October 31, 2016

Digging Up Some Old Ghost for Halloween

Many People Believe in Ghosts


Well, I don't. But it's nice to hear, the kind of story that, gives you goosebumps.

Always on the lookout for a good one from Okinawa, I haven't had much luck lately.

Instead, I dug up some old, spooky images and, will explain the stories behind them.

A ghost under the Kin Bridge which is actually smoke

The ghost in this photo is just some smoke, which was blowing across the street.

The photo was taken at a cherry blossom festival, under the Kin Bridge.

Smoke from dump trucks and festival food, charcoal grills made the spook appear.

It blew across the highway as I was shooting a Panasonic DMC-FZ50.

Normally, I would delete a photo like this because of the distraction in the image.

But, I saved it and did a bit of cleaning-up, to give it a more ghastly appearance.

Skeleton hands of marine wildlife photographed in Nago Museum

No grave-sites were disturbed in obtaining these creepy hands.

This photo was taken with the Pentax K5, at the Nago Museum.

They are not, human hands. I must go back someday and, get the proper terminology.

Those bones came from either a porpoise or dolphin.

And, I used these two photos in, "Today I Went Down Some Spooky, Old Stairs." 

Happy Halloween!

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Flower Photos - Malva sylvestris AKA Mallow

a plant with many uses

Candy Marshmallows Probably Aren't Health Food

But, I found out today, this plant has a history of medicinal and cooking uses.

  • The leaves, roots, stems, flowers and seeds  are packed with vitamins A,B,C and E.
  • Some folks, substitute the leaves for spinach. Pregnant women get iron and zinc from it.
  • Gooey stuff, called mucilage comes out of the leaves and roots, when you squeeze them.
  • Rub that ingredient on cuts or, wounds and, it heals, reduces pain and stops infection.
  • The plant's name in Hebrew and Arabic, translated to English, would be bread.
  • A Roman naturalist, recommended a teaspoon of mallow, a day to prevent diseases.

Mallow flower and leaves

Quit Teaching Kids to Roast Marshmallows

They make a mess and could get burned, fooling around with campfires.

The world would be a better place if, you didn't give them sharp sticks, to use like that.

It would be a good idea, to have them poke holes in the ground and, plant mallow.

Then, you'd get some free medicines and foods to eat.  What are you waiting for ?


ISBN 0-553-58514-2 The New Healing Herbs P. 402

Saturday, October 29, 2016

3 More Animated GIF's -- 2016 Uchinanchu Matsuri

Festivities End Tomorrow

This parade took place OCT 26th, the day before opening ceremonies.

Friends and families from 18 countries, appeared on Okinawa for the 3 day festival.

Closing events begin at 5 PM and last until 9 PM OCT 30, 2016.

Have a peek at some of the smiling faces and brilliant colors, marching down the street.

Alaska Association parades down Kokusai Street in Naha, Okinawa

Alaska Kenjinkai

Visitors from Argentina marching in Uchinanchu parade

Argentine Kenjinkai

Hawaiian hula dancers and ukulele players marching

Hawaiian Ukulele and Hula Dancers

The camera batteries, are all charged up and, ready to go, I'm gonna miss this crowd.

It seems like, I haven't been doing anything lately but, developing images.

One of those gals from Alaska, brought me some gifts and, I didn't get a chance to thank her.

If no blog post gets done tomorrow, that means, I'm out of town.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Really a Small World -- Part II of 2016 Uchinanchu Parade

Grandpa What Are You Doing ?

Well, I was as surprised, to see her as, she was to see me.

Number one granddaughter knows, I don't drive but, there I was in Naha.

Way up above the crowds, where someone my age probably, shouldn't be.

Two Japanese girls, standing below on the street

She's nineteen years old and, going to some beauty school in the big city.

She shows up and, I can't get down, to hug her, like I normally do.

Grandpa's working, can't see she the two big cameras, hanging off my neck ?

Kids grow up too fast. I remember, when I used to have to, wipe her butt.

Now, she laughs at me because, I don't know how to swipe those new cellular phones.

Back to the Parade

Tonight, I developed some images, to show the different countries involved in this event.

Again, they are in the marching order, they came down the street.  Not, alphabetical.

Guam banner and people marching in parade


Canadian group marching down Kokusai Street, Naha, Okinawa


Argentina citizens at Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival Parade


Peru flags and parade participants


Bolivia in 2016 Uchinanchu Parade, Naha, Okinawa


Many more countries, banners, flags and groups of citizens were here.

So far, camera number one, has been screened and photos developed.

Whether there will be a Part III and IV depends on availability of time for processing.

Meanwhile, dozens of images may be seen in the Facebook album.

Thursday, October 27, 2016

15 Photos of 2016 Uchinanchu Festival Parade

Part I

There's no telling, how many Parts there will be, to this series.

My cameras, download folders containing 500 images apiece. One folder was developed today.

Not in alphabetical order, cities, states or, countries will be shown, as they came down the street.

Okinawans from Hawaii marching on Kokusai Street, Naha


Sacramento California Kenjinkai

Sacramento California

Oregon visitors marching on Kokusai Street, Naha, Okinawa


Utah Kenjinkai, marching


Montana family in parade


Alaska members in parade


San Antonio Texas participants

San Antonio Texas

Chicago Kenjinkai parading


New Mexico Okinawa Association marching

New Mexico

Tucson Arizona Kenjinkai in parade

Tucson Arizona

New York Okinawans marching

New York

Washington DC participants marching in parade

Washington DC

Pensacola Florida in parade

Pensacola Florida

Alabama members


Michigan marching members


Standby for more in the upcoming days here and on Facebook.

Okinawan people, live in cities and countries, around the globe.

And, some return, once every 5 years, to participate in the Uchinanchu Matsuri.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

More Animations from Kin Town Special Concert

A Busy Weekend

It began Friday night in the park, just in front of Seventailz, a fancy name for a nightclub.

Catching up may take me a week or, two. Many images are awaiting processing.

There were three or four memorable performances, one being belly dancers.

Performer spinning inside a large hoop, night scene, festival

A little too large, to be called a hula hoop, I'm not sure what this may be.

The crowd enjoyed this number and, the belly dancers seemed to like it, too.

They were back inside the tent, clapping and smiling.

That guy, spinning around, was blocking my view.  Just kidding.

If you had an applause meter that night, I bet, this act, got the loudest claps.

Band and singer performing Please Mr. Postman on stage

This band, was performing the 1961 tune, Please Mr. Postman.

One guy, from the audience, couldn't hold himself back and, wanted to get in the act.

Who knows.  Maybe, he's a retired postal worker !

In the pending files, there must be another few hundred photos, waiting for me.

The dude, with the pointed hairdo, will have to wait for awhile longer.

His photos, deserve special attention and, I'll post some at a later date.

The Worldwide Uchinanchu events, kickoff tomorrow, starting with a parade in Naha. 

Something tells me, there won't be much, getting done around the office, this week.


Monday, October 24, 2016

Breaking the Photo Rules at a Festival

Festival crowd, clapping, dancing while listening to a live band

Way Too Much Action in this Animation

Keeping it simple, is one of the first rules of composition, for the photographer.

Eliminate all distractions in the background and, isolate the subject, is the ideal way to go.

Off to the left, there's a few thousand people, being entertained by a popular band.

I may have walked a couple of miles, shooting this festival from every possible angle.

It was warm and humid, with only a slight breeze blowing. Time to take a break.

Up under a white festival tent, I turned off the camera and lit up a cigarette.

Smoke from charcoal grills and the smell of sweetened soy sauce, disguise my sweaty smell.

I'm standing directly in front of a blaring loud speaker but, it doesn't phase me.

Out of the crowds, no one comes bumping into the tripod and, I can relax.

Everyone's been offering me booze and beer but, I won't drink when I'm working.

Out of my back pocket, comes a bottle of tea, I had bought earlier; it's warm now but, wet.

The guy in the fancy, black and white shirt, started dancing and chanting.

He stands out in a crowd. Put the tea away and, do some more shooting, I figured.

First, get rid of the cigarette. I pinch the hot tip off and, stomp the fire out.

The butt, goes in my pocket and if, I remember it will go in the trash, later.

They have some strict rules in Japan for smoking; don't walk around with lit smokes.

It is said, a smoker carries the fire at the same level as a child's eyes.

Why don't parents just, tell the kids, not to poke their eyes into people's lit cigarettes ?

I try to be a law abiding citizen. Only the wife gets angry, when the butts get in the laundry.

See, I don't burn little kids eyes and, my smokes don't wind up in the ocean.

Once the camera gets downloaded, I notice other things in this scene.

Everybody seems to be enjoying the act on stage or, the guy dancing with his black towel.

Look closely at the crowd. Just the gals in the lower left are doing something different.

Well, I noticed, they had an iPhone and, were doing some research on it.

There's a matsuri going on and, it seems like they are unaware. What could they be doing ?

Maybe, discussing the health benefits of prune juice, rather than stool softeners ?

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Fireworks and Festival Goers

Crowd rocking at a festival, GIF

Before the Illuminations Kickoff

It's a good idea, to start searching for a good point for low light photography.

To capture fireworks (correctly) the camera has to be held steady.

Having left the tripod behind, I was going to use an alternate method of shooting.

Twenty minutes of circling the grounds, helped me decide where I'd set up for the explosives.

Some rock and roll band was playing, their last few tunes and, I got an idea.

Instead of shooting the performers, I'd capture images of the crowd, watching them.

They don't hold still, for very long. Do they ?

Fireworks over festival grounds at night

In the lower right of the frame, are the Orion Beer lanterns hanging from festival tents.

Illuminations exploding over fairgrounds

In Japan, they call these "Hanabi" meaning "Fire flower." OK maybe. I guess.

Hanabi, fireworks, festival, matsuri

It seems like, I'm far away from the festival grounds, when you look at these images.

Actually, I was just outside the crowd, using a wide angle lens.

Rockets and fireworks in evening skies

Something tells me, there will be a much livelier display of pyrotechnics tonight.

It's the closing ceremony for this matsuri and, a very popular band is playing.

Red and ping fireworks

That means, I better take the tripod along and, do it right.

It's not a good idea, to sit on your fanny with elbows on your knees for firework photography.

Especially if, the weatherman's prediction comes true. Rain this evening ?

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Animation: Belly Dancers in the Park at Night

2 girls belly dancing, outdoors, night

Watch Them Wiggle

There are probably, another 500 images of belly dancing in last night's files.

Only eight were selected for development, to create this GIF.

Festival lighting, at night, presents some real challenges for cameramen.

A sturdy tripod was used and, I sat where one floodlight was directly behind me.

Normally, I'm peering through the viewfinder, while making manual adjustments to exposure.

Once, I was satisfied with the focus and camera settings, I backed away from the viewfinder.

Looking at the girl on the left, I watched closely, at the shadows and light.

And, only pressed the shutter, when I liked, what I was seeing.

That might help explain, why there are so many belly dancing photos, left to process.

Camera:  Pentax K1

Lens:  Pentax 15-30  at 30 MM

Exposure:  f/2.8   1/400   ISO 1600

Location:  Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  OCT 21 2016  7:56 PM

Friday, October 21, 2016

It''s Always a Festive Season in Okinawa

Hope the Island Don't Tip Over

Starting tonight, I'll be out and about, day and night, with the cameras.

Just a quick peek at some of the events will be posted and, I'm gone.

If you don't hear from me in awhile, that just means I'm too busy to blog.

Japanese poster, live concert, bands, bellydancer

Promptly at 6:30 PM this Live Concert kicks off in Kin Town Active Park.

A bellydancer, guy in a hula hoop and a few bands are performing.

You know, I have to be there for the belly gal and, the guy I just call Conehead-san.

We've crossed paths, a few times before  and, he's sort of a hero, to me.

Poster advertising an Okinawa movie from 1966

Here's a poster, promoting a film Okinawa, Back to 1966.

It's about Kudakajima, the island of the gods and, I'll probably miss the showing.

Flyer advertising movie and info about directors

This program, was under a stack of books, getting pressed for photography.

Oops, little did I know, the event takes place at 2 PM tomorrow.

Well, some of the folks, visiting for the Uchinanchu Festival, may want to attend.

Kin Town Matsuri

That poster, is still hiding, somewhere under a stack of books. I'll find it next week, maybe.

Anyhow, the festival goes Saturday and Sunday, this week.

Of special interest, Diamantes Band is playing, Sunday and, there will be fireworks.

What Could Tip an Island ?

Something, I heard a U.S. Congressman say once and, he could be smarter than, me.

Something like 5,000 extra people will be aboard Okinawa next week.

It's time for the once-every-five-years Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival.

Okinawans and their families, from around the globe, will be here celebrating.

It probably, won't have any effect on the slant of this big rock.

But, I'll be out there meeting them and partying, too. Who knows what could happen ?

6th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival poster

Here's what will keep me busy, through the end of the month.

For details in several languages, including English, Check It Out.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Foodie Travel Photo: Check this Bowl of Noodles Out

ramen noodles and vegetables stacked in a bowl

Ramen to Cry For

Usually, servings of soba and ramen are just snacks, to me; not a real meal.

Sometimes, I eat the stuff, after a night of drinking, to prevent hangovers.

Or, when I don't have enough sense left, the next morning, to make headaches go away.

Like, it's not a lunch that sticks to your ribs more than an hour or two.

One day, out on the road with cameras, the professor and I, decided to visit this joint.

It was before noon and, no other cars were in the parking lot so, in we went.

First, I placed my order, asked if photography was OK and, went back outside.

It's one of those "No Smoking" establishments, just like I figured.

That explained, the big, stand-up ashtray, outside the front door. Fine with me.

Just as I finished my smoke, a gal came running out the door, to get me.

My huge bowl of ramen had already been delivered to our table, she explained.

Well, I thanked her, crushed my cigarette and, put it where they're supposed to go.

There was no sense, getting in a rush. You wont catch me gobbling down scalding hot ramen.

It was steaming hot and, I'd take my time shooting it, until things cooled down.

Now, I've had ramen before but, not stacked this high with ingredients.

It had bean sprouts, onions, garlic, pork and, who knows what else, on top of the noodles.

Usually, a sniff of the broth broth is what tells you if, it's going to be spectacular.

This serving smelled mouthwateringly good but, it was still too hot for me.

So, I dipped my chopsticks in that red sauce, at the top of the pile.

It immediately reminded me of this crazy, red-headed Mexican guy, I used to know.

Whenever, he got something from home, that was super, spicy hot, he cried.

And, he'd groan, "Ow Chihuahua."

I never thought, of asking if, that meant "awesome" in Mexican speak.

When something is so spicy, it makes my eyes water, I just say, "Ow Chihuahua" since then.

When, I get home and the wife asks, what I had for lunch,  sometimes I say, "Ow Chihuahua."

She knows, it means it was something, tears-come-streaming-down- your-face, hot.

That red stuff, up there, was some sort of kimchi sauce and, it was spicy.

Just in case, there wasn't enough flavor in the bowl, you could add more.

A stand, near the front door, had more things, you could put on your dinner.

Watching, I noticed some guys, loading extra kimchi on their meals.  I passed.

The lunch was delicious and filling. I'll probably, eat there again and again.

How to Get There

It's in Nishihara, right along HWY 329 but, the sign isn't in English.

Look for a black building with a red sign, that says "麺一" meaning, "noodles one."

It's walking distance from Heart Life Hospital. That could be a good thing.

Doctors and nurses, might eat there if, it's healthy for the heart.

In case, you have too much of an Ow Chihuahua moment there's help nearby !

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Best Burger in Town -- Kin Para (きん ぱーらー) I Found Out Today

Things Just Happen to Me

The past week I've been busy shooting nightlife attractions, until the wee hours.

From this weekend on, I'll be more busy, doing festival photography.

Bar scenes, supermoons, gals prancing, in what looks like underwear, can wear a guy out.

So, I've been getting to the office, a bit later than normal and, skipping  breakfast.

Iced coffee keeps me going for awhile and, I forget about lunch, I'm so busy catching-up.

Around 2:30 this afternoon, I decided to go to town and find something to eat.

gif,chef cooking hamburgers on gas range

Chef Making a Kin Burger

Kin Para, is a fairly new restaurant and, I had never eaten here.

There were no customers waiting so, the guy let me shoot in the kitchen.

There are some small tables and chairs, to sit at but, I wanted a takeout order.

Coke, fries and double cheeseburger, picnic table, garden

It's blazing hot, for October. I hurried back, walking on the shady side of the street.

Sitting outside in the shade, looking at the rock garden, was where I wanted to be.

It's like 3:30 by now and the smell of that hamburger, got me drooling.

I decided to put the camera away. Noticing a cat watching me, the burger had to go, too.

They don't think nothing of stealing a starving man's lunch. Animals.

The few little, non-absorbent napkins, they give you around here, wouldn't work, for me.

So, I sat at my desk, where there's a box of tissues, that's supposed to be handy.

Japanese folks can eat a hamburger, out of that wax paper wrapping and, not make a mess.

Not me. I'd have cow drippings, splattering all over the room.

Well, I grab the hamburger and, started devouring it. It was terrific. Delicious !

Nobody else, around this town, makes hamburgers like that one.

Munching away, I hardly noticed the cholesterol, sliding down to my elbows. 

When, I was finished the desk looked kind of oily so, I wiped it clean with those tissues.

For now, I'm designating the Kin Burger the best in Kin Town.

Where Is this Place?

Well, I'm trying to get it on Google Maps but, it's so new, it ain't there, yet.

Menu sign at Kin Para restaurant, outdoors

Late afternoon wasn't a good time to photograph, the sign outside the establishment.

So, I might go back over tomorrow morning, to get a better shot of it.

By then, it may be on the map, as well and, I'll do a review.

Meanwhile Check These Places Out

Girls working at a bar named Zone

And the Zone is a place famous for spicy BBQ chicken and hot women !

Time to go now. I think, I just heard a cold beer calling me !