Tuesday, January 31, 2017

An Uka-Uka (ぅかーぅか) Sort of Day

Call It Daydreaming

The word got into my vocabulary, yesterday because, I ate an Ukauka pizza.

There's no sense, running around these islands, eating if, I don't review the places.

Well, I had other things to catch up on and, put the writing on the back burner.

The camera business, kept me extremely busy, over the past few days.

So, I skipped doing my daily regimen of lifting cement blocks and doing calisthenics.

Early this morning, I made up for it, by doing a few hours of torturous training.

By 10 AM, I was exhausted, changed out of the sweatsuit and, went to get some breakfast.

Dark skies, gave me an idea. Eat then, take a two hour nap. That worked !

Except for One Thing

When, you have aching muscles, on a dreary day - Who feels like writing ?

Clearing out all the social media sites and checking emails, wore me down.

But, I got an idea from reading mail from the Travel Agent Academy.

They're always sending me reminders about travel courses, I can take. What the heck.

Certificate for travel professionals

Into the online academy, I went and, finished another course.

Now, I can find travel information around the globe, in just a few seconds.

A gazillion off the wall experiences, events, attractions and, things to do, are at my fingertips.

Once, I got that certificate, it was time to get back to doing my normal business.

Chef placing a vegetarian pizza in wood-burning oven, Ukauka

 Ukauka Pizzeria

This was where we had lunch, over on Sesoko Island, yesterday.

The chef  let me photograph him, preparing my meal in that wood-burning oven.

The professor and I, were freezing from being up on a mountain, in the rain.

So, this was a great place, to grab lunch and, get warmed up.

After we left, we had to make a stop, to grab some chicken; the pizza was vegetarian !

Today I Learned What Ukauka Means

The Jaded Network says, "daydreaming or not paying attention."

At Wikibooks - "to be careless or absentminded."

Well, I'm not sure if we were absentminded or daydreaming, when we walked into this place.

But, I know some friends and family, who would really love it.

So, I did a Google Maps review, for everyone.

The pizza was tasty. If, I go back there again, I'm sneaking some pepperoni in with me !

Monday, January 30, 2017

10 Photos - An Unforgettable Sakura Hunt

Shortly After 10 AM

We arrived at Mt. Yaedake to see how the cherry blossoms (sakura) were doing.

The festival (matsuri) officially ended this past weekend.

cherry blossoms on a mountainside

Flowers, don't always blossom in accordance with the festival calendar.

It's been sort of a scattered blooming season, island-wide this year.

A sakura sign, at the entrance, indicated 70% bloom, at the top of the mountain.

Asian girl posing under a cherry tree, in bloom

Things, weren't looking too shabby, halfway up the hill so, we stopped for awhile.

It's always best, to ask tourists for permission, before taking photos.

Some, are happy having their picture taken. Others, are too shy. Like me, for example.

The blossoms were kind of sparse, unless the lens was zoomed in on them. 

The weather was nice, not too windy but, a little bit cloudy.

Close-up of sakura at tip of a branch

When things are calm, it's fun composing close-up images of the flowers.

No glaring sun and strong breezes shake the blossoms and, you get awesome colors.

Oriental girls, selfie, cherry blossoms, smiles

Just about the time, I decided to shoot these gals, doing selfies, they quit doing it.

"Hey. Could you do that one more time so, I can take a picture?"

They didn't understand my Japanese. We got it done with hand signals.

They were sweethearts. I would have bought them ice cream but, didn't know where it was.

Cherry trees in blossom

About ten-thirty, it was time to head to the top of the mountain and, check things out.

Ideally, there would be a couple of trees, loaded with those pink and red flowers.

Winding mountain road with cherry trees lining the guardrails

This photo was taken from above, to show the winding road and scattered blossoms.

During peak Sakura Season, it would be a breathtaking scene.

There's no sense, cursing about the situation. Dang it Things won't get any better. 

Sudden rain squall makes cherry blossoms invisible

Shortly before 11 AM, a big rain storm, blew across the mountain.

The professor and I, had to wait under shelter, before we could get back to our ride.

Cherry trees and flowers

We've lived on island for many years and, know these things happen sometimes.

Ten minutes later, we were back on the road again, headed downhill.

There weren't many tourists left so, I concentrated on cherry blossoms again.

Cherry blossoms with ferns in background

A few stops were made, to snap images, as we meandered off the mountain.

Then, we decided to hop over to another island and, eat some pizza.

That's a story, I'll save until, it gets a Google Map review.  Think vegetarian !

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Wildlife Images: Crow vs Buzzard Eagle

a crow chases an eagle

Crows Are Permanent Residents on Okinawa

Grey-faced Buzzard Eagles, migrate from somewhere north and, spend the winters here.

The crows, sometimes harass, these out of town visitors.

Eagle being chased by a crow, in flight

Crows, are pretty good at mimicking other birds when they are flying.

This one was, buzzing around, trying to scare the eagle out of its territory.

As you can see, the crow is larger than, the bird it's chasing.

Crow turns away from eagle, in flight

Crows are scavengers, good at pecking things but, not dumb enough to attack an eagle.

That little bird has a meat-shredding beak and strong, sharp talons, to kill things with.

So, when the crow, gets too close, it drops its legs and shows, the concealed weapons.

Then, the scavenger, goes looking for something else, to do.

Saturday, January 28, 2017

Bird Photo: Pair of Grey-faced Buzzard Eagles in Flight

Grey-faced Buzzard Eagles flying

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300MM + 1.4 Converter Focal Length 420MM

Exposure:  f/7.1  1/1600   ISO 400

Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time  JAN 28  2017  12:03 PM

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Animation of Black-faced Spoonbill Preening

Black-faced Spoonbill (Platalea minor) grooming, GIF

Scientific Name: Platalea minor

This migratory visitor to Okinawa is an Endangered Species.

Location: Tomigusuku, Okinawa, Japan

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Wildlife Image: Northern Shoveler Feeding

A migratory duck visiting Okinawa

A Migratory Visitor

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 + 1.4 Converter Focal Length 420MM

Exposure:  f/5.6   1/800   ISO 800

Location: Tomigusuku Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  JAN 23  2017  12:21 PM

Bird Animation: Eurasian Teals in Tomigusuku Okinawa

Birds similar to ducks feed in wetlands

Colorful Little Characters

These birds, resembling ducks, are migratory visitors to the island.

The series of photos in this GIF, were taken with a Pentax K1 with 420MM of lens.

It was shortly after noon so, I left Tomigusuku, to get some lunch.

Previous Post- Wildlife Photos: Teal (Anas crecca) in Okinawa

Nature of Politics: Presented by Three Birds

Three Spoonbill birds on a rock

Black-faced Spoonbills Discussion

Left Bird: My way or, I crap on this rock.

Right Bird: My way or, I crap on this rock.

Middle Bird: Quit arguing or, I crap on this rock.

End of the Day

The birds fly off  and, they are still friends.

Mother Nature has to clean the crap off the rock.

That's a crappy Tweet or Facebook post you could send everybody ! 

Saturday, January 21, 2017

Sashiba (サシバ) Grey-faced Buzzard Eagle in Flight

Butastur indicus, bird, Buzzard Eagle, flight

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 with 1.4 Converter Focal Length 420MM

Exposure:  f/7.1  1/2000  ISO 400

Location: Kin Dam Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  JAN 21  2017   1:40 PM

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

15 Flower Photos for Wordless Wednesday

Plum and Cherry Blossoms bloom during January in Okinawa

Beginning of Plum and Cherry Blossom Season in Okinawa

Plum tree blooming on a mountain road

Ie-jima island through cherry blossoms on Mt. Yaedake

Plumb blossoms after rain

Single cherry blossom reaching the sky

Plum blossoms and buds

Festival lantern, cherry blossoms, sky, trees

Plum blossoms against a concrete retaining wall

Cherry blossoms reach a blue sky with white clouds

country road, raindrops and plum blossoms

Cherry blossoms, branches, trees

Plum blossoms on a winter day

Cherry blossoms on a mountainside

Close-up of plum blossoms on a rainy winter dy

Blue sky, white clouds, cherry blossoms

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Poinsettia Plant Taller Than Me

Ryukyu Mike dwarfed by a poinsettia

It May Not Be Full Grown

Poinsettia plants can be shrubs or trees, according to the botanical experts.

Yesterday, I was up north, checking on the progress of plum and cherry blossoms.

Both, the sakura and plum blossoms, looked kinda iffy but, this tree impressed me, alright.

So, I handed the professor my camera and, asked him to shoot me. And, that's what he did.

When I was younger, I was almost 6 feet tall; I may have shrunk some, over the years.

That red thing, at the end of my paw must be, over 7 feet above the ground.

Some people, think the red things are flowers but, they ain't. They're just red leaves.

And, the Wiki dudes say, the flowers are "unassuming." Whatever that means.


For the heck of it, I went to the Thesaurus folks and, checked for y'all.  I like them.

Humble, meek, modest, unobtrusive or, unpretentious, would have worked.

Unassuming, unassuming, unassuming. Who wants to be called that ?

Now, I don't speak very eloquently but, I can be eloquentlier than that !

If, you have any of these plants, leftover from Christmas, do me a favor.

Don't talk to plants, that way and, take good care of them.  Alright ?

Monday, January 16, 2017

Orange Tip Butterfly in Cherry Blossoms

Butterfly visiting cherry blossoms in Okinawa

Sakura Season Begins

A trip to Mt. Yaedake was made, to checkout the cherry blossoms. They are blossoming.

Probably, less than 25% of the trees are turning pink, with the flowers.

But, it's a good time to go if, you don't like traffic and crowds, bumping into your camera.

The next three weekends, the mountain will become very busy. Nobody will catch me there.

After downloading 100 images, I selected this one to post tonight and, will process more later.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 250MM

Exposure: f/6.3  1/500   ISO 400

Location: Mt. Yaedake, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: JAN 16 2017  12:32PM

Saturday, January 14, 2017

Alien Frog: This One Doesn't Belong in Okinawa

Common Tree Frog, Polypedates leucomystax

My Lunch Almost Got Lost

Here, I thought it was my lucky day.  This unusual-looking frog was on the sidewalk.

Nothing like this has ever crossed my path before. It must be a rare one, I figured.

Not every frog, I see gets this special treatment. I emptied my lunch bag, to capture him.

Thinking I had found some endangered species, I hurried to the office, to get some photos.

The frog was placed in the rock garden out back and, I quickly grabbed a camera, to shoot it.

Five or six clicks of the shutter and, the rascal jumped, so high, I don't know where he landed !

Then, I looked at my empty lunch bag and remembered. My food was on somebody's wall.

It was only a two minute trip, to rescue that, before some homeless dude, snatched it.

On a Full Stomach Research Was Easy

Type into a search "Okinawa Frog with stripes on legs" and, that's how I found out.

This critter is a Polypedates leucomystax and, doesn't belong on this island.

If, you spot one, grind it up and feed it to stray cats or, homeless people.

They are found throughout Asia, according to Amphibia Web but, we don't want them here.

They say, they are a charming species at Ecology Asia.  Well, come and get them, y'all.

The frog makes a loud quack, DNA Singapore, tells me. We have enough quacks already.

Get your invasive, alien frogs out of here, we have our own frogs, to worry about.

The import, transport and keeping of these amphibians, is against the law, in Japan.

Next time, I see one, I'll squish it and, turn it over to the authorities, dead or alive.

Gee. I wonder if there's a bounty, to be collected ?

Common Names for this alien are:

Asian Brown Treefrog, Common Tree Frog, Four-lined Tree Frog and Golden Tree Frog.

Friday, January 13, 2017

Flower Photo: Plum Blossoms at Oshittai

trees, flowers, blossoms, plum

Just a Peek

This afternoon a trip was made to Oshittai (オーシッタイ) where country folks of Nage live.

There was a good chance, it would rain but, it beat staying in the office.

Cloudy, rainy days, keep most of the tourists and flower lovers, off the highways. Cool.

It's kind of difficult, to give a report on these flowers. I don't know what percent are blooming.

Some trees, appear to be about 40% blossomed and, others close to zero.

Maybe, I'll get back up that way on a sunny, windless day and, shoot the whole place, for you.

Folks, interested in taking the country drive, should checkout Map It Okinawa for directions.

Gotta run, now. The full moon, may peek through the clouds and, I don't want to miss it, again tonight.

And, should the moon, fail to appear, I've got another 50 times, to lift my cement block !

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Wordless Wednesday: Praise Those Can Can Ladies

Woman with stroller collecting cans to recycle

Breaking News: Duddhist Monk on Okinawa !

Never a Dull Moment

Taking a circuitous route to work this morning, an extra mile was added to the trip. 

Knowing, I would be doing some strenuous exercise, I stopped at a supermarket.

I bought some energy drinks and powerful energy snacks, six boxes of them.

A park, has a circuit course of exercise benches and weight lifting machines, I wanted to try.

The athletic park, is near the store.  I got hungry along the way and started munching.

Those power bars are sort of dry and crunchy so, I washed them down with power drinks.

There was enough energy stored in me, to do the course, twice. What a buzz !

By the time I got to the office, I still felt supercharged. So, I talked myself into a new challenge.

A friend, told me, I could get online and become an ordained priest. So, that's what I did.

Certificate of Ordination Church of the Latter-Day Dude

Heathens Can Read It and Weep

After I got ordained, they said, I could call myself a priest, minister or, whatever, I want.

So, I decided Duddhist Monk, would be what I'll go by, for the time being.

It's a lot of work, getting started. Spell Check keeps trying to correct me. I don't mind.

Duddhist people are supposed to be really laid back. Get used to us, we're everywhere.

An Extra Mile

As soon as, the documentation was downloaded, I had to get things printed.

A certificate, framed and hanging on the wall, was one necessity, which couldn't be overlooked.

And, a bunch of identification cards (wallet size) needed to be printed.

The sunny weathed disappeared; it got cold, windy and cloudy. No problem.

Duddhists are always cheerful and, an umbrella would protect my documents.

Nobody would notice, a new monk, walking down the street; I was in my regular duds.

It's a good walk, to the Family Mart, I was using to do my printing.  

Placing my umbrella in the rack outside the front door, I went and started printing.

A large color photo paper print and several credit card-sized ones, was only about 2 bucks.

On the way back, I forgot my umbrella, I was so happy. Maybe, I levitated.

Halfway to the office, I remembered the umbrella and, had to float back, to get it.

The Investment Could Be Worth a Million Dollars

There are a few more items, I'll have to purchase, Duddhist stuff like, a robe and hat.

A pair of dark welders glasses, I think, would be more appropriate.

Some sort of flowing robe and maybe, a yellow traffic cone, to be made into a hat.

GIF of a Duddhist Monk performing a matrimony

All I had lying around the office, were some props, I used for a wedding rehearsal.

The back-scratcher, will be replaced with some sort of sacred tree branch.

The black thing, was used to represent my holy (see the hole?) scripture.

Walking that extra mile, I was trying to find a traffic cone but, came up empty handed.

What's most important, is to get practice, being reverent, at the moment.

The wardrobe, will fall into place, eventually.  I need to work on my presentation.

Things like, "Do you take this ___  and, In sickness, health and, all that stuff."

Oh, yeah "Until death do you part unless, one of you get caught cheating."

Then, "By the powers vested in me by the Church of Latter-Day Dude....

I now pronounce you Man and Wife."

I'm thinking of adding something: Generously Tip the Cameraman on the way out !

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Animation: Bird Watchers

flock of white egrets flies past the bird watchers

There Was a Slew of Them

Not the birds, I'm talking about the humans, with fancy glass, binoculars and big zooms.

Just when an old man, went to water some bushes and, thought nobody was around.

All of a sudden, I looked across the fields and, they showed up, pointing their instruments.


Not to worry, I was a few hundred yards away so, they couldn't see everything.

At first, I figured it might have been some kind of camera club, out on a tour.

Thinking, they shot me first, I planned on getting even but, remained a good distance away.

When the flock of egrets, took off flying, most of the enthusiasts, missed it.

The birds probably knew, they'd be a target so, they moved swiftly, past the crowd.

With 420MM of lens, on my camera, I only captured a part of the pandemonium.

Heading towards home, I had to cross the bridge, they were standing on.

That's when, I noticed, what kind of equipment, they were carrying.

Approaching the most senior-looking dude, I asked, "Birdsu Watchingu?"

That's how you would say it in Japanese, sorta.  He said, "Hai."

Then, I wished him a Happy New Year in Okinawan dialect and, he didn't understand.

So, I thought he might be Japanese, from the mainland and, tried once more.

"Akemashite Omedeto Gozaimasu" (Happy New Year) and, he understood that.

Wishing everyone a Happy New Year, I trudged on back and downloaded my camera.

Can't Show All the People's Faces

When passing closeby the gang of bird watchers, I got a good look at their lenses.

Some of them, may have been 1200MM and, some folks had powerful binoculars.

When processing the RAW photo files, I can enlarge them and, see great details.

When, they were looking at the old man in the bushes, one gal's mouth was wide open.

Now, I'm thinking maybe, they saw more than just an old guy with a beard.

It looks like that gal might have been saying something.

"Look, there's a baby bald eagle in a nest, he's holding in his hands!"

Monday, January 9, 2017

Bird Photos: Northern Lapwing in Flight

Vanellus vanellus flying in Okinawa

Fast Moving Birds

They are a bit timid and, won't let a camera get too close, this year.

On the ground, they appear much different than, they do when flying.

Fast moving bird in flight

These images were taken in Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan with a Pentax K1.

A Pentax 300MM lens with 1.4 converter gives a Focal Length of 420MM.

Exposure: f/5.6  1/5000   ISO 400

Saturday, January 7, 2017

See a Doctor Before Attempting this Exercise

GIF of cement block weight training

Not Approved by Certified Fitness Trainers

One reason, you should check with your doctor: Make sure you're in good health.

Another reason is, you might need a psychological evaluation, too.

Before beginning any strenuous physical activity, it's a good idea, to make sure you're fit.

It's especially important for senior citizens, like me and, some of my cronies.

That animation, created this morning, is me on a rainy day in Okinawa, Japan.

My redneck weight, gets lifted over my head, at least 150 times a day, at this stage of the game.

It's not, some New Year resolution.  I've been doing it for two months, now.

When it first started, I could barely lift a concrete block, over my head, five times.

If, you try doing things too fast, the block bumps your head and, things can get bloody.

Beat your head against a brick wall enough times and, you should get smarter. Right?

How It All Got Started

One day during October, I found something online, concerning physical fitness.

There are all sorts of videos and advice columns; better than half of them, garbage.

One mentioned, lifting something, over your head, at least 10 times a day.

It went on to say, it doesn't need to be heavy. Just getting your body exercised.

I'm always walking around the island with cameras and, usually a tripod.

Remembering the lifting advice, I'd raise things over my head, 10 times, just for fun.

A couple of times a day, while out waiting for some action with the camera, lift.

People, driving by, must have been wondering. "What's that guy doing?"

A camera, mounted on a tripod, with a big lens is sort of clumsy, for weight lifting.

All the weight is either on your right arm or, the left. Not very good balance.

But, I did notice some, working of rarely used muscles. And, it felt good after a few days.

One afternoon, out behind the office, I spotted a cinder block, lying around, doing nothing.

I borrowed it. We became weight training buddies, along with some other blocks, too.

They're not, my cement blocks. I sneaked out and lifted them, when nobody was around.

Sometimes, I'd wait until after dark to, make sure the landlord wasn't around or, awake.

A Trip to the Hardware Store

Guilt, from sneaking around and using someone's cement blocks, got the best of me.

One day, I got a connection, to take me shopping and, bought my very own, brand new blocks.

Four concrete blocks, of varying sizes, cost me about five bucks. Imagine that !

A little redneck gymnasium, in my office, keeps me from stealing time with those old blocks.

Anytime, I feel like it, I can get an awesome workout, without going anywhere.

Actually, I still go out and, use the original cement block, sometimes. Old buddy.

That cinder block has some of my hairs and blood, still attached to it. We're like friends.

Frontal View at a Later Date

There's a reason photos, weren't taken showing the front of the model above.

The big beer belly (in former selfies) has been melting away but, more needs to be done.

After a few more months of the 18-Minute Kick Butt Kickboxing Workout, we'll see.

It's important, to start this kind of training, in small increments, a little at a time.

When, the abdominal muscles, look like, they were chiseled in stone, I'll give you a peek.

Interested in Shaping Up ?

Friends and family have been asking me, "How did you do that?"

What works for one person, might not, for others. We're all different. So, I just don't know.

Using Google, you can find all sorts of fitness information and videos.

The majority of them, I find useless. And, I try them all, sifting through, to get good ones.

So far, for beginners, I would recommend WebMd Fitness & Exercise to get you started.

It has excellent advice for men and women, young and elderly with, short and sweet videos.

If anyone, wants links to the crazy sort of things, I do with cement blocks, let me know.

Want to learn how to get in shape, from someone, who calls cinder blocks his friends ?

Friday, January 6, 2017

5 Photos of Blue Skies with White Clouds

Altocumulus clouds above vegetation

Not This Way Earlier Today

Horrible gray sky with on and off rain showers sort of ruined my temperament today.

Some of the crazy remedies, I have consist of going out under a carport for exercise.

Several times a day, I get away from the computer monitors, to rest my eyes and get refreshed.

About 4:30 PM the sun, finally started shining. I decided to go for a walk, to buy some drinks.

The clouds, looking like a plowed field, I noticed as I left the office. Camera ?  Not yet.

white clouds and vegetation

Knowing, my luck if, I ran to grab something for photography, it would start raining, again.

 I spent 15 minutes, walking and enjoying the sunshine, while going for my refreshments.

It's a 2 minute walk to the vending machine but, I was formulating a plan.

sky, clouds, buildings, wires, trees

By the time, I returned the clouds started moving in a direction, that suited me.

There wouldn't be time, to catch the scene, I wanted if, I fooled around changing lenses.

So, I grabbed the camera, I was using yesterday, equipped with an 18-250MM zoom.

clouds, sky, buildings, trees, wires

Not too wild about telephone and electrical wires in my compositions, I shot, anyway.

Those distractions can be removed, afterwards but, I didn't feel like doing that.

Altocumulus clouds

When the timing was right, I climbed up on the roof and, shot this scene at 18MM.

Then, I started wondering, what those clouds would be called. I did some research.

At Allexperts (dot) com, somebody asked the same question, I put in the search engine.

What are those clouds called, that look like furrows, in a plowed field ?

They could be Altocumulus Undulatus.

 At the National Weather Service, 10 basic types of clouds are listed so, you can learn.

These clouds only lasted a few minutes, I'm guessing but, they made me happy.

Next time, I went out for some exercise and a break, they were all gone.

The wind blew and stuff flew and, who wants to be a weatherman anyway ?