Saturday, April 29, 2017

Poisonous Viper: Okinawa Habu

Snake found on Miyagi Island

Found Throughout Okinawa Islands

This character was spotted on a road between some tobacco fields on Miyagi Island.

They are venomous snakes, that eat rodents and birds, not particularly people.

Most of he time, they'll shy away from humans, unless they are provoked. 

Normally, they won't pose for a camera, to get this close for photos.

Dead habu snake on an Okinawa road, flip-flop

Vehicular homicide seems to have been performed on the rascal.

To show approximately, how long the snake was, I used a size 12 flip-flop.

Just guessing, I'd say it would be four or five feet long. I didn't want to stretch my luck.

In case there was any life left in the dude, I didn't feel like getting bit.

Don't Mess with These Snakes


This species is the largest and most poisonous one on the island.

Great images and descriptions of others can be seen a Shawn Miller's website.

If, you get bitten by one chances are good, you'll survive if, medical attention is speedy.

Don't do like the cowboys and, try to suck the poison out of the wound.

Stay calm, keep the area clean, elevated and, get your fanny to a hospital.

A few of my friends, have been bitten, surviving the ordeal even though, it was painful.

More about the habu, is provided by Camp Lester Naval Hospital. 

Another interesting thing, you may want to know about the snakes, occurred to me. 

Way before Viagra was invented, Okinawans, created Habu Sake.

The snake come in a big glass jar of, what locals call, awamori.

If, you're having trouble, impressing the ladies, with your super powers, drink some.

Then, come back here and, let us all know, how things turned out !

Friday, April 28, 2017

Up On the Roof Was the Place to Be Today

Scene on a sunny day in Kin Town, GIF

Seven Images GIF

When I left the house, with my gnarly toe, I promised, not to go hiking.

It was a nice warm day and the sunshine was irresistible. What could I do ?

No one was watching so, I took a tripod and camera up on the roof.

It was placed where, I could get a few hours worth of photos to create a time lapse.

Mexico Was Next On the Agenda

There are some classes at the Travel Agent Academy, I figured I try doing.

First, there was this tour leader named Iggy, giving me all sorts of information.

He gave me the Mexican experience I would need to be a Cancun specialist.

This dude was tough. Pop quizzes, no problemo. The final exam was a doozy.

Good thing I had the camera up there, where I could get away, every few minutes.

First time I failed with a 66% and, I thought that was bad.  Cool off.

It takes 31, various-sized steps, to reach the roof from my office. That was good.

They ask if, I would like to review and, start the course over again. Yep. I ain't no quitter.

Well, they had some trick questions. Next time, I only scored 33.  Grr. Yes, I want to test again.

Cancun Mexico certificate, Travel Agent Academy

With all the quizzes and finals, I must have made ten trips, up and down the stairs.

My legs got a little workout and, I guessed enough correct answers, to score 100% !

Part II of Presidente Intercontinental

Estrella led the tour and, she was much more friendly. Her name means, star in Spanish.

That was kind of neat. She reminded me, how to talk in Mexico. That could come in handy.

It might help me, strike up a conversation with the Mexicans someday.

The pop quizzes, weren't too difficult and, I passed the final, first time around.

There's no sense, bragging about my score because it was less than, 100% but, good enough.

Certificate of completion, Cozumel, Mexico

Cozumel, Mexico looks like my kind of place to vacation.

The beaches have white sand, just like we have around here only, they have more bars.

In case, you were wondering, why I'm doing Mexico, I'll tell you. Senoritas !

Nah, just kidding. Presidente has some resorts in Japan, as well.

So, I got my foot in the door and, will probably take some more Mexico classes later.

Way back when, I did some travel in Mexico and, even know a sushi chef down there.

Grand Finale



Every time a Pop Quiz popped up, I got nervous and, ran back upstairs.

Between quizzes, final exams failed and passed finals, I got lots of exercise and photos.

There were twenty images in the camera, when I got through with the academy.

So, I loaded them up to YouTube and found a little tune for this slide show.  Enjoy !

Thursday, April 27, 2017

They Predicted Rain - I Went to the Travel Agent Academy

Certificate Japan Travel Specialist Master's Course

All Part of the Master Plan

The weather gurus were a little bit off with the forecast today but, it didn't kill me.

Up bright and early, I checked the weather channel and, it wasn't looking good.

The rain was supposed to start at 7:30 so, after breakfast, I went back to bed.

Somebody poured way too many beers down my throat last night.

By 9AM, I was stumbling around, as usual, in and out between the garden and kitchen.

And, whacked a toe on something sharp. Ouch, I almost cussed.

The wife noticed the blood, all over the floor. It was probably an hour, after the toe got cut.

So, I told her, "Check the stupid dog. He probably did it."

Before long, it was discovered, my little toe, was where all the blood came from.

Everything's fixed and patched up, now. Maybe, I'll buy her a steak dinner.

Next, I promised there wouldn't be any strenuous exercises or drinking done today.

Leaving the house, I told her and the dog, I was going to school.

Japan Travel Advanced Master

It's not really like graduating from some elite university, with a Master's Degree.

Heck, I've lived over half my life, in Japan. It should be a breeze, for me.

It was a little tricky, though. They made me do the basic course, all over again.

That was completed a few years ago and, I guess, my certification expired. Groan.

It took about two hours of testing, to get me certified so, I could go to the next level.

That series of quizzes and final exams, took another four hours.

It was worth all the effort.  Now, I get access to all kinds of hookups, throughout Japan.

It kept me indoors, most of the day. Now, it's raining and, I forgot my umbrella.

Here's the Plan

No heavy lifting or hiking was what I said, as I left for the office this morning.

Something I saw on the internet, gave me this idea.

Take a yoga mat and place it close to a wall.  Lay down with the feet, propped against the wall.

It's supposed to be good for relaxing and, get blood, back in your brain.

Then, I'll get some takeout steak dinners and, ride a taxi home !

Tuesday, April 25, 2017

Melody Road Got Me Thinking - What a Beautiful Day !

Melody Road Sign

Little Confession First

Always busy, doing something, I don't spend as much time, hunting thieves, as I should.

There's a service I use, called Digimarc which, tracks any photos I post on the internet.

They get about 100 bucks a year, to help me nab folks, who think my images are for free.

It's nice, to think people are honest and, I still believe, most humans are, that way.

Well, I got lazy and, haven't checked Digimarc for a long while. GUILTY !

Three Companies Swiped this Photo

Some photographers would become highly enraged to learn their images were being used.

We're talking about businesses taking images and using them commercially on their websites.

There's a road in Japan, that makes music, as you drive over it and, I SELL ASPHALT.

LOL I got to thinking and, had to dig up this tune on YouTube:

Kind of a goofy old tune from the movie Oklahoma but, this melody is what, I'm singing.

It really is a beautiful day outside and, I don't want to write some long legal letters.

So, I sat here smiling and typed up some real simple letters to the criminals.

"Dear Sirs, I am the copyright holder of that photo, taken on Melody Road in Okinawa.

We can discuss payment for the licensing of the image via (My email address). Classified.

If, my photo is on your website, any longer than, the next 48 hours, I hope you're doing well.

Hopefully, business is fantastic and you are some sort of millionaire. YAY

Because, my attorney and I, are gonna get a bunch from you."

For the Spanish site, I added something a little extra:

"Contact me and, we can discuss payment in English or Spanish.  My Spanish is horrible.

But, the lawyer dude, on vacation at the moment, can handle your language, just fine."

Melody Road in Futami, Nago, Okinawa

It's been a few years since, I've rode along with someone on that highway.

The last time, was with the wife and, we got stuck behind someone driving too slow.

The recommended speed is 40 and, they were only doing 20 kilometers per hour.

The wife said the tune sounded like me, when I'm drunk and singing karaoke.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Lunch on Ikei Island -- What an Experience !

AJ Resort, dining,Hibus Restaurant

Would They Even Let Us In ?

Out doing some research on outer islands, today it suddenly became lunchtime.

Doc and I had been kicked off one beach because, we didn't feel like paying for parking.

Some resorts can be pretty snooty. Dontcha think ?

This place had two (unattended) guard shacks with signs warning, "Hotel Guests Only."

"Let's go, Doc. We'll tell them, we're guests. Why else, would we be here?"

At the Hibus Restaurant, we were greeted and, got permission to enter.

Seashore scene outside restaurant, picnic tables, trees

The first customers, any table inside the place, was ours for the asking.

So, this ocean view was selected, where the scenery was nice and, air-conditioning felt good.

Normally, you don't catch me, going into some five star resort, to grab a meal.

The menu had all sorts of items, you could select from and, prices, weren't too outrageous.

Large Roast Beef Submarine Sandwich set

Earlier in the day, on another island, I laid my flip-flop on the road, to shoot a photo.

It gives the viewer a sense of scale. The snake, was easily four times the size of my shoe.

That, you'll have to view, some other time. It would ruin your appetite, I bet.

Anyhow, I thought of placing one of my footwears, up there for this image.

But, it was sorta a high class place and, they might have gotten upset with me.

That roast beef submarine sandwich, was probably larger than one of my feet.

It cost 1,945 Yen, which is about twenty bucks. It filled up two of us.

Talking about it, I think it was the first time, I had eaten a roast beef sandwich in a long time.

As a matter of fact, I don't think I've ever had one on any Okinawa island, before.

Doc and I, will probably be going back, to visit the AJ Resort on Ikei Island, again and again.

Our little ladies probably, wouldn't enjoy it because, they're always on diets. Hah.

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Want to Drive a Sushi Chef Crazy ?

242 Kinds of Fish in Okinawa, Japan, chart

Get One of These Fish Charts


That's right. There are 242 kinds of fish in the waters of Okinawa, Japan.

This wall chart has pictures and the names of the fish in Japanese, English and Okinawan.

The posters are sold at many touristy locations, throughout the Ryukyu Islands.

I've seen them go for anywhere from 1,000 to over 3,000 Yen. That's like ten to thirty bucks.

Get one HERE at a bargain. Tell the pretty gals, "A guy with a beard sent me."

Fish identification poster, English, Japanese

The chart is really huge and comes all rolled up, wrapped in cellophane.

I tacked it to the wall and, to give you a better view, I chopped up and enlarged the photos.

That's way too many fish, to be hanging on my wall. Soon, I'll take it down.

Fish identification poster, Okinawa

For poor folks, who can't afford to buy the chart, go to Asia Pacific Fish I.D.

They have images of all the fish and, English as well as, Japanese.

There's even a guy in Tokyo, who gives you the same info for kosher and non-kosher dining. 

Shazam !

fish identification, poster, Okinawa

Many Sushi Chefs Don't Speak English

Saving the links above on your smartphone, might help you at the sushi bar.

Get an old deck of cards and, with this poster, you could have lots more fun.

Cut the thing up, into small pieces, paste and laminate them to the cards and, you're all set.

Instead of pointing to the fish, inside some glass case, do what I'm gonna do.

Buy the chef something to drink.  They usually, go for sake or beer. 

Shuffle the deck of fish cards, pull one out and say, "Got any of this ?"

Class Dismissed

Friday, April 21, 2017

Travel Photo: Rock Will Tell You If It's a Boy or Girl

Inside a cave, Special stone, marker, Japanese

Niya-thiya Cave or Senin Gama

The cavern is located on Ie Island, Okinawa, Japan and, it has historical significance.

A thousand islanders took shelter here and, survived the Battle of Okinawa. 

In the right lower corner of this image, is a stone of hysterical significance, to me anyway.

Call it the Pregnancy Rock if, you like. Here's what the inscription teaches us.

Pick up that stone, chained to the short pillar and, see how much it strains your muscles.

If  a woman, lifts the stone before long, she'll become pregnant.

The stone heavy ?  That means, the baby will be a boy.

If, it's light, a baby girl will be born.

Related Post:

Flower Festival at IeShima Okinawa, Japan: A Million Lilies

Time for a Lily Festival

This post was originally created after visiting the 2011 Yuri Matsuri (Lily Festival) on Ie Island.

A quick visit to the Ie Village website, gave me this poster, advertising the 2017 event.

Poster for Ie Island Lily Festival 2017

Visit the English version of Ie Island website for more details.

At the heading, you can switch to Japanese, French, Chinese or, Korean.

More than likely, Ryukyu Mike, won't appear during the matsuri, this year.

It is probably the biggest and busiest event held on that island.

So, for local families, wishing to attend, I would recommend going on weekdays. 

Make sure all reservations (especially ferry) are made in advance and, don't be late.

2011 Visit to the Lily Festival

There wasn't time to count them all but, I estimate there had to be a good 750,000 Easter Lilies at the IeShima Lily Festival in Okinawa, Japan.  The island advertises a count of over one million flowers. 

It's easier to just take their word for it, I think.

flowers, lily, festival, island

The main attraction is the hundreds and thousands of white Easter Lilies, in all stages of budding and blooming, dancing in the wind on the slopes facing the ocean.


This is where the annual festival takes place and visitors from all over Japan will be taking the ferry to visit during the next week.

flowers, yellow lily, festival

There are plenty more white lilies waiting for me to get them developed.  I decided to give a few of the other lilies their 15 minutes of fame.

orange lily, flowers, Iejima, festival, Okinawa

One of these days, I may have to start collecting books, or make friends with a local florist, so I can give you the proper names of these flowers. 

There just aren't enough hours in the day or days in the week for me to research them.  Do you suppose florists like beer?

lilies, flowers, white, island, matsuri, Iejima

It'd be a lot easier for me if I could just stop by a flower shop and take the photos.  If a florist told me the names of the things they'd get a free photo and could sit down once in awhile and drink beer with me.

The trip to the Flower Festival on IeShima this weekend was a real adventure.  It all started with me getting a black eye before I even got on the boat.  Wow.  It's a good thing it wasn't my shootin' eye.

People on the boat, get out of your way real quick when you walk towards them with a black eye and blood running down your face.  So, it wasn't all bad.  It was kind of like being a VIP. 

Or, they thought I was some sort of crazy, violent person.  Hah, I was just going to shoot Easter Lilies!

There are plenty of other interesting things to do on the island of IeShima in Japan besides taking photos of flowers so, I did them, too.  It may take me some time to get caught up, then you'll get the rest of the story.

Safe and sound, back on the main island of Okinawa, Japan is where I'm at now.  A million lilies were fun to look at and take pictures of but, there are critters and caves I want to go back and see. I'll show you some examples as soon as the development is done.

The next time I visit that island, I might just stay for a week.  That'll be sometime after my face stops lookin' like I'm some kind of criminal and the weather is a little warmer.  Maybe, in the summer.


Thursday, April 20, 2017

Flowers: Deigo (Indian Coal Bean) Symbol of Okinawa

Deigo in bloom, Erythrina orientalis, flowers

The Prefecture Flower

These bright red blossoms were spotted along HWY 58 in Ogimi Village, Okinawa.

It seems like, I never catch the trees, when they are in full bloom.  These shots will have to do.

Deigo flower blossom, close-up

Moving around and using different focal lengths, I got a few different compositions.

The flowers only blossom for a few short months then, they disappear.

Flowers, Deigo, Erythrina orientalis

Some people think they can predict, how severe typhoon season will be, looking at them.

Well, I have news. It doesn't work. Typhoons are unpredictable. So, are these flowers.

It would have made more sense, to me if, they made Hibiscus the state flower.

But, back in 1972, the Deigo was selected. And, I ain't governor, yet.

Indian Coral Bean tree, Deigo

The botanical name is Erythrina orientalis. We just call them, "Deigo."

The flowers are a big attraction, for many people. I'm not wild about any flower.

Maybe, some of the ones which are edible, would be alright by me. I could eat them.

How About a Sketch Artist ?

For someone with the ability to draw or, sketch, these flowers could be a work of art.

Just as we decided to pull off the highway and, get some photos, it happened.

sketch artist, tree, flowers, Deigo

This gentleman was over by the fence, sketching the Deigo blossoms.

Of course, I greeted him and, took a peek at his work. Man's got some real talent.

After awhile, I sneaked around, to catch this shot, of him drawing. I envy the guy.

stickman sketches, weight training

These are some sketches on a wall in my office, to remind me of stuff, I'm supposed to do.

See, I can't even sketch a stickman, too well !

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Have You Ever Been Sucked Into an Iris Field ?

Iris fields and visitors Ogimi Okinawa

Dozens of Visits to Kojika Iris Fields

Poke the word "Iris" into the search block, up left and, you can see, I've been many times.

It's not because I'm all that thrilled about flowers. It's for everybody else, who might be.

Purple iris flowers in full bloom in Kijoka, Ogimi, Okinawa

Recently, I've been having sort of writer's block and, gave it some thought.

Doc and I discussed it.  Maybe, it's because, we visit the same places, too much.

Take photos of all the festivals, rituals, seasonal flowers, once and, you're done.

How many original writings, can you get, out of the same purple flowers?

Iris fields, hillsides, wide angle image

With a zoom lens, you can take close-up and wide-angle photos for variation.

And, moving around the area, get different scenery to display, for flower-loving folks.

Woman photographer in iris field

It's fun, to take shots of another, serious photographer, out shooting the iris blossoms.

We met earlier and, I forgot to get her name. She knew me from Facebook.

It's rewarding, to hear from people, following the blog. They thank me, for doing it.

Most of them recognize me because I'm always wearing a scraggly beard and flip-flops.

Usually, it's yellow flip-flops. Sometimes, I try, not-to-be so flashy and, wear green or blue.

Doesn't seem to fool them, though. Could it be, I should buy some new t-shirts?

Single iris blossom, close-up

A visit to the iris fields, wouldn't be complete if, a close-up shot of one blossom, wasn't taken.

This one had great color but, the wind didn't cooperate, while it was being composed.

Sometimes, I think some wire and clothespins, would be the way to go.

Move things around a bit and the rascals could be held still, for better photography.

Iris field with forest in background

After walking around a while, taking pictures, something dawned on me.

It seemed as if the fields behind us had flowers with more, deep purple colors.

Not sure if it was the way the clouded sun rays, were filtering the light, I decided to go check.

White Egret near iris field

As Doc and I header to the farther fields, we noticed this egret, entertaining itself.

That's a bird, I really don't need to photograph anymore but, what the heck.

Sometimes, they do something interesting. Fly into the flowers, you dummy!

It didn't do anything special, for me but, I saved the image anyway.

Uneventful Would Soon Slip Away

Really, I shouldn't say that.  Already, we had met two pretty girls and the guy with them.

He was six feet 10 inches tall. That's probably why I forgot to ask that girl her name.

Anyhow, over on the back side of the fields, the flowers were, more purple.

Vertical image, purple iris, close-up

One of the things, I always try to do, is get the Purple Dragon-looking Iris.

That would be, one that looks like a dragon, sticking its tongue out at you.

After capturing this one, it would have been alright, to call it a day and, go do lunch.

The flower colors were more awesome in this location but the paddy dikes were muddier.

Walk faster, is what I do when the mud starts trying to pull the flip-flops off my feet.

There were tracks of a wild boar, along the way. They were kind of small.

If a little piggy can make it through there, people should be able to, too. So, I figured.

Ryukyu Mike, leg slips off paddy dike in iris fields

The mud kept getting softer and softer and, I was going faster and faster.

Slipping and slopping, I was flip-flopping as fast as the legs could go when it happened.

The rest of the photography is courtesy of Doc, smart enough to stay behind me.

Ryukyu Mike struggling in the mud

The left leg, it appears, slipped down the dike, into something like quicksand.

This probably seems sort of humorous, to the average person but, it ain't, I swear.

Doc was back there saying, "You alright? Do you need help?" It wasn't alright.

When ya try to pull yourself out, it doesn't work too well.  Soon, ya sink in further.

Pulling the leg up a bit, lets air get in there and, I don't float on air so well.

Pretty soon, the mud was up to my knee. Shuck-noises come out of the mud.

And, the body gets to go in, deeper and deeper. "Stay back, Doc or, we're both going in."

Predicaments are things, I've gotten used to over the years. Where's a wrecker?

A winch with a long cable could drag me right out of the field.  But, there was none around.

Extracting Yourself

One.  This is a good excuse to keep your body in shape.

Two.  Don't try pulling your leg, straight up and out.

Three.  Curl your toes if, you don't want to lose a flip-flop.

Four.  Twist the leg left and right while pulling.

Five: Gurgle, gurgle, gurgle sounds are good. Mud is displacing your leg, coming out.

Muddied Ryukyu Mike, flip-flops off, iris field

Once, I was safely ashore, I gave Doc, thumbs up and posed with a broken flip-flop.

There was no sense, putting the things back on until we got to some clean water.

Walking the iris field paddy barefoot

Along the next dike of the paddies, I was more careful, watching my footing.

Soon, we would find fresh, running water, to wash the mud away and, salvage my footwear.

At home, the wife was thrilled with the flowers I gave her. Then, she noticed me and the mud.

Her: "What happened to you?"

Me: "Nothing. It'll be on the blog tomorrow.  I need a beer and a hot shower."

End of the Iris Adventure

Monday, April 17, 2017

Flower of the Day: Purple Iris

Okurareruka, Iris, flower, Kijoka, Okinawa

Fields of Purple

The Okurareruka (iris flowers) in Kijoka, Ogimi, Okinawa are going full bloom.

For tonight, I'll just give everyone a peek at this beauty. I have to run.

It was an adventurous day. I was almost, swallowed alive. More later.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 42MM

Exposure:  f/4.5  1/ 1600   ISO 400

Date and Time: APR 17  2017  10:41AM

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Osprey the Bird and Toenails

Osprey in flight with freshly caught fish

If It Wasn't for Facebook

This old photo would not have been resurrected from the files. A friend sent me something.

We were in northern South Vietnam many moons ago and, haven't seen each other since.

With all the modern technology, available these days, we're hooked-up on Facebook, now.

It's kinda neat.  We can joke with each other anytime of the day or night.

It would be even more fun if, they'd serve booze on Facebook. Maybe, that's next.

Anyhow, he sent me this cartoon of an old guy whispering, that made me think.

"Please do not wear flip flops if your feet look like they could swoop out of the sky and snatch
your dinner from a lake."

So, I went and cut my toenails !

Friday, April 14, 2017

Just Looking Down at Some Clouds

white clouds in blue sky

The thought had occurred to me. This could have been done a lot easier with a drone.

However, I'd probably have to take some tests and get an aviation license of some sort.

It was one of those days, I thought a simple image of skies and clouds, would be interesting.

The timing had to be right.  The sun in the right position behind me and shining.

And, the right formation of clouds, needed to blow through the photo frame.

Sometimes, terrific formations appeared but, the sunshine got blocked by clouds behind me.

There was plenty of work, to do in the office so, when skies turned grey I went back inside.

The steps, to the roof of my building, kind of zig-zag up to the roof.

Some are normal sized, others like some kind of giant steps. I have no idea why.

One of these days, I should count and see how many steps it takes, to get to the rooftop.

It's probably great exercise for the legs and, saves me the money, I'd have to spend on a drone.

This afternoon, I looked at this image and it reminded me of the muscle workout.

So, I laid down on my sleeping bag and took a four hour, recovery nap.

The photo was created on JAN 27, 2017 !