Monday, August 19, 2019
That's exactly what I said one night in an entertainment district of Nago, Okinawa.
A gal who spoke English asked where I came from and I said, "Kin Town."
She said she likes to go there to buy Faceburgers. They sold them at King Tacos.
Her explanation was, "It's a hamburger, as big around as an Okinawan's face."
Now, you know what a Faceburger is, too.
Over the years, I've met many Okinawans, who call the huge hamburgers, Faceburgers.
They are getting hard to come by these days but, I found one to show you.
First I should explain something. Last night I went out and tipped a few too many.
Today, I was feeling rather extinguished. So, I decided to buy supper out in town.
That way the little lady, wouldn't have to fire up the stove and have a hot kitchen.
The burger on the right is a normal-sized hamburger. Mine is on the left.
That's a Faceburger from Gate 1 but, they call it Jumbo Burger.
Don't try ordering a Faceburger, young folks won't understand you.
It's best to just point at things on the menu if, you can't speak the local language.
Any of those 450 Yen Jumbo Burgers would be the Faceburger not, the 300 Yen size.
My favorite is the Jumbo Pork Cutlet Burger.
If they had a real USDA 100% Beef Hamburger I'd be willing to pay 10 bucks for one.
One of these days, I might have to open my own damn Faceburger Joint. Hah!
For folks interested in other types of junk food, I took these iPhone menu shots.
The staff at Gate-1 were nice to me and fixed my food in a hurry.
So, feeling not-as-extinguished as I did before eating, I thought I'd share the menus with y'all.
End of Report
Ogimi Ungami 2019
Ungami is a matsuri (festival) held in northern Okinawa on one of the hottest days of the year.
Luckily, some cloud cover and a gang of cooperative gals helped with the photography.
There is plenty of activity at this festival such as prayers, dance and boat races.
It can be frustrating, trying to compose decent photos at a matsuri.
Sometimes hundreds of photographers show up at these cultural events and, ruin the day.
Yesterday was no exception and we sneaked away from the crowds to find these ladies.
They were practicing dances before entering the congested area of the festival.
Prints will be made and brought to the Community Center, I promised.
The highlight of my day at the festival was being part of an audience of two, right here.
We were away from the crowds and got treated like royalty!
MORE: Festival in Ogimi
Thursday, August 15, 2019
Full Moon and Eisa
Just a quick post to show some of last night's activity under the August full moon.
This photo was taken shortly after 8 PM with 420 MM worth of lens on the Pentax K1.
Before leaving the house to chase Eisa, I climbed up on the roof for this shot.
That way, the heavy lens, and tripod could be left behind, to lighten my load.
This group was performing in a parking lot, as I climbed the hill into town.
Recently, children may be seen dancing and drumming along with the Eisa teams.
Some of them have uniforms, just like the big guys.
In town, you could hear the music and feel the ground shake.
If there was an award for the best jumping act by an Eisa team, these guys would win!
By 11 PM I was exhausted from watching Eisa and headed home.
Of course, all that work made me hungry so, I grabbed a chicken salad going out of town.
When Ancestors Spirits Visit
The past few evenings I've been out chasing the Eisa teams in Kin Town.
A few times the moon at less than 100% full, peeked through the clouds.
Tonight is the final evening of Obon and, the full moon, as well.
Here's a shot of the moon taken from my house on the 13th of August 2019.
Not completely round, it's at about 98% full but, I figured it would be best to capture now.
A typhoon to the north has been bringing plenty of clouds over our island.
Eisa photography actually began in the afternoon, where these characters performed.
It was at the old folks home in my neighborhood and the team was well received.
It would be after 9 PM before I saw any Eisa groups downtown
Notice, some little tykes are part of the Eisa crowd these days.
It seems there are too many old folks and, not enough youngsters to perform Eisa these days!
The Chondara (sort of a clown) entertains those on the sidelines.
They also, bring cold drinks to the Eisa dancers, to keep them energized on these hot nights.
Narrow, dark streets are light up by floodlights on vehicles accompanying the Eisa groups.
Sometimes, the lighting blinds the dancers and photographers, too.
Close to 10:30 PM this dancer was well lighted in front of a white background.
He's performing in front of a restaurant, so new, I haven't figured out what it is named, yet.
Last night's moon was at a bit over 99% full so, I grabbed this shot, while I could.
The moon will be full at around 9:30 tonight but, may not appear over Okinawa.
Wait and see.
It's a good thing those drums are loud. We wouldn't want to see anyone fall asleep.
Look at the little guy (upfront), his eyes are wide open. It's past 10:30 PM.
Some of the most energetic Eisa drummers you'll ever see, perform with this group.
They really know how to jump and shout.
Close to midnight, I photographed this Chondara and, got thinking.
It would be best, to hurry home and get some sleep.
That way, I'd be refreshed for the final night of moon and Obon photography.
To be continued.....
Friday, August 9, 2019
Different Sort of Matsuri
Activities take place at several locations, during this festival, starting and ending here.
The straw-roofed structure is known as an asagi or Kami-Asagi.
Consider it a worship house, a place where a priestess prays to the sacred deities.
Arriving at the village of Ada a bit late, I missed the prayers at this location and moved on.
Being a bit late gave me an excuse to skip climbing the mountains in the blistering hot sun.
The men (decorated with vegetation) came down from the hills on a trail bordering the river.
Following the drummer, they are chanting "Hey, Ho, Hoi" or something like that.
Three groups of men following drummers, converge on this field bordered with banana plants.
Women are waiting in the open space, where the men circle around them.
The guys used tree branches to shoo away evil spirits up in the hills above the village.
Down on the outskirts of town, they use the sticks to swat evil spirits out of their women!
It's not some sort of domestic violence. Just ritual smacks of the sticks on the gal's heads.
Look close enough and you can see them smiling or laughing.
At some of the homes in the village, I noticed mothers holding their children up to be swatted.
A sacred grove, in the center of the village, is visited by the chanting, drumming men.
Only about five minutes is spent here circling the area before, shooing away evil spirits.
Facing the sea, men kneel and pray for a good catch and safety during the season.
Rituals and prayers have been conducted in the fields, on the mountains, and along the shore.
After marching under the hot sun, it's time to get rid of the itchy decorations of the jungle.
A quick dip in the ocean cools our heroes off before they head back into town.
Many of them will jump in the river, to rinse off the saltwater before heading home.
About a three-hour break in the schedule takes place before the next events.
A field in front of the Kami-Asagi becomes center stage for the rest of the festival.
To the sound of Sanshin (3 stringed banjoes) a ritual dance is performed.
Women give the orders here, instructing men on the planting of rice.
Let's just call this a pole dance, the men are doing. Women are watching the men smiling, too.
When they poke that thing into the straw roof, I guess that could be considered the climax.
As the sun begins dipping below the mountains, women perform dances in their kimonos.
Ahum, eligible females would be wearing white uniforms. Other gals are leading the dance.
Before long, it becomes dark outside and the dances become more quickly paced.
Visitors along the sidelines are sitting on mats eating and drinking alcoholic spirits.
Time for me, to put the cameras away and do some socializing before, heading home.
Related Post: The Mountains and Ocean Are Calling Me
Monday, July 29, 2019
Camera: Pentax K1
Lens: Pentax 300MM + 1.4 converter Focal Length 420MM
Exposure: f/5.6 1/2000 ISO 400
Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan
Date and Time: JUL 29 2019 7:13AM
Wednesday, July 24, 2019
Monday, July 22, 2019
Hundreds of Photos Were Taken
Yesterday two summer festivals (matsuri) took place at Kin Dam.
The Kin Dam Festival and the 20th annual Kin Eisa Matsuri were held in a dam park.
On a July afternoon the temperatures outside are almost unbearably sticky hot.
The Dam Matsuri took place from 10 AM until 5 PM. I skipped that one!
Arriving early enough to check some camera positions out, I stayed mostly in the shade.
The smells of food cooking in festival tents, drifted over my way and was irresistible.
So, I went and gobbled some food (you don't want to hear about) down.
Then, walked over to these Chondara dudes and asked if, I could take their photo.
Chondara, also known as Gajan Gani, are sorta friendly clowns.
After showing them how the photo looked on the camera LCD screen I said "Thanks" and left.
There never used to be children, doing the Eisa dances at festivals, in years gone by.
But, recently you may see kids out dancing with the adults almost anywhere.
Not sure if these are sisters or, mother and daughter, I didn't bother to ask.
Whoever the children are, they must practice plenty because they're really good.
The timing of their movements is excellent and, they even know how to chant and shout.
It isn't just the young girl children out there; boys get in on the act too.
These guys bang the drums, just like the big men do and, they do some high stepping, too.
One toddler was probably too small for the Eisa uniforms but, got to dance anyway.
Other little kids on the sidelines sorta kept cheering him on. Bet they envied him!
The light started fading as the sun crept down behind the mountains and I was glad.
A gentle breeze would soon start cooling things down out on that hot field.
It's difficult taking photos of the dancers, with all the guests surrounding the performers.
You're not allowed to just kick grandmas and grandpas, to get them out of the way. Rats.
Sundown Saved the Day
There are always plenty of people who know me, at these events and we get to chat.
The hardest part, is when they try bringing me some saki or beers.
Usually, I tell them I'm working and can't drink until I finish. They understand.
The Gajan Gani (Chondara/Clowns) from Nakagawa performed here.
They got their district started with the night's Eisa dances and, they were great performers.
Had there been a competition among the Eisa groups, these folks would have won!
Nakagawa, had some little tyke drummers, too.
This would be the last group I photographed doing their dances. Time to leave the crowd.
Hanabi or Fireworks Next on the Schedule
It happens to me all the time. The fireworks go off right where you don't want them to be.
Heading away from the crowds, I set my camera and tripod up at the edge of a field.
The first few blasts took place almost directly overhead.
Knowing I probably wouldn't be getting any award winning photos, I didn't cuss.
All you can do is move the camera lens around and hope for the best.
It's alright to cuss, too. Just do it softly so, nobody can hear you.
The wind was blowing but, all the smells and smoke of the fireworks hung in the air.
Next year if this matsuri is in the same location, I'll distance myself from the explosions.
Like, get up on a hill away from the fairgrounds and maybe get some reflections in water.
It was a festival at a dam. Why didn't I think about reflection shots? Dammit!
My parting shot. I'll call it, "Sunflower."
Wednesday, July 17, 2019
Tuesday, July 16, 2019
Monday, July 15, 2019
Sunrise Began Looking Unimpressive
Taking a circuitous route to the beach, at first, I was disappointed.
Umi no Hi (Ocean Day) only comes once a year. It's the third Monday in July.
Before 5 AM the long hike to a remote beach began. I wanted to catch the sunrise.
Clouds blocked the sun along the horizon. I shrugged and headed west along the beach.
Ten minutes later, the sun started to burn through the cloudy horizon.
By 6 AM I had positioned the camera where this reflection would appear.
"Happy Umi no Hi," I posted on Facebook, a similar iPhone image.
One Camera One Lens
Traveling light, there was just a camera (no tripod) and I went without a backpack.
Pentax K1 and a Pentax 18-250MM were slung from my shoulder.
When I'm out hunting wild things, 300-700MM of lenses may accompany me.
Today, I was limited to 250MM of glass, at the maximum.
Bird shots were difficult but, some dragonflies cooperated with the photography.
This Red Dragonfly happened to land on some vegetation with a white background.
Scientists claim the red ones are scarce in mainland Japan due to pesticides.
They're nowhere near extinct in Okinawa, Japan. I see them daily.
Bird of the Day: Streaked Fantail Warbler
Far from the ocean and headed home, this bird appeared and was a challenge for the camera.
Zitting Cisticola is another name for them but, I call them Scissors Birds.
That's because of the sounds they make when flitting around in fields.
They could be mistaken for a barber shop's squeaky scissors. Snip, snip, snip, snip, snip.
Normally, my view of the Kin Power Plant is from another direction.
This composition was made using local vegetation as the foreground.
Ocean Day, in Japan, was established to express gratitude for the sea and its bounty.
For me, today was another day I'm happy about everything nature has provided.
That's blue skies, sunshine, bugs, birds and, an occasional cloud overhead.