Wednesday, December 11, 2019

December 2019 Full Moon Over Okinawa

astronomy, Kin, full moon, Okinawa

Next One Happens in 2020

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 MM with 1.4 Converter - Focal Length 420 MM

Exposure: f/11   1/25   ISO 100

Location: Kin Town, Okinawa, Japan

Date and Time: DEC 12 2019  06:14 AM

Monday, December 2, 2019

12 Scenes from the Kin Town 2019 Nuchigusui Festival

Mental and Physical Good Health

That's what it's really all about, nuchigusui - Okinawan language for well being.

Take a sip of a healthy, refreshing drink or, chomp down on some delicious Ryukyuan food.

Sniff the air and get a whiff of some soothing flowers and say, "Nuchigusui yaasa."

That'd be like saying, "Feels good."  What about seeing some boobs?  Wait 'til later.

archway, entrance, festival, Kin Town, Okinawa, Nuchigusui

Shortly after 10 AM, on a Sunday when the weather was predicted to turn, here's the entrance.

Anytime the sun shines in December, I'm feeling nuchigusui with that!

A light jacket or long-sleeved shirt would be all that's required on a day like this.

chickens, festival, food, healthy, Okinawa

On the way to the festival food and flower displays, I spotted these caged chickens.

Dozens of roosters and hens were there but, really didn't cooperate with the camera.

Some fancy varieties of chickens were there and, I don't think they were for eating.

Hoping to see some of the "other white meat" I walked around looking for some piglets.

Nope, no porker would be seen. Pigs would have posed. I get along just fine with pigs.

AED, festival, fireman, health, heart, Okinawa, Nuchigusui

Moving along to the main attractions, I knew I would be indoors or, under a roof outdoors.

On the second floor of a community center, I spotted firemen training families.

Here, a father has his children learning how to use an AED machine.

That's a pretty neat skill for children to know. They could save a life someday!

academy, students, rehabilitation, Kin, Okinawa, health

Members of the Ryukyu Rehabilitation Academy maintained stations in several areas.

Here they were doing some sort of posture analytics on volunteers. I declined.

With an aching back from over-exercising the night before, I had another plan.

There were about a dozen massage tables set up and, I could sure use a free massage.

Too many volunteers were waiting at the massage area so, I had to move along.

Mental and physical nuchigusui stuff was out of the way for today.

food, gals, cooking, health, festival, Okinawa

 Next, it was time to go downstairs to check out the foods and flowers.

The location was outdoors, sort of in a huge parking area. Windy but not wet.

Every kind of healthy festival food you could imagine was being cooked and served.

When hauling around a camera, I'm not really interested in eating.

Everybody was friendly and some tried to give me free samples but, I couldn't eat.

Ever try operating chopsticks and shooting a DSLR at the same time? Me neither.

fair, festival, flowers, Kin Town, Okinawa, nuchigusui

Looking at colorful flowers, smelling them or, gardening, I'm not sure which is healthy.

Maybe, all three. All I know, for sure is, the prices for buying them weren't all that much.

The wife wasn't allowed to see this photo until the day after. Too late to buy any now!

What About the Boobs?

That part comes a little bit later. This is a festival sort of event, not pole dancing. OK?

Making the rounds under fairly horrible lighting conditions, I was bouncing around.

I'm deciding what to photograph with families continuously moving through scenes.

festival, farmer, food, Hidehiko Ishizuka, pigs, pork, Okinawa

It seemed impossible to get a photo of this farmer's food and displays.

He was selling Okinawa's prized Agu Pig Pork servings, freshly grilled in his booth.

Noticing a photo of him posing with  Hidehiko Ishizuka, I asked if he could near it.

Ishizuka is sort of a comedian, food sampler, traveler, TV star in Japan.

Wouldn't it be neat if, he went drinking with me someday?

festival, food, nuchigusui, Okinawa, people

Here's what the open-air-sorta-garage looked like.

Families are seated at folding tables and chairs, sampling the health foods.

The food, flower and plant booths surround the tables and other displays.

My favorite activity would take place here, not outdoors as usual.

festival, health, nuchigusui, Okinawa, sweet potatoes, taimo

The closest thing to natural, outdoor lighting, was this display.

Pictured in the background, are the Taimo fields of Kin Town.

On display are some taimo plants (sweet potato) and produce.

Titty and Nipples Are You Ready?

Before anyone goes screaming off to the police station, let me explain.

This is supposed to be a blog the whole family could read.

fox fruit, nipple fruit, plant, Solanum mammosum, Okinawa

Some fruits and plants must be Nuchigusui, just to look at.

What some people call Fox Fruit is in the photo above. They are poison so, don't eat any.

Titty Fruit, Nipple Fruit, and Cow's Udder are some of the other names for this plant.

Learn more about this yellow fruit from a lady at Japan Times.

My favorite part of the Nuchigusui Fest is featured here.

Better than carving a Thanksgiving Turkey is the cutting of a maguro.

Each year this knife-wielding chef, butchers a tuna, right before your eyes.

It doesn't take 10 minutes for him to hack that fish to pieces.

He's talking through a microphone so, you can learn how to carve a fish, too.

When he's done, the fish gets carried away and cut into smaller servings.

Then, the crowd line up, to get some maguro sashimi, for free!

Tuesday, November 12, 2019

Monday, October 14, 2019

OCT 2019 Full Moon Over Okinawa

astronomy, moon, Okinawa, Japan

Moon at 99.7% Full

Camera: Pentax K1

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

Exposure:  f/16   1/13 sec   ISO 100

Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  OCT 13 2019  6:57 PM

Friday, September 27, 2019

Smiling Crescent Moon Over Okinawa

astronomy, crescent, moon, Okinawa, smiling

New Moon Coming Soon

Early this morning while walking the dog I noticed the moon appeared to be smiling.

Just a little bit over 5 1/2% of the moon is visible. It's called a Waning Crescent.

The New Moon (which isn't visible) happens at 3:26 AM, the day after tomorrow.

Thinking, it may be raining for tomorrow's moon viewing, I shot this image today.

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 MM with 1.4 Converter for Focal Length 420 MM

Exposure: f/16   .8 sec   ISO 100

Location: Rooftop of my house in Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time: SEP 27 2019 5:10 AM

Checkout the moon phases in your hometown at my favorite Moon Phases Site.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

SEP 2019 Full Moon Over Okinawa

astronomy, full moon, Kin Town, Okinawa

Camera: Pentax K1

Lens: Pentax 300 MM with 1.4 converter Focal Length 420 MM

Exposure: f/5.6  1/500  ISO 100

Location: Kin Town Okinawa Japan

Date and Time:  SEP 14 2019  4:55 AM

Monday, August 19, 2019

What'n Hell Is a Faceburger?

First Time I Heard of It

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.

food, Faceburger, hamburger, Kin Town, Okinawa, restaurants

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.

Burgers, Jumbo, menu, Gate-1, restaurant, Kin Town, Okinawa

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!

Gate-1, food, Kin Town, Okinawa, restaurant, menu

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

Just Call Them Ladies of the Week

dance, festival, matsuri, children, women, Okinawa, Ogimi, torii

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.

dance, festival, Ogimi, Okinawa, women

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!

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Final Night of Obon 2019 in Okinawa

Full Moon and Eisa

Just a quick post to show some of last night's activity under the August full moon.

astronomy, Eisa, full-moon, Obon, Okinawa

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.

dance, drums, Eisa, Obon, Okinawa

This group was performing in a parking lot, as I climbed the hill into town.

dance, drums, children, Eisa, Obon, Okinawa

Recently, children may be seen dancing and drumming along with the Eisa teams.

children, dance, drums, Eisa, Obon, Okinawa

Some of them have uniforms, just like the big guys.

dance, drums, Eisa, Obon, Okinawa

In town, you could hear the music and feel the ground shake.

dance, drums, jumping, Eisa, Okinawa

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.

10 Images from First 2 Days of Obon

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.

astronomy, moon, Obon, Okinawa

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.

dance, drums, Eisa, Okinawa

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.

culture, dance, drums, Eisa, Okinawa

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!

culture, Chondara, Eisa, Okinawa

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.

dance, Eisa, girls, Obon, Okinawa

Narrow, dark streets are light up by floodlights on vehicles accompanying the Eisa groups.

Sometimes, the lighting blinds the dancers and photographers, too.

culture, dance, Obon, Okinawa

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.

astronomy, moon, Obon, Okinawa

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.

culture, dance, drums, Eisa, Okinawa

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.

dance, Eisa, drums, jumping, Okinawa, Obon

Some of the most energetic Eisa drummers you'll ever see, perform with this group.

They really know how to jump and shout.

Chondara, culture, dance, Eisa, Obon, Okinawa

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

12 Images from 2019 Shinugu (シヌグ) in Ada Okinawa

culture, festival, matsuri, asagi, Okinawa, worship

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.

culture, drum, matsuri, trail, jungle, mountain, river, Okinawa, men

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.

drums, banana, field, men, women, rituals

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.

culture, branches, field, men, beating, women

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.

culture, men, matsuri, village, sacred, shrine, drums, Okinawa

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.

culture, festival, matsuri, Okinawa, ocean, prayer, men

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.

culture, matsuri, Okinawa, ocean, stripping, swimming

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.

Evening Activities

Asagi, dance, rituals, Okinawa, matsuri

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.

climax, culture, dance, Okinawa, rituals, men, pole

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.

culture, dance, virgins, women, rituals, kimonos, barefoot, Okinawa, Shinugu

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.

culture, dance, drum,Okinawa, Shinugu, women, nightime

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.