Thursday, July 31, 2014

Me and this Ryukyu Island Pine Tree: L'il Rant

Pinus luchuensis,Okinawa Pine

Hunting for Special Trees



It started one day, last week, when a friend asked if I could locate a tree.

He has a  black and white picture, taken somewhere around 1950.

A few prints, were made and along with Doc Graff, the search began.

Our first stop was on the northeastern side of Okinawa.

That's where we discovered this Ryukyu Pine.

Looking around at the background and taking photos from several angles, convinced us.

Although, it's big and impressive, it wasn't the tree we were searching for.

The tree, is special or, it wouldn't have this sign posted nearby.

So, I shot the sign and some other items in the area, for further investigation.

Without any help translating, I gained some information.

For example, the tree is 220-250 years old and, I have a Latin name.

Making Friends Searching for Trees



The folks in the neighborhood of that pine tree were helpful.

Once they saw what we were trying to accomplish, they showed an interest in helping.

They agreed, we had found the wrong tree and gave us some suggestions.

They even offered some sake, to drink. It wasn't lunchtime, yet !

Nice people but, we had work to do.  So, I'll visit again, sometime.


Off to the Other Side of the Island



Up and down the west coast, we went, showing the photo of the old, special tree.

Over there, people were helpful, too.

They did stuff, like pull history books off the shelf, searching for that picture.

And, passing the photo around, gave us directions to another huge, historical tree.

But, it didn't turn out to be the one we were hunting for, either.

More on than gem, at a later date.

The rest of the story about this Ryukyu Pine, is more important.

Going 'Round and 'Round



It would probably be a good idea to go get a translator for this sort of thing.

But, I decided to try and do it on my own.

They have these online services, you can use, for free.

Take a JPEG image and get it scanned at one of them, by uploading the photo.

And, the thing turns it into a downloadable document.

So, I tried a few, using the photo, of the sign above. But, some won't read Japanese.

Once, I figured that out, I thought I had it made and, sent the image in for processing.

Then, downloaded the document, copied and pasted it into Google Translate.

And, it told me this:

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So much more could have been learned, sitting with those guys and a bottle of sake !

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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Staying High and Dry Waiting for Storms to Blow By


View from Hills of Ogimi



There are a few little tropical storms brewing out over the ocean.

Nothing to panic about but, there will be plenty of rainfall the rest of this week.

We headed north this morning, to get out and soak up a bit of sunshine and fresh air.

It sprinkled rain, on and off, a few times but, there was sunshine, too.

When the temperatures and humidity hit the 90's, I don't mind getting rained on a bit.
At higher elevations, the breeze felt good, as long as there was some shade available.

 Looking down at Shioya Bay, I decided to take advantage of the blue skies in this scene.

The Shioya bridge is in the lower third of the frame.

Out in the center, a little rain squall is passing through, dropping 100% humidity to earth.

This is a scene, I'd like to re-create, on a nice clear day.

For Those Concerned About the Storms



There's really no reason, to panic. It looks like Okinawa won't have a big typhoon.

Those, around the globe, interested in watching the weather, may follow these sites:

If you like Fahrenheit and miles per hour:  AccuWeather 

For anyone using the metric system:  Japan Meterological Agency 

Living in a tropical paradise, storms can be expected, sometimes.

It's a good idea to plan for the worst and hope for the best.

So, my plan consists of, going to get some candles, flashlight batteries and beer !

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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Travel Photo: Onna-son Sunset

tree, cabana,beach,silhouette

This photo was taken, about a year ago, as the sun was setting.

Sometimes, after the sun dips below the horizon, I wait and watch for scenes like this.

When the clouds are right, you can get all sorts of colors in the sky.

Living on the east coast of the island, we don't get sunsets, just sunrises.

 Camera: Pentax K5

Lens: Pentax 18-250 at 18mm

Exposure: f/22   1/2sec   ISO 100

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Monday, July 28, 2014

Yonabaru Tug-O-War 5 Motion GIFs

 A Centuries Old Tradition




This tsunahiki (tug-o-war) has been going on in Okinawa, Japan for over 400 years.

And, there were probably 10,000 or more participants on the field, yesterday.

Here's a peek, at what, I saw through the camera viewfinder, before the tug started.

tug-o-war parade, motion GIF

Just like anywhere else in the Ryukyu islands, the rope comes in two sections.

The ropes were carried in a procession, with royalty being carried on top.

parade,Yonabaru,tsunahiki 2014, GIF

The teams, challenging each other come from the east or, west sides of town.

The folks, riding the ropes, wear period costumes from the old Ryukyu Dynasty.

Once the parade entered the field, I followed them inside, to get a closer look.

lively crowd,tug-o-war

There was a pretty lively crowd crowd in there.

For a second or two, I wished the cameras would have stayed at home.

women dancing,kimonos

All these gals, wearing summer kimonos were dancing and chanting.

And, some of them were offering me cups of, whatever they were drinking.

Dang.  I like drinking but, I had work to do.

So, I politely turned down the drink and just did a little dance with them.

joining of the ropes,GIF
While they were laughing, they quit flapping their arms around and, quit wiggling.

That gave me a chance, to zoom-in and get this shot.

This shows the wooden pole, used to join the two ropes together.

Coverage of This Event Requires a Team



This year, I got in with the crowd. The tug, started rather quickly.

That was when, I decided, it was time to climb a building, in order to view the rope.

By the time, I found enough elevation, the tug was over.

Next year, I know exactly where, I want to be, to catch that part of the event.

The Ryukyu Shimpo posted this video from 2011 on YouTube.

It gives an excellent presentation of the sights and sounds, you would encounter.

Read the Ryukyu Shimpo article (English) for more information.

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