Monday, August 15, 2011

Photo Essay: A Ryukyu Mike Sunday. Can You Hang ?

Here's a photo shot from the doorway of My Place 12:08AM Sunday of an Eisa Group doing what they'd call Bon Odori up in mainland Japan. 

Here, in Okinawa it's called Eisa Dance and it can be seen anytime of year, not just during Obon season.

We also have this custom in Okinawa where Saturday night doesn't end until you go to sleep.  So, this photo was taken Saturday night, as far as I'm concerned.  There were a few of us drinking beer and running out in the street everytime we heard the drums of the Eisa Dancers nearby.

Lucky for me, a guy I'll start calling RyukyuRu volunteered to be my driver for Sunday.  That way I got to consume all the beers I wanted and wouldn't have to worry about driving under the influence, which happens to be  A SERIOUS CRIME IN JAPAN.   I was home sometime early in the morning.  I remember, it was daylight after I walked the dogs.  So, I turned off the porch light and ZZZzzzzzzz....

By 9AM or so I was in my office chugging iced coffee and doing my Homepage Photo of the Day, blog post and groaning stuff like "I'll never drink again until next time".

Around noon RyukyuRusty and RyukyuRu were here and we goofed off for awhile before heading out to try and pinpoint the exact location of this waterfall.  This shot was taken at 2:41PM from a bridge along an expressway where people drive like they own race cars.


Rusty had to go do Obon stuff with RyukyuRusty's fiance so he left.  I was convinced, if we took some of the backroads and looked around for access roads and trails, we'd find a way to get closer to that waterfall.  

We discovered a trail, alright.  It lead us through the woods, buzzing with mosquitos, up to this place where someone was raising honey bees.  So, I shot this photo at 3:33PM and we got the heck out of there.

RyukyuRu started up a site called MAPITOKINAWA and it's attracting quite a following, so he's always looking for off-the-beaten-path locations. 

I had plenty of time to kill because the main event I needed to shoot wouldn't happen until 8 at night. 

As long as he was driving I figured we'd hit some of the places in Yomitan that I'd already been.

The blog post I did on this Buddhist Statue was probably the most controversial one I've ever done.  I guess it'd be a toss up between the Buddhist Statue of Shinran Shonin in NYC and some comments I made about a Gal who wants to be President of the USA shooting mooses.

This photo was taken at 4:45PM Sunday.  I think I'll just be a cameraman and leave the politics and religion stuff to other people who think they're smarter than me.  Hah !


At 5:27 I took this photo.  That's three times in about a week I've been to this site but, Ru had never been here before and this is definitely an out of the way location which isn't on the beaten path.

It was 5:43PM when I took this shot and to tell the truth, we were lost when we discovered it.  I'll take a wild guess and say it's probably an UTAKI.  RyukyuRu can do the research and pinpoint the location. 

I just love getting lost on Okinawa.  It's an island so, sooner or later, some road will lead to the ocean !


We got to Zakimi Castle, the UNECSO World Heritage Site just as the sun started getting low in the sky. 

I've never been here at sunset so, I was having a blast looking at the way the light fell on the castle walls from different angles.  It's 6:26PM in this photo.

Not much of a history fan when I was growing up this kind of stuff would bore me.  Now, I'm older and wiser.  If you went this way to attack the castle back in the old days, you were in for a surprise.  It leads to a dead end.  The defenders of the castle, from the walls above, would simply drop rocks on your head.  When I was a kid I liked throwing rocks.  Teachers just didn't know how to make history fun. 

Oh, almost forgot, it's 6:31 in this photo.


Once we got inside the castle I got on top of the walls and looked for places where you could catch the low rays of the setting sun.  Time: 6:57PM.


This shot was taken with my back towards the ocean and the sun setting behind me at 7:12PM.

Here's where you'd go if you wanted rocks dropped on your head during an attack on the castle. 7:14PM.

The moment I was waiting for happened in this photo at 7:18PM.  No tourists moving in the scene, just a guy and his beer cooler watching the moon rise over Zakimi-jo Castle in Okinawa, Japan.

For a parting shot, I like to get in a position and take a photo that gives a sense of how it might appear to a resident of the castle, centuries ago.  No cellphone towers, tourists running around with their cameras, just a simple view of the moon rising outside a castle wall.  Feel the quiet.


RyukyuRu had to be awake at 4AM to get ready for work so we headed back towards Kin Village.  We stopped near this Lady Liberty Statue because I'd heard of a place we might get to see some Seaturtles hatch and make the mad dash for the sea.  This photo was taken at 8:53PM.

It's not like this every Sunday, only when it doesn't rain.  I could use a few more backup drivers for Ryukyu Mike Sunday's if anyone is interested.  The pay is just job satisfaction.  Can you hang ?


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