Monthly Archives: September 2012

2012 Kitadaito Festival Day 1

Every year on September 22 and 23 Kitadaito Village celebrates its largest Festival.  These dates mark the beginning of autumn.  Kitadaito also known as north Borodino island is a place of 12sq kilometers 320 kilometers east of the Okinawan mainland.  It is unique in that it was settled by residents of Hachijo Island (near Tokyo) but is part of Okinawa Prefecture.  Over the past 100 years the island has become a unique chanpuru (mix) of both cultures. After graduating from

Samurai Awakening is Here!

You’ve probably seen the links and photos for my YA Fantasy novel Samurai Awakening hovering in the side bar for a while now.  The novel was inspired by, and written during my time living on Kitadaito and Kume Islands in Okinawa.  It has been a long process, but the hardcover work is finally making its way to readers.  To celebrate, we’re giving away a few copies!  There are two giveaways open on Goodreads.  One for US residents, and another for those

Deep-Sea Water Uses

As promised, this is a follow-up to the post earlier this week on International Cooperation in Green Energy.  Today I’ll share a few of the many uses of the mineral rich Deep-Sea water  used on Kume Island and also a byproduct of some green OTEC power generators.  The cold water at the bottom of the ocean is rich in nutrients and minerals, but since it is far from photosynthesizing phytoplankton (plant plankton) is limited in oxygen.  When that cold water

International Cooperation in Green Energy and Beyond

Last week I wrote about an interesting ceremony where Sake was used as a metaphor for the growing relationship among diverse parties.  That ceremony was part of a larger event recognizing the sister city partnership between Kumejima Town and Hawai’i Country and a series of workshops to investigate the future of Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion (OTEC) at both localities.  It might seem like a simple enough thing, but there are a lot of things going on within this partnership, and just

Sake as a Metaphor

A few weeks ago I wrote about the traditional use of sake at ceremonies on Kume Island in Okinawa.  That ceremony was a yearly event with a long history.  This past week, I was present at another, modern event that had a very different, yet interesting use for the local brew of awamori.  Kume Island hosted the third International Ocean Energy Workshop as part of a larger collaboration with Hawai’i County.  The purpose of the meeting was to consider the

Ceremony for a New Japanese House

This past week I was invited to attend a ceremony commemorating the construction of a new house.  Houses are pretty important in Japan.  Traditionally, families tend to stay on the same land for generations.  With today’s technology, houses are also expected to last a long time.  The construction of a new house, then is an important occasion for the family, community, and even the construction crew responsible for its creation.  When the concrete settles, an event is held to make

School Lunch in Japan September 3-7

Monday September 3 Milk, pork curry rice with pickled vegetable, fruit salad with beans Although we had school last week and lunch to go with it, the official start of the second semester began with September.  It’s common to begin and end with favorites, so today we had curry rice with thinly sliced pork worked in and a side of fruit cocktail and beans for extra protein.  It may be hard to see, but there were also a bit of

Tsunami Drills at School in Japan

Growing up, I remember seeing the red bells along school halls, and wondering when they would ring to let us outside for a bit.  Fire Drills were a common enough event, but in Arizona there is little fear of earthquake, tornado, or other natural disaster.  I didn’t experience my first quake until I came to Japan and was working out in my garden.  There was a noise like a big truck driving by, windows shook, and the ground moved a

2012 Kyubon Eisa

This past week was the Kyureki Calendar based obon festival in Okinawa.  On Kumejima, I was able to attend the Gima and Higa festivals which both took place at the same time, on the second day of kyubon.  I found it extremely interesting how different the two festivals were, even though they are on the same small island.  Just as every family that celebrates Christmas does it in slightly different ways, so too, do different families and even neighborhoods celebrate