Monthly Archives: April 2013

Magnesium Light – A Clean, Green Lightsource

Have you ever heard of an Mg Battery? Magnesium is a common element, in fact it’s even the 8th most common element.  When made into small particles, it burns with a bright light, is very light, and is easily recycled. Magnesium can also be obtained from seawater.  Recently, the Okinawa Deep Sea Water Research Institute completed the creation of an Ocean Thermal Energy Conversion power plant.  That plant uses mineral-rich cold water from deep in the ocean to drive an

Ryukyu Hawk Owl

I don’t always bring my camera with me, but since today was an ensoku before the start of Golden Week, I brought my Canon to school.  When I got there, a crowd of students were staring out the window at a small bird sitting on the ground outside.  As young boys do, one of them prodded it with a broom handle.  A teacher told him off and I ran back to the car for my bag. The little Ryukyu Hawk

2013 School Trip – Day 1

One significant modern rite-of-passage for young people in Japan are school trips.  Generally, there is a school trip for elementary, junior high, and high school levels.  For Junior High students, the school trip occurs in the second year and is three to four days in another prefecture.  For students in many schools in Okinawa, the school trip destination of choice is Kyushu. This year, I was able to go on the school  trip as the photographer for two of my

The Threat of Rural Depopulation in Japan

As the weather starts to warm throughout Japan, sakura blossoms mark the beginning of a new season, yet they are a temporary beauty that fades quickly. On Kumejima, three schools welcomed new classes of first-year students. Like the sakura that decorate the classrooms, this year marks a period of transition. For two of those schools, it is their last School Entrance Ceremony. After this year, both schools will close. Just ten years ago, the population of Kumejima was nearly 10,000

Advanced Chahan Recipe – Okinawan Fried Rice

By far my most popular post on More Things Japanese is my easy recipe for Chahan.  This time around, I wanted to share a slightly more time-consuming, but even tastier recipe for those of you who love Chahan.  As with my advanced recipe for miso soup, it is all made from scratch, including the dashi. Ingredients  5 cups water 1 piece conbu 1 cup packed bonito flakes 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil 1/2 onion 170g sausage 1 pack mushrooms

Hoko Garden – Himeji City

The Koko-en or Koko Garden is located just west of Himeji Castle in Himeji City.  If you’re walking from the main train station, it is to the left of the castle grounds on the other side of the moat.  According to the visitor’s pamphlet, the garden was completed in 1992 and is situated where the samurai beholden to the local domain once lived. The day I visited, the weather was overcast, but I found the expansive garden a great place