Author Archives: BenMartin

2014 Kume Island Folk Song Competition

This past Saturday on Kume Island was the 5th annual Folk Song Competition (古典民謡大会). Music is one of the keys to maintaining tradition and culture. Encouraging people to not only listen but create music helps keep local culture alive. Sponsored by the local Board of Education, this year’s event has grown to include competitors from around Japan and even the world. Participants register in advance for this competition, choosing one of 3 songs. With only one chance at their performance

Upcoming Event in Okinawa

If you’ve been checking in on More Things Japanese over the past month and noticed there haven’t been many posts… It’s because I took a bit of time off to work. With a few special projects I haven’t had the time it takes to edit photos, write, and create quality blog posts. I should be able to get back to sharing more of Japan with you very soon. In the mean time, I want to share some information about a

Kite Surfing Hateno Beach

One of the great attractions of Kume Island is the amazing white sand beaches, especially the chain of offshore sandbars known collectively as Hateno-hama. Just before Typhoon 1408 hit I had another chance to visit the beach with this year’s Nakasato Exchange. While the students were swimming and playing on the Nakano sandbar, I spotted a few kite surfers enjoying the mild winds and surf on Meenu Beach. Though I’ve never kite surfed, it was an amazing chance to get

Baby Blue Rock Thrush

One of the most prolific birds on Kume Island is the blue rock thrush. It’s a loud yet interesting species of bird that I’ve managed some decent photos of in the past. This time around I had a unique chance to get up-close and personal with a baby blue rock thrush (while being careful not to interfere. My gopro helped me out with that). One morning we woke to a chirping and rainstorm. The source was the baby bird, stuck

Goya Season is Back

One of the most popular keywords that brings new visitors to my blog is Goya (aka bitter melon). One of my very first posts back in 2010 included goya in a recipe. I’m thrilled to see that goya awareness has grown so much over the past few years. If you’re looking for an in-depth article on growing or cooking with this healthy plant check out THIS POST. With 2014 well underway we’re heading into goya season, and although my current

A Kume Island Wedding

This past weekend I had a chance to attend my third wedding in Japan. All three took place in Okinawa, which means the ceremony and traditions are slightly different from what you’ll find in mainland Japan. Since I’ve just begun planning my own wedding later this year, I’ve got a lot more interest in the whole spectacle than I’ve ever had before. Okinawan weddings differ most in the number of attendees. Where eighty guests might be considered large for a

2014 Firefly Festival

First off, thanks for sticking with me during my last two weeks off. With Golden Week and a lot going on at OTEC Okinawa I haven’t had as much time to devote to the blog as I would like. A few weeks ago Kume Island celebrated Spring with its annual Firefly Festival. Though one of the smaller festivals it turned out to be quite a lot of fun. The Firefly festival takes place along jinjin (named for the sound describing

Rice in Japan

With rice being a staple of the Japanese diet for hundreds of years, to the point where it was the basis of currency in the Tokugawa era, there is a lot of importance and variety to rice in Japan. For much of Japan’s history rice was grown by peasants for the use of upper classes. Though they grew it, they lived on lesser grains and grasses and it became a food they might only eat on special occasions or festivals.

Easy Okonomiyaki Recipe

Ingredients 1/3 Cabbage (shredded) 1/2 Carrot 3/4 Onion 1 Piman (small green pepper) 3 cups flour (same as for tempura, cake, or cookies) 1 can beer or equivalent water and 1tsp baking soda 3 large eggs 2 packets hondashi (traditional Japanese seasoning) Salt, Pepper, Garlic Olive Oil Optional: Meat (bacon, pork, or sausage), other vegetables, okonomiyaki sauce, mayonnaise, katsuobushi (bonito flakes) Recipe Okonomiyaki is a savory pancake found throughout Japan. Like many dishes here, the ingredients can change by region.

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