Category Archives: Japanese Culture

Video: Yajiyagama Cave Tour on Kumejima

I’ve always been fascinated with caves. Growing up inĀ  Arizona, I would camp in Sedona every year with my family. Our campground was nested along a river and there were caves along the cliffs which you could hike up into. Farther south there was also the Colossal Cave which I found impressive but unfortunately tame. There’s just something about exploring a natural cave that is interesting, provided it hasn’t been too softened with walkways and guide ropes. On Kumejima the

Video: Okinawan Desserts on Kumejima

Okinawa boasts its own variety of sweets, many based on local flavors including fruits and sugar cane. On Kumejima, you can learn how to make some of the most popular Okianwan desserts at the Kumejima Island School tours, which were organized by the local tourism association. In the video below, locals demonstrate making two classics, Chinbin, a type of crepe, and Sata Andagi, or Okinawan Doughnuts. Both are delicious and participants, not only get the recipe and practice making them,

Video: Nishime Walkabout

How different can two neighborhoods be on the same island? Both the Maja Tour and Nishime Tours are guided around local neighborhoods on the same island by different local guides, yet the experiences are quite different. Dissimilar geography and historic precedents have led to the areas being used in different ways. In the Ryukyu period the island was separated into two districts, which became villages in the Meiji era. The separation of the island into districts and even smaller neighborhoods

New Video: Kumejima’s Maja Scenic Tour

Kume Island in Okinawa is home to many scenic and historic spots. For most visitors and locals, the main attractions such as Hateno Beach or events such as the yearly festival overshadow the much older local delights that can only be found when walking along with someone who truly knows the area. Recently, a new program is offering island experiences to delve into the historic, cultural, and natural side of Kumejima that the casual tourist might enjoy but find difficult

High School and Hawaiian Festivals

Events abound in Japan’s Autumn, and although the weather still feels of summer, Fall is definitely in swing. This weekend saw a slew of events on Kume Island, dissimilar but also with underlying threads of culture to connect them. High School Festival Kume Island has only one high school for the entire island. It has a variety of classes for its students, but with such a wide range of classes it is difficult for them to fit every activity into

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.

Once more on Marriage and TV

If you follow this blog you might have seen my original post on dating in Japan and my experience with the TV show Motemote99 (now Omiai99) or the post on getting married in Japan. From that you probably know that the lady I met on the show and I got married in February, and that the camera crews came along for the ride. Last week the popular Tuesday night show Motemote99 returned as Omiai99. The four-hour special focused on the

Kumejima Kumiodori

If you keep up with my Facebook page’s daily photos you might have seen the post below a few weeks ago from the Ancient Tales of Yomitan Village production that the Kume Island Board of Education brought to Kume Island to entertain and inform. Post by Benjamin Martin. That production started off a lot of discussions with the Tao Factory writers and producers and in just a short time they began working on a new production based on Kume Island’s

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