Category Archives: Photos

Video: Kumejima Wetland Forest Tour

Kume Island in Okinawa is unique among small islands in that it historically has had rich water resources. The tall mountains allow for ample rainfall which is collected in small lakes, wetlands and springs. The age of the wetlands has created a habitat for species now unique to Kumejima. The center of the island is taken up by wetland forests, which are preserved under the Ramsar Convention. Since most roads, houses, and other buildings are situated along the main roads

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 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

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

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

8 Winds Garden Restaurant

During my mother’s visit to Okinawa we spent a few days on the Okinawa mainland where a friend of mine showed us some of the local sites. One of those sights was on the cliffs of Nanjo city in the south-east of the island. High above the ocean sits a set of rustic buildings and an amazing view. The place our guides suggested for lunch was the Eight Winds Garden (八風畑) Restaurant and Kokuto factory. Built around the black sugar

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

Aoshima Shrine

On the last day of my trip to Miyazaki Prefecture in January I traveled to Aoshima Shrine with my fiancée and her family. The shrine is located in the middle of the forest on a small island connected to the mainland by a bridge. The day we attended was a large festival where attendees braved the cold seawater for good luck this year. We arrived in the afternoon so we missed the crowds. Next to the island is an interesting

2014 Kume Island Sakura Festival

Once again the sakura begin to bloom again on Kume Island. With this year’s surprisingly warm winter weather the very first blossoms arrived on New Year’s day. Now, however, the bright colors of the many cherry trees are at their peak. The island celebrated the cherry blossoms with the annual sakura festival. Normally a two-day event, this year’s festival took place at the Fureai Park instead of the usual location Daruma Mountain. The reason for the change was the growing

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