Category Archives: Animals

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

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

2013 Kume Island Shrimp Festival

Just two days ago, on November 23, Kume Island held its annual Kuruma Shrimp Festival. The festival is small, but popular with visitors coming from outside of Okinawa for a unique chance to see and taste the prized shrimp (they’re actually prawns but you get the idea). The festival started off with the usual welcoming speeches by the town tourism office, mayor, and shrimp industry representatives. Workers from the four local farms and the Okinawa shrimp cooperative sent the season’s

Ueno Tokyo

Although I’ve lived in Japan for more than five years, until recently I had never traveled in Tokyo, which is usually the first stop for most expats and the home of many.  So, I’ll have a series of posts on my Tokyo trip from the perspective of a guy with Japan experience, but a fresh eye on the big city. I grew up in Phoenix, a large city but one that is spread out.  Our streets get more crowded than

Kumejima Kuruma Prawns

It’s no secret that Japanese food is popular outside of Japan.  Not only is the food in-country highly rated, but there are Japanese restaurants all over the world.  A lot of people wonder, why is Japanese food so good?  It’s a complex answer.  Many will tell you it’s umami, others the care and thought put into food, and yet more that it’s the simplicity of the dishes that highlights natural flavors. I’m not a food expert, but I think it’s a bit

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

Churaumi Aquarium Okinawa

Churaumi Aquarium (美ら海 beautiful ocean aquarium) is one of the premiere tourist attractions in Okinawa prefecture.  The large aquarium is located within the even larger and interesting Ocean Expo Park on the Motobu Peninsula.  Boasting one of the worlds largest indoor tanks, the stars of the complex are three whale sharks housed with many other fish of varying sizes. Though I’ve lived in Okinawa for over five years, I had my first opportunity to visit Churaumi only this past weekend.  The

Summer Sounds

The transition from Spring to Summer is interesting for me in that it is marked by nearly the same thing as they were back in Arizona.  When we traveled up to Sedona to camp for the summer there were always cicada humming away.  In Japan, too, semi (蝉) or cicada mark the end of the rainy season and the start of summer. The large black bugs show up in trees and gardens, and their shells can be found on nearly

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