Category Archives: Okinawa/Ryukyu

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

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

A School Closing in Japan

What is the importance of a school? To small communities like the ones in rural Japan a school can be the very heart. In a land where the PTA has a far more visual and important role, the school acts as a focal point for community events and networking among parents, local government, and even the large population of elderly people not comprising many rural areas in Japan. The past two weeks marked a transition in Japan, with the financial

2014 Kume Island Sugar Ride

Every year Kume Island hosts a large group of cycling enthusiasts from around Japan and the world. The Sugar Ride cycling event is a non-competitive ride around scenic Kume Island. It is a great way for cyclists to meet others and enjoy a ride together. All the courses have various stops for rest and refreshment. This year there were three options for participants, including 45, 90, and 130km. The longest “Challenge Course” included three rings around the island and gives

Automatic Driving Cars in Japan

We’re not talking about a new transmission, instead, think Knight Rider. On Kume Island, Denso Co. in partnership with NEC is developing a car that can drive automatically. This project is one of several as the town works to turn itself from agricultural outlyer to a fully renewable clean energy smart island. With a population declining by around 100 people per year, such initiatives are essential for dealing with a growing elderly population and creating new jobs so that young

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

2014 Rakuten Eagles Spring Camp Begins

This year’s national baseball champions in Japan were the  Tohoku Rakuten Eagles. As Champions you might expect a bit of extra attention from the media and a lot of interest in their spring training. Normally based out of Miyagi prefecture, every year the Rakuten Eagles come to Kume Island in February to train for the upcoming season. On February 1, the Eagles kicked off their camp with a ceremony at the Kume Island Stadium, with tons of fans from around

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

« Older Entries Recent Entries »