Archive for the 'Okinawa' Category

Pictures from a short trip to Okinawa in January 2009, and to Ishigaki and Taketomi Islands in the Spring of 2009.

The Limestone Caves of Ishigaki Island

So in the post a week ago about our visit to the palm reserve on the last day of our short trip to the southern-Japan island of Ishigaki last May, I ended up with a photo of a small tree-climbing lizard.

Here's a slightly larger tree-climbing lizard...

Even stranger was the location, a long series of underground limestone caves whose only representation above ground was a set of covered stairs descending down from a small parking lot. (There's an entertainment complex some distance away where you buy tickets.)

The area you could walk ended under a gaping hole in the [...]

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A Visit to the Yaeyama Palm Reserve on Ishigaki Island

It's been a while since I posted anything from our trip last May to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, the previous post on the subject having been"Anthony Gets Crabby", from toward the end of the trip's third day.

We started off Day 4, the last day of the trip, taking a drive up the center of the island to the fairly remote, complexly-named Yonehara Yaeyama-Palm Reserve (米原ヤエヤマヤシ群落). For us it consisted of a mildly jungle-like path where you can see some tall palm trees that are apparently found only in this part of the world.

Prior to [...]

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Breakfast in Okinawa

We're preparing for a short trip into snow country, packing warm coats and gloves and such for a few days of what will mostly be Anthony snow play. I'm quite looking forward to it, but am also reminded that our New Year's trip a year ago was to the warmer climate of the Okinawan mainland, staying at the Atta Terrace Hotel.

The trip was just two nights, yet among the half dozen posts I wrote soon after, I wasn't able to get around to posting anything from the third day, and barely touched on what we did the second. So [...]

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Anthony Gets Crabby at the Shore

At the end of my previous post, about Taketomi Island in the far south of Japan, we'd stopped at a cafe for cake and coffee.

I felt bad that we inadvertently chased him out of his home. When he returned to the beach, we put his shell back near him, and left him alone.

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Taketomi Island Roundup

So, picking up from yesterday where I recapped our spring trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, and our side excursion to the culturally unique Taketomi Island....

Taketomi's tourist draw, besides the quaint little town, are tours through it in carts pulled by water buffalo. (Why water buffalo? No idea.) There were maybe a dozen water buffalo we could see, two or three in active service.

I don't have many pictures from our ride, but wish I did because our tour guide (and caretaker of our buffalo, whose name he told us but I've now forgotten) was [...]

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Zany Roof Guardians on Taketomi Island, in the Far South of Japan

Last spring we made a short trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, just this side of Taiwan. I posted about the trip there and the amazing first sunset and first dinner, some zero light night photography. And more. And that was just from the first day of the trip.

The second day generated nine posts, including some beautiful vistas, a secluded beach, some dynamic weather at a lighthouse, a sunset dip in the pool, a lively "flame & rain" dinner, and a retrospective through Anthony's eyes.

I barely started posting about the third day, having only [...]

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Ishigaki Day 3: Coral Beds Near Taketomi Island

In my previous post about our recent trip to Ishigaki Island in southern Japan, I mentioned that we'd taken a side trip to the small but nearby Taketomi Island. The trip involved a 15-minute ride in a boat similar to...

Anthony took the picture above likely due to the whale-themed boat in the center, but it turns out that we made an impromptu decision to see the coral in a glass-bottomed boat, so we ended up getting onto the boat shown at right, for a short trip out to some of the many coral beds....

All the color were muted [...]

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Ishigaki Day 3: A Coral Wall’s Plants

In my post the other day about flowers lining a lane on Taketomi Island (a tiny, culturally-unique island far south of Japan), I asked about the color of the flowers. No one got it right until I gave a hint, that being a botanist might help. Then a botanist got it right.

Here are some close-ups...

Hopefully,'s resident botanist will offer some, er, color commentary on these little friends in the comment section of the post.

That's not the only botanical surprise we found in the coral walls. We often found plants growing from them, apparently like a weed, [...]

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Ishigaki Day 3: Floral Quiz on Taketomi Island

I don't think I'll require nine separate posts to cover the third day of our recent trip to Japan's Ishigaki Island in the East China Sea, but we'll see.

I'll start out Day Three with a little quiz....

A few miles off the south-west coast of Ishigaki Island is the tiny Taketomi Island, known for its quaint culturally-unique village. Most lanes in the village are lined by three things: coral walls, pretty flowers, and ugly utility poles.

Construction is under way to bury all the wires and get rid of the poles, so I've taken the liberty of doing so [...]

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Ishigaki Day 2: Through Anthony’s Eyes

Our short trip to Ishigaki Island in the East China Sea last May was very photogenic. In covering the second day, I've posed no less than eight times (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, and 8) and still didn't cover it all.

This time, I thought I'd post some of Anthony's shots from that day, from the cell phone he carries to school for emergencies, but is otherwise not allowed to touch except when we're out and about and allow him to use the built-in camera.

The day through the eyes of a six-year-old....

Hill and Finger Mid-Island Road [...]
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Ishigaki Day 2: A Lively Dinner

After our sunset swim on the 2nd day of our recent trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan in the East China Sea, we got cleaned up and headed over to the outside barbecue restaurant for dinner.

Figuring that I should order a beverage befitting the tropical island we were on, I got the nondescript cocktail above. Fumie also got some kind of cocktail, and Anthony got a big guava juice...

It was somewhat of a surprise to find out that the menu essentially had one item, yakiniku – 焼き肉, "barbecue dinner" – and more than somewhat [...]

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Ishigaki Day 2: Winding Down with a Sunset Swim

The best part of any travel for Anthony, it seems, is getting to swim in a pool, and after the busy second day of our trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, Anthony finally got his visit to the pool. I played with him at first, but as the sunset approached, I grabbed the camera...

Metering somewhat for the bright sun left the rest of the frame underexposed, which allowed what little color there was in the sky to be exaggerated.

Meanwhile, with the setting sun, Anthony got cold and retreated to warmer climes...

The sun got [...]

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Ishigaki Day 2: Mild Sunset

Our second sunset on Ishigaki, much less interesting than the first, but soothing and calming after a long day seeing the sights, playing on the beach (Part I, Part II), and climbing short mountains.

Continued here...

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Ishigaki Day 2: Dynamic Weather at the Hirakubo Lighthouse

Well, thought I'd be releasing a new plugin for Adobe Lightroom today, but ran into a roadblock that killed it at the end. Sigh. So, I've decided to take the evening off from plugin development and get back to my story of our recent trip to Ishigaki Island. It's part of Okinawa Prefecture, but is 400 miles further south-west from the main Okinawa island, just shy of Taiwan.

It was a short but photogenic trip. Today's story picks up in the afternoon of Day 2, with Day 2's morning already posted, as well as a mid-day trip to a secluded [...]

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Secluded Beach on Ishigaki Island, Part II

This post follows from Secluded Beach on Ishigaki Island, Part I, about our trip to the beach on our second day of a short trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan. Part I included this picture looking north from our spot on the beach....

We saw only a few people the whole time we were there, including one guy who walked up the beach toward the outcropping seen above, and just disappeared. I wondered what was over there, so I took a stroll.

When we'd first arrived, I'd seen someone way down the beach playing with some [...]

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Secluded Beach on Ishigaki Island, Part I

On the second day of our short trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan, just shy of Taiwan, after our stopover at a lovely scenic lookout for breathtaking views and ice cream, we continued north in search of a beach. It wasn't an arduous search, because it seems that most of island's entire coastline is beach.

We were heading for a specific beach we saw on the map, when – for just a moment during a bend in the road – we caught a glimpse of a gorgeous stretch of beach. It took a bit of searching, [...]

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Ishigaki Day 2, Morning: Pineapples and the Tamatorisaki Lookout

The second day of our trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan was the one I was really looking forward to, because we planned to just drive around and check out the views.

Ishigaki is an oddly-shaped island that's about 21 miles long at its longest diagonal....

And it has generally wide, modern roads, so getting around is quick if you ignore the ridiculous 25mph speed limit. Our hotel was in the south-west, so for today's trip we planned on cutting a diagonal through the main part, then up the panhandle that is sometimes only a few [...]

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Life is Tenacious: Tiny Ocean Flowers

The whole "plant growing in the middle of nothingness" thing has been well and truly done, including by me, but the picture above, of a plant growing on barren rocks, takes on a bit more drama when you take into account its location...

If the embedded Google Map is working properly, it's showing a location in the ocean a hundred yards from shore.

This was from the second day of our trip to Ishigaki Island in the far south of Japan.

The picture above was one of the last I took before my polarization filter inexplicably* fell off my camera [...]

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Pitch-Black Photography: Moon over the East China Sea

Since getting my Nikon D700 and exploring its low-light abilities (see "Impossible Photography: No Light, No Tripod, No Hope") I've been more and more bold in where I give it a try. I shocked myself with the results during my trip to Okinawa in January (The Atta Terrace Hotel at Night), and I pushed the limits even further during this month's trip to Ishigaki Island.

I took the picture above standing on a pier, with the moon just out of the top of the frame. As I described in yesterday's post, the vignetting comes naturally from using the Sigma 30mm [...]

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First Dinner on Ishigaki: Ishigaki Steak Over Hot Coals

After the nice sunset of the first evening on our trip to Ishigaki Island in the most southern reaches of Japan, in the East China Sea, we returned to the hotel for dinner, giving the Japanese-style restaurant a try. Ishigaki Island is known for its beef, so we wanted to try that.

The steak was okay, but after the steak we had on our day trip to Awaji Island a month ago, everything else will forever fall short. I wanted to write about it at the time, but what can I say? Words are impossible. In your wildest dreamland fantasies [...]

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