When a friend of mine and I went to Ryukyu Mura, I found myself photographing people. And that exactly what separates Ryukyu Mura from Okinawa World. Both centralizes everything that describes Okinawa. Although, it is here in Ryukyu Mura that you can get the very sense of how it was yesteryears ago because of the people who are roaming around this place.
I love its historic Ryukyu setting and the fact that it welcomes you to most of Okinawa’s traditional culture. You can expect plenty of Okinawan signature sights such Habu snake wine, shisa, pottery, houses and buildings of 200 years old, kimonos, tug-of-war rope, kijimuna, wish paper, banyan trees, and many more. Just things I have alreay introduced to you if you have been following my adventures here.
Ryukyu Mura literally has a cast who are casually doing daily chores, portraying arts and crafts, and performancing cultural music and dances for the Ryukyu Royal court.
Enter my most favorite in Okinawa, EISA…
I had plenty of chances of seeing Eisa performances. I will never get tired of it. Unlike Okinawa World, photography is allowed.
Sanshin is also playing in the background. Sanshin literally means three strings, and it is often associated with banjo. It is another strictly Okinawan part of culture. Ryukyu Mura also showcases the music of hyosigi, which are clappers that are made of bamboo or hardwood. Altogether, they perform it in front of the Ryukyu royalties.
Dynamic performances, feast of the eyes clothings and captivating cultural music, I think I’d be fine either way – the king who watches these performances or the excellent performers who entertain the king.
So if you have a limited time here in Okinawa, why not witness the different Ryukyuan dance and music and capture traditional Okinawa in one general location. Make Ryukyu Mura your one-stop area orientation.
A relatively recent blog I followed, it didn’t take me a long time to admire this blog. Loving it is so easy. I really like that Shelly @ Travel Stained talks about travel expenses on her blog. Writing excellency and professional photography await your visit there.
It is massive! GIGANTIC! I’ve never seen quite like it.
Kuroshio is the second largest aquarium tank from the third largest aquarium in the world, Churaumi.
There are 3 giant whale sharks and a lot of manta rays. To date, there sre 4 manta rays that were born in this tank.
I really felt like a wide-eyed kid who’s in extreme awe, giggling inside and just fascinated looking at this tank. It’s really huge. Looking at this tank is way better than watching any blu-ray movies from plasma TV.
Then when they fed the whale sharks, we were ooh-ing and aah-ing by the sight of it.
The smaller fishes were swarming around the whale shark.
It was really captivating to watch that I think puffs of magical snow dusts were coming out of our mouths.
Really a sight to behold.
And oooh look! it smiled at the camera…
More of Churaumi Aquarium in the not so near future…
Here is sweetpurity and her nature-filled blog, Nature Walk Photography. The featured post is a culmination of her best photos for each month of last year. Talk a look…
What is your name in Kanji?
Road/Way, Free and Jewel. I guess I am Freeway Jewel. Whatever the heck that means!
Kanji is basically Japanese language. Check HERE to find out what your name means in Japanese. My name generated something inconsistent with the website from the one above. The website says my name means theory (ru), bud/summon/eye (me) and stream/stop (ru). I guess it means Stop eye theory. Go ahead and look. Just don’t forget to return back to my blog. [Paging Amy, yours is the best one I've seen ;)]
Kokeshi in English means wooden doll. Guess what exactly it is?
The guy who was selling me it says if it’s not wood, it’s not kokeshi. I’m not one who buys souvenirs. These are not even souvenirs; I just want to bring home some Japanese tradition with me.
Kijimuna are small wooden mythological creatives, and are strictly Okinawan.
They are fishing savvy, but they only eat one eye of the fish leaving the rest.
They hate octopus.
They are known to being mischievous and are pranksters.
They make friends with humans and can carry us on their backs leaping through mountains and overseas. Though, their relatonships with humans often goes bad.
One story tells of a kijimuna’s friend burning down his tree, so the kijimuna fled to the mountains.
I’m not so sure if I want to follow their direction, especially the guy has a big grin on his face.
Sorry for the easy post. I thought of composing this when I get back to California, but I couldn’t wait three more months to share about these things.
If you want to know more of Japan, Oh My Omiyage is your gal, especailly when it comes to food. Expect magazine-worthy images when you visit her blog.
There are places you go to for a cultural immersion; to exercise or mesh with traditions. There are places you go to for an adventure, random or not. To a far distance or just around the corner. There are places you go for an event. So many places you go to for fun, or whatever it is your heart desires. Some arequiet; a nature wandering or a beach walk perhaps. Some are spectacular. You go to some places for some or for solely for the experience, familiar and foreign or unique. And there are these places you go to that are simply significant that you can’t just let it pass.
I am halfway through my stay here in Okinawa, Japan. When a false alarm that my stay here may cut short, I immediately dragged a friend so I can hit this historically important place.
I have walked through these grounds. I have entered the rooms and passageways where the royalties and its citizenry once were. I was admiring the majesty of the castle – the architechtural designs, its garden, the gate entrances, down to the courtyard and up to the intricate roofs and displays. I relished in the priviledge of setting foot in its court that were used for gatherings and where its troops practiced and performed Karate, the martial arts the whole world knows about. I have touched its walls that protected the Kingdom of Ryukyu.
Visiting Shurijo Castle is for its signifance. Tangibly, it’s purely sightseeing. Spiritually, it is a lot of things.
The castle’s history is the Ryukyu Kingdom’s history itself.
And for these mere reasons that I wanted to visit this place. That I just couldn’t leave Okinawa without seeing it. I feel more connected with the island much more than ever. I have been to the very soul of Ryukyu Islands, the birthplace of Karate, and what is now called Okinawa.
It may not be as eventful but the satisfaction of visiting Shuri Castle lies for its historical and cultural significance.
For more of details about Shuri Castle.
I don’t know about you, but Old Woman On A Bicycle sure is a catchy blog title. Wait until you get to meet this woman behind the wheels, Gayle Alstrom, and see her keep on rolling.
Have you met a fellow blogger before?
Well, I met LuAnn of Paint Your Landscape some months ago this year.
This gal is hard to reach because she’s always on the road. So when she finally hit California, I contacted this celebrity RV’er to make a reservation for an exclusive meet. A lot of RV’ers, who I pretty much envy, always organize a meet whenever they find a chance to be in the same location. So having to meet a big favorite RV blogger of mine, it was such an extreme excitement and joy for me. And for one day I also felt like I was in their click.
We met halfway between where we were from each other which is Dana Point. Well I recently broke my GPS, and I have a poor sense of direction. So when I got closer to Dana Point, this awful guy had to call her for directions. (Way to go, Rommel). She got there early, and I, on the other hand, had to be waited on. It was really my initial plan to give her a bad first impression so I can swoop in later on with my winsome personality. (For the record, I’m only kidding)
We greeted each other personally for the first time at the Ocean Institute. We saw an octopus passing from one tank to another tank through a tube. She dipped her hand to feel the starfish. There were children learning how to dissect a squid. We wander around eyeing more aquatic animals.
After that, we decided to look around the area to see more of Dana Point. We took a walk, talked trash about other bloggers (I kid, I kid), and spotted a bed of familiar birds.
She got so bored with me that she decided to just ran away from me. (I kid again)
At some point, I felt like she was thinking that I’m only trying to exhaust or test her willingness. And so I did the same thing and ran away from her as well.
We ate a nearby restaurant, talked some more trash about bloggers (I joked for the nth time), and then parted ways.
Before all these, I warned her that I might suffer a panic attack out of social discomfort. I think the only sign was that I snickered a lot. Well at some point, a homeless guy asked us for some spare change. Me and Lu looked at each other. Here we are, two strangers, only were connected through blogging and were meeting in person, and this random event occured…. Neither of us pulled anything from our pockets. Personally, there are just other ways to help these people. What I’m really getting at is I think it says a lot about how we approached each other. There was no measure of modesty, no pretentiousness, or we don’t have to act like we can walk on waters. We were in our normal selves. That’s exactly what I wanted. I have to know that I can be whacky, make mistakes, or be serious, in order for me to be comfortable around someone I just met. I’m glad I didn’t have to use a paperbag I reserved in case of palpitation.
THANK YOU, LuAnn!
Now, I can look back at Dana Point in a more distinctive way than my other California travels.
As for my Throwback Thursday picture… For your amusement ….
Me, my cousin, my father, the city mayor, some extras and my mother who was crowned Mrs. East Rembo (my hometown district) of ’91.
From Chinese Shi comes Okinawa’s Shisa, a cross between a lion and a dog.
Each countries such as China, Japan and Korea have different versions of it. Rarely you might stumble upon it in other parts of the world.
There are noticeable things in Okinawa – the beautiful beaches, the 360-degree low clouds, vending machines, and of course, shisa.
Older ones were traditionally placed in imperial places and wealthy people’s homes. In modern Okinawa, shisas are everywhere! You can see it on rooftops.
Being that they serve as wards, they are usually positioned in front of houses and business establishments.
The one to the left is normally has its mouth close; they attract and keep the good spirits in.
The one on the right is usually has its mouth open; they shoo away bad spirits.
There are also in plaques in different shapes of usually square, rectangle or circle.
Shisa, in general, have eyes that are magnetizing as if challenging whoever looks at it.
In old Okinawa, shisa are mostly fierce-looking.
There are plenty of shisa variations.
Some are accessorized.
In modern Okinawa, versions of shisas are made friendlier and more appealing.
They can be highly decorated.
Some are candid.
They are now in colorful designs.
Some depicting Okinawa’s culture.
… and in different sizes.
Being that shisa attribute largely to Okinawa culture, they are now sold as souvenirs.
Shisa, shisa, shisa everywhere!
And as proven by the overload of shisa pictures on this post, I just can’t get enough of it.
Learn more about shisa from another currently Okinawa-based blogger, Eflida, and her blog, Because i am uniquely and wonderfully made.
NO! It isn’t the typical Chinese lion dance. It isn’t like the one I saw in LA. As a matter of fact, Okinawa’s lion dance is even comparable to the ones in mainland Japan. The variation of lion dances has slight differences. But as soon as the Shishimai Festival in Okinawa started, we all knew – we are witnessing something else, something much unique.
Six city districts of Okinawa showcased their lion dance styles and spectacular performances. It includes Uruma city, which has been the home to Shishi-yama (Lion Mountain), as well as a Bullfighting Arena. With the Katsuren Castle Ruins, it sure is an ideal setting for these events.
Although it cannot be denied the influences from the typical lion dances, Okinawa’s Shishimai Festival is largely of its own because it is very true to its roots. They played their own Okinawa folk songs which I quickly recognized having gone to a good number of festivals from the past. And if you have been following my Okinawa cultural explorations, you can quickly identify that the lions Okinawans use are resemblance of shisa. The fact that it embodies the legendary shisa, the movements and various executions are noticeable different than mainland Japan.
That is, more of a mixture of a lion and a dog than just solely a lion.
As a matter of fact, Shishimai dance serves to ward off evil spirits and brings good harvest, wealth, and prosperity to the region. Something that rings true to the presence of shisa.
Whenever the lion approaches the crowd, the audience bring their little ones near it.
The “festival” is really more of a show. Well the show, to me, was very inviting…
Invigorating. Candid at some points.
The lion can be at times fierce-looking.
More so, it’s hypnotic, and so mesmerizing.
Take note that these are being performed by two people who have to choreograph their movement in sync with each other. They jump. They walk and sidestep simultaneously. They roll together. It makes you wonder when the lion stands. The acrobats are highly impressive.
Shishimai Festival also includes Okinawan folk dances, some martial art demonstrations. hatagashira (see my post on Naha’s Tug of War), and all accompanying music with traditional instruments such as taiko drums, seashell horns and the dominant sound of sanshin.
Clearly, it is an unmissable one of its kind Okinawa event.
Part deux in the not so near future.
Draw the comparisons. Check out one of my recent featured blog, Cocomino’s blog, and his Lion Dance entry. If you haven’t been following this awesome blog, oooh boy! you are missing out.
You will not believe with the amount of travels this blog has. Halifax, Netherland, Italy, Paris, Endland, etc, etc, etc, etc. Tvor Travels, you betcha! My favorite is fittingly …. A Word a Week – Favourite. Get over there and awaits highly impressive images all over the world.
Kadena Air Base. The feedback was, across the board, warm and heartening as this special event builds a relationship not just within a community but a great opportune bonding experience between Japanese locals and Americans, of mostly military personnel.
More importantly, it is a day that showcases the wide abilities of special need people. They all did whatever sports they were set out to particate in. They all did it with so much enthusiasm, willingness and lively presence. Supporters, volunteers and motivators couldn’t help but be gladdened by their smiles and positive spirits.
I now introduce to you, #577, Ryutaro.
He’s a stubby 7-year old kid who has no problem reaching for my hand so I can show him around.
We saw creative arts made by special-need children.
We watched cultural performances by both Japanese and Americans.
Marine Expeditionary Force Band playing the National Anthem.
Special-need boys playing taiko drums.
The variety of performances is a true fusion of two countries meshing together their differences and likeness.
American students, Firebird Drummers, performing Eisa. They also got everyone involved to try the drum and dance with them.
We saw people danced while they’re in the wheelchair.
I actually think that the shows and the rapport made are the “special” parts, and not the participating olympians.
Clearly, these special-need group of individuals needed no special attention at all. I’m completely amazed by them. Us, “huggers”, needed no patience in taking care of them. They were obedient, orderly, and certainly capable.
Look! Ryutaro is so happy. Those smiles can definitely turn the world around.
-My special kid is better than yours. Darn right, he’s better than yours. I can teach you but I have to charge. -
At times, I didn’t feel like they are special people at all. They are just incredibly friendly. The way they answer to their parents is so impressive. They walk with you. They play with you. No problem at all. Ryutaro even helped me fold the mat that we were sitting on without asking him. To emphasize, they really are very obedient. We all thoroughly enjoyed the day at each other’s companies.
This event tugs my heart deeply.
“Disability”, i confidently can tell you that I didn’t see any that day.
[All images are taken with my cellphone, Samsung S3.]
Here’s to a blogger who does excellent “phoneography” alongside her Canon pictures. When I met AngelineM, I was easy to befriend her. She’s an all around blogger, prolific and very approachable. Go and check out her phoneography tag and be impressed by her snapping abilities.
No, I’m not complaining. I am actually very very lucky with the weather when I travel. *Knock on wood* You see me and the weather god have a deal going on. He won’t turn on the sky’s shower. As a return, I have to share to the world the beautiful sights I see unless he interferes my ganders with bad weather.
Weather is such a worthy adversary when it comes to traveling. I hate waking up hearing that there’s rain outside that will ruin my travel plans. Great thing though that whenever I’m already out, the weather god is most of the time very cooperative with me.
But of course, even the weather god is not perfect. There are some minor hiccups.
First, I wanted to see Morro Bay Rock in a clear day…
But instead, I saw it as this …
Good thing the tree was there to help me out get a decent capture.
Fog was also covering most of the coastline that it was hard for me to appreciate it and take pictures of it. It was hard for me as well to drive California 1 as it was blocking my view. Tsk Tsk Tsk..
Some area I was still able to get a clear view…
Second… When I toured the inside of Santa Barbara Mission, initially the weather was not bad at all…
It started drizzling. You can see the ground is now wet. You can also see christmas trees on the door. I continued gazing around but stopped taking picture ’cause don’t want my camera to get wet. I didn’t get to take a picture of the little fountain and the church together.
You can read some more about Santa Barbara from my great blogging friend Debra – here. She very knowledgeable of the different missions in California.
This one is partly my fault. The hike sources clearly stated that the waterfall is usually dry and that it’s better to view after the rain. Feeling lucky and dependent of the weather god :D, I decided to hike Nojoqui Falls in Solvang anyway. You know how it turns out…
Urgh! Can you imagine that with water actually falling down!? Urgh!
So when was the time that a bad weather ruined your trip?
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I never look at the weather report whenever I’m about to travel. I basically let the chips fall where they may be, or just hope to weather god it’s rain that is falling. Since he didn’t live up to the deal on these particular days, I am, in turn, still sharing the pictures.
Halloween Extra Post:
This is from the floor of the building I stay in here in Japan. I don’t believe in ghost because I never saw one before (Duh, it’s a ghost). You can question the validity of this video but…
For one, it’s such a short and unclear appearance that if it was a made up video why not make it longer and clearer. Second, they really do keep the camera up and running there. Third, well this ine is not a “but” statement, behind the door is a mechanical door and next to it is a laundry room that it might just be some smoke coming out of the vent…
Though, you will see a thin smoke-like something that is moving. Then, you will see a footstep on the floor as if it is entering the door, and it will disappear…. Ooooh ….
Throwback pic… This next ghost happened to appear on the camera. I guess it wanted to eat the food we left on the floor.
It is soooo not me.
Unlike me, hermitsdoor managed to get clear shots of Morro Bay. Follow him to his adventures. Be amazed by his words and poetry. Get your mind running by good conversations and your eyes pleased by his photographs.