- - - 1/26/2008 - - -

Yaeyama

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:46 pm

After finishing my job in December and before I decide to go back to Tokyo, I was told that I had to go see the outer Okinawan islands. All the outer islands together are called Yaeyama(八重山), so this is my trip there between 1/9 – 1/15. Also, all my pictures are in a photo gallery but due to senseiandy.com being suspended for some reason they are temporally unavailable. I will try to fix it soon.
I started on the evening of the 9th and took an overnight ferry to Ishigaki Island. The morning when I arrived I rented a bicycle and decided to bike around the island. Unfortunately, the bike I rented was not a very good one, and there were a lot of hills to go up, and there were practically no places to buy food, and it was much hotter than I thought and got a sunburn. I biked from 8am to 8pm, I calculated about 60km, and was very very tired afterwards, but I got to see a lot of interesting places and explore the island in a way that can really only be done by bicycle. The next day I took the boat to Iriomote Island. When I got there I checked into a guesthouse. I stayed in guesthouses the entire time. Besides being a very cheap place to stay it is also a great way to meet new people. I then went to the Iriomote Wild Cat museum and Yubujima, again by bicycle. The next day I took a kayak and hiking tour to Pinaisara Falls(ピナイサーラの滝). The evening was spent walking along the beach and to the cafe that served island wild boar. On the following day it started to rain a little but that didn’t stop me. I took a boat up the Urauchigawa River to a hiking trail which leads to two more falls. I really enjoyed hiking in the wilderness in the rain, stomping in the puddles, and seeing the true power of the falls when there is lots of water going through them. On the way back to the port I stopped at the Onsen to relax.
Next on my island hopping list was Taketomi Island. I spent the day aimlessly wandering the island looking at how the old way of live in Okinawa was. I also found many friendly cats and old ladies on the island as well. The last day it cleared up a bit and I decided to go to the very northern point of Ishigaki island. However, this time I rented a scooter for the day ;) I scootered up north and stopped at some interesting places along the way. Oh, and what trip would be complete without climbing a mountain. Well more of a hill as it were but the 360 degree view at the top was pretty nice. My last night was spent eating and talking with a friend I made in the guesthouse. My flight was the next morning at 8 am.


Heading out from Naha port.


Stoping to look at the beach.


Sugar cane factory. It is now harvesting season.


The lighthouse on the west point.

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- - - 1/23/2008 - - -

The Zoo

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:08 pm

I am still going through my pictures of Yaeyama when I have the time, but first my trip to the zoo… which I went to before I left for Yaeyama. The Zoo is called “Kodomo no Kuni” which means Kids Country, and also has some other attractions for kids but is still mostly a zoo. I went with a friend from my calligraphy class. She used to volunteer at the zoo, so she acted as a tour guide and showed me around :) There were all the typical animals you would expect to see in a zoo:


These were real live hamsters just sitting there all day for people to take pictures.

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- - - 1/21/2008 - - -

Yaeyama Trip

Filed under: — Andy @ 6:59 am

The reason for the lack of updates is because for the last week I had been traveling to the Yaeyama Islands which are the outer islands away from Okinawa main island and more towards Taiwan. I was there from Jan 10 to Jan 16., and on the 16th when I got back I went straight from the airport to an interview for a new job (complete in smelly travel clothes :) ). I then started the job the next day. Also, last weekend Ken’s parents came to Okinawa for a visit, so I have been pretty busy lately. Pictures will come soon…. hopefully.

- - - 1/8/2008 - - -

Hedo Point

Filed under: — Andy @ 5:22 am

At the very end of December Ken and I took a trip all the way up to the northernmost point of Okinawa, Hedo Point. Besides the point itself, there is also a nature park(金剛石林山) which has a ‘Strange and Large Rocks Hiking Trail’. We set off on this trail in search of … strange and large rocks.

The path was very naturey and nice.

Hey look, strange and large rocks.

Ken found a strange and large hole in the rocks to get his leg stuck in.

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- - - 1/5/2008 - - -

Neko Cafe

Filed under: — Andy @ 8:03 pm

I while ago I heard a rumor about a cafe, not a typical cafe but one with lots of cats everywhere. I had to find it…and I did. It was great to be around so many cats again.


This cat would sleep in whatever pose you placed it in.


There were plenty of cat trees and toys everywhere.

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- - - 1/3/2008 - - -

Mochi Pounding in Naha

Filed under: — Andy @ 7:30 pm

On the 3rd I had nothing to do so I decided to bike down to Naha. I like exploring side and back streets, and while doing so I happened to come across motchi tsuki. Local neighborhood kids were pounding mochi rice into mochi and giving it away to any passerby for free. I of course stopped to join in, help pound the mochi, and eat as much as I could :)

- - - 1/2/2008 - - -

2008 Hatsumode

Filed under: — Andy @ 12:49 am

On January 1st Japanese people do ‘hatsumode’, which is the first visit to a temple to pray for the upcoming year. Last year I climbed Mt. Takao, and this year, since there are no mountains, I just took a short ride to Futenma Shrine. It seems that it is a famous/popular place to do hatsumode. There were people lined up down the street, which was not too bad as so were lots of different food vendors. I too prayed and got my fortune for the New Year - 小吉

- - - 1/1/2008 - - -

New Years 2008

Filed under: — Andy @ 2:11 am

Happy New Year 2008.
This year we celebrated in two ways, first Ken and I went to Peace Memorial Park to watch the Bell and Fire Peace Festival and pray for peace in 2008. Then we went to the other side of the park to see the illumination and bring in the new year with a fireworks show.