Friday, October 30, 2009

Banyan Trees

Banyan trees have a remarkable root system. The above-ground trunks are great hiding spots for geocaches here!

This is a picture of a good example that is right down the road from my house. Click the picture for a full size version, and you can zoom in on the roots/trunks. Can you imagine searching that sucker for a small cache container? Welcome to my world.

Don't get me started on stone walls...

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Typhoon Update

The typhoon that was threatening us is now a tropical storm, but it is quite close, and the weather has been pretty poor.

In the picture above, the island of Okinawa is circled in red. It should be past us, with improved weather, just in time to go back to work tomorrow!

Saturday, October 24, 2009


Yet another rainy mess here; at least this one will not be hitting us squarely (according to forecasts). This storm has been wobbling around south of us for a few days now, and has nearly gone in circles.

I'll be taking my little hitchhiking travel bug to an event on Halloween, if the weather holds up. More pictures to come!

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Everyday Items

My wife is fond of reminding me that things we see every day here are probably pretty interesting to the folks back home in the good 'ole U.S. of A. As always, you can click the pictures for the full size versions.

Here's a shot of a local mail box, the public variety, outside of a Family Mart, which is a Japanese chain of convenience store. You can even pay many of your bills at a Family Mart!

I also got a picture of the local power plant, and in the foreground, you'll notice one of the staples of Okinawan living: A vending machine. Vending machines are everywhere here. Middle of a farmer's field? Yep. Beaches? Yep. Need to grab a cold coffee, or tea? You won't have to travel very far (this one is viewed from the parking lot of Family Mart, which is open 24 hours).

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Love Motel

This is one of the local "love motels." See the big gorilla on the roof? Kinda silly, right?

These establishments are very popular here in Okinawa, and they work like some of the places in the U.S. that charge by the hour. The premise is based upon something a little different here.

In Okinawa, like much of Japan, you will typically find a few generations, and many members of extended family, under one roof. There really isn't much privacy for a young married couple. This is simply the way things are, and it creates a very lucrative market for "love motels." Most couples need to get away for a couple of hours every once in a while.

This gorilla motel provides a venue for couples, and it seems to be pretty popular. You don't even have to see any people there; you can just feed your card, or Yen, into a machine and get a ticket for a room (so I'm told).

There's a geocache hidden fairly close to here, and there used to be one very close to here. I think it was part of the "Boogie Nights" series...

Friday, October 9, 2009

Forgotten Park

I stopped at this little park on my way home from work yesterday. The geocache here is listed as a difficulty of four, due to the unique container used in stage one of this multi-cache.

I wasn't able to make the find, but I walked around the park for a while anyway. The view from the top was great.

Click the pictures for the full size versions.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Day Off and Geocaching

I had a meritorious day off from work today, and my wife and I ventured out to do some Geocaching. We focused mostly on the Katsuren Peninsula, which is where the Katsuren Castle happens to be located. We stopped by there, and the view was a little hazy today.

We also hit a local beach that appears to be very popular with the locals, hence no cache at that location (local was napping almost on top of it!).

It was a nice day out, albeit a little windy, and we stopped at San A for a bit of shopping. I had a bowl of soba for lunch, and then we headed for home. We stopped at a cache that was the first in a series called "Outta Luck." These caches are all hidden at defunct pachinko parlors (casinos). It was a pretty easy find, and it was also my only find of the day. Too many locals at the other stops, and we had to get home before the kids made it back from school.

It was still a fun day, and I was able to snap some pictures for the owners of that little travel bug that I'm toting around. As usual, you can click the pictures for the full size versions.

Monkey in a box!

It's soba!

View of the beach from the road

Katsuren Castle

Saturday, October 3, 2009

BC Street and Shurikawa Spring

I made a stop over at "BC Street" today. BC street is infamous for being a concentrated bar/club/strip joint haven here. That's at night...During the day, there are some neat little shops, a couple of cool restaurants, and the Teruya Music Store (good spot to grab some new strings for my son's guitar).

I needed to make a stop there while my wife did some shopping at Kadena AFB's new BX. Better her than me! I also stopped at a geocache called "Spring Cleaning." It's located near the Shurikawa Spring, and there were just too many locals there today. I saw the cache container, but just couldn't pull it out and mess with it at the time. This one will have to be an early morning, or maybe a night visit.

In other news, I have a little travel bug that came all the way from Arizona. Thanks Erika Jean!

I took a few pictures of the trackable item to share with the owners.

    The spring

    On BC Street

Thursday, October 1, 2009

The Rice Is Growing!

You can definitely tell from these photos that the rice I mentioned in a previous post is growing like crazy. It won't be long until it's drying along the sides of the roads, hung in bunches on handrails and the like.