Monday, February 22, 2010

Harvest


Harvest
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
In central Okinawa in Kin town are the smaller sub-villages of Igei and Yaka. Both are centrally located and sit right along Kin Bay on the east coast of the island. Though they have nice beaches, they missed out on the tourism business as most of the big resort hotels chose to build on the West coast so guests could take romantic walks along the beaches and take in the glorious sunsets.

The East coast of Okinawa is where you'll find all of the blue collar types that make the island work. If it's not some sort of industry, it's either farming or fishing. Igei and Kin are no different.

The warm climate allows farmers to get in two or more crops in a single year. Since farming isn't as sexy as working at one of the posh resorts, the people who work the fields are often elderly. This woman, as well as her companions just off camera were all easily well into her 70's.

They didn't work at a break neck pace but none the less, they brought in the harvest in a timely manner. Everyone worked together and seemed to enjoy themselves all the while they worked. Maybe this is the real reason they live so long.

This photo is just one of many that I'll have on display at the Camp Foster Library during the month of March. If you're on Okinawa and have access to the base, feel free to check it out...

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Benchmark


Benchmark
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Ryukyu Mike uses a concrete park bench to steady his camera vice his tripod for this shot of the Tomori Lion. A story written by me along with most of Mike's photos was recently published in Apogee Photo Magazine Online and is viewable at: www.apogeephoto.com/feb2010/mlynch22010.shtml

Click (HERE) to order an official Tomori Lion Tee Shirt from Goya Republic!

Friday, February 19, 2010

Worship


Worship
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
This photo was originally titled "Shaman Priestess at Work" and was actually published in the last ever print copy of "Everywhere Magazine." Like so many print media, with the cost of printing, staff, facilities and with advertizing revenue having completely fallen off the table and through the floor, they are going the way of the dinosaur. Just so it didn't go totally to waste, I did post a photo essay to the magazine's online site and it's still viewable at: http://everywheremag.com/articles/567 if you care to take a look. It'll tell you about my once in a lifetime opportunity to get a photo like this!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Balancing Act


Balancing Act
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
This photo was taken on Hama-Higa Jima along Okinawa, Japan's pacific coast. This smaller island is accessable only by the Kaichudoro causway and then another bridge.

Legend says that during the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom, "what Okinawa was once known as," the popular saying was that "the king lived in Shuri and the Gods lived in Hama-Higa."

So it was no surprise as we drove the coast road of this small island to see two women dressed all in white performing a ritual in a hidden cove. What was most surprising is that when we stopped and asked if we could take photos, they said yes!

I snapped away and put together a photo essay which can be seen at the Everywhere magazine website: http://everywheremag.com/articles/567

Though this particular one did not make the cut for getting published in the last ever print issue of that magazine, it is one of my favorites.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Comparison and contrast


Comparison and contrast
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Seijin-no-hi or comming of age day comes every January. Anyone who turned 20 years of age will take part in a grand ceremony marking this important right of passage. 20 is the age of majority in Japan and once you've reached it you can drink, vote, enter in to contracts and the part they de-emphasize is taking responsibility for your own actions. Sometimes people who take part in the ceremonies get a little carried away. Sort of a one last time, for old times sake. These two young ladies were checking out gifts they just received or comparing what they had just bought.

Happy to meet you


Happy to meet you
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
We were heading to Kokusai (international) street in Naha specifically to see if we could get some shots of young ladies like this as they made their rounds about the town celebrating. We had just parked our car and were walking along when My friend Mike noticed this young lady and her mother in the van right behind her in this shot. In no time at all Mike had both of them grinning and this young lady kindly posed for us.

Bad Company


Bad Company
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
Though they are much more common up in mainland Japan, Okinawa does have a few "Right Wing" kooks running around. If you've never seen them before, you can't miss them when they ride around in their speaker trucks with the Japanese Battle Flags flying.

Shima Gwa


Shima Gwa
Originally uploaded by graffkeith
A shima gwa is an island person. Shima is Japanese for island and the gwa comes from the Okinawan Hogen dialect. While it can mean either male or female it is most often used when speaking of the fairer sex. This little character is not anything I've seen from any Japanese manga but the figure can be seen at tourist traps all across the island. Note the Hibiscus flower in her hair. This flower is symbolic of Okinawa.