Saturday, February 12, 2011

Riding it "Doggy" Style

A week ago we had one of those really rare (at least this year anyway) beautiful bright sunlit days that we just had to get out of the house with our cameras. Cherry blossom season up north was starting to wane, the traffic up that way is also a nightmare as a result of training season for the Japanese professional baseball teams being in session.

The Defending Champion Nippon Ham "Fighters" from Sapporo Japan make their training camp in Nago. This year they have a brand new rookie phenom pitcher named Saito. I can't remember his first name off the top of my head. Hell, it's a miracle I remembred his last name. It turns out that he was the last pitcher to win back to back championships at the National Koshien high school tournament four years ago.

After his senior year and having won every game he ever pitched as a high schooler, he opted to go to college instead of putting his name in the draft. If I remember correctly, he never lost a game in college where he was the pitcher of record either. Anyway, he made a name for himself during the high school tournament some years before which roughly translated to "Engrish" means the Handkerchief Prince.

Yeah, instead of wiping his sweaty brow with his forearm like a real man during the tournament, he pulled a hanky out of his back pocket during the middle of the game. All the old ladies thought that was so cute and a star was born. His mother wrote a best seller about how she raised him and ever since training camp opened, it's been wall to wall women (of all ages) at the stadium where they practice. I know because I drive past there on my way to work every day.

Now you're probably asking yourself what the hell does all of this have to do with the title of this post? Well I'll put those of you with dirty minds at ease because I did not catch young Mr. Saito doing the nasty in the bushes with some young baseball groupie bimbette! I didn't catch him with some older married woman cheating on her husband either. If I had, I would be selling that picture for gazzilions of Yen to the Japanese media. We didn't even go to see any of the teams in training, at least not yet.

We all gathered at Ryukyu Mike's hang out and headquarters, a bar in Kin called "My Place." We were going to take in the Cherry Blossom Festival in Kin at the base of the new mega-dam they're building. But Rusty, Mike's new sidekick, I guess I'm regulated to the status of has-been in that category, met us there and informed us that the festival didn't start until 4:00 PM that afternoon. Now we had about five hours to kill.

Well we stopped at a new place called the Okinawa House of Pancakes (OHOP) for lunch. That's a pretty decent place by the way, well worth a trip back and well worth a restaurant review. That is, if I ever get around to it. Anyway, when we stepped back out into the street, all the cloud cover that made it look as though it was going to be a really crappy day for shooting had burned off and the skies were the clearest blue we had seen in what seemed like weeks.

With all that time to kill, we quickly decided to head over to the Kin Nature Mirai. That's a really nice nature park built at the mouth of the river. They often hold festivals there and the place is popular with kayakers and bird watchers. There's all kinds of little mom & pop postage stamp sized farms there too.

We had been there only about 15 minutes when the first Osprey flew over. I'm talking about the bird and not the U.S. Marine Corps flying death trap. They aren't scheduled to be deployed to Okinawa till they move that air field from the big city down south to the coast line up north. That's if they ever get around to building it. Somehow in the back of my mind, I'm beginning to get the feeling they won't.

The tide was way out and the place was pretty busy for watching birds. Hell, it was just fun to be out of the house and enjoying the clear blue skies and for this time of year, unusually warm sun. Just to give you the idea of what the weather's been like here as of late, Ryukyu Mike actually wore a long sleeved shirt, regular length trousers and unbelieveable but true, he wore shoes instead of his trademark flip-flops!

Around 4:00 PM, just as we were getting ready to pack up and head on over up stream to the dam where the festival was going to take place, I got a call from the wife with a "honey-do" list. That meant my time for this day was up but just as I was about to leave, Rusty pointed over to the bridge and said something to the effect of "Holy Carp, will you get a load of that!" I hadn't yet put away my camera and turned to see a car crossing the bridge sporting something very unusual on it's roof. I quickly pointed my camera and zoomed in to get a shot of what you see below:
(Click on the image to enlarge)
I guess that's why I like living in Okinawa. Even on a relatively routine day, you're bound to spot something unusual that will bring a smile to your face!

1 comment:

  1. The best photos, like this one, you just can't plan.

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