Okinawa, although an island by itself as part of Japan, is like a country of its own. The culture there is like a small parallel universe of Japan, which is like its own parallel universe. The country does not have much of a “beach culture” where families go out to hang out on the beach, so most of them are quite empty. In the middle of the summer, the weather is still pretty hot, but the beaches are mostly empty and ready for you to explore. Like many islands, the clouds are often multilayered and idyllic for photography.
I feel lucky to have gone to Okinawa twice in one year! Lucky me! Regular readers know I love Japan, and Okinawa is a special little island that has its own little cultural ecosystem. Things are a little bit different here and it’s fun to notice the delta between the two. This is a photo of the Ritz-Carlton where we stayed on both occasions. What a cool spot, eh? It’s also just a short walk down to the beach where you can relax… Most Japanese people don’t go to the beach to relax, but it’s more common down here on this island.
This is a shot of the top level of the Ritz-Carlton there in Okinawa. It’s a beautiful property, as you can see. This area is not really a pool, even though it looks like a pool. It’s more an area where you can walk around and take in all the environment and architecture. I thought the clouds piled up very nicely there along with the shape of the roof.
I don’t actually like this place, so I am not sure why I am posting a photo. Well, I guess it is to honor how awesome this owl looks! When Ethan and I were in Tokyo, we decided to go to an “Owl Cafe.” There are all sorts of cafes all over the city where you can dine with all sorts of animals. It took us forever to find this place, and we had to walk up about six flights of some pretty sketchy stairs. We were instructed to wait outside until our “seating time.” We stood out there looking at a bunch of other Japanese owl-seekers, whom all seemed pretty excited.
Finally, the door opened and we were ushered in. It wasn’t a cafe at all unless you consider humans feeding owls the goopy entrails of mice to be a cafe. We each got a little apple juice carton like we were in kindergarten. There was a small green circle sticker on it. They instructed us to take the green circle sticker and put it on the wall to signify our favorite owl. I voted for this one, which already had about 500 stickers… but there was this one really ugly owl that was not even close to symmetrical. It had only three stickers. It was both super sad, and I was wondering what three crazy people would vote for that owl.
Anyway, I don’t recommend going to an owl cafe… I thought the owls would be happier or get to fly around some big awesome owl Disneyland or something, but I was wrong.
What the F-Stop? In Okinawa
In the spirit of today’s post about Japan, here’s a video I made about F-Stop when I was in Okinawa. BTW, Okinawa is ALMOST like a different country than Japan… many different customs, food, drinks, and even weather. Also, people in Okinawa are some of the longest-lived people in the world.
My team and I recently visited four great cities in Japan as part of our ongoing 80 Stays around the World tour. Check out this short video with highlights from Tokyo, Osaka, Kyoto, and Okinawa!
Daily Photo – Tokyo Tower Just After Dusk
To me, this tower looks way cooler at night. In the daytime, it kind of reminds me just of some construction scaffolding. I think it is because of the color patterns of red and white. Also, the shape of the tower can only be compared to the Eiffel Tower, and I think the shape of the Eiffel is more compelling. Hey, I know I’m being really tower-critical, but it is something that I’ve obviously spent too much time thinking about.
Maybe so! I might be going back with Ethan to explore some possible places he could get a job after high-school. He’s keen to teach English there, so we need to figure out a way to make that happen. I think it would be an amazing first job. My bestie Rene Smith did this, and I guess he turned out to be okay, He’s like the okayist guy I know.
Daily Photo – Perfect Colors in Okinawa
This is the top level of the Ritz-Carlton there in Okinawa, Japan. What a beautiful spot! The whole property is poised high on a hill so you can see all around the island. The first time we came here with the kids, we spent quite a bit of time down in the beach area. There was this big floating playground out there that the kids loved. Actually, we loved it too. It’s hard to explain, but it invited lots of jumping and dangerous moves. I started rough-housing with Ethan and I think we both ended up with a few minor injuries!
Speaking of men with Pretzel-like-qualities (see today’s photo), here’s video where I show how I edited this photo from Cairo, Egypt. We were right by this lantern shop in some ruins (now a bazaar) and this man walked through with this tremendous stack of pretzels. It proved a little difficult to process.
Daily Photo – Tane doing his usual thing, being half naked and eating yogurt in traffic
When we went back to Okinawa for the second time, we decided this is one photo that we didn’t quite have yet. Luckily, Tane is up for this kind of abuse and he seems to welcome it with reckless aplomb. I can only imagine what all those Japanese people were thinking about as they rolled by in their cars.
I went out on a moody day to the end of the road past Queenstown to New Zealand. In this video, I talk a little about composition and trying to create an interesting photo in these moody conditions.
Daily Photo – Sake for Ethan
When I was in Okinawa, we visited this cave network that was full of aged sake. You can buy a bottle here and store it for a number of years. I have one waiting down there for me and Ethan for when he turns 21. It seems like the perfect chance for us to make another trip to Japan together!
Remember you can log into the Passport Members home page and see all kinds of goodies in there. I recommend watching all the unreleased footage from Antarctica. There’s more of that coming too! 🙂
Daily Photo – A Purple Night in Okinawa
This was the little walkway at the Ritz-Carlton there in Okinawa where we returned every night. These islands often have incredible sunsets, and it was fun to combine them with the architecture. By the way, Ritz-Carlton doesn’t pay me to post this stuff on the blog… I just do it because I’m a huge fan of those guys! We do partner up on other things… I just do these photos on the blog out of the goodness of my heart. I’m such a nice guy.
Here’s a video I made showing an edit of a drone photo from Waiheke. I edited it using Aurora HDR 2018 and you can see a few little tricks in the video below!
Daily Photo – Little Girl in Okinawa
We didn’t get much beach time on Okinawa, even though the place is packed with beaches! Most of our time was spent in the inside parts of the island. Most Japanese think of the mountains and hills for vacation and not-so-much the beach. Anyway, as soon as we made it out here, I saw this cute little girl playing in the sand.