Okinawa 1988-1991

Okinawa 1988-1991

Saturday, April 30, 2005

Walls of Shuri Castle

Friday, April 29, 2005

Japan Today - News - Japan to import U.S. Marlboro cigarettes for 1st time in 32 years - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - Japan to import U.S. Marlboro cigarettes for 1st time in 32 years - Japan's Leading International News Network: "Japan to import U.S. Marlboro cigarettes for 1st time in 32 years"

TOKYO — Japan will import Marlboro cigarettes from the United States from May for the first time in 32 years as Japan Tobacco Inc's licensing agreement with the Philip Morris group to produce and sell the brand expires Saturday.

The accord with the global tobacco producer has since 1973 allowed JT to make Marlboro-brand cigarettes in Japan according to Philip Morris' quality standards but with a slightly different flavor that suits Japanese tastes. JT is expected to see its profit decline by some 50 billion yen as Marlboro cigarettes have a 9% share in the domestic market, JT officials said. (Kyodo News)
When I was in Okinawa the Marlboro's looked identical, until you tore into the filter and discovered they were charcoal filtered. I don't know about the Okinawan's, but I'm sure the Marines will be happy about this. Darren

Thursday, April 28, 2005

An Okinawan Original
Born on Japan's southern isles, Orion Beer is delivered fresh from the local brewery - A perfect refreshment for the warm and humid climate of Okinawa. Come to paradise island, full of smiles and happy faces, and enjoy the superb taste of the locals' No.1 favorite beer!

Waste disposal proving problem for Tomishiro and Itoman cities -

Waste disposal proving problem for Tomishiro and Itoman cities -

Southern Okinawa’s waste disposal treatment plant is beyond capacity, and now closed.

Itoman and Tomishiro Cities are continuing to generate trash waste,and don’t know where to put it. They need a workable plant, but their new facility will not come online until 2008.

For now, they’re scouring the island for willing hands to allow Itoman and Tomishiro waste to be burned, and sediment stored, in other places. The two communities are generating 200 tons of waste per day, which leaves sediment of 15 tons. The trash continues to be burned, but the daily 15 tons of waste product is being built up inside the disposal facility.

The problem was first identified more than 30 years ago, but solutions have been slow. Kayuu Nishihiro, Itoman City Mayor, says “this trash problem is a really big one because we cannot wait even one day.” He acknowledges the old facility’s problem, but says “I really did not know that it’s a big problem. We have to do something now.”

Tomoshiro City Mayor Houmei Kinjo says “the civilian final disposal treatment center had trouble. According to new rules, this disposal treatment center cannot take anymore waste because it is not an appropriate place, by Okinawa Prefecture designation.”

The two cities quit taking new garbage and trash for disposal on March 30th, but know the waste is piling up in neighborhoods and area storage areas. Officials emphasize their concerns are serious, and are asking for help.

Former U.S. military housing land becoming great public use sites -

Former U.S. military housing land becoming great public use sites -

The fastest growing area of Okinawa is Ameku, former setting for a massive US military housing complex.

The Ameku, Shintoshin, Omoromachi area is bustling with development, with dozens of shopping centers, office buildings and apartment complexes popping up the past half-dozen years. The military vacated the property in the early 1980’s.

Area leaders are now planning names for many of the new parks and bridges being created as part of green zones for public use. The largest new park is now “Shintoshin Park”. Others have been Named “Ameku Purin (Pudding) Park”, “Mekaru Tentomushi (Lady Bug) Park, and “Venoya Frrield Park.” Seven others will be named soon.

Two bridges being built for sidewalks will be given names of old area bridges that existed before World War II.

Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Mongoose poses exceedingly grave threat to native birds -

Mongoose poses exceedingly grave threat to native birds -
There are 25 different species of wildlife in the northern Okinawa that are indigenous to the island, and almost all are threatened by the increasing numbers of mongoose. Mongoose was introduced to Okinawa from India at the turn of the century to fight habu whose bites caused serious injuries to local farmers.

Now the mongoose has spread further north and threatens to decimate populations of Yambaru Kuina and Noguchigera that only live in the northern jungles of Okinawa.

When I first arrived on Okinawa, we were told that the Habu could strike three times the length of it's body and to stay clear. However, we were also told that if we ever did encounter the Habu to kiss your ass goodbye because it was already too late. Hahaha Darren

Ancient royal tomb opens to public in Urasoe -

Ancient royal tomb opens to public in Urasoe -
The restoration work on a royal tomb originally built by Kin Ei-Sho in 13th century and later reformed by King Sho Tei in 1620, was completed on April 15.

The tomb that is located within Urasoe Castle remnants was completely destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa. The restoration work began in 2000 after the Sho family, the direct descendants of the kings donated the site to Urasoe City in 1995.

Like the original, the restored tomb consists of curved walls made of limestone. At the completion ceremony, Urasoe Mayor Mitsuo Gima said that he hoped that all people of Okinawa would visit the tomb. “This site was designated a National Treasure before the war. Now it can become such a treasure again,” Gima said.

The restoration work was completed with a Culture Ministry subsidy of \800 million.

To reach the tomb located on the north-west side of the castle site under a cliff, the restorers constructed a tunnel and a gangway that lead to the tomb. The public can also get inside the tomb. The site will open to public from April 30.

Hija River festival to celebrate Soukan Noguni -

Hija River festival to celebrate Soukan Noguni -
The annual Hija River Festival that is held in Kadena Town this Sunday takes an extra meaning this year it being the 400th anniversary of the introduction of the sweet potato to Okinawa from China.

The introduction of the new staple to Okinawan diet is credited to a local court official called Noguni. Soukan is his title that translates roughly as secretary. Not much else is known about the man, but so remarkable was his introduction of the sweet potato that it saved his and generations of Okinawans thereafter from earlier frequent famine and starvation.

The Hija River Festival, the 11th this year also features carp streamers hung over the river. In Japan, carp is considered the strongest of fish, and it has long been the symbol of boys.

The festival promises to be the most colorful to date, as no less than 640 of the colorful carp streamers fly in the wind over the river the longest of them being eight meters long. The festival s organized by Kadena Town Social Welfare Office that also maintains the streamers. Their number increased by 160 this year thanks to 66-year-old Takeo Higa who recently retired from the Town Office after working there 16 years. Upon his retirement he presented the 160 streamers that he had collected over the years to the town for use in the festival.

Other events planned for the festival include a concert, raft race down the river and food and drinks。The Kadena Town Office has also gone an extra mile in order to clean the festival site, so that people of any age can enjoy safely the day of fun.

Herbal ingredients transform awamori -

Herbal ingredients transform awamori -
Awamori is Okinawa’s traditional liquor, and now it has a new flavor thanks to a Naha woman.

GENKOKU is the newest name on the awamori shelf, and it’s more than simple awamori. Consider it an Okinawan herbal liqueur, distilled with nine distinctly unique herbs. Genkoku’s medicinal effects are traditional, well known and long in use in Okinawan homes

Tuesday, April 26, 2005

Okinawans wary of daylight saving time

Daily Yomiuri On-Line: "The Yomiuri Shimbun"
At 6 a.m. one day in early April, the sky over Naha was still veiled in darkness. All the cars running along Kokusai-dori, the city's busiest street, had their headlights on.

"I sometimes feel like I'm going for a walk in the middle of the night," said Akihiro Iwayama, a 64-year-old retired man who was out and about at 5 a.m.

Though Japan might seem like a small country, sunrise times vary greatly from one end of the nation to the other. Today, for instance, the sun rose at 4:23 a.m. in Nemuro, Hokkaido, and at 5:59 a.m. in Okinawa, a gap of 1 hour 36 minutes.

Japan Today - News - Protests halt gov't survey work for U.S. base off Nago - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - Protests halt gov't survey work for U.S. base off Nago - Japan's Leading International News Network: "NAHA — A government agency on Tuesday started preparatory work off Nago
in Okinawa Prefecture to conduct a geological survey for a proposed
offshore airport to be partly used by the U.S. Marine Corps, but
protesters forced suspension of the work."
The work on the civilian-military airport under a plan to relocate the U.S. Marines' Futemma Air Station has been delayed for more than a year in the face of local protests. On Tuesday morning, the Defense Facilities Administration Agency's regional bureau started loading equipment for scaffolding for drilling the seabed but the work was later suspended because residents climbed up the scaffolding. (Kyodo News)
I hope I can get back to the Rock before the old MCAS Futenma is gone. If things keep going like this, I should be able to make it.
I honestly don't know why we bother to move it. I was part of the crew that built the airstrip on Ie Shima in the 80's, and personally witnessed the protests there. It was civil, no violence, and was also the only time I know of that I was on tv as the Japanese news was there filming us from outside the fence.
Odd that in the 3 year's I was stationed on Futenma, I witnessed no protest's. In fact the townspeople were the nicest folks I have ever encountered. Darren

Monday, April 25, 2005

Golden Week traffic due this week - 2005-04-25

Golden Week traffic due this week - 2005-04-25: "Golden Week traffic due this week"
I have put an explanation of Golden Week on my Okinawa info. page. - Timeline of major Japan rail accidents - Apr 25, 2005 - Timeline of major Japan rail accidents - Apr 25, 2005: "TOKYO, Japan (AP) -- A look at several major train accidents in Japan:"
# May 3, 1962: 160 people killed in a three-train collision north of Tokyo.

# November 9, 1963: A crash involving a freight train and two passenger trains in Tsurumi, outside Tokyo, kills 161 people.

# November 6, 1972: A fire in a dining car kills 30 people in Hokurikyu tunnel in northwestern Japan.

# May 14, 1991: Train accident kills 42 people in Shigaraki, western Japan.

# March 8, 2000: Five people are killed and 33 injured when a Tokyo subway hits a derailed train.

# April 25, 2005: Commuter train derails in Amagaseki, western Japan, killing at least 50 and injuring more than 340.

Sources: Associated Press archives, Japan's National Transportation Safety Board Web site, Japan's Railway Safety Promotion Committee Web site.

Japan Today - News - 50 dead, over 417 injured after train derails in Amagasaki - Japan's Leading International News Network

Japan Today - News - 50 dead, over 417 injured after train derails in Amagasaki - Japan's Leading International News Network: "OSAKA — At least 50 people died and 417 others were injured when five
of seven rapid commuter train cars derailed Monday morning in
Amagasaki, Hyogo Prefecture, sending two cars slamming into an
apartment building, police and firefighters said."

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Mandatory Motorcycle Safety Stand-Down

:::: MCCS Okinawa Japan ::::: "Mandatory Motorcycle Safety Stand-Down
for all USMC Civilian and Military SOFA licensed motorcycle drivers island-wide

The purpose of this stand-down is to provide all licensed motorcycle operators within MCBJ, both military and civilian, with refresher training on motorcycle safety issues to include; operational risk management, rules of the road, personal protective equipment requirements, and identifying high hazard areas.

Personnel serving aboard Okinawa area camps and MCAS Futenma are required to attend one of four mandatory motorcycle stand-downs being held on the following dates and locations:

April 26, 9:00 am to 11:30 am, Foster Theater
April 26, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm, Foster Theater

April 28, 9:00 am to 11:30 am, Hansen Theater
April 28, 1:00 pm to 3:30 pm, Hansen Theater"

Tuesday, April 19, 2005

Party cruise fun returns -

Party cruise fun returns -
World Wide Soul Party Cruise is back.

The evening party cruise aboard a West Marine vessel will sail from Naha Wharf on Saturday, May 7th. Boarding time is 8pm, with the cruise under way at 8:30pm. The three-deck cruise ship will be the setting for an intercultural, multimedia extravaganza featuring the latest, hottest music, fashion and guests coming from a host of countries.

This is the third year for the party cruise. Tickets are \3,500, including one drink. Tickets are on sale now, with reservations at 090-25417 in English, or 090-1949-9845 in Japanese. Organizers recommend bringing your best dancing shoes, because (MC) Birdman and DJ Hi-5ive will be putting dancers to the test.

The get to the party, travel south on Highway 58 to Naha, turning right on Highway 390 to Naha Wharf. There's a Family Mart and a barbershop on the corner where a left turn is made for the final leg of the trip to Naha Wharf.

Karate instills spirit and strength -

Karate instills spirit and strength -
There’s no place like Okinawa for someone to learn the ancient arts of karate.

Home to the three primary karate forms which have spread their influence around the world, this island is steeped in karate history, and record holding champions.

Okinawa traffic snarls send planners to board -

Okinawa traffic snarls send planners to board -
Every road in Okinawa is a potential traffic jam each morning and evening.

That’s the concensus of most drivers facing the roadways across the island. All agree there are too many cars, not enough roads, and not enough lanes on existing roads. Okinawa Prefecture and the Okinawa General Bureau agree as well, conducting a symposium at the Harborview Hotel to hash out solutions.
Everyone feels frustration caused by traffic. The Kokusai International Street area has been suffering declines in the number of visitors, both tourists and local residents. “We have a real headache problem,” says a Kokusai businessman. “Competition outside the downtown area is great, with supermarkets and department stores flourishing around the island. There’s not so much need for residents to come to Kokusai anymore. About 70~80% of our business is for tourists.” That is wrong, he said, adding “we want citizens to come back to Kokusai and shop, but the Kokusai area has very bad traffic jams.”

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Okinawa's Futenma base: a sticking point in U.S.-Japan Relations

Japan Focus Article
Tensions between Japan and the United States are rising over U.S. bases on Okinawa, notably with respect to plans approved by the two powers in 1999 to move the Futenma air station from densely populated Ginowan to the pristine Henoko Bay, home of the threatened dugong, a large sea mammal.

Yahoo! News - China Rejects Japan's Demand for Apology

Yahoo! News - China Rejects Japan's Demand for Apology: "By JOE McDONALD, Associated Press Writer"

Saturday, April 16, 2005

Shellings, amphibious assault launch Okinawa Battle -

Shellings, amphibious assault launch Okinawa Battle -
Sixty years ago Monday, 60,000 American troops began an attack the Okinawans labeled tetsu no boru, meaning rain of steel.

As the two Army and two Marine Divisions swarmed ashore on Okinawa’s northwest side, no one had any idea it was to be the final battle. And by the time it was over in June 1945, tens of thousands would be dead on Okinawa, but hundreds of thousands saved by Japan’s decision to surrender before an attack on the mainland.

Japanese gain joint control of future military crash sites -

Japanese gain joint control of future military crash sites -
Japanese authorities will have a strong voice the next time an American aircraft crashes.

The two governments have agreed to new rules on who does what at a crash scene. The decisions come in the wake of an August 2004 crash of a U.S. Marine Corps helicopter in Ginowan, and the American denial of access to Japanese authorities.

Mizugama Reef's Surprises: Lion, Scorpion and Raggedfin Fire Fish -

Mizugama Reef's Surprises: Lion, Scorpion and Raggedfin Fire Fish -
Sometimes is pays to just stop and listen. It was a day just like any other day when two buddies began discussing their recent dive on some concrete blocks not far away from Kadena Marina.

:-==-:Okinawa Japan Virtual Ginza Your door to Okinawa Japan:-==-:

:-==-:Okinawa Japan Virtual Ginza Your door to Okinawa Japan:-==-:: "Front Page of Virtual Ginza"
Hey folks the Virtual Ginza is back up and running after a short delay.
Make sure and visit the first, and best source for all things Okinawa.

Me and my 50

Yahoo! News - Thousands Join Anti-Japan Protests in East China

Yahoo! News - Thousands Join Anti-Japan Protests in East China: "SHANGHAI/BEIJING (Reuters) -

Shouting 'Japanese invaders
must die,' thousands protested in eastern China against Japan's
wartime past on Saturday, hurling rocks and bottles at Tokyo's
consulate in Shanghai and burning Japanese flags.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

Liberty card order

Marine Corps Bases Japan Home Page: "Marines, Sailors and other military personnel assigned to Marine Corps
Bases Japan and III Marine Expeditionary Force will be issued liberty
cards June 11 to proactively curb off-base liberty infractions on
Okinawa and mainland Japan.

31st Marine Expeditionary Unit returns to Okinawa

Okinawa Marine Page
CAMP HANSEN (Apr 8, 2005) -- "Welcome home!" was the cheer from friends and families as they reunited with Marines and sailors of the 31st Marine Expeditionary Unit that returned to Okinawa April 1-2 from Operation Iraqi Freedom.

Recycling Pays: Everyone loses when trash is improperly disposed of

Okinawa Marine Page
CAMP FOSTER (Apr 1, 2005) -- At the current rate of trash disposal, landfills on Okinawa will reach maximum capacity by fiscal year 2007 unless residents increase the amount of garbage they recycle.

Battalion commemorates battle of Okinawa

Okinawa Marine Page
TORII STATION (Apr 8, 2005) -- On April 1, 1945, Marines began one of the longest and bloodiest battles of World War II, fighting a heavily entrenched enemy of more than 100,000 Japanese troops on Okinawa.

Marines must make right decisions on left side of road

Okinawa Marine Page
CAMP HANSEN (Apr 1, 2005) -- The first thing that servicemembers new to Okinawa will recognize when they step off the plane, besides the humidity, is that operating an automobile on Okinawa is a completely new and different experience.

Monday, April 11, 2005

Okinawa beaches offer hours of relaxation -

Okinawa beaches offer hours of relaxation -
Okinawa is an island filled with plenty of beaches geared to family outings, barbeques, and sunbathing. Temperatures are now warming, and thousands are already finding their way to the most popular beaches. A few hundred others are making their way to the more secluded beaches in both the north and south regions of the island.

Yahoo! News - Tokyo rocked by strong earthquake, reviving fears of 'The Big One'

Yahoo! News - Tokyo rocked by strong earthquake, reviving fears of 'The Big One': "The quake was the biggest since a tremor of equal magnitude hit the
Kanto region centering on Tokyo in June 2000, but there were no reports
of major damage or casualties."

Saturday, April 09, 2005

MCAS Futenma