Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Geruma's 2010 School Shirt

Glad I didn't get suckered into buying this one:

Monday, September 27, 2010

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Untitled 1

[traditional Okinawan attire and dance]

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Handmade Rope

Computer's been down for a couple weeks.  Hurray for local people who fix things and don't charge insane rates (like Apple Japan's $540 flat fee).

[At Geruma's Sports Day last week, this was the winning rope woven in three minutes by an old guy.  It's over three meters long, woven with rice stalks.]

Friday, September 17, 2010

iStockalypse Japan

As a contributing member of iStockphoto, I check out their forums from time-to-time.  Last week I stumbled upon a thread about an event called iStockalypse Japan.  iStockphoto does these iStockalypses every year in various cool places around the world.  I've never looked into them much because they didn't seem too relevant to me.

One of the difficulties with living where I do is that I am really isolated from other people who do the same things that I do.  So my opportunity to learn things in a hands-on environment is nonexistent.  My photography has improved a lot since arriving here, but there is still so much to be learned by standing next to another photographer and asking questions.

So I entered the drawing for a place at iStockalypse.  There were 10 slots for invited (professional) photographers, 20 slots for iStockers (note the apt coincidence with 'I stalk her') from around the world, and 15 slots for iStockers within Japan.  I ended up getting an invite a couple days ago and had to do some quick 'asking for more time off from work' and changing my plane tickets (note to everybody: i think airlines make their money on people who change their tickets).

I've sadly had to cut 4 days off my hunting trip, which is a huge bummer.  iStockalypse is nine days long and in a high-end district of Tokyo.  We'll each have three days of studio shooting, three days of out-on-the-town shooting, and three other days that I forget what they're for.  Everything but my transportation, food, and lodging is paid.  (i.e. the huge expense of models and lighting is being covered by iStock.) I also get to sell all the photos I take, as the purpose of this event is to add a lot of Japan-related content to the iStock collection.

That's about all I know right now. It should be awesome.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Weight of Stamps

Today I went to the post office to mail a letter.  I'd already checked the weight on my home scale (salvaged from the dump) and it was a couple grams over, so I removed one of the four pictures inside.  Still looked like it was going to be close.

The post office scale had it at 25.5 grams, a half-gram over the threshold between ¥110 and ¥190. I pleaded with them that the stamps must weigh half-a-gram.  They said okay, and let it go through for ¥110.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

An Awesome Trade

There were a ton of foreigners - mostly Europeans - on Zamami this summer.  Among them was a girl from Switzerland who brought along her cycling panniers to Osaka, where she got off the plane and bought a touring bike.  She proceeded to ride it around Japan for four months, wrapping up her trip with two weeks of relaxing on Zamami.  Being in the market for a second bike to have around for guests, I asked her what her plans were for the bike.  She said she would just give it away in Naha before leaving.  I was very keen to include myself in her 'giving away' thought process so I let her know.  I even offered to pay her some money for the bike, but in the end she gave it to me for free (along with some spare parts and valuable tools).  (Well, I gave her a half-dozen of my enlarged photographs and a promise to email some hi-res versions.)

The bike is too small for me, but it's still awesome.  I am planning to do a cross-Japan ride before leaving so the racks might come in very handy for me.  Regardless, like the fishing lures I gave away earlier this week, the bike will end up being put to good use.  It's nice to be in the right place at the right time and be involved in a transaction that benefits both sides.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

Free Fishing Lures

I was staying with some military contractor friends on the Okinawan mainland a few weeks back.  The husband, who has been transferred back to DC, was in the process of unloading 12 years of crap.  He knew I was  fisherman, so he said "hey, I've got this big box on the front porch full of fishing gear that you can have."  

The box probably weighed 120 pounds and I couldn't lift it alone.  They gave me a ride to the port, where I had to have help getting it on the boat.  This week I finally sorted everything and untangled all the birds nest of lines - with wire cutters.  I laid all the lures out on my floor, took out what I wanted (very little), then called up the fishermen I knew and had them come over to pillage the pile.  75% of it is gone now with a promise from one guy to take whatever was left over, so I've successfully redistributed all of this closeted fishing gear to people who will hopefully use it - and maybe strengthened a few friendships in the process.