Friday, September 28, 2012

Japan to crank up PR over Senkakus dispute with China | The Japan Times Online

In a major shift in public relations policy, Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba said Wednesday that Japan has decided to seek international support in its dispute with China over the Japanese-controlled Senkaku Islands.

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Inside The Anti-Japanese Protests in China » Counterpunch: Tells the Facts, Names the Names

They’ve drawn far less attention in the U.S. media than the wave of anti-U.S. protests throughout the Islamic world has responded "allegedly" to a sixth rate online anti-Muslim movie trailer. But the anti-Japanese protests in China might have more enduring significance. These are the largest in the postwar (post-1945) period, involving hundreds of thousands, causing Japanese owned factories and retail shops to shut their doors and even consider closing down permanently. Even Chinese-owned Japanese restaurants are posting Chinese flags and patriotic messages on their doors, hoping to avoid attack.
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Comment: This is an interesting piece that unfortunately still does NOT make the case that these islets are in any way shape or form Chinese possessions! The fact that the Chinese saw them first or that once in a while a Chinese boat on its way to or from Ryukyu would make anchorage there or even because once upon a time some rich dude in Japan colored them the same color as China on one of his homemade maps does not make them Chinese.

It's interesting that the author brings up much about Okinawan or "Ryukyuan" history and goes to great lengths to prove how horrible the Japanese were toward the Okinawan people. These charges are for the most part, true. The Japanese treated, some say they still do treat, the Okinawans like $#!+. OK, I get it Japanese people bad, can't trust them so they must be lying here therefore the Chinese claim must be true. Not so fast bro...

An important question to answer is "Why do we know so much about what it was like for Okinawan's under the Japanese thumb?" From the historical records of course! But the records that were archived in Okinawa were all kept at Shuri Castle which was utterly destroyed during the battle of Okinawa. Adding insult to injury, it is unfortunate to note that the Japanese are very much like their American allies and horrible historians. By that I mean they have a strong tendency to always whitewash their own atrocities while focusing like a laser beam on a handful of minor mistakes made by others. 

The answer to the question "why we know so much about what life was like in Okinawa under Japanese rule" is because of the records on the matter that were archived in China that survived the war. Wouldn't you know it, it seems that the Chinese are meticulous record keepers.

So, if during the 400 or so years since they first saw them, they had some real documentation to prove that they officially claimed these islets or to show that they spent money to develop them or perhaps even had a Chinese settlement there (even a temporary one), as the Japanese had done after they officially claimed them and documented the event for prosperity, then I might be more inclined to accept their story as having at least a smidgen of merit. They do not as this story so aptly demonstrates.

I have said many times before, seeing something first and actually owning it are two entirely different propositions! The truth of the matter is that now these little rocks in the middle of nowhere have become very valuable. If they were still just worthless rocks in the middle of nowhere, the Chinese would still be ignoring them today as they have for the previous half a millennium! Their claim is totally bogus!

Super Typhoon Jabba-the-Hut (Jelawat), Update#14 - Stripes

Ol’ Jabba-the-Hut looks like he plans to remain a pesky little slugger as he snakes its way east toward Okinawa after paying a brief visit to the Taiwan area. Things should get a bit hairy starting Saturday morning. Jelawat is forecast to roar just south of Kadena around 3 p.m. Saturday, with peak winds, 98-mph sustained and 132-mph gusts, forecast for mid-afternoon and things dying down sometime Saturday evening, forecasts project.

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China's First Aircraft Carrier To Confront Japan Over Senkaku Islands -

Wars have started over less weighty issues than the sovereignty of islands in the East China Sea called Senkaku in Japan and Diaoyu in China.

They are barely rocks above water, but they sit atop valuable resources and are rapidly becoming a flash point as a rising power confronts one whose sun has set.

These islands have become involved in a three-way tug of war between China, Taiwan and Japan with each sending fishing boats, even armed vessels, to the area. Private boats from Japan recently journeyed to the Senkakus to plant the Japanese flag one more time.

The Senkaku Islands are not only rich fishing areas. They also have significant oil deposits vital to a China scouring the world for energy for its growing economy.

Possession of these uninhabited rocks would be the basis for declaring an exclusive economic zone around the islands.

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Thursday, September 27, 2012

Super Typhoon Jabba-the-Hut a.k.a. Jelawat | Weather Underground

Here's the latest on Super Typhoon Jabba-the-Hut. Look for a category three storm to hit Okinawa early Saturday, well before you recover from your typhoon party hangover from the night before. For all the base bound folks and "Barracks Rats" that means you better stock up on beer and toilet paper before the stores close on Friday.

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Senkaku row reverberates across Southeast Asia | The Japan Times Online

SINGAPORE — China's recent conduct in its bitter dispute with Japan over the ownership of islands, fisheries and seabed resources in the East China Sea raises some geopolitical storm warnings for Southeast Asia.

While often seen as separate issues, the conflicting sovereignty claims of China and Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea are closely connected with Beijing's much larger territorial and maritime boundary claims in the South China Sea.

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Comment: China has learned the lessons taught to it by their former colonial masters from over a century ago and the American's this last half century very well. Being one of the few nations on earth at present that actually has money, you might forgive them for feeling their oats, so to speak and the way they're throwing their new found clout around. What goes around comes around...

Super typhoon Jelawat to threaten Okinawa - The Washington Post

Another monster typhoon has spun up in the western Pacific. Following super typhoon Sanba that ripped across Okinawa and then into South Korea. Super typhoon Jelawat a.k.a. "Jabba-the-Hut" is also eying Okinawa before a possible encounter with Japan.
Jabba-da-Hut is the equivalent of a category-4 hurricane, with peak sustained winds of 150 mph. Briefly Tuesday, it reached category-5 strength with maximum sustained winds of 160 mph becoming the second strongest storm on Earth in 2012, trailing only Sanba whose peak winds reached 178 mph.

Jabba-da-Hut is currently positioned 570 miles south-southwest of Kadena Air Force Base on Okinawa and is moving northwest at around 6 miles per hour. It is expected continue this motion for a couple more days, before turning more to the northeast.

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okinawa, protests, demonstration, japan, us soldiers | okinawa protests | SBS World News

NAHA - In mid-September, tens of thousands of people demonstrated in Ginowan, a town on the main island of the Japanese Okinawa archipelago. But these were not protests against the Chinese navy presence near the Senkaku Islands, (called Diaoyu by the Chinese), whose sovereignty is disputed between Japan and China.
 The Okinawans were protesting the deployment of American Osprey aircrafts, which take off vertically, and whose reliability has been called into question. A dozen Ospreys had been assigned to the American military base at Futenma, Okinawa, and since September 19, they have been authorized to fly, much to the locals’ discontent.

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United Airlines Ending Okinawa-Guam Service on October 27th

United Airlines has announced that it is ending its twice weekly flight to Okinawa from Guam effective October 27th, after the last United flight from Okinawa arrives on Guam.
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Japan, China to hold island dispute talks -

Japan sent its vice foreign minister to China for talks as bilateral tensions worsen over a group of islands in the East China Sea, claimed by both.

Even as Japan again protested the arrival of Chinese ships in the waters of Senkaku Islands, calling it an intrusion in its territorial waters, Vice Foreign Minister Chikao Kawai arrived in Beijing for talks to calm the situation. China calls the islands Diaoyu.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Full Text: Diaoyu Dao, an Inherent Territory of China(5) -

On June 17, 1971, Japan and the United States signed the Agreement Concerning the Ryukyu Islands and the Daito Islands (Okinawa Reversion Agreement), which provided that any and all powers of administration over the Ryukyu Islands and Diaoyu Dao would be "returned" to Japan. The Chinese people, including overseas Chinese, all condemned such a backroom deal. On December 30, 1971, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a solemn statement, pointing out that "it is completely illegal for the government of the United States and Japan to include China's Diaoyu Dao Islands into the territories to be returned to Japan in the Okinawa Reversion Agreement and that it can by no means change the People's Republic of China's territorial sovereignty over the Diaoyu Dao Islands". The Taiwan authorities also expressed firm opposition to the backroom deal between the United States and Japan.

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Comment: What bullshit! This whole story is filled to the brim with outright lies! These guys have obviously been studying at the feet of Bill Clinton and the American Demagoguery Party. The evidence is the way they rewrite history and get away with it. Just like the Demagogues in America, China says whatever it wants to and because the press is simply the propaganda ministry, a party organ, they take that to the bank as fact! As it pertains to this territory dispute, nothing could be further from the truth. No less than Chou En Lai himself admitted that the Senkaku islands belonged to Japan. China, just because you saw it first doesn't mean you own it so please stop this horseshit before a couple of million innocent people die as a result of your greed and government incompetence!!!

Super Typhoon Jabba-the-Hut (Jelawat), : Okinawa on Saturday - Pacific Storm Tracker - Stripes

Looks as if Jabba-the-Hut aka Jelawat should retain its super-duper typhoon status for the next day, then gradually start weakening as it churns north-northwest into (somewhat) cooler latitudes, wind shear increases and sea-surface temperatures decrease.
Typhoon Jabba-the-Hut aka Jelawat is forecast to move rapidly through the Okinawa area, but not after battering the island with Category 2-equivalent 104-mph sustained winds and 127-mph gusts.

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Comment: Looks like some typhoon parties are in the making this weekend. At least they should have all day Sunday to sober up...

A Japan Photo per Day - Chashitsu architecture - Cottage of Lingering Fragrance

Traveling through Japan, in gardens, temples or in public parks you can see small wooden buildings with a special architecture: these are chashitsu 「茶室」 “tea rooms", places especially designed for the tea ceremony.

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China inaugurates first aircraft carrier amid Senkaku dispute with Japan - The Japan Daily Press

A round of congratulations to China as the Defense Ministry announced today the nation’s first aircraft carrier launched into service. Well, that’s not really how the Japanese government must feel about the refurbished Soviet ship that China purchased, but I’m sure the United States is happy for their friends. Oh, wait, maybe not them either. Well, I’m sure the Chinese are happy about their 300 meter (985 foot) long ship, dubbed Liaoning, that doesn’t actually have any operating aircraft, yet...

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Comment: I wonder about the hull number??? If this ship is the first, shouldn't it be just a one (1)? Maybe they only have 16 ships in their whole navy. Somehow I doubt that. Obviously they have a different hull numbering system for their navy but it is interesting to note none the less.

China tells Japan it will not tolerate violations of sovereignty ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

China will not tolerate any violations of its sovereignty, Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Zhijun told his Japanese counterpart on Tuesday as the two met in a bid to ease tensions over a territorial dispute.

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Comment: Too bad the territory in question in this case is undeniably Japanese territory. This "I saw it first crap" argument that China is pulling here might work in the context of siblings arguing over the last slice of cake, cookie or candy bar. In such a case the usual result is just some bruised feelings as one ends up on the short end of the stick. A worst case scenario is a bruised bottom after a parental intervention results in "the board of education being applied to the seat of learning." Unfortunately this is not a spat between siblings. When the state is involved, it usually ends up with millions dead and devastation on a regional level. These days with all the weapons of mass destruction out there, it could even become billions dead and devastation on a global level! It's time for China to grow the hell up!

Ryukyu Shimpo – U.S. military will permit Okinawans base transit in Tsunami Emergencies

On September 12, at an evacuation drill explanatory session held in Camp Foster, a representative of the U.S. Marines in Okinawa stated that in the case of a tsunami, the Corps will allow local Okinawans to pass through the bases

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UPDATE: Japan fires water cannon to turn away Taiwan boats - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

Japanese Coast Guard vessels fired water cannon to turn away about 40 Taiwan fishing boats and eight Taiwan Coast Guard vessels from waters Japan considers its own on Sept. 25 in the latest twist to a row between Tokyo and Beijing.

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Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Taiwan flotilla leaves for Senkakus | The Japan Times Online

TAIPEI — Organizers of a flotilla of Taiwanese fishing boats said dozens of vessels set sail Monday for the disputed Senkaku Islands, a set of East China Sea islets controlled by Japan but claimed by China and Taiwan.

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Super Typhoon (Jabba-the-Hut) update - Pacific Storm Tracker - Stripes

Typhoon Jelawat, also known on this blog as typhoon Jabba-the-Hut, re-strengthened into a super typhoon on Monday evening, and the latest Joint Typhoon Warning Center projection forecasts Jabba-the-hut to make a sharp right turn overnight Friday into Saturday and set its sights right on Okinawa, to the tune of 161 miles southwest of the island at 9 p.m. Saturday but making a beeline toward it.

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3 Chinese warships enter Japan territorial waters near Senkakus- 毎日jp(毎日新聞)

Three Chinese surveillance vessels on Monday morning entered Japan's territorial waters in the East China Sea near the Senkaku Islands, the Japan Coast Guard said, prompting the government to lodge a protest against Beijing.

The intrusions, the first since last Tuesday, took place amid deteriorating bilateral ties following Japan's nationalization earlier this month of the islands, which are claimed by China. And there are no signs that the dispute over their sovereignty will be settled any time soon.

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Ryukyu Shimpo – Typhoon Sanba damage totals 397 million Yen

In the morning of September 18, the Okinawa Prefectural Government (OPG) held a disaster response headquarters meeting to report on the damage caused by Typhoon Sanba. By 8:00am that day, it was known that damage to likes of sugar cane has been estimated at about 397 million yen.

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Super-typhoon Jelawat (Jabba-the-Hut) update -

Strengthening of Typhoon Jabba-the-Hut Monday has boosted the mighty storm's status to "Super-typhoon."

The powerful and extremely dangerous storm has continued to be of great interest to residents of northern Philippines and Taiwan. Those land masses could eventually feel directs effects of Jelawat, depending upon the path it takes.
Meanwhile here on Okinawa, we're resigning ourselves to the fact that this could be our third direct hit by a Super Typhoon in less than a month. Worse yet, as it always seems to be here on Okinawa, the storms tend to hit on the weekends.

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Monday, September 24, 2012

Hashimoto takes on isle spats in debate with Diet members | The Japan Times Online

Osaka Mayor Toru Hashimoto said Sunday that Japan should continue to use diplomacy, political precedent and international law to settle its various territorial battles with China, South Korea and Russia.

During a public debate with Diet members about the policy platform of Nippon Ishin no Kai (Japan Restoration Party), the outspoken mayor's new national political group, Hashimoto said he does not favor calls by some conservatives to station Self-Defense Forces personnel on the Japan-controlled Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea.

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USMC general: Ospreys "crashing" Okinawa by October - Marine Corps News | News from Afghanistan & Iraq - Marine Corps Times

The Marine Corps will begin flying its MV-22 Ospreys in Okinawa by October, a top general told Marine Corps Times, marking the end of a months-long stalemate with the Japanese government punctuated by bitter local protests and fears about the aircraft’s safety.

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Typhoon # 17 (Jelawat) aka "Jabba the Hut" - Pacific Storm Tracker

With every passing Joint Typhoon Warning Center six-hour update comes more evidence that Typhoon Jelawat might be an unwelcome visit to the Okinawa area sometime during the weekend, though the various computer-generated dynamic aids used to formulate storm tracks still are spread all over the yard.
This storm has the potential to be the strongest and most violent this season! Stay tuned...

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Almost half of sixth grade students lack basic math skills - The Japan Daily Press

The results of the National Institute for Educational Policy Research (NIER) indicate that a huge chunk of the sixth-grade primary school students are having issues with understanding math. The Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology Ministry’s institution analyzed the results of the national achievement test that students take each year, and the reports are not very encouraging.

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Comment: Meanwhile in the U.S., Education Secretary Arne Duncan celebrated this as good news by shouting  out "We're catching up!" U.S. officials immediately spun this information to be proof positive that the Obama Administration's Education policies are working. Only in a twisted ultra-politicized America, where almost (ALL) sixth grade students lack basic math skills, probably because they can't read, could finding out that almost half of Japanese students lack basic math skills be seen as good news...

Osprey on the flight path (Editorial) | The Japan Times Online

The government on Wednesday declared the U.S. MV-22 tilt-rotor transport aircraft safe to fly, and the U.S. Marine Corps on Friday started test-flying 12 Osprey aircraft now parked at its air station in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture. The 12 aircraft are expected to be deployed at Futenma air station in Ginowan, the central part of Okinawa Island, in early October.
The government declaration came amid Okinawan people's fears about the safety of the Osprey. The Japanese and the U.S. governments stress that deployment of the aircraft will contribute to improved military deterrence. But they should not underestimate Okinawan residents' opposition to the deployment

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U.S. Marines, GSDF 'retake island' in Guam drill | The Japan Times Online

The Ground Self-Defense Force and the U.S. Marine Corps on Saturday held a joint drill on Guam aimed at bolstering their ability to defend the remote Senkaku islands.

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Unusual Boat Photos From Ou-Jima Okinawa, Japan

Today the 3d Nanjo Mayor's Cup Sabani Race was held on Ou-Jima. It is a small island off Okinawa's southeast coast, accessible by bridge. What's unusual about these boats ? They don't have any motors.  People and wind power is what gets them going.

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A Japan Photo per Day - Mikimoto Ama women divers

Collecting pearls is a 2000 years old tradition in Japan, most of the divers being women (called Ama), because it seems that women are more resistant than men to immersion in cold water.

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Sunday, September 23, 2012

Ryukyu Shimpo – Unjami Festival in Ogimi

On September 11, the Unjami Festival was held in Shioya Bay and other areas of Ogimi. This event is designated as one of Japan’s significant intangible folk cultural assets. At shrine rooms in Tanna and Yafu, Okinawan shaman or kaminchu prayed for a good catch. This was followed by the Ugan Barley dragon boat race, which brought the festival to a climax. The Unjami Festival is held every year in the seventh month of the lunar calendar following the Bon season. It is said that the festival in Shioya dates back some 400 or 500 years to the time of the Ryukyu Kingdom.
(That's not Tea in that cup she's drinking from!)

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More pictures can be seen at this link (HERE)

A Japan Photo per Day - Japanese mascots - Otosan, the SoftBank's famous dog

Since 2007, when he first appeared in the commercials of the Japanese telecommunications corporation SoftBank, Otosan became one of the most famous dogs in Japan. Otosan is not a CGI animation nor a puppet, he is a real-life 9 years old dog, his name is Kai-kun and he’s a Hokkaidō-Inu, a breed declared since 1937 as a “rare species protected by law". Kai-kun also starred in a few TV drama series.

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Scenes From A Junior High Undokai (Photo Essay)

An Undokai is what you might call Sports Day. The Junior High athletic field was where I spent the day. Here are some photos to give you an idea what you might see at one of these events.

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Saturday, September 22, 2012

VIDEO: Japanese Defense Troops and U.S. Marines Train Together on and Around Guam

Guam - For the first time ever, the US Marines and Japanese Defense troops are training together on and in the waters around Guam.

PNC was invited to a press conference today where we were brought out 30 miles northeast of Guam to the USS Bonhomme Richard by way of CHC helicopters.

Local media were not the only ones invited, various Japanese and other Asian media representatives were also part of the tour. Asked whether the exercises were in preparation for the planned realignment of US troops from Okinawa to Guam, Commodore of Amphibious Assault Capt. Cathal O’Connor says it is not.

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Japan court sentences U.S. base civilian to prison for Okinawa car accident - The Japan Daily Press

On Thursday, the Fukuoka High Court upheld a prison sentence for an American civilian who worked at a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa. 25 year old Rufus Ramsey was convicted and sentenced to 18 months in prison for accidentally killing a Japanese teenager in a car accident. This is the first time a Japanese court has sentenced a civilian after a law was changed that protected such base employees from prosecution in Japan.

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Okinawa plans to be the safest Japanese destination - Destination News -

Okinawa’s local government has made a commitment to its people and to travellers from across the globe to become one of the “safest resort destinations in Japan”, with new initiatives designed to reduce devastation caused by possible future natural disasters.

Following last year’s earthquake and tsunami, local leaders launched the first Tourism Crisis Management Planning Project, a three-step plan to make the group of Islands safer for tourists, enhance the region’s competitive edge and contribute to a positive image for the region’s branding.

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US begins test flights of MV-22 Osprey in Japan | Fox News

The U.S. Marines conducted their first test flights of the MV-22 Osprey aircraft in Japan on Friday after months of protests over safety concerns.

The hybrid aircraft can take off like a helicopter and fly like an airplane. Flight operations were conducted at a base in southern Japan where they are temporarily deployed before being transferred to Okinawa.

Protesters held up signs opposing the deployment while the test flights were under way.

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Japanese Sake Makers Shake Off Tradition, Try Brewing Craft Beer : The Salt : NPR

Until recently, if you ordered Japanese beer, there weren't many to choose from. Before the industry was deregulated in the 1990s, four major brewers — Asahi, Suntory, Sapporo and Kirin – controlled the manufacture of Japanese beer.
But the major brands' domination is ebbing, for reasons that have as much to do with Japan's ancient history as with its evolving palates. And now some traditional sake brewers are ditching the tradition and trying their hand at craft beer brewing.

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History of Sushi | The History Kitchen | PBS Food

As with many ancient foods, the history of sushi is surrounded by legends and folklore. In an ancient Japanese wives’ tale, an elderly woman began hiding her pots of rice in osprey nests, fearing that thieves would steal them. Over time, she collected her pots and found the rice had begun to ferment. She also discovered that fish scraps from the osprey’s meal had mixed into the rice. Not only was the mixture tasty, the rice served as a way of preserving the fish, thus starting a new way of extending the shelf life of seafood.

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Comment: Perhaps this explains why we don't have many good sushi shops here in Okinawa. You see, they don't like Osprey's very much around here!

China’s Anti-Japan Riots Are State-Sponsored. Period. | ChinaGeeks | analysis and translation of modern China

Like many people around the world, I’ve spent some of the past few days looking at photos and reports about the escalating anti-Japan protests in China. There is an excellent collection of them here for those that are interested. Browsing it, your first inclination may be to marvel at the particularly insane bits, like the hotel advertising that Japanese guests are no longer welcome or the Audi dealership with banners outside that literally advocate mass genocide (is this a new Audi sales campaign?). But for anyone who has been to a protest in China before, your second inclination is going to be to say this: where are all the fucking cops?

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Audi dealership in China: “We must exterminate the Japanese” | Japan Probe

Over at China Geeks, C. Custer has written an excellent article explaining why the anti-Japanese rioting and violence in China are state-sponsored. He also posted the following photograph, taken from a Chinese social media site:

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Friday, September 21, 2012

The Premium KURO Burger - Japan Australia

Burger King Japan is just about to release the Premium KURO Burger (黒バーガー) to celebrate their 5th come back anniversary in Japan. The limited edition Premium KURO Burger will hit the Burger King menu on Friday, September 28th.

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Diner's dilemma: Okonomiyaki or monjayaki? |

The Kanto and Kansai regions, home to Tokyo and Osaka, respectively, have a history of rivalry longer than a line waiting to enter a Saturday-morning department store sale.

Just as each city’s people consider themselves unique, so too are their versions of the “as you like it” dish -- okonomiyaki (okonomi = honorable choice, yaki = fried or grilled) to its supporters.

This savory pancake, sometimes referred to (by only the most literal naïfs) as Japanese pizza, is a popular snack food that goes back to a Buddhist tradition of serving crepe-like desserts called funoyaki during ceremonies.

From here on out the stories of both the “original” okonomiyaki claimed by Kansai and its Kanto kin, monjayaki, (widely known as simply “monja”) get a bit murky...

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3,700 Chinese cancel trips to Okinawa | The Japan Times Online

Some 3,700 mainland Chinese have cancelled trips to Okinawa because of the disruption to Sino-Japanese ties caused by the territorial spat over the Senkaku Islands in the prefecture, officials said Thursday.

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Comment: It certainly is a bit of bad luck that this dust up over a couple of worthless rocks in the East China Sea is going to cost Okinawan businesses so much financially. But all is not lost, perhaps now they'll start being a little nicer to the American's that are already here spending money. Who knows, if they think they're appreciated, they might even spend a little more. 3,700 people shouldn't be too hard a number to overcome when you've got some 50,000 plus fat wallets on the other side of the fence wanting to come out an play.

Osprey deployment angers Okinawa citizens, municipalities - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

A U.S. military aircraft with a history of deadly accidents received Japanese government approval to fly on Sept. 19, a decision which provoked a furious reaction in Okinawa.

From October, the MV-22 Osprey will be based at the U.S. Marine Corps Air Station Futenma in Ginowan, Okinawa Prefecture.

The governor of Okinawa, Hirokazu Nakaima, expressed frustration that he was not consulted before Tokyo gave the tilt-rotor aircraft the green light.

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Power Shift in N.E. Asia Driving Regional Disputes - Arirang News

Korea and China are planning to submit an extension claim of the Korean Peninsula's continental shelf to the Okinawa Trough.

Japan strongly opposes the move, claiming it infringes upon its oceanic rights.

But Korea and China teaming up against Japan doesn't make them the best of friends, since Seoul still has unresolved issues over the sovereignty of the I-eo islets with Beijing.

Meanwhile, tensions between Japan and China continue to escalate.

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"The Grave of Amamichu" - Map It! Okinawa

Before there were kings, there were gods – that according to Okinawan legends. The above grave or 'ohaka' houses the remains of Amamichu, the female deity that was one half responsible for creating the first inhabitants of the Ryukyu Kingdom. Her counterpart, Shirumichu – a male deity, was also responsible for establishing the first civilization here on Okinawa. Every year, particularly during the beginning of the New Year, people come here to pray for prosperity. It would not be uncommon to see a noro (priestess) here during special occasions. Women also come here to pray for fertility.

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Beijing hints at bond attack on Japan - Telegraph

A senior advisor to the Chinese government has called for an attack on the Japanese bond market to precipitate a funding crisis and bring the country to its knees, unless Tokyo reverses its decision to nationalise the disputed Senkaku/Diaoyu islands in the East China Sea.

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Titanic Losses 1,513---Tsushima-Maru 1,515

An article published at Yahoo hinted that Tsushima-Maru losses were a few less than those of the Titanic.
August 22 was the 68th anniversary for the sinking of the Tsushima-Maru. For my article published August 28, 2012, Dave Bartruff was used as a reference. In his Washington Times article on the Tsushima-Maru he gave these numbers:
Losses:  Titanic 1,513        Tsushima Maru 1,508 

Dave's story was published August 23, 2012.  His figures, I'd say must be accurate. He is married to one of the survivors of the incident.

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Inside China: Generals urge get-tough policy on Japan - Washington Times

China’s state media gave prominent space last week to the People’s Liberation Army’s most outspoken hawks, who urged Beijing to adopt a unanimous policy of getting tough with Japan. The 10 generals agreed that an immediate war with Japan might not be beneficial for China. But they argued that China should take all measures necessary, including military action, to gain administrative control of the Diaoyudao, known as the Senkaku Islands in Japan.

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A Japan Photo per Day - Pure beauty in Kyoto - Reflection of the Golden Pavilion, Kinkaku-ji

The story of today’s Kinkaku-ji Temple from Kyoto starts in 1397, when the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitsu bought the land and started building a villa including the Kinkaku (Golden Pavilion), the garden and the pond surrounding it. After the shogun’s death, the place was transformed into a Zen temple, Kinkaku-ji.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Ryukyu Shimpo – Okinawa, Japanese newspaper, local news » Researcher discovers rare species of butterfly in Takae

Akino Miyagi, a researcher who belongs to the Butterfly Society of Japan, discovered about 50 pithecops corvus ryukyuensis at the Arakawa River basin in Takae, Higashi. This butterfly has been designated as a near threatened species. The area surrounding Takae is affected by the construction of six helipads that are related to the partial return of the U.S. Northern Training Area.

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Comment: When the Chinese nuke Okinawa to open up their naval access to the Pacific ocean, eliminate the American threat to their security and claim all the oil and natural gas under the East China Sea for themselves, this magnificent discovery will all be moot...

Japan Declares U.S. V-22 Osprey Safe to Send to Okinawa Base - Businessweek

Japan declared the V-22 Osprey vertical take-off aircraft safe, clearing the way for the U.S. to deploy them to a Marine Corps base on the southern island of Okinawa in the face of local opposition.

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Comment: Whew, what a relief that is! Of course we all know that we can trust the U.S. government, don't we? About as far as my 89 lb. wife can throw the planet! It's OK, Mr. Panetta says its safe, at least till the first one makes an emergency crash landing at an elementary school. That should be about a week after they arrive. I wonder what Mr. Panetta will say then???

Japanese websites come under attack as Senkaku squabble continues | The Japan Times Online

The websites of at least 19 Japanese banks, universities and other institutions have come under cyber-attack since Japan nationalized the Senkaku Islands on Sept. 11 despite objections from China and Taiwan, the National Police Agency said Wednesday.

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Comment: Though I agree that Japan has the most legitimate claim to the Senkaku island's here's a quick note to the Japanese Nationalists who stirred this $#!+ pot to start with. While the typical Japanese is up to speed on all the names of the girls from the AKB48 group, admittedly they are cute, the typical Chinese is up to speed on the workings of an AK47. Just a little food for thought.

Coast guard waiting for Chinese fishing armada | The Japan Times Online

There was no sign Tuesday of the 1,000 fishing boats that Chinese media reported were heading toward the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea, as the Japan Coast Guard meanwhile remained on high alert, warding off multiple Chinese government patrol ships in the waters near the disputed islets.

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U.S. will deploy V-22 Ospreys to Japanese bases - Washington Times

The U.S. and Japan have come to an agreement to deploy 24 Marine V-22 Osprey aircraft to its base in Okinawa, Japan sometime in October, the Pentagon announced Wednesday from Beijing, where Defense Secretary Leon Panetta is visiting.

“Secretary Panetta is pleased that we have been able to reach agreement with the Government of Japan that permits the Osprey to commence flight operations in Japan,” said Defense Department Press Secretary George Little.

“This agreement was the result of a deep partnership and thorough process that allowed both sides to reconfirm the safety of the aircraft. It is a testament to the strength and maturity of our Alliance, which remains the cornerstone for peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region,” he said in a statement.

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Comment: Deep Partnership? Safety of the aircraft?? By the way, "Panetta's" an Italian  name isn't it??? Didn't Japan's top diplomat to China suddenly and mysteriously pass away???? America just had a ambassador murdered somewhere didn't they??? Too many bad things happening around the world and everywhere you look, the American government seems to be connected to it somehow! Sort of makes you think the Japanese were made an offer they couldn't refuse, doesn't it??????

Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Sata Andagi (サーターアンダーギー) Doughnuts

No kidding. The photo above is an Okinawan doughnut. And, I wasn't kidding about the checklist yesterday, either. We have proof.  I'm busy. A lady on another island gave me that doughnut.
Nobody needs to see the mess my office is in.  So, I used the checklist as a backdrop.

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How to unpack following a vacation: a light-hearted guide for the neurotic traveler | Wanderplex

As far as I’m convinced, if you’re reading this post, there are only two possible reasons: either you’re a regular reader of this site and clicked on the latest post, or you’re suffering from the same neurotic inability to unpack that I am and googled for help…thus landing here.

Because really, when you think about it, nobody needs a how-to article about how to un-pack. Packing, yes. Unpacking, not so much. It’s a simple process after all, and it goes something like this:

Step 1: Take stuff out of suitcase.

Step 2: Place items in laundry hamper, bathroom, closet or storage.

Step 3: Well there is no step three – the process is that simple. You’re Done.
But if it really is so simple, then why does my bedroom floor look like this?

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Wednesday, September 19, 2012

DVIDS - News - Okinawans, Marine Corps practice evacuations during exercise

OKINAWA, Japan - Japanese residents of Ginowan City and Chatan Town participated in a humanitarian assistance evacuation drill here Sept. 12 as part of Constant Vigilance 2012, an annual exercise conducted by Marine Corps Installations Pacific.

CV-12, executed Sept. 10-12 aboard MCIPAC installations, tested and improved natural disaster response procedures through realistic practical applications, including an evacuation drill.

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Comment: This is probably practice for when the Chinese take the Sankaku Islands by force and the American military that the Japanese are counting so heavily upon do like Brave Sir Robin in that movie "Monty Python and the Holy Grail" and bravely run away with their merry band of minstrels...

Anti-Japan protests reignite across China on occupation anniversary| Reuters

Anti-Japan protests reignited across China on Tuesday, the sensitive anniversary marking Tokyo's occupation of its giant neighbor, escalating a maritime dispute which has forced major Japanese firms to suspend business there.

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Top Chinese General : Get Ready for Combat With Japan | Washington Free Beacon

China’s most powerful military leader, in an unusual public statement, last week ordered military forces to prepare for combat, as Chinese warships deployed to waters near disputed islands and anti-Japan protests throughout the country turned violent.

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Komaka Island from Different Viewpoints (Photos)

It just dawned on me today. When the Ryukyu Dudes go off to another island there's usually some sort of plan. Islands we can't drive to, we try to figure out how to get there economically.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

PhatzMedia Inc.: Panetta: US-Japan agree on new missile system

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Monday that U.S. and Japanese officials have agreed to put a second defense system in Japan aimed at protecting the country from the threat of a missile attack from North Korea.

The exact location of the radar installation has not yet been determined. It will be in the south, U.S. officials said, but not in Okinawa.

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Comment: If you can't get the Okinawan's to swallow the Osprey horse manure,What makes you think they'd swallow a missile defense system?

The Washington Times: Panetta warns of war over isle claims

TOKYO - Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta on Monday warned that territorial disputes between China and its neighbors could easily spiral into war, as the start of the fishing season in the East China Sea increased the likelihood of confrontations between Beijing and Tokyo over a string of islands there.

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Comment: If anyone out there knows about spinning things till they're out of control, it's that lying %$^&(@! Panetta! 

Beating the Heat Okinawa Style

We had recently been hit in quick succession by a couple of typhoons in Okinawa. One of the upsides of having a typhoon come through, in addition to clearing out all of the dead wood and exposing all those yard jobs you've been putting off is that it tends to cool things off
Typhoon season peaks in September. But in August, a dozen typhoons could come through and it couldn't cool things off enough.
If you want to cool off in the summer, the best way to do it is to get wet. It's certainly the most economical way to do it!
These pictures are from Kurashiki Dam park in Okinawa city. If you drive along highway 329 look for the sign and follow it. The route will take you past some unpleasant things, like the town dump and lots of construction yards.
But, when you finally get there, you can find a little bit of paradise and a great place to take kids for a chance to cool off and have some fun!

Japan blamed for damage inflicted by violent Chinese protesters | The Japan Times Online

China on Monday blamed Japan for the damage Japanese companies took from vandals during a weekend of protests in the country.

The "illegal purchase" of the Senkaku Islands "is exerting an increasingly prominent bad impact, and the Japanese side should bear relevant responsibility," Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei said at a regular news conference.

Whether tensions will escalate depends on how Japan acts, Hong said.

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Comment: These guys sound just like the Obama administration and the old "We inherited this mess" defense for their own policy failures! The exception here being that the Obamaites are at least "partially" correct!

Panetta tells Japan, China to resolve Senkaku row peacefully | The Japan Times Online

Visiting U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Monday urged Japan and China to peacefully resolve the intensifying territorial dispute over the Senkaku Islands, expressing concern the diplomatic row could result in a military clash over uninhabited islets in the East China Sea.

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Comment: Or else what? The U.S. will stop borrowing money from the both of them??? Money the U.S. has no intention, what-so-ever, of paying back I might add!!!

East China Sea flashpoint for Sino-Japanese war? | World War 4 Report

The prospect of an actual shooting war between China and Japan got a little realer this week as both sides raised the stakes in the showdown over the barren East China Sea chain known as the Diaoyu Islands to the Chinese and as the Senkaku Islands to the Japanese. Over the weekend, angry anti-Japan protests spread to 85 cities across China. In Beijing, protesters besieged the Japanese embassy, hurling rocks, eggs and bottles. Police fired tear gas and used water cannon on thousands of protesters occupying a street in Shenzhen, Guangdong province. Protesters broke into a Panasonic plant and several other Japanese-run factories as well as a Toyota dealership in Qingdao, Shandong province, ransacking and torching. In Shanghai, hundreds of military police were brought in to break up protesters outside the Japanese consulate, who chanted: ''Down with Japan devils, boycott Japanese goods, give back Diaoyu!'' (China Digital Times, SMH, Kyodo, Sept. 17)

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Monday, September 17, 2012

Tsukimi Burger 2012 - Japan Australia

September in Japan usually brings with it Autumn or Aki (秋) with cooler weather, beautiful fall leaves and Autumn food and drinks. One of my favourite Autumn foods in Japan during this time is the Tsukimi burger. When this starts appearing on The McDonald's menu I know for sure that Autumn has arrived in Japan. The burger is only available for a limited time during the Autumn and will be on the menu again from the 18th of September.

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Minor victory for Okinawans, Osprey operations delayed - The Japan Daily Press

You can term it as a minor victory for the Okinawa citizens; the 100,000 protestors can heave a temporary sigh of relief. Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto says that the October 10th date which had been set for trying out the Osprey crafts has been pushed forward. The aircraft is being deemed as unsafe by the Japanese citizen and frankly, if they don’t want a particular craft in their neighborhood, then I think they have a right to say something about it.

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Comment: Merely a delay of the inevitable. When the owners of American, aka the "Military Industrial Complex" tell their fascist friends in the Reprobate and Demagogue party's what they want, it's only a matter of time before they get. If they can't buy it from you, they tell their bought and paid for politician friends and judges to steal it from you! At best this is bad Kabuki theater being performed on the global stage. The crash prone money pit ospreys and the massive expansion plans for the new air field at Camp Schwab are a foregone conclusion! This is no victory...

Powerful typhoon rumbles over Japanese island of Okinawa - CNN

Super Typhoon Sanba made landfall in northeastern Okinawa around 6:30 a.m. Sunday (5:30 p.m. ET Saturday) with an eye that was nearly half the island's length. Considering the intensity of the storm, damage was light.

The storm had estimated maximum sustained winds of 194 kph (120 mph) and gusts nearing 241 kph (149 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, the U.S. military agency responsible for issuing tropical storm warnings in the Pacific Ocean.

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Anti-Japan rallies expand to 85 cities | The Japan Times Online

Chinese protests grew Sunday against Japan's nationalization of the Senkaku Islands, with rallies counted in at least 85 cities and spotty reports of continuing violence and property damage.

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: After Typhoon Sanba: A Quickie Photo Essay

All is well on Okinawa, at least where we checked today. The RyukyuMike house is still standing and has electricity. The office was a different story. Power went out for awhile today.

So, I grabbed a camera and checked out the northern end of the island with Map It Okinawa.

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Typhoon Sanba Footage and Update 16 September 2012 - YouTube

Sanba has left some damage across Okinawa in its wake, the video reporter above gives you some idea on how strong the winds were as this violent storm blew on shore. Good news is that Okinawa is built for storms of this size. And at this time injury reports remain low and deaths are at zero.

The buildings though are not as equipped in western Kyushu or South Korea where this storm is heading next. 

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Typhoon Sanba Could Make It A Wet Weekend

That's just my prediction.  You couldn't pay me to be a weatherman in Okinawa.Typhoons have a way of becoming unpredictable. When one of those Storm Tracker guys says it's gonna be a real doozie, he's only trying to help. If we don't get hit by 100mph winds the poor guy gets all kinds of complaints.

Weathermen can't control nature.  They just try to predict as best they can. Surfers like the weatherman.  He lets them know about the sea conditions the typhoon creates. They say stuff like, "Dude, thanks for letting us know, surf's up !"

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Comment: Typhoon's over, it was a doozy but not quite as bad a doozy as they predicted and the surf is still up, least for another day or two. It is cooler, that ought to make the cleaning up chores a little easier to suffer through.

Ospreys in Okinawa -

The Osprey has a terrible reputation as a prime example of a hugely expensive, dubiously useful weapons systems. Okinawans don’t care about the misspent money. They worry that the plane is prone to crashing. To many residents, who have borne the heavy burden of the American military presence in Japan, deploying the Osprey on the island is rubbing salt into an old wound.

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Anti-Japan protests spread across China, turn violent | The Japan Times Online

More than 70,000 Chinese staged rallies Saturday in at least 28 cities to protest Japan's nationalization of a group of disputed islets, with Japanese businesses in some areas broken into, ransacked and torched.

The sheer scale of the protests was the largest since China and Japan normalized diplomatic ties in 1972, and surpassed the outcry in 2005 triggered by Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi's visits to war symbol Yasukuni Shrine, according to a diplomatic source in Beijing.

This round of protests were triggered by Japan's announcement Tuesday that it bought privately owned land in the disputed Senkaku Islands, which China calls Diaoyu and Taiwan calls Tiaoyutai, to bring them under state control.

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Chinese tourists cancel trips to Japan amid island dispute |

Some Chinese tourists from Beijing and Shanghai are calling off holiday plans to Japan for the upcoming National Day holiday, according to Chinese media.

The cancellations come after the Japanese government's September 11 approval of the purchase of several small, disputed islands from  a private Japanese owner, the Kurihara family, for 2.05 billion yen (US$26.2 million).

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Comment: They'd be safer here than in their own country. That's the power of propaganda!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Six Chinese ships crowd Senkakus | The Japan Times Online

A flotilla of six Chinese pirate/war aka "surveillance" ships entered Japan's territorial waters early Friday near the rightfully nationalized Senkaku Islands, the Japan Coast Guard said, prompting crisis panels to be set up in the prime minister's office and the National Police Agency.
(File photo - not the actual ships in question)

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Super Typhoon (Sanba), Update # 13 - Pacific Storm Tracker - Stripes

The bad news: I have never, in all my years of following tropical cyclones, seen a storm this intense here in the Pacific. Super Typhoon Sanba is peaking in intensity at 155 knots, or 178.25 mph, today along with gusts near 220 mph (!!!) – a Category 5-equivalent typhoon on the Saffir-Simpson Scale – and will remain close to that for next day or so.

The really bad news: We’re looking at a direct or almost-direct hit on the south part of Okinawa come early Sunday morning...

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The really-really bad news: Goya Republic is located in an older building that we fear may not stand up to the intensity of this storm. We're bugging out and hope to be back online early next week....

In Japan, the right rises on China fears - Features - Al Jazeera English

“A country that cannot defend the Senkaku Islands cannot defend Okinawa; and a country that cannot defend Okinawa cannot defend any part of Japan.”

This was among the reasons cited by Eiji Kosaka, a local politician in Tokyo, for his participation in a nationalist boat trip to the disputed Senkaku-Diaoyu Islands in August.

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6 Chinese ships spotted near disputed isles ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

Six Chinese warships sailed into waters around a disputed archipelago on Friday, with Beijing saying they were there for “law enforcement” around islands Japan nationalized earlier this week.

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Southern Japan threatened by Typhoon Sanba, 170-mph winds - The Japan Daily Press

The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC) has issued an advisory to southwestern Japan and South Korea about the quickly approaching Typhoon Sanba. As of Thursday night, the JTWC says it has escalated in strength to a “super typhoon,” or the equivalent of a class 5 hurricane. A super typhoon is classified as a storm having wind speeds of 150 miles per hour (241 km/h), whereas Sanba is already approaching speeds of 170 mph (273 km/h).

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Friday, September 14, 2012

Typhoon Sanba Update

 I'd like to show something as a comparison. The two images look similar but they are not. The first was posted on this blog yesterday (HERE) and note the highlighted field in the right column on that and the same field in the image below.
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This storm is still strengthening and if all goes as expected it should be a Category Five storm as it hits us. Notice I didn't say passes us by this time. The storm has tracked a little more to the east than originally expected and is now expected to hit Okinawa's east coast instead of slide by along the East China Sea to our west.

The wind speeds on some sites can be confusing as some use meters per second or knots or whatever. So HERE's a handy wind speed converter for you to use. Just plug a number in the appropriate box and hit convert and it will give you the information you're looking for.

If your a local reader, batten down the hatches, hunker down for a bad one and good luck! If you're like me and need to, bug out to a safer location. This one is a monster!

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Friday Photo: The Straw Roofed Hut Called Kami-ashagi

This type of straw roofed hut is found in Okinawa, Japan. It's not something you'd find someone living in or using to camp out. My Okinawan dictionary calls it a divine hut, or a village shrine.

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Forget isles, go fishing, Lee suggests | The Japan Times Online

Taiwan and Japan should ink a fishing accord that will allow joint fishing in disputed waters in the East China Sea, former President Lee Teng-hui, the island's first directly elected leader, said Wednesday.

"Fishing is the only problem between Japan and Taiwan," Lee, who has said before that the disputed islands belong to Japan, said during Japan's 1895-1945 colonial rule of Taiwan, fishermen from Taiwan and Okinawa didn't run into any problems around the uninhabited Japan-administered isles.

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Comment: For once some common sense! This guy is right, the fishermen a.k.a., "everyday people" had no problems. It's only at the state or government level we see problems. This seems to be true anywhere you go in the world with the exception of the Muslim middle east. In particular, the problems there are the worst in those nations where religion and government are intertwined or a theocracy. Regardless, it is clear that the world's problems are only really problems at the "State" level. Unfortunately this leads too many of us to think that because the problem is at the state level it must be solved at the state level. But another school of thought says if the state is the problem, the solution might just be to abolish the state and let the people work it out for themselves. My guess is if we did that, we'd probably end up with a significantly lower body count to boot.

Monster super typhoon "Matsu Ken" Sanba aims at Okinawa - The Washington Post

A large, dangerous typhoon has rapidly gained strength in the western Pacific. Super typhoon Sanba, positioned 690 miles south of Kadena Air Force base, Japan, has peak winds of 155 mph, the equivalent of strong category 4 hurricane, on the cusp of category 5.

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Firefighters strip down to raise money for a good cause - AJW by The Asahi Shimbun

While most rescue workers rush to put on their uniform when it comes time to save lives, Okinawan firefighter Akira Shiroma has taken his off.

Shiroma, along with 11 of his muscular colleagues from Okinawa Prefecture, posed bare-chested for the latest issue of a charity calendar created to raise funds for a local emergency medical service group.

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Typhoon "Matsu Ken" Sanba becomes a Monster - JMA | Tropical Cyclone Information

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The "Matsu Ken" part of the headline is a joke based on a Japanese tough guy actor known as Matsu Ken. A few years ago he surprised the hell out of everyone by coming out (not Gay but if you didn't know better...) anyway, he was dressed in traditional "Samurai" garb that was adorned in sequins to sing and dance a "Samba" in a popular stage show here in Japan. It was a big joke as well as a big hit here!

But, if you take a look at the graphic above (Click on it to enlarge if you need to). you can see in the right hand column a highlighted field that displays what the winds here on Okinawa are expected to be as the storm named typhoon "Sanba" passes by on Sunday. Those numbers have gone up in the last 24 hours and those numbers, if they hold, are nothing to sneeze at!

120kts = 138mph sustained winds and 135kts = 155 mph gusts. (That's a Category IV storm)

Matsu Ken the actor may have played a "monster" of a character in a lot of movies and on TV but, in reality was a big softy. What we do know is that typhoon Sanba has strengthened significantly in the last 24 hours. What we don't know is, will this one be a push over like the last storm or a real monster like it's making itself out to be! Local readers need to get ready just in case it's the latter!

Regardless how strong this storm is, it's quite likely that we'll lose power here and drop off line for a while so, if you want to follow this storm throughout, click on the post title above, it's a link that takes you to the Japan Meteorological Agency | Tropical Cyclone Information site.

"Chasing the Shark's Fin" - Map It! Okinawa

At different points along Highway 330 off the northeastern shores of Okinawa you may notice several shark fin-like rocky mounds near the coastline. One in particular stands prominently among them. This is the 'Shark's Fin' of Teniya near the northern border of Nago City. Naturally, some will be curious to know how they can get there for a closer view.

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Mushama Festival, Hateruma Island (Part 2 -The Ladies) « Chris Willson's Blog

A few shots of the ladies at the Mushama Festival on Hateruma Island. Although the biggest festivals in Japan can sometimes be raucous male dominated events, the smaller local matsuri are a great opportunity for the whole family, young and old, to take part in celebrating traditions and give thanks.

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Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Thursday Travel Photo: A Fisherman in Nakijin Okinawa, Japan

Meet Shokitan Motoo, a fisherman, spotted today on a beach in Nakijin. Way off on the horizon is Izena-Jima, the next stop in our island-hopping campaign. A typhoon is coming to visit us this weekend so, the boat trip is cancelled. Just being out on a sunny afternoon, watching Shokitan cast his net was good enough for me.

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The best sushi that isn’t raw fish | Japanese LinguaLift blog

Sushi is not raw fish. This is one of the biggest misnomers about Japan and it drives me crazy. I remember once gobbling up a day-old takeout box of California rolls to the horror of a friend who said, ‘Stop! That’s raw fish! I’m not driving you to the hospital!’
California roll ingredients: nori (海苔, purple laver seaweed), rice, cucumber, imitation crab, and avocado. No raw fish.

Raw fish is sashimi (刺身). Sashimi is sometimes used as a sushi topping, but not necessarily. In fact, most types of sushi you commonly see in Japan don’t have any raw fish at all in them.......

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Comment: I don't know about that last sentence but, I will say that I love sashimi and I love sushi whether the fish is cooked or raw matters not as long as it's fresh!

The Pitfalls of Kanji Tattoos

There are tons of cliches when it comes to tattoos. Everybody knows the tramp stamp, tribal and sailor tattoos; but one in particular interests those learning Japanese: kanji tattoos.

Over the years, it seems like people have grown more and more fond of getting kanji tattooed on themselves; even celebrities have decided to get in on the craze.

 One guy got a tattoo thinking it meant “One Love.” Unfortunately for him though, the tattoo said 恋痛い or, roughly, “Love Hurts.” (Although not as much as a tattoo removal.)

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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Typhoon Sanba threatens Japan and Okinawa - The Watchers

According to The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC), Sanba had strengthened from a moderate tropical storm to a full blown typhoon that poses a growing threat to southwestern Japan and Okinawa.

Sanba is spinning over the southern Philippines Sea, to the north and east of the Philippines with heavy rainfall. JTWC reports that the center of Typhoon Samba is located 745 nm south of Kadena AB, Okinawa. The system is moving at speed of 7 knots at northwestward direction.

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Minn. man gets 6 years for abusing boys on US base - SFGate

A Minneapolis man has been sentenced to six years in prison for sexually abusing two boys at a U.S. Air Force base in Okinawa, Japan.

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Comment: Good, shoulda been longer but, at least he's behind bars and probably gonna get what he gave. That's appropriate don't you think!

US Osprey Military Aircraft Deployment In Okinawa May Be Delayed

Deployment of the controversial U.S. Osprey military aircraft at an American airbase in Japan's Okinawa island is likely to be delayed in the context of increasing public concern over its safety.

This was indicated by Japanese Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto on Wednesday while meeting with Yoshihiko Fukuda, the mayor of Iwakuni city in Yamaguchi prefecture where a dozen Ospreys are currently being held ahead of their deployment in the U.S. Marine Corps Futenma Air Station in Okinawa.

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Expert view on Diaoyu (SENKAKU) Islands|Politics|

Japan's sovereignty claim over the SENKAKU Islands is based on a self-believed logic that they belong to Okinawa prefecture and Okinawa belongs to Japan. But the sovereignty over Okinawa is still disputable.

Actually, the Cairo Conference in 1943 issued a statement that Japan shall be stripped of all the islands in the Pacific which they seized or occupied since the beginning of the World War I in 1914, that all the territories Japan has stolen from the Chinese shall be restored to the Republic of China.

The Potsdam Proclamation in 1945 also said "Japanese sovereignty shall be limited to the islands of Honshu, Hokkaido, Kyushu, Shikoku, and such minor islands as we determine."

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Commentary: I could go on and on about this but I'll just dissect and/or translate just these first three paragraphs and hopefully that will clear a few things for everyone and show how bogus the Chinese claim on the "SENKAKU" islands is!

Paragraph one, last line, translation "We don't just want the SENKAU's, we want it all!" WHAAAT!!!

Paragraph two, the SENKAKU islands were incorporated into Japan in 1895, well before the 1914 date provided here.

Paragraph three, These islands were determined to be part of Okinawa and the Ryukyu archipelago which, as a result of the peace treaty, was administered by the U.S. from the end of the war until 1972, at which time they were returned to Japan along with the rest of the islands that make up modern day Okinawa Prefecture.

Conclusion: China's main claim is "We Saw it First!" Seeing it and owning it is two completely different things. China never spent a single copper "Chinese" coin to improve the property nor did they send anyone there to live or develop the islands, Japan did, Japan owns them, case closed!

Typhoon "Matsu-Ken" Sanba Threatens Okinawa |

Typhoon Sanba poses a growing threat to southwestern Japan and South Korea.

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As of Wednesday, Sanba had strengthened from a moderate tropical storm to a typhoon equivalent to a Category 1 hurricane, according to The Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC).

Sanba is churning over the southern Philippines Sea, to the north and east of the Philippines, in an environment favorable of further strengthening. Very warm water will help to fuel the strengthening, perhaps into a major typhoon.

(For more on the storm, click on the post title above. For more on Matsu Ken, click on the link HERE) Hey, what can I say, it's a Japan thing...

Mike's Ryukyu Gallery: Photo Essay: The Ladies of Gushiken at the Shinugu 2012

There isn't a happier, healthier bunch of gals anywhere I've ever traveled. It got me wondering.  Maybe, the secret to longevity has something to do with this Shinugu!

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Senkaku Toll: Shanghai-Fukushima flights still not resumed, another meeting cancelled - The Japan Daily Press

The Senkaku / Diaoyu tug-of-war has claimed another ‘cancelled meeting’ and this time it’s with regards to aviation understanding and resumption of Shanghai-Fukushima flights. Despite it being the 18-month anniversary of the Fukushima disaster, Governor Yuhei Sato was in Beijing, hopeful of resolving the aviation differences and giving his local economy a boost via tourism. However Chinese aviation officials had other plans and cancelled the meeting.

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Okinawa governor asks Morimoto to stop Osprey deployment- 毎日jp(毎日新聞)

Okinawa Gov. Hirokazu Nakaima urged the central government on Tuesday to stop the U.S. Marines' plan to deploy Osprey aircraft later this year, citing growing concerns over safety.

"To be frank, we want the government to avoid the deployment and operation of the aircraft," Nakaima told Defense Minister Satoshi Morimoto during a meeting at the Okinawa prefectural government building, two days after tens of thousands of local people gathered for a rally to protest against the Marines' plan.

Nakaima said it is "impossible realistically" to operate the Osprey aircraft at the U.S. Marine Corps' Futenma Air Station as the base is located in a crowded residential district.

He asked Morimoto to "close Futenma as soon as possible and return" the land used by the base to the prefecture.

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U.S. cautions Japan, China over island dispute ‹ Japan Today: Japan News and Discussion

The United States on Tuesday cautioned China and Japan against escalating a row over a group of islands that both nations claim, warning that tensions between the world’s second and third-biggest economies would have global repercussions.
On Tuesday, Japan brushed off stern warnings by China and said it had bought the islands from a private Japanese owner. China rained warnings on Japan and official media said Beijing had sent two patrol ships (warships) to reassert its claim.

“This is the cockpit of the global economy and the stakes could not be bigger and the desire is to have all leaders to keep that squarely in mind,” U.S. Assistant Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said in Washington.

“We think in the current environment we want cooler heads to prevail"...

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Comment: Doesn't that last line just make you bubble over with confidence knowing that the American's have finally spoken... Yeah right, me neither...

Goya Republic: Blue Seal Ice Cream - Okinawa's Favorite

Goya Republic: Blue Seal Ice Cream - Okinawa's Favorite: In 1948, Foremost Co. began construction of an establishment to house dairy products to meet the daily food needs of the Americans...

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Blue Seal Ice Cream - Okinawa's Favorite

In 1948, Foremost Co. began construction of an establishment to house dairy products to meet the daily food needs of the Americans living on the military bases in Okinawa. One of those products was ice cream. At first, only people who could get on base could get their hands on it but, in 1976, they expanded operations to include the off base market and Blue Seal Ice Cream brand was born. For 61 years Blue Seal Ice Cream and Okinawa have been synonymous and their retail stores have spread out all over Okinawa so that old and young alike can enjoy and cherish this tasty treat.
Excellent dairy products are awarded the Blue Ribbon Award in America and so the folks at Foremost decided that their brand of ice cream would reflect that quality and so the Blue Seal brand was born. Ever since the construction of the factory began in Okinawa, the name “Blue Seal” is a reminder that Foremost seeks only to produce the best in quality and flavor. Originally from America, but now an integral part of Okinawan culture, Blue Seal ice cream has been recognized as a sign of high quality and superb flavor for over 60 years.

Blue Seal's products are based on an original American recipe which are then blended with Okinawan features. For example the Mango Tango flavor is made with locally grown Mangos. So the flavor of all of their ice cream is always refreshing and always hints of the natural tastes found right here in Okinawa. The Blue Seal product line consists of over 30 varieties (even more than Baskin Robbins whoo-hoo!) and the intent is to meet or exceed the wide array of tastes amongst our customers. Also, ll of the ingredients harvested right here in Okinawa undergo a strict selection procedure to ensure that our customers can have peace of mind knowing that they in addition to serving the tastiest ice cream possible, they also only serve the highest quality products possible!
There are numerous Blue Seal ice cream stores on Okinawa and many retailers who also sell the trusted "Blue Seal" name in their stores. To find one near you just go for a drive along Okinawa's highway 58. They have large stores in Urasoe near Camp Kinser, in Chatan across from the Naval Hospital and in Nago near the highway 329 intersection that is sometimes known as the Yofuke Gauntlet. With Blue Seal, you can be assured that its always delicious and always the best quality. Eating some tasty Blue Seal ice cream is as much a part of the local culture of the Okinawan summer as Eisa dancing. So what are you waiting for...