Monday, 31 August 2009

Renaissance Festival 2009

It's that time of year again - the most beautiful season in Minnesota - Autumn (or pretty close to it.) The weather is gorgeous and cool, and it was a perfect time to visit the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. We dressed in our finery and made the two hour drive to Chaska. Inthe parking lot we spruced ourselves up (and we weren't the only ones!)

We saw these dancers chatting at the Belly Dance show.

As usual we HAD to go to Lost Art Leather. This is undoubtedly one of the best booths at the fair. The owner Marla has the most wonderful sense of color. It is so hard for me not to buy everything in the shop even though most of the color combinations don't really match my natural coloring!

We saw a new show this time - Franko the Hypnotist - later in the afternoon we eavesdropped on a woman talking about her experience on stage. She said she didn't feel compelled to do the things she was told to do, but she did feel the emotions that were suggested. (She was told she was a nurse helping with a birth. Hypnotic suggestions about her husbands winks and the emotions they would evoke did not work, her husband reported sadly.) Here the volunteers are moving into a hypnotically induced state of sleep and relaxation. We recommend the show. It was fun. (He told me to say that!)

I'm always interested to see the dancers who dance with snakes. I would be so distracted, I think, worrying about the well-being of the snake. I guess it would make my dancing less bouncy!

Who do these characters think they are?

I seem to take a lot of pictures of the lords and ladies from behind. I do like this one.

This was one of the belly dancers. Obviously I photoshopped it a little!

This is my favorite photo so far.

We'll be going back again in a few weeks, I hope, so look for a few more photos.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

A Walk Around Naha

Here are a few images from a walk I took in the afternoon around Naha City. This was the parking lot behind the hotel. I really liked the relationship of the colors of the cars (which didn't really come out well in the photo)

On a tropical island, I was fascinated by the boxiness of the housing. I realize that flat roofs allow the heat to dissipate, but it seems so antithetical to the surrounding jungle to see all these geometric boxes.

The roof tiles are a newer addition (since the 1950s) - They are nonetheless beautiful and speak to the connection to mainland Japan.

Activities unseen.

Laundry day.

Shisa watching over the garden and home.

A wisp of the organic amongst the human constructions.

The famous Okinawa water tank on the roof of a building.

I clearly have not lost my obsession with boxes!

Twisted Tower

I got a query about the twisted tower at the Dream Center in the Churaumi Aquarium. I don't have a real good photo, but I did find this!

Here is a detail to shoe the tower a bit better.

I found the architecture generally interesting at the aquarium!

Monday, 24 August 2009

Some Camp Photos

MOrning breakfast at my hotel was Baikingu (Viking) - the Japanese word for Smorgasbord. Along with scrambled eggs, 3 kinds of soup, bacon, Japanese style pancakes, caramel bread and French toast we also got a traditional Okinawan food - eggs with "ham" and fried goya (bitter melon.)

This lovely woman named Kiyoko oversaw breakfast every morning. She was so kind!
I was very sad to say goodbye to her.

Here are some of the drawings the kids did during camp. (You can click on them to enlarge and see them a bit better.) One person would describe a picture and the children would have to draw it without seeing the original.)

I think they did a very good job!

Aren't these kids cool!?

You can tell these are the trouble makers, but what energy and happiness!

One of the ALTs at the camp, Marques and one of his charges.

There were a variety of fun activities this year.

Another ALT Rhianna leads a Game with a Spinning Wheel of Fortune.

I also wanted to include the cooks, since they worked so hard to keep the children well fed.

Here is the ceremony of completion. Certificates are always awarded at camp to give everyone a sense of formality and success.

Here are all the children with their awards.

Here are a few random shots of the day we took driving around the South of the Island.

We stopped afor a delicious Okinawan meal and there was this display of Awamori Okinawan sake.

Sunsets on an island always seem to be more beautiful - it must have something to do with the way a land mass breaks up the wind currents and sets clouds. This day was no exception.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Last Aquarium Pictures

Here are the last set of photos from the Churaumi Aquarium. Mostly the images speak for themselves. The ice cream below is made of the famous Okinawan blue sweet potato. It is okay, but I like other kinds of ice cream better.

Evidently this character has something to do with the coast guard.

Now the pictures of the beautiful fishes begin.

Those orange things on the wall are alive too.

The Liuon fish are my favorite pictures of this group - they look surreal.

Pencil fish.

These guys were tiny and amazing!

These are from the big tank which did not photograph well.

More of the weird garden topiary stuff.

This was an interesting fountain because some of the streams went backwards (up into the upper levels instead of down.)

The Pineapple Park (we did not go to it. Looked very touristy)

View out the window ont he way back to camp.

Councilors in the class room.

Another of my favorite aquarium pictures. This guy looked so thoughtful and intelligent. He is a little larger than life size here and I swear he was communicating with me. He kind of looks like my dog!