Kumejima’s Hate-no-hama: site of a 19th century shipwreck

"I caution all masters of vessels to give a good berth to the Loo Choo Islands, as several coral reefs are now known to exist, and I suspect many more whose places are not noted in any charts." So wrote Captain William J.S. Clark (some sources say "Clarke"), master of the Elizabeth and Henry, from Shanghai on 20 … Continue reading Kumejima’s Hate-no-hama: site of a 19th century shipwreck

Yajiyagama Cave: telling geologic time and human history

Okinawa, Japan's 47th prefecture, is different and distinctive from the Japanese mainland in myriad ways relating to its location and geology as well as its people and their unique cultural history. A surprising place to explore some of those differences is Yajiyagama Cave on Kumejima island, about 100 kilometers west of Naha. Yajiyagama, once the … Continue reading Yajiyagama Cave: telling geologic time and human history

Aloe Vera and Goats: an interesting symbiosis

During the Age of Discovery, Europeans sailed the world. Their ships often carried goats, which provided fresh milk and meat. Sailors often left a few goats on desert islands where they stopped for fresh water. These were intended to provide a means of sustenance for future shipwrecked sailors. Thus goats and islands have an historical … Continue reading Aloe Vera and Goats: an interesting symbiosis

Experience Local Culture at Ishigaki Yaima Village

Ishigaki is the most populous of the Yaeyama Islands, the southern and western-most island group in Okinawa (just 250 km. from Taiwan). As with all Yaeyama Islanders, the people who live on Ishigaki celebrate their local culture and history at every opportunity. Visitors to the island have many opportunities to enjoy that, but for a … Continue reading Experience Local Culture at Ishigaki Yaima Village

War goes underground: Japan’s former Naval headquarters in Okinawa

Particularly after World War I (perhaps earlier and continuing even now), it was not unusual for military forces to build underground facilities.  The principal reasons were doubtless concealment--their presence was harder to detect--and protection--they were harder to be destroyed by the enemy if they were detected.  Examples include the facilities of France's Maginot Line, Singapore's … Continue reading War goes underground: Japan’s former Naval headquarters in Okinawa