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Jasmine at 6 months.

August 12th is Jasmine’s 6-month birthday. She’s got a lot bigger, her head isn’t cone shaped, and she loves to laugh.

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She’s used to meeting a lot of different people, and is quite happy being held by family, friends, and complete strangers. She travelled with us all around Kyushu and Okinawa while we updated the Fodor’s Japan guidebook, and has been at various workshops and photo shoots.

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I hadn’t really considered how much joy and vitality young children bring to a neighborhood.  It makes you realize how tough it must be in rural communities where  young families leave for the cities, the schools close, and the majority of the remaining population is elderly.  As Japan deals with an aging population and a low birthrate it will be interesting to see what policies are enacted to nudge people to have babies, or to increase immigration.

Turtle Beach

First dive of the year. Great to be back in the water again, and the long surface swim out from the beach with a big camera was a well needed workout.

Plenty of interesting creatures.

A pair of Risbecia tryoni, chromodorid nudibranchs.

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White-eyed Moray, Gymnothorax thyrsoideus

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Whitemouth moray, Gymnothoraz melegaris

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Plenty of clownfish hiding in their anemones. These included the false clown anemonefish (aka clown anemonefish) Amphiprion ocellaris, and the Pink anemonefish, Amphiprion perideraion. 

The dive spot also lived up to its name as we came across a turtle.  It was a green sea turtle (Chelonia mydas) with several common remora (Remora remora) attached to its shell. It was resting in a bowl in the coral when we found it, then after a while headed up toward the surface.

Overall a fantastic couple of dives. Really have to get out more often. Huge thank you to Hiroshi for getting me back in the water.

All images shot with the Pentax K5IIs in an Ikelite housing with Ikelite 161 strobes.

Moriaki Shimabukuro 8th dan Shorin-ryu Karate

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Moriaki Shimabukuro 8th dan Shorin-ryu Karate, #80 Karate Masters Portrait Project Photographed at the Karate Kaikan, Okinawa, July 27th 2018

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Moriaki Shimabukuro 8th dan Shorin-ryu Karate, #80 Karate Masters Portrait Project Photographed at the Karate Kaikan, Okinawa, July 27th 2018

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Moriaki Shimabukuro 8th dan Shorin-ryu Karate, #80 Karate Masters Portrait Project Photographed at the Karate Kaikan, Okinawa, July 27th 2018

Yasuhiro Uema, 9th dan Shorin-ryu Karate

Yasuhiro Uema, 9th dan Shorin-ryu Karate. The 78th sensei to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project. Shot before his dojo’s seminar at the Karate Kaikan in Okinawa on July 27th 2018.

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Thanks to Kenny Ueda of Ageshio Japan who organized the seminar and help set up the portrait session with Uema sensei.

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Born in 1945, Uema sensei is another example of karate keeping Okinawans flexible and strong even as they age.

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Dell Hamby 6th dan Uechi-ryu Karate 6th dan Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan

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Dell Hamby is the 77th Karate Master to be photographed for the Karate Masters Portrait Project. He is 6th dan Uechi-ryu Karate and 6th dan Ryukyu Kobudo Shimbukan. Originally from Switzerland, he now lives, teaches and trains in Okinawa. He studies Uechi-ryu under Yoshitsune Senaga (who we will be photographing in the coming weeks) and Ryukyu Kobudo under Hiroshi Akamine.  He was one of four masters who took part in the Okinawa World Tournament Promotion Tour earlier in the year, and  is one of the kobudo judges when the tournament is held next week.

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It was a pleasure to photograph Dell, a real gentleman and a great ambassador for Okinawan karate.

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The project has been on hold for the past year as we welcomed Jasmine to our family, but as things settle down we’ve been able to start things up again.  My goal is to release the second volume in the series in time for the Tokyo Olympics in the summer of 2020.

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All images taken with the Pentax 645Z and the 90mm lens. Lighting from a Profoto B1 strobe with a white softlight reflector.

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Jasmine showed Dell her own fighting techniques that involve distracting the opponent with her big eyes, then sucking on their fingers until they submit due to an overload of cuteness.

OIST Concert Series No.33 – Tali Rubinstein & friends ‘The Amazing Recorder’

Yesterday was filled with meetings and sweltering photoshoots. The day ended however with cool breezes and relaxing jazz in the Center Court of OIST graduate university.

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Tali Rubinstein played various styles of recorder, and was accompanied by
Sebatiaan Kaptein on drums, Elin Lee on keyboard, and Yoshiki Takahashi on bass.

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As a special guest vocalist my friend Arisa Muto performed some jazz standards accompanied by the band.  A fantastic way to spend a summer evening.

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GubGub’s Vegan Kitchen

GubGub’s Vegan Kitchen makes some of the tastiest food on Okinawa. Great food, that just happens to not have any animals in it.

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My favorite is the cheeseburger, but the pasta, pizza, sandwiches, and the famous teriyaki burger are all excellent.

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The restaurant is also home to many rescue cats, so it is pretty much a vegan cat cafe.  If you don’t like cats, or have allergies then check out one of the other great vegan / vegetarian options on the island including Niceness (Nago), Niffera (Naha), Ukishima Garden (Naha), Green Leaf (Yomitan), Esparza’s (Chatan), and Bollywood (American Village).

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The rescue cats at GubGub’s are also looking for homes so if you need a kitten you know where to go!