5/28/12

Piece of Peace

Okinawa, Japan 

5/26/12

End of the Road

Okinawa, Japan 

5/22/12

Adokijima Island

Okinawa, Japan

Yaharazukasa Monument

This monument can only be seen at low tide. The rest of the time its submerged under water. The legend goes that Amamikiyo, the goddess who created the Ryukyus, first set foot on land here. 

A small crab I caught. 

The black color in the water was the blood of shell-fish this man had just caught and was cleaning in the ocean. 

Okinawa, Japan

5/17/12

Traveling Man Retro: Taiwan Mountains

2005:
Travis and I stood at the edge of this long narrow bridge debating whether it would support the weight of the motorcycles. A young girl on a pink scooter zipped across and answered the question for us. 
Tawain

6 Clicks

Birthdays always make you reflect on your past. After looking back, I began to wonder what really separated my life from those who had only dreamed and talked but never seen or experienced.

After some though, I concluded the difference was 6 clicks of a mouse:

The first click landed me my first overseas job.
The second click took me back overseas.
The third click brought me my first backpacking adventure.
The fourth click reintroduced me back into civilization.
The fifth click taught me a second language.
The sixth click got me into the business world.

So long as the ticket was bought or the job was secured, one way or another the place would be seen and experiences would happen. Initiating the dream was all it took and once it got going there was no way to stop it.

So with that I ask, wheres that first click landing you?



5/16/12

Sunabe

The tide was so low. I was swimming in less than a foot of water trying to make it over the reef. All around me poisonous spiky life threatened to give me a rash or worse if I brushed up against it.

Then the reef dropped off twenty or so feet. The visibility was bad allowing the minion of fear to quickly march into my mind. Fish and coral all around, a beauty that will always be indescribable to those who have not swum among and within it.



Sunabe Seawall, Okinawa

5/15/12

Shimukugama Cave


There is something about the caves in Okinawa. Just 70 some odd years ago people were hiding in them trying to survive the bombings that the battle of Okinawa had brought. In some of the caves whole groups of people died when they refused out of fear to leave the caves after the Americans had called inside and said they were going to blow them up.

Today that may sound cruel, but at that time the Japanese Imperial Army was dug deep into the many caves in Okinawa. From these caves snipers fired on the American troops. Underground command centers were operated and hospitals were run. 

The story of this cave is different, because one man decided to walk outside when the Americans warned they were going to blow it up. This action spared the life of everyone inside, because after the American realized there were civilians inside they did not blow it up. 

Me finding this cave began with someone taking the MCCS cave tour offered to US military personal. That someone then took one of my salesmen there. In passing in the office this salesman told me about the cave and its general location. Always looking for a new adventure, I set out to find it. 

After an hour or so of ridding around the farm roads, splashing through puddles, and wandering around here and there I asked an old man where the cave was. He gave me good directions and in no time I was on the path to that led to the caves entrance. 

It was a humid day, so much so that air around the mouth of the cave had the appearance of fog. As I entered alone a slow creeping fear took over me. Were there ghosts in this cave, would the roof collapse on my head, would I get lost? 

Soon the sunlight from the outside world was gone; I was now in total darkness. If my flashlight failed I had my I-phone that could serve as a flashlight. If that too failed I had my Luminox watch that would always glow. The light it emitted would not me much, but it would be enough to keep my mind from slipping into complete madness in the total darkness. 

What if my two lights failed, how would I find my way out I fretted. I imagined myself crawling along the floor of the cave stay against the right wall where the path would lead me out of the cave. It would take some time, but it could be done if I stayed calm. 

Soon the path dead ended, but the cave went on. To the untrained eye it would appear only in the direction that the river flowed. However using the slow eye Okinawa has given me, I spotted a second path across that river. It began at a narrow opening above the rivers bank and led back into another part of the cave. 

Taking this path first, I crawled through the muddy hole. The opening was narrow. I had to lay down on my stomach to crawl through. The mud stained my hands and knees. 

The cave then opened up into a large cavern. It was here that people likely hid during WWII. The floor was muddy and water was dripping from the ceiling. I imagined what conditions must have been like back then.  Babies would have been crying and the air would have had a rotten humid odder from so many people living in such a tight space.

I continued following the cave back. The next opening was so narrow that I had to remove my backpack to squeeze through the muddy opening. 

This was the final cavern on this route. Its hard to imagine how often people had come back here. The roof at some point since WWII had suffered a major collapse and there were boulders all over the floor. This sight made my mind wander.

What if a rock fell from the ceiling and struck me on the head? What if another collapse trapped me inside the cavern? Would someone notice my motorcycle outside and search for me inside the cave? Would my backpack at the entrance to this cavern lead them to me. Would I die down here trapped and alone?

A slight panic began to set in, which I consciously tried to control. As I walked back to the entrance to this cavern, I imagined myself not being able to find the entrance. The feeling of being lost began to set in as I slid back into the previous cavern. 

Back at the river the cave narrowed. There was no choice, but to crawl in the water until the cave opened up. All around me lie garbage that had been washed into the cave from various storms. A plastic bag here, a bottle there littered the cave.

Yet looking past that, I was surrounded by untold beauty. Stalactites of varying sizes hung from the caves ceiling. Various colors of rock decorated the cave and small waterfall after small waterfall lead me deeper and deeper into the cave.
The sounds of rushing water was all around me as I climbed down a waterfall, using the stalagmites as my grips. Here the cave began to narrow again and the air began to smell fowl. The pool at the bottom of the waterfall was deep and I worried that if I dropped into it, my secondary source of light that was not waterproof would get wet.

With great care I entered the next part of the cave without getting too wet. As I crawled along on my hands and knees I felt my heart rate increase. Then my mind began to wander. My head began to drift off into a panic I could not control.

For a moment I could not understand what was going on. Then I realized that the cave likely ended back here and that the river complete went underground. Since the river cut through farm land. Along its course it likely pick up a great deal of farm animal feces and fertilizer. Because the cave ended back here there was very little flow in the air, causing to get bad very quickly.

However all of this logic was not going to do me any good, as I felt the bad air quickly removing my capacity to think. With no other choice but to quickly turned back.

Climbing back up the waterfall I felt myself making simple mistakes. I told myself to slow down and think, but the bad air made it increasingly difficult to do so. My mind slipped back to times when I had staying underwater a little to long while snorkeling. With your body screaming for a fresh breath of air, you could see the surface; it was right there all you had to do was make it.

Reaching the top of the waterfall, I realized just how bad the air was down here. My head continued to swim  with a dull panic as my heart beat on. Clumsy splashing up the river my nose searched for cleaner air. Thought dissipated from my mind as the narrow eye of survival took over.
Then a burst of fresh air ripped deep into my lungs and thought slowly began to return. Hoping to slow my heart beat, I sat along side a pool of water. Where were the fish I wondered, why was nothing living in the pool?

With my slow eye I watched and waited. Then I saw it, some movement. Yes there it is, a blind pigment less cave fish attracted to the heat of my flashlight. Below it wriggled a tiny snake, no larger than an earthworm. As I collected my thoughts and calmed my heart I watched the fish and snake in their underground home.

Ahead of me was sunlight and the mist again. The heat and humidity fell upon me as I reentered the jungle. The air was fresh and the path could be seen without a flashlight. It was time to go home. Looking at my watch I realized only 30 or so minutes had passed.
Its funny how time flows when you're in the dark.