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On the way to Hedo Point

On the way to Hedo Point; roads are not paved.
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On the way to Hedo Point

On the way to Hedo Point, watching a motorcyclist trying to pass. There's a snoot full of dust and dirt!
(Okinawa_1969_01_s02.jpg)

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Hedo Point; juncture of the Pacific and China Sea

Hedo Point; juncture of the Pacific and China Sea
(Okinawa_1969_01_s03.jpg)

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Hedo Point

Hedo Point
(Okinawa_1969_01_s03b.jpg)

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Hedo Point, Roxanne Smith w/Okinawan School Girl

Hedo Point, Roxanne Smith w/Okinawan School Girl (Okinawa_1969_01_s09.jpg)

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Hedo Point; Roxanne and Tom Smith

Hedo Point; Roxanne and Tom Smith
(Okinawa_1969_01_s11.jpg)

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Hedo Point

Hedo Point
(Okinawa_1969_01_s11b.jpg)

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Hedo Point

Hedo Point
(Okinawa_1969_01_s11c.jpg)

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Hedo Point

Hedo Point
(Okinawa_1969_01_s11d.jpg)

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Hedo Point; Annette Wahl-Smith (DeWitt)

Hedo Point; Annette Wahl-Smith (DeWitt)
(Okinawa_1969_01_s12.jpg)

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Okinawan Rural Village

Okinawan Rural Village
(Okinawa_1969_01_s15.jpg)

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Kin Cannon Temple Garden

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Kin Kannon Temple Garden

Kin Kannon Temple Garden

(Okinawa_1969_01_s20.jpg)

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Kin Kannon Cave

Kin Kannon Cave

(Okinawa_1968_09_s19.jpg)

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Kin Kannon Cave Shrine

Kin Kannon Cave Shrine
(Okinawa_1968_09_s18.jpg)

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Kin Kannon Temple

Kin Kannon Temple, Kin Cho, Okinawa

Kin Kannon Temple is one of the most famous temples in Okinawa. According to legend Nisshu, a Japanese Buddhist priest was returning home from China in 1522. A typhoon hit his ship and he was rescued by villagers from Kin. During his stay he carved statues of Buddha, Yakushi (The God of Medicine), and Kannon (The God of Mercy). This is said to be the origin of the temple. He also heard tales of large snakes living in the limestone caves and offered prayers for the villagers to kill them.

Kin Distillery in the town Kin is producing Tatsu Awamori, an Okinawan specialty. Tatsu is the brand name and means Dragon, awamori is the name for rice liquor. While sake is produced from rice by a brewing process, awamori is destilled. Its like beer and whisky, just with rice as the source of starch. The destillery is owned by the master distiller Hisato Okuma.

The specialty Tatsu Awamori is, that it is stored for years inside Kin Shonyudo, a natural limestone cave on the premises of Kin Kannon Temple. Bottles filled with 1.8 liters 43% proof liquor are aged at the perfect temperature of 17 to 19°C. They are first sold for JPY 10,000 per bottle for five years storage or JPY 20,000 for twelve years, then tagged with the owner's name and the date they were put into the store. The owners return to get the bottles when the occasion they were intended for arrives, or it is send to them at the end of the storage. At the moment about 9,000 bottles are stored in a huge wooden underground storage.

The temple is the only one on island that did not get bombed to smithereens during the Battle of Okinawa so it's really quite old. This temple is dedicated to the Goddess Kannon who is the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy.

(Okinawa_1969_01_s21.jpg)

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Shoreline at bottom of Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)

The shoreline at the bottom of Mabuni Hill (Suicide Cliffs), Okinawa

(Okinawa_1969_01_sM1.jpg)

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Beach at bottom of Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)

Shoreline and beach at bottom of Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)
(Okinawa_1969_01_sM2.jpg)

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Memorial at Suicide Cliff

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Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)

Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)

(Okinawa_1969_01_sM4.jpg)

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Namanoue Shrine (Shinto); Naha, Okinawa

Namanoue Shrine (Shinto); Naha, Okinawa
(Okinawa_1969_07_s16.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine). A Shinto shrine located in Naha, Okinawa. It is the primary shrine in the prefecture. It sits atop a high bluff, overlooking Naminoue Beach and the ocean.

Originally a sacred space of the native Ryukyuan religion, due to its location and natural beauty, it was dedicated to nirai kanai, the mythical source of all life, and to the sea.At some point it came to be known as Hana gusuku and Nanminsan[1], and later was incorporated into the Japanese system of Shinto shrines.


(Okinawa_1968_09_s12b.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)(Okinawa_1968_09_s14.jpg)

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School Children visit Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

School Children visit Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

(Okinawa_1968_09_s12.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)(Okinawa_1968_09_s13.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

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Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)
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Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)

Naminoue Shrine (Above the Waves Shrine)
(Okinawa_1968_09_s16.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine

Naminoue Shrine

(Okinawa_1969_05_s08.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine, Temple Bell

Naminoue Shrine, Temple Bell(Okinawa_1969_05_s09.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine, Temple Bell

Naminoue Shrine, Temple Bell

(Okinawa_1969_05_s10.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine

Naminoue Shrine

(Okinawa_1969_05_s11.jpg)

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Naminoue Shrine view of ocean

Naminoue Shrine view of ocean

(Okinawa_1969_05_s12.jpg)

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Teahouse of the August Moon, Naminoue, Naha, Okinawa

Teahouse of the August Moon, Naminoue, Naha, Okinawa

(Okinawa_1969_05_s13.jpg)

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Teahouse of the August Moon, Naminoue, Naha, Okinawa

Teahouse of the August Moon, Naminoue, Naha, Okinawa

(Okinawa_1969_05_s14.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_07_s01.jpg)

Nakagusuku Castle (Nakagusuku-jo) is a gusuku in the village of Nakagusuku, Okinawa Prefecture, Japan. It is currently in ruins. The legendary Ryukyuan commander, Gosamaru, built the fortress in the early 15th century to defend against attacks from the east by Lord Amawari of Katsuren Castle. The six courtyards of this fortress with stacked stone walls make it a prime example of a gusuku. (Wikipedia)

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Located at Nakagusuku Castle

Located at Nakagusuku Castle
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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_07_s03.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
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Nakagusuku Castle; Annette, Tom, and Roxanne Smith

Nakagusuku Castle; Annette, Tom, and Roxanne Smith
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View from Nakagusuku Castle wall

View from Nakagusuku Castle wall
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View from Nakagusuku Castle wall

View from Nakagusuku Castle wall
(Okinawa_1969_07_s07.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; Annette, Tom, and Roxanne Smith

Nakagusuku Castle, with Annette Wahl-Smith (DeWitt), Roxanne, and Tom Smith
(Okinawa_1969_07_s08.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_07_s09.jpg)

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Tom on horseback at Nakagusuku Castle

Tom on horseback at Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_07_s10.jpg)

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Annette Wahl-Smith (DeWitt), Tom, and Roxanne Smith at Nakagusuku Castle

Annette Wahl-Smith (DeWitt), Tom, and Roxanne Smith at Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_07_s11.jpg)

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Descending Stairs at Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)

Descending Stairs at Suicide Cliff (Mabuni Hill)
(Okinawa_1969_07_s13.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_07_s14.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; Storage Barn

Nakagusuku Castle, storage barn
(Okinawa_1969_07_s15.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_09_s01.jpg)

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View along a Nakagusuku Castle wall

View along a Nakagusuku Castle wall
(Okinawa_1969_09_s02.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle inner grounds

Nakagusuku Castle inner grounds
(Okinawa_1969_09_s03.jpg)

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View from Nakagusuku Castle Wall

View from Nakagusuku Castle Wall
(Okinawa_1969_09_s04.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle inner grounds

Nakagusuku Castle inner grounds
(Okinawa_1969_09_s05.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_09_s12.jpg)

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Ivan McKee on Nakagusuku Castle Wall

Ivan McKee on Nakagusuku Castle Wall
(Okinawa_1969_09_s07.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; Bench Structure?

Nakagusuku Castle
(Okinawa_1969_09_s08.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"
(Okinawa_1969_09_s09.jpg)


There are two types of tombs you will see while on Okinawa: the turtleback tomb (kameko-baka) and the gable type. The turtleback tomb is easy to spot due to its distinctive shave (resembling the back of a turtle's shell). The tombs line the hills and streets and can be seen in a variety of sizes nearly everywhere on the island.
Kameko-baka serve as ancestral vaults for holding the remains of the deceased in carefully arranged urns. The rectangular opening located in the center-front of the structure is a conspicuous feature you will find in all tombs and serves as an entrance for placing urns within. These tombs are also built in the shape of a woman's womb. Buddhists believe the reasoning behind this is to place the deceased back where they originally came from: the womb. You can still see the turtleback tomb, but it is slowly being replaced by the cheaper, space-saving, condominium-style tombs.
Each April (around March 15th on the lunar calendar), Okinawans participate in memorial services for ancestors in an event known locally as Shiimii (known as Seimei Sai in Japanese). Blood relatives gather in front of tombs in a sort of family reunion where they open special containers of Okinawan ceremonial foods and drink beer and awamori together. This event is a joyful outing that strengthens family ties.

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"

Nakagusuku Castle; "TurtlebackTomb"
(Okinawa_1969_09_s10.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"
(Okinawa_1969_09_s11.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"
(Okinawa_1969_09_s12b.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"
(Okinawa_1969_09_s13.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb"
(Okinawa_1969_09_s14.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb" w/Cross

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb" w/Cross
(Okinawa_1969_09_s15.jpg)

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Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb" w/Cross

Nakagusuku Castle; "Turtleback Tomb" w/Cross
(Okinawa_1969_09_s16.jpg)

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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
(Okinawa_1969_09_s02c.jpg)

Obon or just Bon is a Japanese Buddhist custom to honor the departed (deceased) spirits of one's ancestors. This Buddhist custom has evolved into a family reunion holiday during which people return to ancestral family places and visit and clean their ancestors' graves, and when the spirits of ancestors are supposed to revisit the household altars. It has been celebrated in Japan for more than 500 years and traditionally includes a dance, known as Bon-Odori.

The festival of Obon lasts for three days; however its starting date varies within different regions of Japan. When the lunar calendar was changed to the Gregorian calendar at the beginning of the Meiji era, the localities in Japan reacted differently and this resulted in three different times of Obon. "Shichigatsu Bon" (Bon in July) is based on the solar calendar and is celebrated around 15 July in eastern Japan (Kantō: areas such as Tokyo, Yokohama and the Tohoku region), coinciding with Chūgen. "Hachigatsu Bon" (Bon in August) is based on the solar calendar, is celebrated around the 15th of August and is the most commonly celebrated time. "Kyu Bon" (Old Bon) is celebrated on the 15th day of the seventh month of the lunar calendar, and so differs each year. "Kyu Bon" is celebrated in areas like the northern part of the Kantō region, Chūgoku, Shikoku, and the Southwestern islands. These three days are not listed as public holidays but it is customary that people are given leave.

Obon shares some similarities with the predominantly Mexican observance of el Día de los Muertos, such as customs involving family reunion and care of ancestors' grave sites.

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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori

Obon (Bon); Bon-Odori
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Kako, our "caretaker" from 1968-1971

Kako, our "caretaker" from 1968-1971
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Oroku Neighborhood, Naha, Okinawa

Oroku Neighborhood, Naha, Okinawa. This section existed behind our rented home in Oroku Housing, serving Naha AFB, Okinawa.

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