Tanegashima, Japan - December 2014
Rocket Launch

- A rocket launch, Hanukkah, and the fish festival.

Um had no idea Shai was flipping the bird in this picture when it was taken. Where could he possibly be learning this stuff? lol.

Picture - Shai flipping the bird at the beach.

Anyway this was a very busy and fun month for us. We were able to watch the Hayabusa rocket launch from Hase park.

Then we spent our first Hanukkah on Tanegashima which proved to be interesting to say the least.

Towards the end of the month was the Minamitane Fish Festival. This event was a total riot.
Hayabusa Rocket Launch and the Beach

- Today we went to Hase park to watch the JAXA Hayabusa 2 Rocket Launch from Tanegashima Space Center. We asked some lady to take our picture and she took four of them. They all looked really nice and I could not decide which one to include and went and included them all.

Picture - Us waiting for the rocket launch.

This was a very important rocket launch and was actually the theme for a movie. We were all pretty sick with the flu but decided to hang in there and go watch anyway. This was too much of an important event to be missed.

As it turned out there were several TV camera crews there who were very happy to find an international couple to interview.

Picture - Hase Park - A nice picture of us at the park.
Picture - Hase Park - Same picture again.
Picture - Hase Park - And again.
Picture - Hase Park - And again and again.
Picture - Hase Park - The rocket launch venue 1.
Picture - Hase Park - The rocket launch venue 2.
Picture - Hase Park - The rocket launch venue 3.
Picture - Hase Park - Shai was really excited to see the rocket launch.
Picture - Hase Park - The rocket launch venue and food stands.
Picture - Hase Park - Shai was happy to wait and play at the playground.
Picture - Hase Park - The temperatures got noticeably cooler and the wind picked up quite a bit before the rocket launch.
Picture - Hase Park - Although not warm today was still much warmer say than Buffalo, New York this time of year. lol.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - We decided to go to Maenohama Seaside Park and beach in the afternoon for awhile.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - We went to our favorite beach and hung out for awhile on a cold and windy day.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A beautiful view of the beach today.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - The best way to warm up is to move around and go crazy with the dogs.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Then Shai began showing off some of his cool moves.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Another beautiful view of the beach today.
Hayabusa Rocket Launch Sequence

- The rocket launch sequence of pictures. These pictures were all taken within the time frame of one minute. The best launch picture, in my opinion, is shown next to the links.

Picture - Rocket launch sequence picture #3.

These pictures were supposed to be 400 x 300 pixels. Used wifey phone to take these and everything is in Japanese and did not realize the photo setting was set to square. lol.

Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 1.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 2.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 3.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 4.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 5.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 6.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 7.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 8.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 9.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 10.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 11.
Picture - Hase Park - Rocket launch picture 12.
Beach Again

- Today we headed to the beach again.

Picture - Maenohama Beach - Today we went to Maenohama and were hanging out together.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Today we went to Maenohama and the dogs really enjoyed the beach.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Today we went to Maenohama and the dogs were shredding a coconut.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Today we went to Maenohama  and were hanging out together.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A beautiful view of the beach today 1.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A beautiful view of the beach today 2.
Last Fishing Trip

- This was definitely the last fishing trip for this year.

Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - Although the morning was kind of warm it turned much cooler while we were fishing.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - We caught nothing and came home to warm up.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - The jungle section of the beach.
Picking and Eating

- Well even after a couple of strong typhoons in October of this year we were still able to produce some veggies in the farm. Today way a really nice harvest day and Shai enjoyed picking like crazy. This was actually our first harvest on Tanegashima.

Picture - Hanging out at the upper upper farm with the neighbors eating cooked anno imo potatoes.

Picture - Home - Shai is picking a nice red radish.
Picture - Home - Shai picked all of the radishes.
Picture - Home - Maybe not his favorite but picking turnips is still fun.
Picture - Home - Shai continued until all of the turnips were picked.
Picture - Home - Shai getting ready to pick some white radishes.
Picture - Home - He picked a really nice daikon for salad.
Picture - Home - Shai continued until all of the white radishes were picked.
Picture - Home -  A neighbor, the woman in the middle of the picture, walked over with a bag of cooked Anno Imo potatoes. this morning. We all hung out together on the side of the road eating these delicious and warm Tanegashima potatoes.
Friends Visited

- Shai was hanging out with his friends, Kose and Takeru, in the driveway today. Then we were hanging out with David at night.

Picture - Home - Shai was hanging out with his friends.
Picture - Home - We were hanging out with our friend 1.
Picture - Home - We were hanging out with our friend 2.
Yakushima Snow

- Today there was a lot of snow on the tops of the mountains of Yakushima, as seen from the rock beach close to the house.

Picture - Home - A nice view of the snow covered mountain tops of Yakushima 1.
Picture - Home - A nice view of the snow covered mountain tops of Yakushima 2.
Picture - Home - A nice view of the snow covered mountain tops of Yakushima 3.
Tanegashima Hanukkah

- Pretty sure we were the only Jews on Tanegashima celebrating this holiday....um actually the only Jews.

Picture - Shai lighting the Hanukkah candles.

Some of the nights during Hanukkah were spent eating on the floor Japanese style. Some "traditional" Hanukkah meals included all the usual food you might expect like cooked fish with ginger and soy sauce, sashimi, and nabe, all eaten with chopsticks of course. lol.

This is pretty much the way it is in a multi cultural family. Notice in some of the pictures the traditional Japanese doors in the background, not to mention the tatami mats.

Yup being Jewish on a small island in a foreign country certainly is a strange feeling not to mention a bit lonely. Thank goodness for family because these are simply business as usual days for folks on Tanegashima.

Picture - Home - 12/16 - Tonight we ate at the dining room table.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Shai made a Hanukkah picture for each night.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the first night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - This picture came out a bit fuzzy.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Shai was waiting the whole night to open his presents.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Shai is totally ready to open his presents on the first night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Shai was really happy to get more learning books.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Yup a lot of books were wrapped in there.
Picture - Home - 12/16 - Another play doh set as requested.
Picture - Home - 12/17 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the second night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/18 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the third night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/18 - We ate potato latkes, a very traditional food eaten on Hanukkah, for the first time on Tanegashima.
Picture - Home - 12/18 - Hey why not make anno imo potato latkes with the most famous potatoes on Tanegashima.
Picture - Home - 12/18 - What Hanukkah dinner would be complete without sukiyaki nabe.
Picture - Home - 12/19 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the fourth night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the fifth night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - This was one of the fish Shai caught during the Minamitane Fish Festival which is locally called megina.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - This is undoubtedly the first time to eat raw megina fish, sashimi, on Hanukkah. Japanese version of gefilte fish.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - This Hanukkah night was spent eating on the floor.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - This traditional Hanukkah meal included cooked fish with ginger and soy sauce, sashimi, and nabe.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - Shai was very happy to get another book and a nice pair of hiking boots.
Picture - Home - 12/20 - Yup even the adults treated themselves to presents.
Picture - Home - 12/21 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the sixth night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/21 - Another delicious meal of fish and potatoes.
Picture - Home - 12/22 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the seventh night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/22 - Shai was really happy to get another learning book.
Picture - Home - 12/23 - Shai lighting the menorah candles on the eighth night of Hanukkah.
Picture - Home - 12/23 - The menorah is now fully lit up.
Picture - Home - 12/23 - Us together and ready to eat 1.
Picture - Home - 12/23 - Us together and ready to eat 2.
New Oil Stove and a Couple of Beaches

- Yup finally decided to give in and get a new oil stove. Honestly I am really not thrilled with these things for a number of reasons.

Picture - Shai being cool at the beach.

They smell, are not entirely safe, and require a container of toxic oil to be stored in the entry. The fact is, pretty much every house in Japan has one of these.

In addition, this island house cannot handle a lot of appliances running at the same time and an oil stove seemed to be the only choice.

To go along with the stove is a container of toxic oil which will be in the entry for the next few months.

Yeah enough complaining already....at least the house is warm.

Picture - Home - The new, and very warm, new stove.
Picture - Home - The container filled with toxic oil.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - We decided to go to the beach today on a really cold and windy day. Where is he learning this.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Aside from finding a lot of nice seashells, Shai was able to find a crab washed up on the beach.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the beach 1.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the beach 2.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - We decided to watch the sunset at the rock beach close to our house this afternoon.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - Yup it was really not warm today but Shai was dealing with the temperatures in style.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - A beautiful sunset view behind Yakushima today 1.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - A beautiful sunset view behind Yakushima today 2.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - A beautiful sunset view behind Yakushima today 3.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #6 - A beautiful sunset view behind Yakushima today 4.
Minamitane Fish Festival

- This was the fourth annual Minamitane Fish Festival. For this event the local fishing folks get together in a small warehouse and sell local and imported seafood.

Picture - Us eating crab soup at the festival.

The event is totally free, and upon entering the warehouse, each person is given a ticket for a free crab soup.

The event continues with a huge pool of live fish and elementary school age kids and younger are given gloves and a chance to catch the fish with their hands. Freaking not warm outside but these kids take off their shoes and socks, roll up their jeans and go crazy trying to get these fish. This event is hilarious. Not to mention some of the fish are valued at the equivalent of over 100 dollars.

The event was really fun, especially for the kids, and a must for anyone on Tanegashima this time of year. We are looking forward to next years already.

Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - This was the poster for the event on the front of a vending machine.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - We entered this really small warehouse. The smell of fish was everywhere.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - A lot of the fish was local while some fish was imported from other places.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - A free coupon got you a bowl of crab soup and freshly cut buri sashima, AKA raw yellowtail fish.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Crab soup with veggies was really delicious. The yellowtail with soy sauce melted in your mouth.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - We took three crabs home, put them in the nabe pot, and ate crab flavored rice with eggs.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Shai was pretty happy to simply hold the crab and watch the soup pour back into the bowl.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Hey the guy with his thumb up in the middle is the owner of the Minamitane fishing supply store.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Really felt like Asia today. They put a a lot of wood in empty rusty barrels to warm everyone up.

Note: We thought all of the kids would simply hang over the side of this temporary pool and catch the fish. After all, this December and not warm at all. Nope....not on Tanegashima. The kids were supposed to go in wearing farm gloves and catch the fish with their hands. No doubt many of the kids will be home from school this week with a cold.

Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Shai was all bundled up and ready for the fish competition today.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - The kids practiced from the sides before the competition actually began.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Shai caught another fish with only his bare hands.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - The kids were given a cheap pair of farm gloves and went in to catch fish.
Picture - Minamitane West Coast Pier #1 - Shai caught a fish, actually many. This fish is a mackerel which is pretty good. eating.
Picture - Home - Shai caught a total of seven fish at the fishing competition and was able to take them all home.
Picture - Home - Shai was able to bring home a couple of mackerel today.
Picture - Home - And he got a couple of bigeye trevally which are really tasty.
Picture - Home - A nice aji.
Picture - Home - Really not sure about this fish.
Picture - Home - When the competition was almost finished the kids were given nets to catch the more difficult fish. Shai got this nice mejina.
Picture - Home - This is all the fish Shai caught during the competition. Nice work. We ate the Megina cooked and as sashimi for Hanukkah.
Picture - Jinanbou Restaurant - We decided to celebrate the success of the competition and went out to our favorite restaurant.
Picture - Jinanbou Restaurant - The grandkids of the owner were playing around upstairs.
Picture - Jinanbou Restaurant - Shai likes playing with his new friends on the second floor of the restaurant.
Picture - Jinanbou Restaurant - This is a really cute picture of all the kids together.
Beach Hiking and Homan Pond

- Today we decided to go out and take our new hiking shoes for a test drive.

Picture - Us at some beach.

We were going to search for Homan Pond. The pond is located fairly close to the coast and the access road is very difficult to find.

We drove on a bunch of farm roads and through numerous jungles only to find ourselves at the beach a couple of times.

A few weeks ago we found the pond from a pretty high elevation but could not find an access trail to the pond itself.

This was going to be our mission for today.

After taking a couple of trips to the beach on roads through farms and jungles, we finally found a trailhead and a trail leading to the pond.

This really is a beautiful place. We had no idea we could also access this pond from the Homan Shrine. The trail finished at the end of the Homan Shrine trail.

Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - We ended up at some unknown beach.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - We went to a beach on the other side of Maenohama looking towards Minamitane Fishing Pier #5.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - We went to a beach on the other side of Iwasaki hotel looking towards Minamitane Fishing Pier #4.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - Trying out our new hiking boots on an unknown trail.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - After a few trips to the beach through farms and jungles, we finally found a trail leading to the pond.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - We hiked for a little while and finally made it to the pond.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 1.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 2.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 3.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 4.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 5.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 6.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 7.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 8.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 9.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - A nice picture along the hiking trail 10.
Picture - Minamitane Nishino District - We discovered this tree with some unknown fruit. We picked a couple of them and went home.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the beach 1.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the beach 2.
Homan Shrine

- Today we went to visit Homan Shrine. Then we headed out to the beach.

Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 1.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 2.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 3.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 4.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 5.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 6.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 7.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 8.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 9.
Picture - Homan Shrine - A nice picture from this trip 10.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the caves 1.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the caves 2.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the caves 3.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - The dogs are playing together.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Us hanging out together 1.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Us hanging out together 2.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - Us hanging out together 3.
Picture - Maenohama Beach - A nice view of the beach.
Picture - Home - The house decorated for new years.
Happy New Year

- The dogs and a Happy New Year gate.

Picture - Home - The dogs and a Happy New Year gate 1.
Picture - Home - The dogs and a Happy New Year gate 2.
Picture - Home - The dogs and a Happy New Year gate 3.
Picture - Home - The dogs and a Happy New Year gate 4.
 
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