Friday, July 31, 2015

Another Shisa

Another Shisa for you now. I spotted this one in the customs hall in Okinawa as we made our way back to our cruise ship.

It had been another long and busy day, and I was looking forward to putting my feet up with a drink in hand as we sailed out of the harbour.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Transport And Trees

While waiting for the bus to take us back to our cruise ship, I found this tree being used to park bicycles behind. The tree is, I think, a fig tree, going by all the air roots coming down. I found the textures that they created quite interesting, and also the lines. More inspiration for my needlework.

The bicycles are something else. obviously transport for the locals. The owners are very trusting as I could not find any chain or lock. Maybe the crime rate in Okinawa is much lower than at home.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

A Building

Okinawa is one of those places that is a mix of old and new. Shattered by war, some new modern buildings have risen from the rubble.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A Water Sculpture

We found this sculpture in the main street of Okinawa, just outside the main shopping strip. We were to wait near here for our bus ride back to the Diamond Princess.

Taking on the form of a fountain, we think it was some kind of memorial.

I found the artwork interesting, finding tree shapes and leaves in amongst the cut metal.

Monday, July 27, 2015


Lion or dog? I think he is a lion. Known as a "Shisa" he is there to protect the building. Made of some kind of metal he is very decorative, and we can see the Chinese influences again in the scrolls. They usually come in pairs at a gateway, entranceway or roof top. One on the right will have an open mouth to ward of evil spirits, while one on the left will have a closed mouth to keep in the good spirits. Interesting Okinawan mythology.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A Lightpost

How is this for a light post? Something a little different from home. Decorative as well as functional in more ways than one. Interesting that the birds still sit on a light post no matter where it is.

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Another Wooden Panel

Another wooden panel that I found in a shop in Okinawa. This one was different to the previous post, but still inspirational for my stitching. This one was actually decorating the shop in which I found it.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Wooden Artwork

Just one of the wooden panels that I found in one of the shops in Okinawa. I found the "leaf" patterns interesting and thought that perhaps I could use them somehow in my stitching.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Decorated Shells

This shell was found in one of the shops in Okinawa. Being on a small island in the Pacific, I would imagine that the cowrie shells would abound. I have a collection of cowrie shells myself that I have found over the years on Australian beaches, but not as big as this one. I have seen them this size of course, and yes I have seen them decorated before. This one caught my eye though as it was decorated with a seahorse. 

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

A Gift Shop

This is a pic of another of the shops that we passed on the tourist strip in Okinawa. This one looked like a gift shop. Coffee mugs, plates, garden and house decorations, postcards etc. Not really my cup of tea, but we did go in and have a look. Just so different to the shops here at home.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Okinawa Shop Front

A shot now of one of the shops on the tourist strip in Okinawa. I actually think it may have housed a number of businesses including two cafes. Once again we see that Chinese influence in the building decoration.

Monday, July 20, 2015

Pavement Decoration

How Chinese is this? This was a tile in the pavement of the main street in Okinawa.It had  obviously been walked and stepped on a few times given the wear. Just goes to show how much influence the Chinese have  had in Okinawa, even though it is an island owned & ruled by Japan.

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Another Roof Line

This was one of the roof lines that we found in the main street of Okinawa. It was certainly interesting, with a Chinese influence. It certainly made for interesting viewing up against the modern buildings in the same street. Lots of patterns once again to use as inspiration for my stitching.

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Okinawa Street View

Just part of the view of the main street in Okinawa. We went for a walk up this main street, doing lots of looking and occasional buying. So different from home, but catering very much for the tourist. There were quite possibly streets behind this one that would be meant for the locals, but we really didn't have time to explore. It's the shops for the locals that I find really interesting.

Friday, July 17, 2015

A Roof Line

The one thing that I loved about our trip to Japan was the buildings, and the decorations on them. This is just another example, of one we found in Okinawa. I just love the mix of flowers and leaves with fish. It would all be symbolic in some way.

This one is just a close up of the fish.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Okinawa Glass

Okinawa glass is a recycling tradition. As the story goes, when the locals returned home after the war, the craftsmen found only rubble to work with. The glass makers made use of broken  bottles discarded by American troops, and turned it into beautiful glassware.

Above is just some of the beautiful glassware that we came across. This was found in a small shop in the main shopping street in Okinawa, and was for sale. This type of glassware is unique to Okinawa, born out of a need to rebuild after WW11. It has turned into a thriving industry for the tourist.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015


This one is also for my stitching friends. Taken through glass, I have reflections in my pic, but if we look past the reflections, we can see some wonderful weaving patterns.

At first, I thought this was drawn thread work but a close look showed out the weaving. My passion is drawn work, and these weaving patterns are very similar to the needle weaving patterns used in drawn thread channels throughout Europe a few hundred years back. I wonder who influenced who?

This is a table runner, and was on display in the shrine at the Shurijo Castle on Okinawa, Japan.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015


This artwork was on the wall inside the shrine in the grounds of the Shurijo Castle in Okinawa. Obviously done in inks of some kind, it tells a story. The story would have been written somewhere, but we were on limited time and I have missed it. I am assuming that that is the King being transported by his court members in a procession of some kind.

I would have liked to study this drawing more closely, but it was high on a wall and we were being escorted through this section quite quickly.

Monday, July 13, 2015

A Cover

This one is for all my stitching friends, and anyone else that enjoys the fine arts. 

This is a cover of some kind, though I am not sure of what. It probably was written somewhere, but we were on a limited time frame and I missed the sign.

Check out the beautiful hand stitching that decorates this cover.

Beautiful voided flowers and leaves.

Flowers placed in borders.

Beautiful birds. Check out the voiding on the body of this bird, showcasing the feathers to make them look real.

Yes, these are all stitched by hand. Stunning work showing influences from China.

Sunday, July 12, 2015

A Decorated Pole

This decorated pole was found inside the shrine at the Shurijo Castle in Okinawa. Still more dragons decorate this pole, and we can see the influence of China with the voided clouds. Just beautiful.

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Another Dragon

The panel above the throne was beautiful and decorated with gold dragons. In this pic we can see two more. The one at the bottom has four claws, while the one at the top has five. The number of claws have meanings, I just forget for the moment what they mean. I know the more claws the dragon has, the better everything is, luck, wealth etc. Whatever they mean, the decorations on the panel above the throne were beautiful

Friday, July 10, 2015

A Dragon

A close up view of one of the dragons dragons decorating the panel above The King's Chair. Lots of Chinese influence here. Isn't he fabulous!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Decorative Panel

This panel sat on the wall above the King's Chair that I showed you yesterday. Obviously saying something, but I have no idea what. The patterns in the frame and the dragons below are fabulous.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

A Chair

How is this for a chair?   This chair was located in the the main shrine at the Shurijo Castle. It is believed to be throne upon which sat the King. Richly decorated in gold and Vermillian, it features many patterns that I could reproduce in my stitching somewhere. What about those  two dragons decorating the arms of this chair? Are they not fabulous!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015


Suimui-utaki is a site of worship inside the Shurijo Castle grounds. Unfortunately my camera was still on those horrid green settings, but we can still see the decoration on this building. There are dragons on each end of the roof guarding it, and beautiful artwork over the front entranceway.

Monday, July 6, 2015

A Castle Gate

There are many gates around the Shurijo Castle, this is just one. As we can see, they are very different to those of the temples and shrines in Kyoto & Tokyo. They appear to be much simpler and less ornate than others we has seen.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Shurijo Castle Grounds

One of the buildings inside the Shurijo Castle grounds. The castle was originally built over 500 years ago, but was destroyed by fire in WW11 , and  restored in the 1980's. It has housed kings, government, and the Ryukyu University. Now it is one of Okiniwa's main tourist attractions.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Roof Patterns

Some more roof patterns now. If we look closely we will see that these roof patterns are different to those that we saw on the main islands of Japan. The roof style is still the same, but the patterns used for decoration are very different. I could definitely play with these & use them in my lace making and stitching

Friday, July 3, 2015

Okinawa Views

Some views of Okinawa now, taken from the walls of the Shurijo Castle.

Unfortunately my photos are still very green. I have yet to discover the camera setting had changed.

Thursday, July 2, 2015

A Spring

Another one of my very green photos, this time showing the "Ryuhi", or water spring, situated half way up the steps leading to the gate of the Shurijo Castle. The water pours from the mouth of a dragon, which originally came from China way back in 1523. Water from this spring has been used to provide fresh drinking water not only to the castle, but to guest houses nearby.

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

A Stairway

This was the set of stairs that we had to climb to get into the Shurijo Castle grounds. The Castle is high up on a hill, overlooking Okinawa. surrounded by stone walls. Not much of a climb really, and besides, it was worth it to see some of the treasures inside.