The 14th Annual Japanese Coral Reef Society Conference

Since its commencement in 1997, The Japanese Coral Reef Society held conferences to discuss the problems and the future of coral reef preservation. On Novvember 4th through 6th, The 14th Annual Conference was held in Naha City which approximately 300 people participated. Okinawans have traditionally worshipped coral reefs under Nirai Kanai beliefs and passed them onto future generations. However, the very existence of coral reefs became distant in our modern society due to urbanization. Though beautiful at glance, Okinawan coral reefs are in danger because of the drastic changes in the environment. Continue reading

Okinawa Fire Fighters Calendar Project

Firefighters in Okinawa gather, shirtless, showing off their chiseled muscles. This is not only to attract females across Japan, but it is for a good cause also. The Okinawa Fire Fighters Calendar Project started 2 years ago after American Firefighters, selling calendars of them-sexy-selves. Its profit will go to NPO MESH Support, a helicopter ambulance service support group. Without such essential service, Okinawans living off mainland will not receive proper medical care in an emergency. However, it costs 1 million US dollars to run the program which is almost impossible to afford. So, the firefighters of Okinawa stood up and made a difference. Last year, 1000 calendars sold out completely in 3 weeks. The anticipated 2012 calendar will be on sale for 1500 yen, donating 1000 yen of each copy to MESH Support. For more information, please visit www.okinawaffcp.com (in Japanese)

Largest “Habu” captured

Habu, or the yellow spotted pit viper, is native to Okinawa and Amami Islands. On average, they are about 1.3 meters (approx. 4.265 ft) long, which already big enough. However, on October 12th, 2011, a man driving his car in Onna-son (恩納村) captured (maybe ran over?) a habu that was 2.42 meters long... that's 7.9 ft !! Weighing 2.8 kg (approx. 6.17 lbs), this was the largest habu ever found in the country. Habu venom, although low in fatality rate, is of high toxicity and can cause permanent disability.