Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Everybody Loves a Water Buffalo

In Okinawa, the water buffalo is the image character for some of the smaller islands in the Ryukyu chain. Carts pulled by patient water buffalo and managed by sanshin-playing tour conductors are the main attraction on picturesque Taketomi and Yubu islands.

To my surprise, water buffalo are almost invisible on the main island of Okinawa itself. Once upon a time, they were the muscle behind the rice paddies and the sugar mills, but times have changed and they have been replaced by machines.

In a recent visit to Okinawa, I made inquiries about where to see water buffalo. Guess what? I was told the best place to find out details about raising water buffalo is from the Tama Zoological Garden, located in Tokyo.

I can see the trees of the Tama Zoo from my house.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A New Character, A New Story

Katsuren has been written, published, and offered for sale. I've gotten heart warming comments from readers in the US, Japan and Europe. Now it's time to move on to the next story.

Every story starts with a problem. This story starts with two problems: my character (Sam Ryder) needs a job; Okinawa needs new sources of employment, now that military bases are out of favor. What options does an orphan and high school dropout who grew up in the back room over a six-stool bar have?

More than you might think!

Sam is a guy with a future, though in the scene he's in now, he's about to get beaten up by a bunch of punks who want the leather jacket off his back, the one he bought in Shinjuku with his final paycheck after getting fired from his job delivering beer.

C'mon, Sam... Fight for your future!