Fate Yanagi

Hawaii's Rap Reiplinger became popular in the 1970s after forming a three man comedy troupe called "Booga Booga". He went on to do solo tours across the US Mainland playing in top clubs including 'The Aladdin' in Las Vegas, 'Catch a Rising Star' in New York, and at 'The Improv' in Los Angeles. He also won an Emmy Award in 1982 for his Public Television special 'Rap's Hawaii,' which he both wrote and starred in, and took home a bronze medal from the International Film and Television Festival of New York for "Most Outstanding Television Production". His video and recordings are still available through the Hawaii music label "The Mountain Apple Company".

The TV special has become a classic and many of the songs and comedy routines are available on YouTube. But who played "Fate Yanagi"?

Her name is Gayln Kong Akaka and in 2008, she was a guest on the Hawaii talk show NightTime with Andy Bumetai. Butemtai himself is a stand up comedian who was influenced by Rap's work.

So here is Gayln talking about what it was like to play Fate Yanagi and who she is in real life.
Good fun. (Why the poster of this video included a minute of commercials at the end I don't know. )


Land Of The

Taken this morning from our hotel room in Oarai, Ibaraki. Oarai is a port town with a fishing boat harbor as well as a shipping harbor where ocean going ferries leave for Hokkaido. It is also where Bluesette's lake Hinuma's waters empty, via the Naka River, into the sea.

We were celebrating Kimie's **th Birthday. I'll post more pics later.


Sparrow's School

More birds are visiting our yard including a Jyobitaki (Daurian Redstart), some Uguisu (Japanese Bush Warblers), and Eurasian Tree Sparrows - in addition to our brown-eared bulbuls and dusky thrush.

I put out seed on our old bench in the garden with a (year of the) Rabbit feeder. Here's a clip of the sparrows feeding. (about 5 minutes). I put the clip to some Japanese children's music: Sparrow's School; Rabbit Dance; Evening Sunset; and Spring is Coming.

There is an interesting story about tree sparrows in an article by Michael McCarthy of The Independent:

"Fifty-two years ago, Mao Zedong, Chairman of the Central Committee of the Communist Party of the People's Republic of China, decreed that all sparrows in the country were to be killed. He had decided China was to make a sudden surge in its economic development, which came to be called The Greap Leap Forward, and sparrows, which Mao thought ate too much grain, were getting in the way."

skipping down

"in 1958 Chairman Mao decided they had to go."

skipping down

"Millions of sparrows, maybe hundreds of millions, were killed. But the following year, 1959, it was noticed that insect infestation of crop fields had soared; pests such as locusts, which the sparrows ate, had lost a major predator. China's Academy of Sciences produced reports on how many insects the birds ate, compared to how many seeds, and it became clear that killing sparrows was cruelly counter-productive; presented with the evidence, Mao called it off, but not before the already failing harvest had been even more reduced right across the country."

"It was one of history's most notable acts of hubris over the natural world."

Go to the link to read more.


A Winter For The Birds

I recently put a birdbath in our front yard. Unlike the bird feeder I hung which only one bird has found so far, the bath was an instant hit. Within an hour, a "Brown Eared Bulbul" - one who likes to hang out in our yard to eat our kumquats - was enjoying the water.

This morning I set up a camera on a tripod near the birdbath and after about 20 minutes caught a "Dusky Thrush" on video. He stayed over five minutes, drinking and preening and checking our mikan (mandarin orange) tree for fruit.

The Dusky Thrush is a Siberian bird that migrates south to east Asia in winter.

It does get down to freezing here at times, but only briefly in the early morning. Days are well above freezing. So I empty the birdbath at night and refill it in the morning.

Note: Sorry about the traffic noise - it was "rush hour" - and there is an odd electronic noise. The camera was right under the telephone lines, so perhaps the electronics picked up a data stream or something from there.