1st Kingspoint Homeowners Subdivision Trick or Treat Halloween Costume Party

Kingspoint Homeowners Association together with residents living in the immediate vicinity had celebrated the first halloween costume party and competition with a big splash.

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tarpaulin poster at the entrance of the subdivision from Lukaria street

More than 500 entries from Kingspoint subdivision, San Pedro IX, Goodwill Homes 1 and 2, Dupax Compound, Kasiyahan Village, Oro Compound and Alipio Compound  registered at the costume party and competition.

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participants

The event started around past 4:00 pm with a short parade route near the Kingspoint SB Park and Covered Court.

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Mr. Desmond Lim and mom

Mr. Desmond Lim portrayed the character of Mr. Edward Scissorhands, An American film shown in 1990. The story is a romantic dark fantasy film directed by Mr. Tim Burton.

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left to right: Mr. Bea Remoroza, Princess Aya Oiden and Sofi Monique Oiden from Oro Compound- The youngest in this batch is just 2 years-old.

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a young participant dress-up as Son Goku of Dragon Ball Z

Mr. Raiden Bruce (contestant #70) from Katipunan ( kanan ) street. His favorite anime character is Son Goku of (Dragon Ball Z) together with his younger sibling.

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Kingspoint covered court jampacked with parents and their kids

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pop a balloon booth

Participants are also allowed to play at the several booth station manned by students from Kingspoint Montessori School.

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boo busters booth

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photo booth area

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arrow scare oh booth

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Pop-in the pumpkin booth

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Mr. Lamberto Nolasco- Kingspoint Homeowners Association president

According to the short remark made by the homeowner association president, the invited panel of judges are not residents of Kingspoint. This gives the board an impartial judgement on the outcome of the competition.

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Contestant #316 is Mr. John Renz Ace Alimocon from Alipio Compound

He portray the scary the character FredFreddyKrueger from A Nightmare on Elm Street film series. He first appeared in Wes Craven’s A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984) as a burnt serial killer who uses a gloved hand with razors to kill his victims in their dreams.

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left to right: mother, Nonna Bernice Saron and Niño Saron

Contestant # 84 Ms. Nonna Bernice Saron portray a School Ghost while Contestant# 83 Mr. Niño Saron portray a Male Dead Zombie Ghost dress in Barong Tagalog. They are residents of King Henry street and studies at Olive Grove School located in San Pedro IX subdivision.

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competition categories with stuffed toys as part of the prize

Costume Categories

Most Charming Prince, Most Dashing Princess, Most Adorable Angel,Cutest Saint,Scariest Spook,Cutest Superhero, Creepiest Creature, Goriest Ghoul, Terribly Terrifying Monster, Most Creative Costume, Best Face Painting.

Age categories 8 years and below- Prince and Princess costumes while 9 to 13 years-old – Scary Costumes

Aside from these awards, There are also candies and a lot of freebies. More participants are expected to join at the next year’s halloween party in 2019.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Horticultural Stroll within Manila Chinese Cemetery

Manila Chinese Cemetery is one of the biggest cemeteries at 54 hectares about 133. 43 acres which borders Manila and Caloocan City. The site used called “ Paang Bundok” and part of the triumvirate of cemeteries which also includes La Loma Catholic Cemetery and Manila North Cemetery. The area was chosen because of its hilly portion, good feng shui and vantage point.

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rows of mid 20th-century houses leading to the entrance

It is rich in history, architectural heritage, cultural and horticultural wealth. Manila had few areas of greenery and the place is a treasure trove of stories to tell, share and appreciate.

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boungainvillea hybrid

 Boungainvillea hybrid planted by one of the home owner which lives near the cemetery. This tends to get bushy during the rainy season. The owner told us that the flowering shrub also serves as buffer within their property line.

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 Alstonia scholaris  locally known as devil tree / dita tree also found within the cemetery ground

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 Another dita ( Alstonia scholaris ) is flowering, with yellow oleander and ixora ( santan) at the foreground

The cemetery had two gate opening, one is located at Felix Huertas street, Santa Cruz, Manila and is open daily at around 7:00 am until 5:00 pm and R. Papa street within Caloocan City. The R. Papa gate only opens during days leading to All Saint’s Day and All Souls Day.

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newly re-built Chong Hock Tong Temple and administration building at the back

Chong Hock Tong temple which was rebuilt few years ago had a re-landscaping done.

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Chong Hock Tong temple with century-old mangoes and rain trees are planted within the compound.

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Drynaria quercifolia or commonly known as pakpak lawin/ paypaymo/ paipaimo

Most of the trees, plants, shrubs and flowering plants are exotic with very few native species. However what remains within the cemetery is still a sight to behold.  The place is also good site for bird and butterfly watching.

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Drynaria quercifolia with Dendrobium anosmum ( sanggumay)

The rain tree, acacia or akasya tree is a perfect host for different kinds of epiphytes like Drynaria quercifolia and Dendrobium anosmum.

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Shanghai Beauty or Jatropha integrrima

Shanghai Beauty is a flowering shrub was probably introduced into the country in the late 1950’s to early 1960’s by landscapers. They would use the flowering shrub extensively in their projects. This is relatively easy to grow and propagation using different kinds of method. The most popular is thru air layering, cuttings or seeds.

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 banana plant with fruits

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pandakaki , rosal and adenium obesum

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Plumeria alba or Puting kalachuchi is another feature of the cemetery. There are dozens of plumerias planted in different parts of the cemetery. There are red colored plumerias, yellow and pinkish form.

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red kalachuchi

Some of the big kalachuchis were at least 50 years-old. Few years ago, caretakers would collect dried flowers of kalachuchi and sell them to incense maker.

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roses

The pink rose featured above is relatively an old cultivar variety,Which can be grown carefree in lowland areas like in Metro Manila. This used to be very popular flowering plant throughout the archipelago from the 1950’s even until the mid -1990’s.

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Ficus pumila and garlic vine covered this memorial tomb marker

Ficus pumila refers to the latin word” pumilus” meaning small or dwarf and refers to the very small leaves of the plant.

Some local gardeners would sometimes refer this as climbing ivy, creeping fig, wall creeper, climbing ivy or poison ivy. This is popular fig grown in perimeter walls in posh subdivision and old adobe walls.  landscapers would plant this creeping fig to soften the grey color of the walls.

Young fig leaves would have different colors and shades of green, Thus having a cooling effect to the immediate environment.

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Ficus pumila leaves and stems

Ficus pumila tend to entangle the walls and eventually its long roots and stems would tend to erode portions of the walls or adobe stones in the long run. The old vacation house of Manuel Quezon that use to be located along Gilmore Street had several old Ficus pumila growing in its walls, When portion of the walls are being disassemble for transfer to Quezon Memorial Circle.  Most of the old adobe stone walls and hollow blocks had structural defects cause by the massive root system.

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Don Manuel/ Scarlet Bush or Hamelia patens is a flowering semi-bush introduced to the country from Central and South America.

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Annona squamosa commonly known as atis or sugar -apple are also found planted within family mausoleum plots. One caretaker told us that the relatives of this family mausoleum would bring atis and offer them. Then the fruits are eaten and the seeds are discarded at the ground.

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sampaguita/ arabian jasmine

Sampaguita/ Arabian jasmine are also planted in several family mausoleum pocket garden.

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champaka,champaca, chempaka, tsampaka, sampaka, sampaga trees

 Some families emphasize on planting fragrant flowering plants like kamuning, sinamomong sungsong/ cinamomo (Aglaia odorata), gardenia, pandakaki, ixora, kalachuchi,champaka, roses within their plots or mini gardens.

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potted flowering lilium hybrids ( these are locally called star glazer)

Potted flowering liliums, chrysanthemums, orchids, guzmanias and blooming plants  are placed in family mausoleums.

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commonly called Malaysian mums or garden mums

The growing trend among visiting relatives would bring and offer these potted flowering plants at family mausoleums. Flowers can last longer and fresh for several days or even weeks. Compared to offering flower arrangements which could only last between 1 to 3 days.

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caladium or popularly known as corazon de maria

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cassava

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an outdoor garden, outdoor family tomb and a mausoleum

This is a rather large family mausoleum with sprawling garden. There are several old mango trees, ti plant and pineapples planted within the garden area. According to my aunt, this family mausoleum plot belongs to a distant relative’s family. This is located just a few meters away from my grandparents mausoleum.

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This is a more traditional family mausoleum which had been repainted

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De Vera family mausoleum

We would refer those neighbors as (kapit-puntod). In life and death, It is ironic that some relatives, friends and business associates were buried near each other.

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calamansi/ kalamansi

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okra

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Yu family mausoleum or more popularly known as Regal mausoleum

The Yu family clan mausoleum is one of the largest building within the cemetery. Here lies the moral remains of the clan. Caretakers and people would refer this as Regal mausoleum in referral to Mother Lily Y. Monteverde, the clan’s most famous celebrity maker and entrepreneur.

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Kalanchoe daigremontianum or Bryophyllum daigremontianum

Kalanchoe daigremontianum or Bryophyllum daigremontianum had almost naturalized in some family estate plots and on top of family mausoleums. Cacti and succulent enthusiasts would be happy to see these grow in almost carefree environment.

A leisurely stroll within Manila’s Chinese cemetery would yield a lot of interesting stuffs and interest.

Note: All photos are taken by the author

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Folk Tales and Economic Usage of Bird’s Nest Fern in the Philippines

There are many folk tales and economic usage of the bird’s nest fern which collectively refers to three or four kinds of fern species found in the archipelago.

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Asplenium nidus grown on top of a big concrete vat (kawa)

Asplenium musifolium or Pakong Babae/ Pugad Lawin na Babae is one of the most common ferns in the market. The female one refers to the shape of the leaves. The Pakong babae has rounded leaftip in contrast to the more common Asplenium nidus or “Pakong Lalake” which has pointed leaf tip.

These are commonly in demand among landscapers and are planted en mass by ornamental plant farms.

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Asplenium musifolium

These two kinds of ferns are commonly used in landscaping projects and added accents to big trees, manicured gardens or palms.

While another Philippine bird’s nest fern which is sometimes called Asplenium leytensis have leaf tip much broader and rounder in shape compared to Asplenium musifolium.

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Drynaria quercifolia perch on top of an old rain tree / monkey pod tree (Albizia saman ) within Manila Chinese Cemetery

Some people refer Drynaria quercifolia is also referred to pakpak lawin, paypaymo or bird’s nest fern.

Folk Tales and Superstitious Beliefs

People in the bicol region would refer Asplenium nidus as Manalo/ Manalu. Some people believe that it brings wealth when place or planted near one’s entrance.  The light green leaves are symbol of money and positive energy.

Another tale is that it brings wealth to the owners, specially when grown lush and big.

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Asplenium nidus and Dischidia ionantha ( Manaog ka Irog)

fern sellers would use the roots of Drynaria quercifolia then mount Asplenium nidus and Dischidia ionantha.  These are commonly sold as hanging plants.

Economic Importance

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Asplenium nidus fronds for sale in Taiwan ( photo courtesy of Mr. Li Chen )

In Taiwan and parts of mainland China, Asplenium nidus fronds (It is pronounced shān sũ) are use for cooking.

The young fronds are typically cut into inch-long pieces, fried with garlic and chili peppers. Sometimes these are also sauteed with pieces of pork or beef meat.

There are also some reports in some parts of Batanes and northern Philippines, that locals would also eat the young fronds (although unverified).

Aside from incorporating these ferns into the landscape. Some growers mount orchids or other ferns together with Asplenium nidus– These create some sort of symbiotic relationship as fern roots provide additional moisture around the roots of orchids.

Fern roots can be sustainably harvested from time to time. Fern roots are gathered then boiled for about 15 to 20 minutes to remove the dirt and spores among other stuffs.

The fern roots are locally called (pasdak) can be use for planting media for orchids , hoyas and ferns.

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Status

DENR list Asplenium nidus ( Dapong Lalaki/ Pugad Lawin ), Asplenium vittaeforme and Drynaria quercifolia (Pakpak Lawin, Paypaymo, Paipaimo ) under local list of endangered species or vulnerable, It was even published at Wildlife Act R.A. 9147 as endangered species. When it is common species that is often encountered on big trees even within Metro Manila.

At one time, These fern species are so common, that even residents in Metro Manila would consider them as weeds. Some plant experts would disagree that these ferns must be excluded in the list, since these are quite common.

Note: Photos are taken by the author 

References:

Department of Environment and Natural Resources- Wildlife Act R.A. No. 9147: pages 172-199

Ohlsen DJ, Perrie LR, Shepherd LD, Brownsey PJ, Bayly MJ (2015). “Phylogeny of the fern family Aspleniaceae in Australasia and the south-western Pacific”. Australian Systematic Botany. 27 (6): 355–71.

Olsen, Sue, Encyclopedia of Garden Ferns, Timber Press, Incorporated (March 1, 2007) ISBN-10: 0881928194 and ISBN-13: 978-0881928198

Madulid, Dr. Domingo, A Pictorial Cyclopedia of Philippine Ornamental Plant, ( 1995) Book,Mark Inc. ( first edition): pages,21, 22 and 23.

Wee Yeow Chin, Ferns of the Tropics, July 1st 1998 by Timber Press

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Interesting Shell Kokeshi Dolls

Kokeshi doll is another art form which is found in Japan. These are commonly sold at the tourist market are the creative styles which flourish right after the second world war.

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shell , wood are the medium used in this kokeshi

Omiyage Type

These are not the traditional styles nor creative style of kokeshi, but these types are considered  for the tourist market or (omiyage) type. Some experts do not accept that these are kokeshi. Most made from wood among other items like sea shells, plastics, fabrics which are less expensive alternative.

These omiyage types reach their popularity between 1960’s to mid-1980’s. These souvenir toys often have the name of the  tourist site (onsen) printed or written on them. Some may have the date, purchaser’s name, or location of purchase written on the bottom. Some Japanese treasured these toys, and displayed them in a small glass case. Omiyage are very collectible in Japan.

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shell kokeshi ( collection of Ms. Angelita Chua) – This used 4 kinds of sea shells

Sea shell which is commonly seen in coastal areas were also used in making of Kokeshi dolls, These are very popular souvenir items sold and caters to younger collectors.

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Collector

Ms. Angelita Chua is a kokeshi collector from San Jose del Monte , Bulacan . She started to collect quirky objects like kokeshi dolls way back in 2010. She would focus on the creative styles.

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pair of kokeshi doll used 2 kinds of sea shells

She have seen a lot of kokeshi dolls made from shells and nuts but most of them are in poor conditions. Some have missing shells , broken shells or missing parts.

Any information with regards to the origin of these kokeshi dolls made from shells will be highly appreciated.

Note: Due to lack of time , only few kokeshi dolls were featured. All photos are taken by the author with the permission of Ms. Angelita Chua.

 

Shisa: Tales of Stone Dog Guardians

Shisa, Shiisa or Shizi are an ordinary feature when one visit the island of Okinawa and southern prefecture of Japan. The creature looks like hybrid of pekingese dog, lion and cat.

Introduction and Origin

There are many stories which surround the origin of the introduction of Buddhism having been introduced to Japan from Korea in 552 CE. It was during Nara period (710-794), lion guardians was popularized in the country and are found in temples and shrines. These might have come from China and Korea.

Some of the original guard dogs are made of wood and originally placed indoor. It was only between 14th and 15th century that stone dogs are created for outdoor and the horn was gradually replace with the current version.

There are a variation of the guardian lions found in many other parts of Asia, including mainland Japan and Korea where they are called Komainu. Which are mostly found in Buddhist temples and shrines.

As more pottery kiln rose the popularity of shisa within the region. It was also the time that shisa sitting on a red tile roof of buildings or as guard dogs in entrance of one’s abode. Some buildings like schools, hospitals, enterprises, airports and even malls have shisa guarding their entrances.

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Shisha guardian dogs made from ceramic ( circa 1980’s)

Folktales and Legends

There are several folk tales which may have started from the Tomimori Village in the late 16th century near Kochinda Town in southern part of Okinawa.

Villagers of that area sought out Saiouzui, a Feng Shui master, to ask him why there were so many fires around the area. He believed they were because of the power of the nearby Mt. Yaese. Hence Shisa dogs were places facing the mountain to ward of the negative elements and fire.

Since placing shisa at the entrance to the village, there hasn’t been a single fire in the village.

Another popular tale originates in the 17th century surrounding the village of Madanbashi south of Naha the capital city.

A visiting Chinese envoy at the Shuri court gave the king of Ryukyu (now Okinawa) a necklace decorated with a figurine of a shisa-dog (locally called Iri-nu). The king found it as nice present and wore it underneath his clothes. This serves as a good luck charm and amulet.

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Shisha dogs with bell

According to this legend, Madanbashi village were regularly attacked by a giant fire dragon.

A local priestesses (noro) recalled a dream. She inform the visiting king to stand on the beach with the Shisa figure held high towards the dragon. She gave this information to a young local boy, Chiga, who delivered the message to the king.

She gave this information to a young boy, Chiga, who delivered the message to the king. From there the king went to face the dragon and performed the actions as told by Chiga.

As the dragon was ready to attack, the priestess told the king to hold up the necklace to the monster. There rose a thundering roar and the Shisa came to life, three large boulders fell from the sky pinning the monster and crushing its tail.

Unable to move around, the creature eventually died and was later overgrown with foliage, trees and vegetation. It is later known as Gana-Mui forest near Naha- Ohashi bridge. People have erected large stone shisa to protect the place from evil spirits.

Since then, the inhabitants of Madanbashi continue to gather every year, on August 15th lunar calendar to offer prayers and offerings (mainly fruits , steam buns and foods) to protect the people of the village.

During the closing months of the second world war, Some shisa dogs found in the island were used by some local as shield against gunfire by the allied forces.

The guardian dogs as a talisman against evil spirits and good luck. These are an indispensable element in the lives of Okinawans.

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pair of shisa in different posture

Male and Female

There are many beliefs on the gender of these guardian dogs, Some believe that male shisa had a wide an open mouth to wards off evil spirits, and the one with a closed mouth, a female, keeps good spirits in.

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a pair of shisa dog -one close mouth and one with open mouth

Depending on who you ask, which one is which might differ. Some believe that the one with an open mouth is male and he is scaring the evil away, but others say that he has the mouth closed to keep evil out of the home. The female with an open mouth is sharing good luck with others, while the one with closed mouth keeps the luck inside the house.

Popular Culture

The popularity of these arouse after the end of the second world war, Shisa were popular souvenir items which range from small figurines, t-shirts, toys, clock, paper weights, bells, sharpener, terracotta pots among others.

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shisa figurine is a popular souvenir item from Okinawa

Shisa Collection

She started collecting the items 5 years ago, when her immediate relative gave her a pair of shisa figurine upon visit to the island. She then fell in love with these items and started buying them in Japanese thrift stores within Fairview or Lagro area.

The collector had over 3 dozen Shisa figurines in different sizes. Sometimes, shisa figurine would not come in pair and some items would have missing tails or broken head.

References:

Adopted from Legends of Okinawa by Chizue Sesoko

Arroyo, Kelly : Shisa dogs of Okinawa

Mariko Uehara Roland, Kijimuna and Shisa ( Bilingual ), October 21, 2011

Personal interview with a shisa collector

Okinawa Prefectural Government. Archived from the original on 2009-10-08. Retrieved 2010-08-09.

Shisa : Mythical creature of Okinawa