Usually the driver looks at me like I am an idiot and rolls his eye at the stupid foreigner, but I don’t care. I’d rather be the idiot that is asking for help while sounding like Tarzan than the idiot that is still on the bus twenty minutes after we have passed my destination. To be fair, I don’t sound like Tarzan anymore, but it remains abundantly obvious that I need as much help as I can get.
Super Typhoon Neoguri
A big THANK YOU goes out to the emergency personnel who DID out there and save peoples' lives, though. The sirens were frequent amid the wind and rain noise.
Enjoy this video of the wind whipping around some grass and trees. And yes, the grass is on a building's roof...
Okinawa no Minami (Southern Okinawa Island, 沖縄島の南)
On to our destinations...
Okinawa's Most Holy Sacred Ground (Seifa Utaki, 斎場御嶽)
It cost a mere ¥200 ($2) to get in, and they clearly use this cash to keep the place up, as it was immaculate. They had sacred pots set under stalactites to gather the dripping water. The huge triangular entrance seen in the pictures is the entrance to one of the major prayer sites, and is likely to become a female-only prayer area sometime in 2015.
Persimmon River (Kakinohana, 柿花)
Tamaki Castle Trace (Tamagusukujiuseki, 玉城)
When wandering happily from shrine to wall to tree to fence to rock to crag, I learned the word for butterfly (chocho, 蝶々) and cricket (semi, 蝉). I got some wicked-close pictures of a cricket. It was bittersweet, though, as we figured out afterward that the cricket had died, and somehow still was holding on to the branch.
However, we quickly became disillusioned. The menu had three dishes available: chicken, beef and pork. And the salad was lettuce with chicken. All three dishes had cream sauce. When we asked about vegetarian options, they looked at us like we were stupid. When we asked about vegetables, they again looked at us like we were stupid.
Mind = blown. We spent the entire time making fun of them for their name as compared to the reality. In all fairness, the food was excellent once we convinced them that it is actually possible to make a sauce without cream, and that we would eat it, and also caved and said we would eat the chicken when they couldn’t figure out how to make a salad without it.
Okinawan Peace Monument (Heiwa No Oka, 平和の丘)
Well over 100,000 noncombatants died, way more than the number of soldiers who were killed. I felt a vague sense of guilt the entire time I was there, as well as sadness. I knew that it was a healthy uncomfortable feeling, though, so I just sat with it and let it melt into my being.
My Japanese friend’s grandfather’s name is listed in the memorial, whereas my grandfather fought in Okinawa as a US soldier. I am glad I went, and had a chance to experience it. I feel cleansed afterward, especially now that I am able to let go of the guilty feeling.
By the way, the Okinawans even listed all the americans who were killed on Okinawa. The stone tablets with the Americans’ names had American flags in front of them, as we visited just two days after July 4th. A humbling experience for sure, but sometimes you just have to get emotionally naked to grow.
Glass Blower Shop (Garasu Kobo, ガラス工房)
We wandered around the gorgeous store for quite a while. They had spectacular colors and patterns with intricate designs all over the place, as well as beautiful but practical glass cups, plates and jewelry. See pictures and video!
Cape Kyan (Kyan Misaki, 喜屋武岬)
Nashiro Beach (名城ビーチ)
So we found the next big beach down the waterfront, and were about to pay the $5 parking fee when the attendant mentioned that it was low tide, and the water was less than 50 centimeters (18 inches) deep. Uhh, that doesn’t sound like fun. Definitely not $5 parking-fee fun, so we moved on.
J. A. Market (市)
Oh, also, you can also have the pleasure of buying a gift box of four mangoes for ¥9000 ($90). Yep, you read that right, that’s $22.50 per mango. Granted, they’re large mangoes, but I never thought of putting mangoes in a gift box and charging ninety bucks!
After that we meandered home and split up, satisfied and happy after a great day trip.
Talk to you next week!