Draggle’s Asian Journey Part IV: Okinawa

We finally left Singapore, the world’s largest shopping mall. Next stop was a layover at the Shanghai airport before our next stop in Okinawa! If you just want food pictures skip to the bottom.

Shanghai Airport

My impression of China was that China is a giant shithole. We arrived at 4:30 AM, but the airport didn’t open until 6 AM for some reason, so we had to wait in this tiny little waiting room. There were all these cigarette butts on the floor in the bathroom and it stunk. When we finally got into the airport itself, we went through the security line, and at the end was a big pile of stale barf that looked like it had been there for days, surrounded by three security guards chatting who didn’t seem to notice it.

Had been thinking about staying in China longer but was grateful I didn’t.

Okinawa Sights

That evening, we arrived in Okinawa, in the capital, Naha. We had a little difficulty getting through Japanese customs due to our inability to understand Japanese addresses but eventually we made it.

monorail

Then we rode the monorail to our hotel! It was like Disney World but better. This girl who worked at the monorail helped me get tickets, she had such a big smile and a high pitched voice and said thank you to everyone who walked through the gate, it was kind of creepy, like a girl from anime. I knew we had arrived in Japan.

We checked in at our hotel, then walked around International Street, which is the main touristy eating place near downtown. We had dinner at an izakaya. There were a bunch of men there drinking and smoking. Was not the best choice.

okinawa_engrish

We bought some postcards at this store with some really funny Engrish.

The next day, I had planned to take a boat to this nice, scarcely populated island with amazing beaches and hiking, but sadly it was supposed to rain. The boat only went there and back twice a day, so we decided to skip it. Instead we headed to the castle.

path

The castle had some really pretty gardens.

chick

With some cute baby ducks!

tombs

But first we went to the Ryukyuan tombs. They had some cool Gargoyle type things but honestly weren’t all that exciting.

lunch_garden

It was lunch time. We ate at this restaurant with a beautiful sand garden.

lunch_garden_2

We sat on cushions under this overhang and the waiters would open sliding doors to bring us food. It was quite pleasant, an excellent experience. Plus amazing food (see last section).

okinawa_castle

After lunch, we went to the castle. It was at the top of a big hill.

okinawa_castle_view

And it had quit the impressive view. You could see most of the southern part of the island.

castle_building

We went inside the main palace in the castle. We had to take our shoes off and carry them through with us in bags.

okinawa_throne

We saw the king’s throne and crown and seal, along with a bunch of other artifacts and signs explaining the history of the castle.

cemetery

Afterwards, we wandered randomly around town in the general direction of the botanical gardens. We saw some interesting stuff on the way, such as a bunch of graveyards.

okinawa_lake

We also saw this cool lake and park with an interesting dam.

okinawa_garden

okinawa_garden_buildings

The gardens were quite pretty.

For dinner, we went to this nice seafood restaurant where we sat at the bar. The owner was very friendly and was chatting with us. Okinawa definitely had the friendliest people in all of the places in Japan that we visited. Not as friendly as Taiwan though.

The next day, we had to leave around 4:00, so we didn’t have time to go to the other island again. Instead, we visited the prefectural museum in the morning and learned about the history of Okinawa. It was interesting how they portrayed WWII.

okinawa_lunch_animals

We had lunch at a katsu-don place, with some cute animal things.

okinawa_beach

We’d realized we hadn’t gone to the beach the entire time, so we went to a beach nearby. It was not exactly what we expected. Oh well, just means I have to go back another time…

That afternoon, we rode the monorail one last time before catching our flight to Kagoshima!

Food

First day dinner (only part of it for some reason):

okinawa_food

Second day lunch, at the place with the sand garden: (damn this was amazing)

okinawa_lunch

Second day dinner:

okinawa_dinner

okinawa_dinner_2

Also amazing. That thing on the top of the first picture is a hunk of pork, half of it was fat. All of it was so delicious.

Our third day lunch was a bit less impressive:

okinawa_katsu_don

okinawa_curry

I also have this picture but don’t remember what it was from:

okinawa_food_2

5 thoughts on “Draggle’s Asian Journey Part IV: Okinawa

  1. Okinawa is a cool place that does grow on you. Although I thought it was just decent when I visited (“it looks like any other tropical island”), I can’t tell you how many times I’ve dreamt I was walking on certain beaches on the related islands since then. Many of those islands have great white sand beaches with clear water, where you can get the whole beach to yourself, and the locals have a laid back, homey kind of helpfulness. Supposedly many Okinawans lived to be centenarian too so I’m thinking of making their original cuisine a regular part of my diet . (Which wouldn’t include the spam onigiri.) The dialect of food is what sets it apart from the rest of Japan; they even had local soda brands.

    The northern part is less congested, with less traffic, and less pollution. The nearby islands also wouldn’t be a bad place to live, as long as you aren’t the type to feel cooped up on a tiny rock. My biggest qualm are the cobras. I was actually afraid I’d run into some if i went out at night since that is when they come out. They had the beware of the habu signs posted all over the fields, and I don’t know how anyone can farm the rice patties with a piece of mind or let their kids play in a field like that. It’d suck if one crawled under your door and attracted by your body heat, came to cuddle with you. Or up against your tent….. I’ve read quite a few people die from habu every year. They should exterminate them and replace them with a population of harmless garden snakes, just for the peace of mind.

    1. I’ve never been to a tropical island before so it was a unique experience for me! Really wish I could have gotten out of Naha more.

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