Home > Pre-Japan > Okinawa, otherwise known as paradise

Okinawa, otherwise known as paradise

It has been a shamefully long time since I have updated my blog. I went through a few weeks period where I simply didn’t feel like writing. I suppose those kinds of spells happen, but I’m over it now and back to writing! My next series of posts will be about my trip to Okinawa during the Japanese holiday week called “Golden Week.” You all may recall from last year my trip to Osaka during “Silver Week,” basically Golden Week’s little brother. Golden week consists of four national holidays bunched together closely. This year we had Thursday off, and then Monday through Wednesday were also off. So by taking one day of paid vacation on Friday you could have a nice six day holiday. We had just that!

Originally the plan was to take the next week’s Thursday and Friday off as well, but regretfully my two Keio academy friends were not allowed (yes, that’s the correct word) to take those days off, so we shortened our vacation by a little bit.

Okinawa Day One:

Our trip began at the shocking hour of 7 am on Thursday with us taking the train from Nakatsu to Hakata, in Fukuoka. Surprisingly, that was my first time going there. From Hakata we took the subway to the Fukuoka airport, and after checking in (we didn’t have to show any idea whatsoever!) we were on the plane to Paradise!

The flight from Fukuoka airport to Naha (the largest city in Okinawa prefecture) took about an hour and a half, and we arrived around noon. The naïve idea we had originally was to get to Naha, drop our bags off at the hotel and go check out the aquarium we had heard so much about. Apparently it is the world’s second largest aquarium, and everyone who has been has said it’s quite impressive. What is not so impressive is the 3 hour bus ride to get there! We decided to forgo the aquarium and take a stroll down yet another major attraction in Naha, kokusai douri, or International Street. It’s the main tourist road in Naha, and it is quite something. There are souvenir shops everywhere, along with a lot of very good restaurants, and other crazy shops. We ate lunch at a teppanyaki steak house on the strip and made our way past the numerous shops and attractions. Also, past some JETs from Oita.

Wait, what?!

Yep! This world here in Japan is quite small. We had met Cheryl and Tina in the airport in Fukuoka before our flight and we were pleasantly surprised to find out they too were going to Okinawa! We were on different flights so I kinda figured we wouldn’t cross paths again since there is a LOT of room in Okinawa to go to different places. But sure enough we met them again in, guess where, the Starbucks. It’s quite a shameful story actually, we met them in the most foreign place to go in Okinawa, but there it is, can’t do nothin’ about it! After that we bumped into each other a few more times as we inevitably walked along the same street stopping and going.

We had dinner along Kokusai douri as well in a little Indian restaurant we found. We decided to hop in and put it to the Pushkar test. Pushkar is our local Nakatsu Indian restaurant, and it’s quite our pride and joy. The Indian restaurant advertised Indian food made by real Indian chefs (seriously, it was on the sign…) and it was quite tasty, to be sure. Overall though, Pushkar still came out ahead for most of us. The naan really made the difference. It was a bit too doughy at this restaurant. Their lamb chop spinach curry was at about the same level as Pushkar’s spinach curry though!

After dinner we sauntered over to a fun place we had found earlier called “80s,” which we really hoped played some good 80’s music and had good drinks. It turned out to be more of an izakaya (food and drink type place similar to a tapas restaurant) and we quickly left there and entered the bar next door. That one turned out to be a very good choice as they had a number of very good imported beers, and I had my first experience with awamori, Okinawa’s famous shochu (a clear liquor similar to Vodka.) After spending quite some time there we retired to our hotel and had a good night’s rest before our second flight, this one from Naha to Ishigaki, the most southern island in Japan! We would be spending five days and four nights there, and we were all sufficiently excited.

Our Ishigaki adventure continues tomorrow! Now enjoy the various pictures from day one!

Instead of going to the aquarium we found a sea-themed mural and posed there!

The KFC Colonel was dressed up as a samurai. Cam had to get his picture taken.

I’m sitting on a goya bench. Goya is a vegetable (I think…) which is quite bitter. It’s very bumpy and odd looking.

Couldn’t resist going in for a bite though!

Blue seal is a famous ice cream shop in Okinawa. It actually started in the US, but failed there. It has thrived in Okinawa for some reason. Well, the ice cream is quite tasty, so I’m sure that has something to do with it!

Cam and the Pig

Dash and the Pig

Aine and the Pig

Not pictured: Georgia and the Pig. There are photos though, just not on my camera.

The beer list at the bar we went to after dinner.

Categories: Pre-Japan
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