Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Get thee to Okinawa

I've intended to write about my trip to Okinawa for a while and wanted to include it in Loco's last summetime get-together, but things got away from me with moving, and I wanted to include some pictures from our snorkeling adventure, but the company hasn't gotten us any (working) photos...

But now that the time for this month's Japan Blog Matsuri has rolled around and our gracious host, Alice of SHAFT, has introduced the theme of Summer Lovin', well...time to show you some pictures, I guess.

Yoshie and I made the trip in early June, which is apparently right before or at the start of typhoon season. Luckily we had beautiful weather for the weekend we were there.

We visited the main island where most of the main attractions are to be found. After getting in, renting out car, and driving to and checking in at the hotel, we explored the main street area a bit and Yoshie shopped for a bathing suit. We had some awesome taco rice and posed with a big stringed instrument.

That night we went to a pretty nice Italian restaurant that was owned by a friend of Yoshie's boss.

The next morning we got up bright and early and headed to the beach for some snorkeling. The water was a little cold, but we warmed up after swimming around a bit. It was a cool experience, although for some reason the suit really seemed to chafe my armpits. When I took it off there wasn't any rash or redness, just hurt like hell when I was wearing it for some inexplicable reason. Anyone ever experience that while wearing a wetsuit?

Next we stopped by this famous confectionery and had some free cake. Our vacation was some package deal, so it came with coupons for free or discounted stuff at all these random places.

At some point we also stopped by the equivalent of a highway rest stop and I had some amazing Mexican food. Man, the Okinawans know how to make a taco.

Next stop was the famed aquarium, complete with 3 whale sharks (and a mess of other stuff) in the same giant tank.

They also had dolphin shows, of course.

Amazing how they still oo and ahh after the first dozen flips.

Oh, and a fish called オジサン. In English, that's kind of like saying "mister."

Not "Mister Fish." Just "Mister."
That night we found a cool Tex-Mex place near the main street area and I had a Mexican pizza, mmmm-mm. I'm telling you, all the good, reasonably-priced Mexican food restaurants in Japan are hiding in Okinawa.

American food: cactus and liquor. Sounds about right.
Our last day before heading out, we stopped by an A&W. Man, it was better than I expected. And the root beer was fantastic. Also the only place I can recall getting free refills in Japan.

Okinawa is definitely worth visiting during your time in Japan if you like beaches and hot weather. And the atmosphere was quite interesting. I felt halfway between Japan and America while I was there (I suppose due to the military influence). The roads and a lot of the foods reminded me of being back home in the States.

If you decide to plan a trip, feel free to drop me a comment or email if you think I might be able to offer some useful advice!

Also remember to check out the other entries in this month's Japan Blog Matsuri.

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