Let me start with saying that I’m sorry I haven’t written a blog in a while. I was so busy and didn’t know when to write it. But now, I can finally catch up on writing some stories I want to tell you. Although I will also leave some things out, like my trip to Tokyo in Oktober and Hiroshima in November since there are other things I want to tell you.
Let me start off with Okinawa, the best trip I made so far. Okinawa is a sort of province in Japan that covers multiple islands south of Kyushu. The island furthest away is about as far away as the most northern part of Japan if you measure from Kagoshima, the most southern part of Kyushu. Okinawa has one main island conveniently called Okinawa. This is where we went to and where we stayed during the whole 5 day trip.
We arrived late in the morning on the 20th of November, after a beautiful flight seeing some of the most tropical islands. Because we didn’t really check the location of our hotel, we found out one day before we left that we had to take a bus for about 3 hours and then walk for half an hour to get to it. Since it apparently was quite far form Okinawa’s capital city Naha, we decided to spend the day in Naha before moving to our hotel. While dropping all our stuff in a locker at one of the train stations, they have lockers at almost every train station in Japan which is very, very convenient, we made a plan for the rest of the day.
I have always wanted to go to Okinawa and during my first trip to Japan in 2012, I planned to go but ran out of money. So it was one of my goals to go there this time and I had been thinking about it for four years. During this first day, most of the day I was just in shock and with a big smile on my face actually not believing I was really there. We went to a big Chinese castle in Naha and after that we split up so some could have dinner at Subway (yes, subway, the sandwich place) and Hassan and me could get a pizza. It is still hard to find restaurants where they have vegetarian options, especially when I’m not in Kyoto so pizza was good enough.
After a 3 hour bus ride we arrived in the middle of nowhere in an empty street where everything was already closed and it seemed there was not much life. Fortunately we had Alex and his GPS to get us to our hotel, because there was no takushi (as you would say it in Japanese) to be seen anywhere near. We followed the big road for a while before we turned left onto a smaller, non-lid up road. I remember I think Hassan saying: “Nice sheds they have here!” before we actually realised they were big graves and we were walking through a huge graveyard in the middle of the night. The boys started saying creepy things and after a while even I was at a point that I started freaking out a little bit and said: Guys, if you don’t stop now I’ll make sure you have nightmares the next couple of nights. We finally left the graveyard and continued on a sand road that was next to a small tropical forest, when I saw something I’ve always wanted to see and became so excited that my adrenaline levels rose as if I was about to go bungee jumping (but then positive adrenalin). We say a huge flying fox flying over our head and well, I have almost no words to describe this moment except for that it was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever experienced.
After half an hour of walking we arrived at a small hotel located at the beach side. It was so beautiful! We were shown our room, which was just a big, almost empty room, with eight futons in it. While folding out the futons I suddenly heard a man’s scream, it was Hassan finding a cricket and asking me to please, PLEASE take it out of the room (sorry Hassan for mentioning this but it was so funny :P). Then with the second futon another scream, but this one was actually well grounded in my opinion. On the second futon there was a huge ants nest. They made themselves comfortable in the warmth of the futon I guess haha. We told the hotel owner and for one night we got a different, room upstairs with a balcony and a small fridge. For poor Max it was the first time in the tropics so it was funny to see him pointing out all the spiders and other bugs. After we probably saw almost every big that could have been found in our room, he kind of understood that there was nothing to do about it :P. Something I remember experiencing during my trip to Borneo. Anyway, we were all really tired at that time, but also too excited to go to bed, so we decided to put on our bikini’s and jump in the water. It was amazing, my first time swimming at night, in Okinawa, with 7 amazing friends and at one of the most beautiful locations I could ever imagine.
The next day we left early morning to take a ferry to Izena island, an island relatively close to where we were staying.
The ferry ride was amazing and while I was looking over the edge of the boat, suddenly a whole group of flying fish appeared. I couldn’t believe what I saw and before I knew it they were gone again. Wow, I still feel so lucky. When we arrived on the island we split up in two groups. Some of us wanted to see more of the cultural things, while I decided to see some nature and check out the beaches. We were so surprised how quiet the island was. I think in the whole time we were there we saw maybe two or three cars. So we decided to walk as far as we could and then walk back since taking a taxi would probably be impossible.
On the island we saw so many beautiful things, we saw part of the forest, some graves, castle ruins that are not worth mentioning since they looked like an old toilet house and of course the beach. We went to the first beach we encountered and it was amazing. It was almost a private beach, we shared it with two Japanese hippie families that set up their tents and were preparing their bbq’s and with a Japanese Okinawan couple that were driving around on their scooters. We went swimming and were taking loads and loads of pictures when the hippie family invited us to their family ‘party’ to have some drinks and food with them. I really wanted to join, since they seemed amazing and so much fun, but it was already time to go back to the ferry. While the others walked ahead I was still trying to put on my shoes when a scooter appeared next to me and the girl on it offered me a ride. I sat on the back and she brought me to the others, where I thanked her with a bow and saying “Arigatougozaimashitaaa”. To end the day we were lucky enough to find a restaurant about a 20 minute walk from our hotel. I was already expecting to eat plain rice or even nothing since sometimes they only follow the menu and don’t give you anything different, but this place surprised me. We asked if I could get one of the dishes, but then without fish or meat and they immediately said yes. The hospitality of these restaurant owners was just amazing, it was one of the best days and meals I’ve experienced so far. But you might here that in the next stories too haha.
So, I realised that I’ve written so much about the first two days that I might need to split up my Okinawa blog post in two. I’ll try to make the next on shorter and you can read it if you liked what I wrote in this one. Otherwise, see you in my blog post about another experience in Japan.