Skip to main content

Okinawa Day 2

On Day 2 of 3 in Okinawa, we once again woke at 6 a.m. Had a breakfast buffet courtesy of the hotel, and then because it was only 8 a.m. by the time we were done, we returned to our room. I fell asleep again for another hour.

Then we headed to the hotel's private beach, where we got on a boat with a glass bottom, made for viewing fish.

The water was so clear that you could see all the way to the ocean floor, and yes, all the fish and plants swimming below. They were obviously smart fish: they knew what the boat meant. At one point the guide tossed some food off the side to illustrate that point and it was torn apart in a few seconds.

If I wanted to, I could have reached down and touched a fish.

After the boat ride, we bought lunch from a nearby convenience store (when AREN'T you nearby to a conveniance store? or a vending machine for that matter...) to eat at our next destination, which after another hour of driving turned out to be the Churaumi Aquarium.

It was a concrete structure (all the buildings in Okinawa seem to be made of concrete. Not the...most attractive of building materials) set into the side of a hill. For the most part it was your average aquarium; lots of cool little fishes swimming about. If I could read more kanji, I might be able to tell you what they were...but I can't, except for the first one, which is a sea horse.

UNTIL you got to their main attraction: WHALE SHARKS.

To give you a picture of just how FRICKING MASSIVE those are, I might estimate that I am about the height of one of their tail fins. And they had THREE of those. THREE. I can't really do justice to how it felt to see them swimming by. But there was something mesmerizing about it.

Oh, and the tank holds the record for 1. the largest viewing window in the world and 2. the longest time whale sharks have been kept in captivity and 3. some manta ray breeding records. Pretty neat stuff.

We ate our little lunches on a bench, and then drove some more (there was a lot of driving during this vacation) to our final destination: Pineapple Park. Pineapple Park is exactly what it sounds like: they grow pineapples, let you see how they're grown and then try and sell you stuff.

The short, spiky bushes in the foreground are the pineapple plants. After the brief tour, there were pretty much shops galore, selling everything from pineapple wine (tried some...not bad, actually, a bit like a sweeter white wine. I'm partial to reds myself.) to soap to little pineapple characters. I did get to try some straight-up pineapple though, and I won't lie, it was some of the BEST PINEAPPLE I have ever eaten.

After our pineapple experience, we returned to our hotel. For dinner we ate at their BBQ house, one of those awesome DIY restaurants, where you pick what meat etc. you want and grill it up yourself.

A yummy ending to a pretty epic day. Next up, Okinawa: The Final Adventure.


Popular posts from this blog

Taking a Breather

Sometimes when you're in Tokyo, as wonderful as its bustling atmosphere is, you just want to forget you're in the middle of Tokyo.

A few weeks ago I was chatting with a guy from Sweden who regularly came to Japan on business and he said that despite how much he loved Tokyo he could never live here because of the lack of green space. Tokyo has its parks, of course, like all major cities, but if you want unspoiled greenery you have to be willing to head at least forty minutes outside of the sprawling metropolis limits. In winter this desire to surround oneself with greenery might not matter as much, but now that spring is seeping into the atmosphere and the upcoming sakura season is on everyone's mind (NHK even puts out an annual "forecast" for sakura!) the neon lights and concrete jungle start to feel a little oppressive.

That's when little hideaways like the Sato Sakura Museum and Kohmeisen come in handy.

The Sato Sakura Museum is a small museum in Nakameguro…

Short Hair, Don't Care: Model Behavior

I like to think I have a wide range of accomplishments under my belt:

Accidentally over-caffeinated myself conducting ethnographic research--check
Read 3+ books in a single day--check
Never (yet) pulled an all-nighter--check
Sung at Carnegie Hall--check
Published a poem--check

But now I can add a decidedly interesting item to that list:
Been a hair model in Japan--CHECK.

It's a bit of a long story.

It all starts with coffee, actually, like many of my adventures here in Japan do. I was checking out a coffee shop in the too, too cool area of Daikanyama (no, seriously, that entire neighborhood is just Too Cool for me, I don't even know why I was there). There I met stylist Yusuke, who asked if I wanted to appear in a PR photoshoot for the opening of his salon brand's newest branch, boy Tokyo, Harajuku. They're (wisely!) making a site to appeal to foreign clientele--it's a smart move because it's really hard to find a place that has stylists who truly are comfortab…

Feeling a Bit Blue

It astounds me that it's already the end of August. Time has seemed to pass in a bit of a blur: one hot, sticky mess of 100-degree days and only mildly more bearable evenings. I was also fortunate to visit the U.S. for a week (not Chicago I'm afraid, but Wheeling, West Virginia and then San Francisco) for a family reunion. It was lovely to see all the aunts, uncles, and cousins who I hadn't seen in person for several months, if not years. But given the short visit I essentially spent two weeks with my body clock completely confused about what time zone it was supposed to be in.  However, I'm now I'm back in Japan for the near future and have essentially settled back in to my usual rhythm of life. 
This past weekend I decided to engage with my arts-and-crafts side. The summer of 2009, when I first visited Japan, I was lucky enough to try my hand at aizome (indigo dying) in Kyoto. Recently I had a hankering to try it again, and e-stumbled upon a shop in Asakusa call…