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.

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

Final Touring Excursions

Tomorrow is my last day. It felt strange to write that sentence, knowing that I've been gone six weeks, which feels like both no time at all but also forever. Even though this is my fifth time coming to Japan (and the fourth for an protracted trip), the coming-and-going is something I don't get used to. Just as I start getting over my "ugh, I just want to go home" hump and settling in, well, it actually IS time to go home.

What have I done the past few days?

Well, on Sunday my host family and I took a drive to Yamanashi prefecture (re: near Mount Fuji) to visit the Oshino Hakkai, the Eight Sacred Ponds of Oshino. According to the signage, when people used to hike up Mount Fuji for pilgrimages, they would purify themselves in the ponds before starting their journey. And having stuck my hand in an (acceptable) corner of the main pond, Wakuike, it was FREEZING. Some other ponds have specific purposes, however. One was for people who wanted a good marriage, for instance.

Cat Cafe

Today I went with my host brother to a cat cafe for "research". Yes it is a cafe and yes it has (canned) coffee, but also I really really really wanted to go to a cat cafe. By doing a little research, I found one off a convenient train station that not only didn't require a reservation in advance, but had free drinks and was actually significantly less expensive for more time than other cafes. On to Nyankoto!

For cat lovers, this is paradise:

This shop had fifteen cats, each with their own names and personality described in a photo book:

This cat's name is Kinta and he's a mix--though most of the cats there were breeds I was unfamiliar with and had fur of various kinks and degrees of fluffiness. 
They were all very social, active cats as well.

Kinta greeted my host brother by literally jumping on his back. 
The other cats often ran around chasing each other (one was a very energetic kitten, so he was always pouncing on the others) or flopping down to be pet in co…

Shibuya and Ebisu

The past few days I've been in the Shibuya and Ebisu areas (think: south-west side of Tokyo) to check out some of the up-and-coming cafes, as well as wander around the neighborhood. I've decided that wherever I go, I'm going to find something to do in addition to spending 3-5 hours in coffee shops--while the research and the people I meet are incredible I do regret that I don't get to spend as much time exploring the other aspects of Tokyo. 
Yesterday in Shibuya I checked out The Local Coffee Stand, Coffeehouse Nishiya, and The Theater Coffee. The Local is a pretty unassuming space, even though it is on a main street. It's goal is to be the sort of jumping-off point for people just getting in to specialty coffee: they showcase beans from local roaster and run a website called "Good Coffee" in both Japanese and English to help people find "that local spot" in a neighborhood near to them. I'm including a link to the site, HERE. CLICK THIS.

Co…