Thursday, June 26, 2014

Okinawa in the Summer/夏の沖縄/夏天拜訪琉球

I went to Okinawa again!  I know, I know; I'm obsessed.  But it's just so easy to go from Taiwan!  I spend more time on the bus going up to Taoyuan than I do on the plane flying to Naha.  Here's the view from inside the Naha airport.


 I never noticed this sign (below) before.  The Naha airport is not only a civilian airport, it is also used by the US military and the Japanese military "self-defense force".  It's also the main airport in Okinawa, so any soldiers getting transferred to Okinawa come through here.  Honestly though, I have no clue what this sign means.  Why is the military so unable to use plain English for anything?



 I was lucky.  The rainy season had just ended (I think) when I got to Okinawa, so I had three days of clear, blue skies to enjoy.  I actually took this picture though because the apartment building featured here had the name "Bypass Building".  Can you think of a more unattractive name for a building?  There was in fact a large road next to it, so the name was accurate, but usually that's the kind of thing you don't want to draw attention to if you are trying to get people to rent your apartments.


 A huge grave.


 I'm near the middle of the island at this point, and there are a lot of US bases in the area.  You can tell by the types of stores that line the main road, 58, that goes up the island's west coast.  I shot the building below because it's an actual old, wood building.  Okinawan homes were traditionally wood (with tile or reed roofs) but the island got flattened during WWII and was rebuilt in concrete.  Concrete is easy to make on the island (it's surrounded by coral reefs) and concrete is also able to withstand the strong typhoons that come through a couple times a year.


 This is Manzamou, a famous spot on the west coast of the island.  Since I arrived by plane around noon and took my time traveling north, I was able to see the sun low over the sea when I got here.




 This isn't such a good photo, but I'm putting it in because it's a photo of Ie Island.  This is an island just off the west coast of northern Okinawa.  The island is mostly flat, but with one large mountain sticking up about 600 feet above sea level, so it's very noticeable no matter where you are when you travel in northern Okinawa.  I saw the island and took photos of it multiple times during my trip.



 This is a sago palm.  These grow all over Okinawa.  During times of famine, they were historically used for food.  If not prepared properly, the paste made from the middle cone (below) is poisonous, so the sago palm has always been considered a last-ditch, famine food in Okinawa.


And in case you ever were in danger of underestimating Japan's love of all things cute, here is a box of condoms:


 Cutest condoms ever.

 The owner of the place I stayed, Yanbaru Kuina Sou, keeps pet goats.



That's all for now.  More to see next time!



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