Okinawa… Oh So Long Ago

As part of #throwbackThursday, I am looking back to my trip to Okinawa back in July 2009. I am having a really hard time believing that was eleven years ago. So much has happened since.

My interest in Okinawa began due to my passion in World War 2 history. I am much more familiar with the European Theater of Operations (ETO) and know more about the naval battles in the Pacific Theater. I knew a lot less about the Marines’ contribution to the war, except from watching the HBO series The Pacific. However, that was all. Besides, the purpose of my trip to Okinawa was not based on history, but a family vacation.

I was traveling with my mom, my aunts and uncle, and my grandfather. My grandmother had passed in early 2008 and it was time for the family to come together and spend time with my grandfather. I met them up in Hong Kong and together we flew up to Japan as part of a larger tour.

Here is our very enthusiastic tour guide. Originally from Hong Kong, our guide spoke fluent Japanese and had been working in Japan for a number of years, despite his youth appearance. I forgot his name; let’s call him “Frankie”.

My first impression of Okinawa in July was hot. For the entire five days we were there, every day was bright and sunny. We had to stay hydrated and wear a hat.

Speaking of hydration, this is Japan’s version of Gatorade: Pocari Sweat. It tastes fine, but as my uncle joked: whose sweat am I drinking?

Not far from the airport is the Gajumaru Treehouse Restaurant. We did not eat here, but it is worth a 20 minute look around.

Speaking of food, everything looked great. Because I am allergic to most shellfish, I was restricted to a beef and chicken diet. The guide had called ahead to all the restaurants and prepared a non-shellfish course for me. This was fine because everything looked AND tasted great. This was our first meal in the hotel: vegetable tempura, rice, and fried chicken, all washed down with green tea.

And this was all the first day! There was also a show.

Day 2 showed some of the most scenic places on the island. Our bus stopped at several locations, including Cape Manzamou.

There was also a boat ride. The boat was a specially configured to look at the bottom of the bay; 1) the ship’s lower compartment was nestled inside the larger ship; 2) the compartment could be lowered, and 3) there were windows where you can get really close to the corals.

Remember how I said the food was amazing? After touring the city, we stopped for lunch: Japanese BBQ. Here, my aunts and uncle are taking a picture of my mom and all the food.

However, I did have to indulge in one thing: McDonald’s. Yes, McDo. In the afternoon, they turned us loose at a shopping mall that had a food court. I had a goal to eat in McDo in every country in the world, including countries that already have great cuisine.

That’s it for now! There is also the third and fourth days where we visit a cultural museum where I learned more about Okinawan culture and have sashimi so fresh that the fish was still flopping. So stay tuned.

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