A Travellerspoint blog

May 2008

Golden Week 2008 - Okinawa V

A day in Naha


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We got up and went down to the hotel restaurant for breakfast. The women working down there were excellent; Andrew even got extra toast. Our first stop of the day was the public market, to check out the vendors. There was a pretty good system in place that made it different from other markets we've been to; the meat and seafood sections are in a fully air conditioned building, which eliminates that authentic market smell you sometimes get. That smell of meat sitting in the sun for a while. I really wanted to take lots of pictures but I felt guilty if I didn't buy anything. Upstairs from the markets there are a few restaurants that will cook your purchase for you.

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We left the market and made our way to the water, where the annual dragon boat festival was starting. That morning were the junior high races, so we watched a couple of them and wandered around the fairgrounds that had been set up for the event.

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Lots of food stalls, beer tents, games and rides, but the best part of all was the Elementary School Sumo Tournament. Kids of all sizes were taking part, some bouts were well matched.
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While some weren't.

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There was even a little girl in the competition. I cheered for her. Andrew said she was scrappy. She reminded me of Tally when she was kid. She put up a good fight, but she lost. I was sad for her.

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Anyway, we watched this for a little while and decided to try to find some lunch. We went back to the hotel, got the car and a restaurant recommendation and headed out. We found the restaurant, but it was closed. Navi was moody, so we ignored it and went to Shikinaen Garden, part of the World Heritage Ryukyu sites. It was shady, and it was a good respite from the sun. There were excellent English explanation of the features throughout. By the time we finished the garden we were getting hungry.

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We drove back to Kokusai-dori and decided to give the fish market a go. We bought a couple of big prawns and a crab, took them upstairs to a restaurant and had them cooked. We ate Okinawa soba while we waited. The seafood was excellent, but I don't think Andrew was prepared for the labour-intensive crab. We ate and went to Starbucks to get wake up drinks. Those didn't work well, so we went back to the hotel to relax for the rest of the afternoon. A couple of movies (Joe vs. the Volcano and Transporter 2) later, we found ourselves ready to eat again. We slowly got motivated and went out.

The first restaurant, Sam's, was an hour wait, so we kept walking. Turns out Sam's is a chain and the other one was a couple of blocks away. We got a table in 5 minutes and enjoyed a great steak dinner, teppanyaki style. Very much in the same vein as the Hamachi Steakhouse, flair and all. I was stuffed, but Andrew decided to get some ice cream, so I got some to go too. We walked as Andrew ate his ice cream, hopped in a cab and landed at our hotel for our last night in Naha.

Posted by agc_cwm 01:32 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Golden Week 2008 - Okinawa IV

The return to Naha - Onna to Naha


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We got up a little later, around 8:30, ate, packed, checked out and hit the road on our way back to Naha. We decided to do some touristy stuff and stuff regarding WWII, so we plugged the Underground Naval Base into our Navi and headed out on the highway. About an hour later we missed the turn off for the Naval Base, but, of course, our Navi didn't tell us the new route to go, and instead of resorting to maps to get us there, we decided to follow the signs and go somewhere else. We followed the signs for another 45 minutes to the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum.

When we arrived, there were a lot of students relaxing and playing in the park, on a class trip I suppose. We were also offered some flowers that we could buy and place on the graves, but we decided not to. We went in the museum, which focussed mainly on the battle for Okinawa and the resultant occupation had on the Okinawan people. The battle lasted about 90 days and the Okinawan people referred to the American attack as the "Typhoon of Steel". Basically everything was destroyed and people were forced to hide in caves and for some people, forced to commit mass suicide by the Japanese army. There is also a cemetery on site that is kind of controversial because they buried Americans, Japanese, Okinawan, anyone that was involved in the battle.

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We finished up at the museum, and ate some more ice cream. Courtney had the sugar cane ice cream, and it was very reminiscent of Grampy Mac's maple walnut. We then went on our way to find something less depressing: swimming! We drove to a small island down the road which had a couple beaches. We stopped at one, I got out and took a quick dip. It was nice and refreshing. I got out and we sat in the sun for a bit so I could dry off, then we drove back down to the Family Mart and I got changed.

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It was around 2:00 so we thought we should go back to Naha and check in to the Okinawa Oriental Hotel. It was cheap, but it looked like it was built in the 70's and never updated. But, it had everything that we needed from a hotel. We got check in then headed up to Kokusai-dori for some tacos. They usually deep fry the shell, which makes them even better. We wandered the street and then went back to the hotel for a bit. Around 6:00 pm we started to walk to the nearby beach to see the sunset. We walked through a few parks, past a baseball practice and along a street, but we didn't quite get there. We ended up on a bridge that was in front of the the beach, but we still got a good view of the sunset.

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Once the sun went down we got a cab back up to Kokusai-dori to hunt for a restaurant. We passed on Cowboy's Steakhouse and went to 88 Steakhouse simply because there were more Japanese people at 88 Steakhouse. There were also signs inside that said it is an establishment approved by the military. I got a nice steak for not a ridiculous price and Courtney got fish soup. It turned out to be a lot more food than she expected. She expected just a bowl of soup; instead she got a bowl of rice, vegetables and a large bowl of soup complete with a full fish (head and all).

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After the meal we called it a night.

Posted by agc_cwm 10:57 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

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