DAY FIVE IN OKINAWA- MONDAY September 9, 2013
The first order of buisness today was a late brunch at Climax Coffee, which is a local chain. The menu options had quite a bit of range and the staff were very friendly. These two pictures show the range of options to start your morning off... Pancakes (which are thicker and a bit chewier) and loaded with toppings or the Seafood Cream Omelette (which is an egg over ketchup fried rice, white cream sauce, with shrimp, squid, scallop, broccoli and mushroom). I chose the second and paired it with a Green Tea Iced Latte. I thought the entire meal was fabulous.
Today was primarily a shopping day. Looking for souvenirs and random food/candy to bring home with us. The first stop was Don Quijote Mega Mart; which I am told is the equivalent or most comparable store to Wal-Mart. It was packed full of some interesting items. I picked up some folded fans, pressure point cooling pads, whistling candy, and some gum (I think). Then we headed to Daiso which is the "really good" 100 Yen store and it is comparable to the $1.00 Stores of America. Here I picked up some random signs and treats to bring home.
Next stop was Kokusai Street the main tourist shopping area off of Route 58 in downtown Naha. The Route 58 thing is a big deal and similar to our Route 66 nostalgia. Along this street are many open store fronts that sell a wide variety of souvenirs. For the most part every other store had about the same selection and was the same price. However there were a few gems that we stumbled across.
Here are some of the fun, exciting, and plain odd. First just to prove the mannequin thing is consistent the Beach wear and t-shirt store had a nice display to capture. Then came across a whole wall of Manchhichi dolls and collectibles. For someone in my generation the commercial jingle was infectious when I was a kid; "Manchhichi, Manchhichi, oh so soft and cuddly"... Yes I sang this is the store and made a fool of myself. This is also when I realized that in the stores an employee if available would follow you around to help you with your purchases. Until I figured that out, was a bit creepy feeling. The last picture are jars of Habu snakes (which is venomous) and it is Awa mori which is the Okinawan equivalent of saki. Fun shopping day!
This picture of a street corner one block off of the main shopping street. The buildings you see are restaurants and specialty stores that did not open until after 2pm.
One of the interesting things I have seen as we drive around the island is that on almost every domestic living building there are balconies and on almost all of those are drying racks for clothes. Much of that is because the apartments are small and the weather is usually warm so dryers are a luxury or foolish purchase.
Speaking of weather, I have not said much about that. Here it has been upper 80's to low 90's most days but the humidity is killer. If there is a brief rain shower, after it feels like you are in the heart of the rain forest. That has lead to a lot of sweaty outdoor adventures, but when in Okinawa.... Local women and several men are often covered head to toe. Light skin is prized by the locals so even when driving they wear driving gloves, visors or scarfs, long socks, pants, or skirts. In the stores you can even find whitening skin cream.
The next fun photo is a demonstration of the total opposite of the toilet I pictured on day two's blog. This shows all the fun gadgets on many toilets. Heated seats, sounds to cover other sounds, water sprays to wash you, even a powerful deodorizer. This one I had to take a picture of because the sign was great. The English translations often are a bit off. This does entertain me, but also explains a lot of the stereotypes in media, literature, as well as the struggles that students who come over experience.
Vending machines are a big deal here and they are everywhere. It is not uncommon to see them every two blocks or so, but you often pass them randomly in the middle of farm area or undeveloped sections of the island. I have taken to selecting random drinks that I am guessing at what they might be, some have been a little odd but have grown on me.
Last we headed down to Sunset Beach to catch.... the sunset of course!
The picture on the left is the entrance to the beach with the sea level and tsunami warning. The second picture is the man laid concrete barrier which look like jacks. These type of concrete pylons are fairly common along the shore lines for various docks and ocean breaks. Then you have my size perspective of the sunset followed by the standard beach sunset picture. It was a bit cloudy so not as vibrant as it might have been, but still gorgeous!
Well, that is all there is for today. Tomorrow we are heading to an island resort to rest and relax so I may not get an update for a few days. Well it is 9 PM Monday night and I am winding down the night and it is 7 AM in Kansas and your Monday is just beginning! hope it is a good one!