Since I do not yet possess a driver’s license (Monday) or a car (also Monday), I had limited options this weekend. I could have taken a taxi into town, but I opted to start learning my way around the base first.
Yesterday (Saturday) I decided to go to the area with the Exchange. It’s about 1 mile from the lodge to the Exchange and as you can see, I had a beautiful morning to walk.
The Exchange is like a Target meets Macy’s. I was pleasantly surprised to find products from Clinque and The Body Shop, as well as clothes from Columbia and Calvin Kline.
The Exchange Mall (right next door) has small businesses, including a barber shop, cell phone stores, sporting goods store, and some traditional and not-so-traditional Japanese products.
Also nearby, I found the bank, post office, a theater, bowling alley, a Popeyes and Arbys, a small food court with more fast food, and the scuba school.
And guess who signed up for scuba class? That’s right, ME!
Okinawa is known as a diving mecca with crystal blue water, gorgeous coral reefs, and an abundance of amazing marine life. But don’t take my word for it. Check out these articles: Ten Reasons to Visit Okinawa; Why You Should Go Diving in Okinawa; and Why Diving in Okinawa Should Be On Your Bucket List.
I will take the classroom part online (so at my own speed instead of a 3 hours every evening after work for 5 days) and then I’ll join the group for the 2 in-pool sessions and the 2 in water sessions. In the meantime, I will enjoy snorkeling with my new mask, snorkel, and fins.
I also have plans to do some stand-up paddle boarding and kayaking. Because again, why wouldn’t I?! #islandlife
Later in the afternoon (I spent the mid-day in my room because fair skin and bright sun do not mix well), I walked up the hill from the lodge to the main building.
I will say that Okinawan architecture isn’t that pretty. It leans more towards function than beauty. But at least you don’t see ugly high rises everywhere. The tallest buildings I’ve seen are maybe 7 or 8 stories. And I haven’t seen that many of those.
Today (Sunday) I mostly focused on getting ready for tomorrow when I go into my new office for the first time. I did walk back to the Exchange (just for the exercise), pressed my clothes (which have been in a suitcase for 2+ weeks), did a small load of wash, practiced Hiragana and started learning Kanji, studied the driver’s manual (for the test tomorrow), and wrote. Nothing too exciting.
Tomorrow (Monday) I will start all the fun HR and IT paperwork. You would think that transferring in-agency would be easy. But you’d be wrong. I actually have to get a new email address and everything because I’m now supporting the green side (Marines) instead of the blue side (Navy) as I was in my previous position. Nothing the government does is ever easy.
I’ll also get my license, get the title transferred on my new-to-me car, and generally start that thing called work. After two weeks sitting in quarantine, I’m ready to do be busy again.
Next weekend (a holiday weekend!) I will be mobile, so stay tuned for more photos and a better adventure as I hope to head to the beach and start exploring over the 3-day weekend.
Until next time, こんばんは (Konbanwa = Good Evening)!