Five days until I leave Okinawa, say 元気で (when you won’t see someone for a long time, saying genki de is like saying “all the best”), and close the chapter on this adventure. But when there is an ending, there will be a beginning. So while I will miss Okinawa, I’m looking forward to the next chapter, new beginnings and new adventures.
Every thing must have a beginning . . . and that beginning must be linked to something that went before.
If you haven’t followed along, catch up on Part 1 and Part 2.
Now that I’m a week away from departing Okinawa, my home for the last two years, I’m reflecting on my time here and my experiences and adventures. (Missed Part 1? Catch up here.) I’ve been thinking about all the things I will miss about Okinawa and there are so many things I will miss. And so here are my top 8 things I will miss.
All good things must come to an end. And just like that, my time in Okinawa is drawing to a close.
One of my friends asked me the other day if I had given up my blog. I realized, I hadn’t written anything since April! And here we are three weeks into July. How is it nearly August?! So much has happened in the last 3 months.
But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let me back up and tell you how I got to this point.
Finally after months of being under a state of emergency due to the pandemic, Okinawa lifted its state of emergency on Friday. What this means is that parks, beaches, museums, and other sites are open again! And Sunday morning, I headed to Naha to visit Shurijo Castle Park & the Tamaudun Royal Mausoleum, two of the 9 Gusuku Sites and Related Properties of the Kingdom of Ryukyu (a combined registered UNESCO World Heritage Sites).
I don’t have any Okinawa adventure stories this week because COVID.
Sadly, COVID seems to be the reason behind so many questions. Where are you going this weekend? Nowhere because COVID. What are you doing today? Nothing because COVID. And since COVID cases here in the Okinawa Prefecture have been rising, in respect to my host nation and for my own safety, I opted to stay home this weekend.
It’s a rainy day here in Okinawa. Combined with the increase of COVID cases in the Prefecture, I decided to mainly stick around my house (binging Queer Eye). And so I thought I’d share some of the random Japanese things I’ve seen the last few weeks.
I was excited to get outside today and have a mini adventure. We were on restricted movement for the last two weekends (basically nothing off-base), plus it was rainy both weekends. And so with gorgeous weather this weekend and lifted restrictions, or at least slightly lifted to “exercise outdoors off-base,” I decided my “exercise” would be walking on a beach and bending over to find sea glass.
That totally counts, right?
I googled “sea glass beach” and the first location google maps attempted to navigate me to resulted in me driving on narrow gravel roads. (I wish I had thought to take a photo of one of those roads, if one could call a narrow gravel path a road.) And while I did see a sign for “Sea Glass Beach,” I never found the supposed trail to the beach, and anyway, I couldn’t find a place to park even if I had seen a trail.
After another search on the map app, I found a second beach called Sea Glass Beach. I found this one with no problem as it didn’t involve narrow gravel roads. I easily found parking nearby and then had a short walk across a bridge to get to the beach.
Within 2 seconds of stepping on the beach, I found sea glass.
The pieces I found aren’t large. The largest one is approximately 2.5″ long and maybe 1″ at its widest point. The colors range from dark brown to white. I found a few teeny cobalt blue pieces, but most were green, white, and brown.
I also found some pretty sea shells, sea rocks and dried coral.
So many sea shells.
I love collecting shells. I have shells from some other travels and when I lived in SoCal. (Shout out for SoCal! I loved living in Long Beach.) So my new Okinawa shells will be a nice addition to my other shells. I just need a new display bowl.
But I did have to be cautious picking up shells. Some of them were already taken. I found quite a few mini critters. So I moved my hunt away from the water and back to the high tide line so I wouldn’t disturb these guys more than I did.
I only stayed on the beach about 30 or 40 minutes. First, it’s summer and even at 8:30 am it was already 82°. Combined 80+% humidity and pale skin, even covered with 50 SPF sunscreen, I am super cautious about being in direct sunlight too much.
The drive took me over an hour one-way. Although the drive was only 52km (approx. 32 miles), the maximum speed limit was 50 km/h (approx. 31 MPH). So I had a lovely, leisurely drive.
On the way back, I stopped to take some photos of some incredible views. I can’t get over the amazing ocean color. So blue and clear. It would be nice to have a chauffeur so I could sightsee instead of focusing on driving because the views are amazing! Oh well.
Once I got home, I laid out my haul. I collected some pretty shells, sea glass, dried coral, and some sea rocks.
Next time I’ll try to find the other Sea Glass Beach because as I understand, if you walk down a bit from that sea glass beach, there is another beach with sand dollars.
Until next time, 立ち寄ってくれてありがとう (tachiyotte kurete arigatō = thank you for stopping by).
First, I can’t believe I’ve been in Okinawa for a month. Of course, the first two weeks I spent in quarantine (otherwise known as restriction of movement or ROM). So I’ve only been free for two and a half weeks. And before I could do anything fun, COVID had to rear its ugly head again.
If you haven’t heard (which I don’t know how since it was all over the American media), the Marine Corps in Okinawa has seen an outbreak in COVID cases. Not on my base, but two of the other bases here, which means we’re all back on restrictions.
I guess it makes sense. Summer is traditionally moving season for the DoD and moves have been ramping up. I’ve heard the DoD has 3 flights per week from Seattle to Japan (up from 1 flight per week) to meet the demand because the DoD had a travel ban until June 30. I had to get an exemption to travel before June 30.
And guess what. The increase in military travel to Japan coincided with the spike in COVID cases the U.S. So it only makes sense that some person (or maybe more than one) was infected, maybe asymptomatic.
Whatever the reason, COVID has once again caused me problems. But in a good-bad sort of way.