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The Subtropics of Japan: Okinawa Part 1

One spring afternoon, I was bored out of my wits and I was itching to get out of Tokyo and go somewhere  without the hordes of people in a business suit hurrying their way to work. So I pulled out my map of Japan, closed my eyes and decided to go wherever my finger points at.  After a few mispoints, (my first point landed  in the Pacific Ocean, the second  attempt landed in North Korea) I figured that my  lazing around wouldn’t get me anywhere. I eventually ended up doing some proper reading and finally decided to experience the sub-tropics of Japan and visit Okinawa.

Okinawa is at the tip of Japan and a plane ride away from Tokyo. Getting there is surprisingly  cheap.  We went during the golden week(high season) and we got our ticket for 7000 yen round trip (around 70 dollars).

Our first stop was in Naha, the main hub of Okinawa and the gateway to the nearby islands of Aka-Jima, Zamami and tokashiki. We decided to stay here for a day and explore  for a little bit before heading off to our sub-tropic escapade.

Takeshita Dori might be the place to go to when in Naha. It’s the main area in the city that has a long strip of restaurants and  souvenir shops.  The place has a quirky tropical vibe and there’s sooo many interesting things to see in every corner.

The Shisa Guardians

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These are the mythical friendly guardians of Okinawa.  They are half dog and half lion.  Myth has it that these guardians  are supposed to protect people from misfortune and wicked elements.  The one with the mouth closed is supposed to keep the good luck in  and the one with the mouth open is supposed to scare and keep the wicked elements out.

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They have shisa’s in every color and sizes!

Bittergourd City and other oddities

Bittergourd is a delicacy in Okinawa. Must be why they have the longest life expectancy there. They have bittergourd everything!

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Lee’s bittergourd love affair

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Trying to cheer up an okinawan guy!

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There was so much to see in the city of Naha and I’m pretty sure we didn’t even scratch the surface. If you wanna know a bit about the Okinawan history and experience it’s culture,  don’t skip Naha and pay the island’s gateways a visit. Stay for a day or two and soak in the city. It’ll give you so much perspective of what the Island is about and might make you appreciate the city’s’ quirkyness and oddities.

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