So I know that I’m not blogging as much as I want to. I had (and still have) many expectations and thoughts on how much fun and simple blogging about stuff would be… And whilst I actually really enjoy doing it, from time to time life gets in the way and then I lose my window of motivation.
Anyway I’ve decided to use this dictation thing on iPhone maybe that will work a bit better and the beauty of it is that it doesn’t cost me anything!
So I went to Okinawa which is a Japanese island. It’s actually really close to China though and the flight was only two hours. After I returned I decided I couldn’t in honesty claim I had been to Japan.
It sits quietly, nestled in the ocean somewhere in between China and Japan.
It was a work trip essentially a bit of fun and team-building. Win! What I didn’t realise was that actually it was going to be more than just a regular trip overseas because I actually got to be part of a Chinese tour group and what I mean by this is that it was almost like I was some sort of observer.
So we land and then all pile on to this tour bus… Chinese guy stands at the front with a giant smile and basically he’s talking to us on a microphone at the front of the bus… Pretty much the whole time in Chinese and it’s safe to say I have no fucking idea what’s going on or where we are going.
Now I did of course ask people things and I get some tidbits, but I often felt unclear or like a pain in the butt, so anyway I just give up and just rolled with it.
I chilled on the bus and anytime we stopped, I followed the group I.e. get off and go shopping then repeat. Eventually I decide I am too tired of shopping on the last day and opt to finish Gone Girl (great book btw).
Back to the shopping – the first place we go to to my surprise was a giant duty-free shop, and theirs plenty more of these… Duty free, souvenirs, chemists… Oh my!
I bought me some goodies Of course….. When in Rome they say….
We of course stop off at the odd ‘attraction’, but mainly it’s a shopping exercise (China is really expensive). When we check in at the airport (going back to china) I see a ton of people with multiple rice cookers and even electric toilet seats to take back to China.
So, I guess the things that stick out to me about my trip Okinawa (besides the huge value people put on Japanese rice cookers) was the merged American / Japanese culture, the teeny tiny part of the history I learned about and a trip to a cool little old school Geisha bar.
Did I mention that I’ve since ditched dictation? Nice idea, but it’s like having a shitty secretary that hasn’t quite nailed English.
Hawaii Five O meets …… Japan
Palm trees, Hawaiian shirts everywhere, pineapples, Maui bars… Hang on I thought this was Japan?! I was reassured I was yes in fact, in Japan when I would go to the bathroom and was welcomed by a warm toilet seat and way too many buttons to figure out how to flush and of course the Japanese school girls in painfully short skirts. Oh and when I questioned why the waiter said ‘horse’ when I asked for some Sashimi…. (After a confusing conversation that went like this – Me: ‘fish’ Him: ‘horse’ Me: ‘fiiisssshhh’ Him: ‘horse’ … He then used his phone and finally showed me google images of black beauty…. Me: beer).
It was quite surreal this merging of two cultures. They have a few military bases in the island… So you see the odd army dude (or WAG) walking about the town. But it wasn’t in a tourism way (like Kuta making things ‘Australian’) but in a way that gave this little it’s own identity. Albeit a slightly 70’s throwback one…
American town was cool but weird, it had all these American stores, but it felt ‘wrong’ like it hadn’t moved with the times… Still I enjoyed a Budweiser, a burger and a random mix of usa tunes in the background…
The cool thing about American town was this place ‘American Depot’ that sold used but cool American stuff. I found old copies of Life Magazine and strangely found myself excited and buying a few copies from the 70’s with quite provocative headlines (I question myself, who is this person….) particularly around women in society. Blog post to come perhaps…
We stopped at the USA airforce base lookout (totally bored out of my brains…) so I go to the gift shop and nose about.
I flick through a history book (it was a picture book mostly… Hence the ability it had to capture my attention).
What I saw was fascinating and so I had to read more…
Admittedly I don’t remember much about WWII (I mean from school), but at some point the U.S. decide they want to take Okinawa, I assume it’s cause it’s got a nice location… Good place for a base I guess.
Anyway, so the US take the island (I read it was a surprise attack so it happened quite quickly and easily – although I assume these things are quite relative).
The thing that surprised the U.S. Forces was that their were many many civilian causalities. The saddest part was, that it was due to murder / suicides.
Apparently the story goes that the Japanese soldiers in Okinawa told the people that a) the American soldiers would rape their women and kill their children and b) the honourable way to show your allegiance to Japan is to kill yourself and your family before the Americans do.
It’s reported that the soldiers gave people grenades or people strangled each other or even tried on themselves.
I don’t know too much more than that, but I thought it was incredibly sad.
Old School Geisha Bar (and I mean the Ladies not just the concept)
Again, a bit random but interesting all the same and on a lighter note.
So two girls walked into a bar, it seemed weird as we peaked into it – we went to turn away and leave and the staff all cheered us (a lovely Chinese girl and myself).. Mmm, okay one drink to be polite.
Over the course of many more drinks, we worked out this was a ‘real’ geisha bar – again not in the tourist sense. It was run by ‘old lady’ geishas. Almost like the last real ones left (maybe they are the last generation – I don’t know).
Service was amazing, they did traditional entertainment and doted on the big spenders – sitting drinking with them, talking, serving and telling jokes.
So cool, especially seeing pictures of them when they were young. Makes me want to read Memoirs of Geisha again!
Ahhhh, and that was Okinawa. Now I feel better 🙂