So I’m writing this on my two month anniversary of being a traveller and I’m really starting to feel like I’m at least somewhat of a seasoned professional. I can finally get away with saying I miss certain foods from home (peanut butter, marmite and gravy). I have adopted a traveller story and often start sentences with “ah yes I had a similar experience when I was in India/Nepal/any city I’ve been to the airport of”. I have also adopted this kind of spontaneous personality where I go all “oh yeah I just plan to pick a country and grab the next flight there” even though I will definitely arrive 3 hours early to the airport with contingency plans written in my notebook and on my ipad as both PDF, note and photograph form. Nonetheless I feel like I have definitely learnt some very valuable things in that I enjoy my own company more than ever but also feel far more confident chatting away to people I meet and I am definitely gaining some sort of chill in not planning every hour of my day and taking a left even when I should be going right just to see what’s there.
I’m actually writing this from Okinawa airport where I’m awaiting my flight to some sunshine and beach life and hopefully some more wonderful and delicious Japanese cuisine! I spent this morning checking out the finally fully blooming cherry blossoms around Tokyo and having had a proper taste of spring time Tokyo I’m definitely excited to be returning in a few days. Currently my flight is delayed and my train here was delayed too so I guess I’m experiencing already the difference between mainland and Okinawa time – I don’t think it will be all perfect efficiency as I have been experiencing so far!
I finally landed and felt that wonderful arriving on holiday humidity as I stepped off he plane. I made it to my hostel to drop off my now 20kg bag… and promptly headed right back out into the city on the hunt for Okinawan food. I take back everything I have said about Kagoshima as when I arrived on the main street in Naha, Okinawa’s capital, this was what I imagine Miami to be like. It was filled with neon signs, big bars, young people, palm trees, fast cars and shop upon shop selling true tourist tat. It may have been tacky and not a patch on the kind of buzz that I fell in love with in Tokyo but it was definitely a fun place to be! I grabbed a seat in a kind of beach style restaurant and on recommendation from the only other solo diner in the restaurant (who had chosen to sit right next to me despite the any other tables around…) went for dumplings stuffed with Agu pork, peanut tofu and seaweed tempura. The guy who had now decided I was to be his company for dinner proceeded to tell me his life story, showing me before and after pics of his weight loss and a whole album of photos of him at work as I think a pilot or flight attendant (translation was tricky). When our food finally arrived I was able to make my excuses and feasted in private! The Agu pork was amazing, as promised in the menu it had a lovely tenderness and umami flavour. The seaweed was super crisp and salty and the tofu texture was revolutionary! Yet another winner from japan on the food front.
The next day I went to book a ferry to the nearby island, Zamami, but when I arrived I was told that the morning ferry didn’t run on Thursdays. Not wanting to be deprived of a beach I saw other tourists queueing for another ferry due to leave in the next five minutes so in attempt to be brilliant and spontaneous I grabbed a ticket and hopped on board having loaded up on plenty of travel sickness pills! We landed on the mystery island Tokashiki an hour and a half later and with a winding bus ride to follow I was very glad when my feet finally touched down on sand! The beach was spectacular surrounded by mangrove forests and palm trees and with the whitest sand and beautifully dazzling blue sea. I wandered along the main beach and eventually came to a tiny pathway where I climbed through the vegetation to a secluded cove nearby. Aside from about 10 minutes sharing with a Japanese man I had the beach to myself all day and it was glorious! With a strong sea breeze it wasn’t too hot to lie for hours listening to the waves so I was gutted when I had to head back for my afternoon ferry back to the mainland!
(Photos; The beach! Views over my little cove, a fun ramen I discovered in okinawa, th only ice view n the kind of gross inner city ‘park’ that I strolled through, the entrance to my beach, the rooftop of my mainland hostel)