Okinawa – Day 22, April 15

I can’t quite believe that I leave Japan tomorrow for Taiwan. I absolutely love Japan. The people are very nice, it’s beautiful, exciting, fun, and their systems are incredible (trains, toilets, uniforms, cleanliness, point-of-sale terminals, etc.)

I came to Okinawa because of the pristine diving opportunities. I also wanted to see the place my dad had been stationed in the mid-1950s. I stayed away from the US bases here. I don’t belong there and it would have made things too easy.

It was supposed to rain all day, but since it wasn’t raining in the morning, I took a taxi east across the island – perhaps 8 miles – to the beach at the bay my dad’s photos said “Buckner Bay”. It’s not called that anymore. I presume it’s back to its original, pre-WWII name of Nakagusuku Bay. It’s very hard to see in my photo because I think my dad was further north, but I’m sure I was looking roughly where he took the picture.

I arrived at the beach and could hear cheering and drumming. I was hoping I’d found a taiko drumming circle. Nope… it was a beach soccer game with a cheering section and a drummer. The game was exciting. Soccer looks hard on the grass and it looked impossible on the sand.

I found the distant view of the bay and took my pictures, then had my first beach walk since arriving in this island nation. If you notice in the beach pictures the grey lines on the sand, it’s a dark grey pumice. I am, of course, on an active volcanic fault or two and that’s what normally washes up on the beach, but I’ve never seen pumice such a grey color. Pumice is basically chunks of volcanic ash and it floats because it has zillions of gas bubbles in it.

I walked two miles to a place that looked good for lunch and then up to a grocery store complex to find a taxi home. About 100 yards from the grocery store, the rain finally started like an Okinawan Lion and hasn’t stopped since. I’ve had continuing problems with my phone connecting with 4G and I couldn’t really reach a taxi while sitting in the comfortable waiting area in front of the grocery store. I stood up and wondered what to do. Ironically, I was standing in front of a small call-a-taxi-here phone. Eight minutes later, I was on my way back to Naha.

I relaxed in my room for a few hours, hoping in vain that the rain would stop, and finally went out for dinner at the best sushi I’d ever had. It absolutely melted in my mouth. I was like a drowned rat when I arrived but they were so kind and gave me towels to dry off and make myself presentable. Yume Sushi was totally yummy. I left there and went to my favorite department store bakery, bought my breakfast, and rode the monorail back to my hotel.

Since I have Taiwan roughly planned out, now it’s time to finish planning my trip to Korea, which is in about 10 or 12 days. In Korea, I have every night in a hotel booked, a flight to Jeju Island, a rental car there, a flight to Busan, a train to Seoul, a hotel near the airport, and a flight back to LAX.

By the way, if you have already read my post from yesterday about Dive Day Two, refresh and read it again. I made a few updates.

Also, (Mom) please notice the fiddle leaf figs growing with wild abandon, no one paying them a fig of attention or worrying about them. They basically grow wild in Southeast Asia, even though we have to fuss over them in Arizona!