4 days of our trip were spent in Okinawa’s biggest city Naha. It was an interesting city because Okinawa is still part of Japan but it isn’t very Japanese. The islands are quite far away from the Japanese mainland and didn’t become part of the country till much later, so they had a very unique culture already established. Think the Hawaii of Japan.
There is also a very strong American influence from the Marine base. A&W’s, Yogurtland, taco shops, blue stripe ice cream and other American shops were all over the island. After being the only foreigners for 8 months seeing so many Americans was quite a shock. I didn’t know what to do when I started to understand conversations that we overheard. In other parts of Japan we have been treated as a novelty, but in Okinawa a group of foreigners is nothing special. This was just a taste of the culture shock I’m gonna face when I visit the states again.
It was so nice to be somewhere warm. The day we left Okayama it was snowing, so anything over 50 degrees we considered tropical. The first day we found a beach and walked around the city.
There was a huge strip for tourists. It was filled with themed restaurants, bars, and an abundance of souvenir shops. The change of food was nice. I got my mexican food fix with tacos, and Okinawa’s famous taco rice. Think taco meat and fixings on rice. (Pretty self explanatory)
We also splurged one night and found a Hawaiian themed restaurant where they cooked our meal infront of us. The owner loved us; gave us appetizers, dessert, and sailor hats. It was a fabulously tacky, yet delicious dinner.