Finding the right combination of fast and slow during last days in Okinawa — 08.21.16
My second (and last) day in the Okinawan Islands was spent quietly under the sun’s soft heat before AHAREN BEACH then off I was to revisit the ‘peak season’ version of FURUZAMAMI IN ZAMAMI ISLAND. While I would have loved to beach all day, I had to catch the ferry back to NAHA for my last night filled with more aimless wandering which led me to discover this vibrant nightlife compressed in a compound of yatais.
This wandering resumed the following day, with quick pauses to grab some quick breakfast over news of storm in Tokyo and buy last-minute take-homes from the shopping stalls near the inn.
Continue reading [Japan] ~ Making most of rest of days in Okinawa
Charming beach town in one day and night – 08.20.16
Slept for only night in NAHA then the following day I went aboard a ferry to explore nearby island TOKASHIKI to beach and (for the first outside my home country) camp. In this entry, I share a day an ironically full day in the quiet town near AHAREN BEACH – from encounters with friendly strangers from the old lady at the campground entrance to fellow campers to this welcome of a stretch of fine sand, clear water to a town pinned with just the right amount of quirky restaurants for beer and fast food.
Continue reading [Okinawa] ~ More laidback Japan in Tokashiki
Revisiting Naha’s streets of shops, food and beer take two – 08.19-21.16
Months after my birthday trip, I find myself again aimlessly walking around the streets of KOKUSAI – a lot of which spent getting lost in search of my guesthouse located in a place I’ve been in before. Different for this trip was visiting AHAREN BEACH IN TOKASHIKI and re-visiting and wading in FURUZAMAMI IN ZAMAMI. Last night then spent with more aimless walking, taking photos of izakayas I oddly now miss.
In this entry I first share my experience getting back to Naha from my home and a kick-off to a day back to its nearby islands.
Continue reading [Japan] ~ Okinawa in (more humid) the second time around
Oh time in this city, how do I maximize thee? – 03.26-27.16
Prior to Macau this year, this is probably the shortest that I have been somewhere else. Squeezed in as much in the evening despite my airbnb hosts’ 11PM curfew – from trying out the only ramen that did not leave me feeling guilty full to some awkward but memorable beer-drinking at a cramped food stall called yatai. Next morning about parks, almost sakura in a temple, lunch with danger-if-not-properly-prepared fugu with day and trip ending with realization that hey, those face masks actually help with the cold.
Continue reading [Japan] ~ Fukuoka in Night and Day
Repeat wander on Naha’s busiest streets – 03.25-26.16
Spent my remaining day in the city (late afternoon after ZAMAMI day trip and half morning before my flight to Fukuoka) revisiting the areas of KOKUSAI and MITSUMIBASHI and in this entry I share with you my random discoveries on souvenirs, beer and food.
Continue reading [Okinawa] ~ Finding Naha
A lovely beach to self and cats – 03.25.16
Having missed my scheduled trip to ZAMAMI ISLAND the day before due to bad weather, the following day I took my chance at a ride to the island. It was off the original plan of having the night to stay but I was still happy with this decision as I got myself an entire strip of beach with one of the best kind of blue. It was off-season for swimming so I just walked around with my coat on and played with cats who were approaching me as they were probably hungry.
I told myself I would come back and fortunately had the chance a few months after this trip – same spot but totally different vibe as that was summer.
Continue reading [Okinawa] ~ Hours to and in Zamami Island
~ First in one Japan’s less busy cities – 03.24.2016
After my Manila misadventure which led to spending the night in Taipei Airport, it was finally Okinawa early the following morning. Trying to make most of an already shortened trip, I was out as soon as I checked in bag in my capsule hotel. My day then mostly spent walking around shopping strip KOKUSAI DORI (also called International Road) until that discovery of a monument of a GIANT ROPE used during the city’s yearly tug-of-war event. Unhappy with a cancelled ferry ride to Zamami, I pushed for a quick trip to the nearest beach in the city called NAMINOUE.
Continue reading [Okinawa] ~ Discoveries within Naha City
An odd combination of to-do’s but still of worth – 10.05.15
Right after my DIY Murakami tour in Hyogo is a side trip to nearby Kobe. An extension to my purpose in the former, I intended to see the bar which served as location shoot for a film adaptation of Haruki Murakami’s first work Hear the Wind Sing. Since I was in the area anyway, I sobered up with a rather pricey but signature meat in area.
Continue reading [Kobe, Japan] ~ An Evening of Murakami and Beef
Most often to read his words and be in places; this rare time to be in places that inspired his words. – 10.05.15
What followed my long day in Kyoto is a free one with no particular destination in mind. With some strong of luck the previous night, I came across an article on a town nearby with destinations related to my only and favorite author Haruki Murakami.
On my bucket list are visits to locations mentioned in his novels (which are mostly in Tokyo so clearly not to be a check in my to-do’s for this particular trip). Yet this surprised me with something better – a visit to place where he spent his earlier years.
With a Hanshin tourist pass and maps on hand, I visited a NISHINOMIYA EBISU – a shrine said to inspire one of his best novels (Kafka on the Shore), KOROEN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL where he spent his early student days, HANSHIN KOSHIEN STADIUM where he was said to bike to watch high school tournaments and ASHIYA – UCHIDE PARK (also called Monkey Park) as this used to have a monkey cage as he mentioned in his novella and first work Hear the Wind Sing.
Bonuses to this include seeing the clock with time set forever at around 5:46PM — stopped right before this earthquake that destroyed town, cheap shot of sake at noon, ending with these adorable kids at the park who proved that words may be off and hazy but gestures speak.
Continue reading [HYOGO, JAPAN] ~ Where he lived
Like a lost kid, I walked somewhere unplanned in Kyoto. – 10.04.15
Planned to cover Kyoto in all compass points but reality (and acceptance that I can get away with train systems but not with buses) kicked in that I had to narrow it down to eastern after FUSHIMI INARI.
This entry about snapshots from an aimless afternoon walking around the shopping hill to KIYOMIZU-DERA and nearby alleys and then unknown temples until day-end waiting for geishas around GION DISTRICT and window-shopping in SHIJO.
Continue reading [Kyoto, Japan] ~ Temples and Alleys