Watching the sunrise on my balcony

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Lunch in the the trees

Well I officially have my 4th visitor here to Okinawa. I still need to blog about my first three visitors which will come in the near future. I have been in a bit of a funk lately and not in the mood to write. I am feeling much better now, so the story continues.... Emily flew all the way here to spend a glorious week with me. So far we have had some mini adventures around the South of the Island where I live. This weekend we will take a trip up North to explore the side of Okinawa I have rarely seen myself. She flew in on Sunday night (Oct 30th) and luckily I had the Monday off work in exchange for the signing contest my school had on Sunday. Emily's first day in Okinawa was filled with driving along the coastline, eating soba in a tree restaurant by the beach, discovering a "deserted island" 20 mins from my house and seriously offending the sacred spirits of Chinen by innocently taking photos of hermit crabs! I know this last one in confusing but I will explain with photos ect..

That cat is real believe it or not!

Happy Halloween

OISHII (yummy in Japanese)
This is a unique Okinawan Soba Restaurant which is built into some gorgeous trees across from the beach on Ojimia Island. Only a 20 minute drive from my house and across from the most amazing and famous tempura shop! The meal you see above is Yaki Soba with vegetables. The other three dishes will be semi foreign to most of you. On the far right is Okinawan seaweed soup, on the top right is a seaweed jelly dessert that tasted like lemon curd and on the top left was seaweed in a vinegar base. Before enjoying your meal you must say "Itadakimasu" which means "I receive". We are saying thanks to the animals and plants for receiving their lives. When you are finished you must say "Gochisousama deshita" which expresses appreciation for the food. Emily and I always try to say this during meals, even at home. The food was amazing, so filling and all for 5 bucks, and oh so OISHII!!!!

Next stop was the hidden beach, and OMG I live this close to paradise...

I guess this beach isn't exactly hidden but it was down a long windy road. We stumbled upon it after lunch while driving home. At first glance it reminded me of the rocks you see in Thailand or Halong Bay, Vietnam. They also operate a little glass bottom boat which you can take out to the reef and see turtles and various fish. The price is steep at 20 bucks per person but I guess if you have never been in a glass bottom boat then it would be cool! We didn't stay here long because it was a rainy day so we continued our drive home and came across a world heritage site called Sefa-Utaki. 

This is a sacred place and regarded as extremely holy. It has strong ties with the religious organization established by the Ryukyu Kingdom during its era. When we got there we ran into a film crew who was doing a TV show about the place. I really wanted to get onto Japanese TV haha, that would be so fun! I guess I need to learn Japanese! My course pack has arrived so I should be a pro in no time!!
Film Crew

Offerings to the gods
 As you walk through the park there are gorgeous trees and huge caves and rocks to explore. There is a great view of Kudaka Island right behind where these two ladies are giving their offerings. The site comprises of 3 main areas. One area has a bowl that is collecting water that drips down from the holy site and is believed to be holy water. People were putting their hands in and and washing their faces trying to soak up the good energy I guess? 

Holy water

The place where the royalty prepared food. This is where we found the hermit crabs.

So this is about the place where we may have created an international incident!? We still have no idea what exactly happened but figured we must have offended someone, somehow. As I was kneeling taking a photo of the hermit crabs below, I heard a crazy lady screaming and running towards us. She zoomed right past me shouting some words in Japanese and then proceeded to ward off the evil spirits. She continued to purify the area from our foreign gaijin presence. She was absolutely nuts, like something you would see in a witch craft movie. So we just started walking away and felt so bad, but didn't realize what we did which was worse.  I asked an English teacher at school about the situation and she had no clue what might have happened. So I figure we either came across a crazy person or we did something really wrong. 
Hermit crabs

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