Since Valentine’s Day is approaching, I thought I would give you all some flowers this week. Prepare yourself, I attended the Okinawa International Orchid Show yesterday and they say there are 20,000 orchids on display. I believe them.
Just a little note about Valentine’s Day over here, the women give the men chocolate. Valentine’s Day is all about the men. There is even a distinction about it, there is obligation chocolate (I could do with some obligation chocolate) Giri-choco that you give to your co-workers, bosses and close male friends. Then there is the Honmei-choco that you give to your lover, boyfriend or husband (or all the above). Traditional Japanese women make something chocolate for their honmei-choco so that it has the personal touch. On March 14, the men return the love on what is called White Day, so it’s kind of nice to have two days dedicated to love and chocolate.
I don’t know if I’ve ever put on the little orchids that I have growing in pots around my house, but I was delighted when I discovered that I have orchids and I don’t have to do anything, they just flower when they feel like it.
On the night that I arrived here in Okinawa, I was greeted with phalaenopsis orchids throughout the airport. They are displayed all over the place in the airport, what a lovely welcome. I think it was then that I knew I was home.
I was reading in Okinawa Hai that there would be an orchid show in Motobu. It is on the grounds of the Churaumi Aquarium which I had visited once before. At that time I eschewed the botanical grounds as I had had enough of people and did not feel like fighting my way through to look at flowers.
But I saw the article and thought I would fight my asocial impulses and go see. I’m so glad I did, there were people there, but everyone was polite and chatty and we were all in awe of the power of the orchid. Not only to draw us in, but to find community with other people who appreciate them. It was a beautiful experience.
Orchids have always had such an appearingly-delicate beauty, but there is strength in an orchid. It is unusual, and it will be understood on it’s own terms. They call to me like no other flower.
I’m going to add another page of just photos, I had a difficult time editing down…I took more than 500 photos…and could have taken more.
I had a little company at the end of the day, a little Yanbaru spirit accompanied me on my travels.
Have a great week, and check out the other photo page!