I know its been a while, but the luxury of writing a blog and not writing for a living is that I can do it when I want to. So since I cannot visit my lovely Korea right now and it’s too risky to go to Taiwan, I am bounding around Okinawa.
Okinawa, Japan, Korea, Taiwan, Hong Kong are a little locked up in the frenzy that is the coronavirus. For anyone who doesn’t live here, we are a tourism location. Normally, Okinawa is flooded with people from all over Asia, but primarily Chinese tourists are どこにでも (everywhere), buying everything there is to buy.
Between the quarantines and restrictions, we are like a ghost town here. Kokusai Dori in Naha (I don’t go there, too many tourists), American Village in Chatan (I do go there) and the main attractions are populated now with Americans and local people.
That being said, it’s the perfect time to go to all the places I want to go and not have giant crowds. Off to the North I went. Nakijin was the castle in the northern kingdom Hokuzan in the time of three kingdoms. The other two were Chuzan and Nanzan. I have my annual Okinawan sakura (cherry blossom) viewing, but alas, this year I left it a little too late. A few blossoms hung around for me, perhaps awaiting my late arrival.
I also spent most of the day at a place I have been saving away like a little chestnut: Bise Fukugi Road. These trees have their origin in Philippines I believe, but have been used in the Ryukyus for hundreds of years as a windbreak. When I visited Kumejima, someone told me that farmers’ status was not high enough to allow them to have walls so they planted fukugi as a barrier to the wind. Very few people here as well…very wonderful to wander through the green canopies, raked-sand streets and breathe in that lovely sea air mixed with verdant trees everywhere.
I finished my outing with a stop off at my favorite soba restaurant in all of Okinawa. Nakamura is in Onna and normally on a Saturday afternoon, there would be no seat available. This day, sadly found very few people in the restaurant and an empty parking lot.
Although it was delightful to have the island to myself, the impact is taking its toll on Okinawa. I am hopeful that the restrictions and the virus itself will lessen and the businesses will be able to recover. When you’re able, get on a plane and come back to Okinawa.
By the way, many of these photos were taken with my new iPhone. Apple has stepped up their game considerably.