We got a much earlier start today in order to cram as much in as possible and were pleased to find that, at least in the am hours, the sun was... well not shining per say, but it did appear to be somewhere behind the clouds, which for the moment were not producing any rain.
We left Ujji's, where we stayed for free on our second night and traveled south to the capital city Naha in order to see some famous castle ruins. Mainland Japan is covered in shrines and Okinawa is covered in ruins because the Battle of Okinawa in 1945 basically left the island completely destroyed. But I guess there were no hard feelings as they gladly accepted my 800 yen and let me explore the castle:
|Bringing this peace sign to Japan|
|The king's throne. Or the emperor's... High priest, maybe?|
|Views of Naha|
|This was the mascot they went for|
|Opted for the usual route through the castle|
I may be getting burned out of castles/temples/shrines. They're all beautiful and the grounds are often filled with great autumn colors reflected in placid ponds, but... you know... moving on.
I wish I could tell you something about the castle, like the history or anything significant about it, but the four of us were too engaged in talking about Friends to really pay much attention to anything else. I do know that at one point former President Clinton visited the castle, but I learned this from a postcard in the gift shop...
Our evening was spent in downtown Naha, a metropolis best compared as a mashup between Venice boardwalk, Bourbon Street and Little Tokyo. Shop after shop of "funny" T-shirts, candy, sake, souvenirs and sweets. And this guy:
And if you're wondering if I got you any souvenirs, then here's your answer:
I only bought 20 of each, so please claim dibs now and let me know which one you'd like. And also please take note of the price of each one. A coincidence?
People kept telling me that I had to enjoy the local cuisine in Okinawa. As a tropical island that was relatively cut-off from mainland influence for hundreds of years, Okinawans have developed a unique and healthy diet. We wandered the main drag until we finally would what we were looking for:
|Delicious Mexican food in Okinawa|
Post dinner we realized Skyfall had just been released in Japan and quickly hit the internet to find showtimes and locations. There were a few that cut it really close, so we picked the theater nearest to us, hoped in the car, and made a mad-dash for the theater. Aziz pointed out it was opening night, on a Saturday, for a highly anticipated film and that we were going to arrive 3 minutes before showtime, so they were probably sold out. I suggested what would be worse is if they only had three seats left.
Well tonight I learned that jinxing shit really is real, because when we arrived, they had two seats left. Fuck.
We spent a little time in the neighboring arcade before deciding to call it a night and head back to our hotel suite. What happened next is all a blur. I think we stopped at a grocery store and maybe a DVD shop, but I was in and our of consciousness as I'd had a total of 8 hours of sleep in Okinawa and was ready to just crash. I do know that when we finally made it to the room, I suggested we all put on our robes, but the only reason I know this is because we apparently snapped this photo: