May 23, 2011

Okinawa- Part of Japan or not quite?

Not sure if this sounds strange, but Okinawa feels like home to me. The weather, the plants, the humidity, the Chinese influence in cuisine and architecture… All of these remind me of home. Home sweet home – Singapore.

Though Okinawa is part of Japan, somehow it feels like an overseas trip. Not only for me, it’s the same for my Japanese travelmate, too. Okinawa is unique, as it has Japanese culture infused with Chinese (close trade ties in the past) and Western (US army base) influence.

Lucky for us, throughout the Golden Week, only 3 days were without rain, and those 3 days coincided with our trip. (^_^) We only visited Naha, the main island, though, as it is a very tightly packed tour by JTB.

Strong Chinese influence

Shiri Jou 首里城 (Shiri Castle), which represents the 琉球 Ryuukyuu era, the era before Okinawa became part of Japan. Due to the close proximity to China, there is a strong Chinese influence in terms of architecture and cuisine.

First, the red buildings. Red is the lucky colour for Chinese, and the entire inner palace was painted in red, decorated with gold.

What surprised me further was the throne. Woah… it looks exactly like the Chinese throne!

Secondly, シーサー shisa. They look like stone lions to me, but some Japanese say they are half lions and half dogs. Mmm… Many of the households have shisa guarding their houses, too. They are not necessary in a pair though. I found some houses with just one, but a pair is more common.

Thirdly, soba. Okinawa soba tastes so much like our mee-kia. (@_@) 懐かしい! I simply love their stew pork too!

Do You Know?

The tour guide shared with us that for Okinawans, they have a common tombstone, whereby the entire family will be buried in (in the form of urns) after they passed on. Hence these mega tombstone (which looks like a stone hut, complete with roofs) cost as much as 300,000yen?! That is 10 times of a regular Japanese tombstone.


I notice that there are many Teppanyaki restaurants along 国際通り(kokusai touri). This is probably that first time I find teppanyaki restaurants in Japan. Wonder if teppanyaki originated from Okinawa?


How can we forget about Okinawa beaches? Though the weather was prone to cloudy rather than sunny at times, the blue-green sea waters never fail to bring smiles to us, tourists. The next time I visit Okinawa, I want to visit other islands, and explore the beaches. This time was more of a touch and go.


This is my favorite spot in Okinawa. I love the aquarium- 沖縄美ら海水族館 Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. We only had 2 hours to spend in there. :( If given a choice, I think I can spend at least half a day there, just sitting in front of the giant tank, and watching the huge fishes (sharks, stingrays, etc) swim by. It is very therapeutic.

Interesting I found A&W! I think A&W only have branches in Okinawa in the whole of Japan. We went searching for a branch along 国際通り (akin to Orchard Road in Singapore terms), but couldn't find any. (>_<) Finally we found a branch at the airport! My Japanese travelmate couldn't comprehend why I am so bent on locating an A&W branch though. :P Yummy curly fries and root beer float! Another interesting finding is knowing that this song by our Singaporean singer, 蔡淳佳's 陪你看日出 shares the same tune as an Okinawan song, 涙そうそう by 夏川りみ.
Totally same tune! :P

No comments: