Torii Beach, Kokusai Street & White Beach
Why?" might you ask, is this post named "96"? Well, when Marines get a day off it is referred to as a "72" i.e. the Marine has 72 hours of liberty. Therefore, a four day weekend is known as a "96". The more you know!
Anyway, for this July 4th 96 Ben and I set out on several different mini adventures. Our first stop was to Naha, Okinawa's largest city. We agreed that it was somewhat ridiculous how we still hadn't been there considering we live a mere 40ish minutes away. However, there didn't seem to be too much to do in Naha... So we settled on the ultra touristy "Kokusai Street." You know all those stores on the boardwalk that sell the same exact cheesy tourist gifts? Same exact situation on Kokusai street, but way more interesting because this is Japan after all!!!
Off of the main drag we discovered a covered street that appeared to be a marketplace. No lie, this street must've been at least a mile long and it had several other covered streets that tapered off of it. Oh, and did I mention we were the only other Americans there? We went from traipsing down largest tourist trap in Okinawa to suddenly having our most unique cultural experience to date. Our favorite part was definitely the fish market that was hidden in the depths of this place. There were tons of unusual, colorful fish displayed, as well as live lobsters that splashed us as we walked by! Needless to say, I left with fishy water all over my feet and my eyes wide open with amazement.
Next stop was to the White Beach Naval Base. This is home to the battleships (Ben says they aren't technically battleships, but I will continue to call them this) that both Marines and Sailors board for MEU deployments. We didn't come here for the ships though, our sights were set on the neighboring beach. Oddly enough, when we showed up there was no water at this particular spot. The tide was at its lowest and had drained almost all of the beach away. At this point in time it was approaching 90 degrees, so Ben and I were not amused. Luckily, we found a shady spot underneath of some boulders and foliage where we camped out until the tide came in. From now on I will definitely be checking the tide charts before we hit the beach!
On the fourth we decided to head up to the Army's beach. Food trucks, margaritas and our fellow American compatriots made for the best version of an American 4th of July in Okinawa.
The 4th of July had us really missing the United States and our family, but we were thankful to have had a great weekend overall! Until next time...
We're Kara, Ben and baby Zoe also known as the Lesniaks. We’re a Marine Corps family currently stationed in Yorktown, Virginia after a three year tour in Okinawa, Japan. Enjoy our adventures, travels, photos, thoughts, and life together!
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