When we first arrived in Okinawa, we heard someone mention that this island was known as "the Hawaii of Japan". Since we live in the southern, more urban part of the island it can sometimes be difficult to understand why it warrants such a nickname. However, 5 weeks later our minds were blown away at the uncanny resemblance when we took a day trip up to Cape Hedo. This is the most northern part of the island, where the Pacific Ocean meets the East China Sea. It is known for its scuba diving spots (although the current is unpredictable and strong), various monuments, and the most breathtaking views atop an enormous cliff. I can honestly say that this was the most beautiful place I have ever been too. My jaw was legitimately dropped the entire time (as a lifetime resident of Pennsylvania though, can you really blame me?) Even the high heat, oppressive humidity, and the tomato red sunburn I got on my shoulders couldn't dampen this incredible site. Highlights include dangerous climbing on the cliffs, dangerous climbing down deep into the rocks crevasses, and dangerous gale force winds... Ya know, family friendly fun 😳. I am just thankful that we, or more importantly one of our phones, weren't blown off of the edge!!
To celebrate Kitsune's adoption officially going through after a two week trial period, I've complied a collection of his cutest/strangest sleeping poses (trust me, they're worth a peek). Although we joke and play that our little Kitsune cat is somewhat defective and a wee bit odd, we love our littlest family member more than words could ever describe. I can't deny though that I'm extremely jealous I'll never be as comfortable as this cat is....
After four weeks of discussing and dreaming about exploring northern Okinawa, our opportunity finally arose when our friends suggested we visit Sea Glass Beach. Less than an hours drive on the expressway towards our destination brought us extremely close to the top part of Okinawa.. A shocking reminder how small this island actually is. When we finally approached Sea Glass we travelled on a one-lane gravel road which honestly gave us the impression that we were trespassing- not a totally unusual feeling here considering the typical nature of Okinawan back roads.
Our most recent trip here in Oki was to Okinawa's very own "American Village." It's an extremely popular tourist attraction on the island (especially to Chinese visitors) and it consists of a variety of stores, eating establishments, and an enormous Ferris wheel. I couldn't decide if this place felt more like the Jersey Shore Boardwalk, Universal Studios/Disney or straight up Havana, Cuba. Regardless of it's architectural style, American Village as a whole is quite beautiful and consists of some very impressive and well-done storefronts. My favorite part about this place could be the rap music circa 2006 that Okinawans frequently play in establishments all across the island. Apparently, to many Okinawans this is the most "American" music which means it's automatically super trendy and cool (lol). I can't deny though that I really enjoy listening to Chris Brown throwbacks on the reg. While at American Village we decided to grab some Thai food which photographed a little better than it tasted!
After a night of revelry and heavy margarita drinking, hiking around an ancient castle in the high humidity was an odd choice to spend our hungover Sunday. Nonetheless, our spirits were high because this was my, Ben, and our friend Kevin's first true adventure in Okinawa. After a quick ten minute drive we had arrived at Nakagusuku Castle, although from where we parked the castle was no where to be found. After a bit of confusion (the language barrier never gets easier) we were directed to a pathway which eventually led us up to a steep staircase and onto a grassy knoll. Words nor pictures could ever do the scene we came upon justice. We had a 360 degree view of Okinawa which consisted of the Pacific Ocean to our left and the East China Sea to our right. We were already amazed and we hadn't even reached the castle yet. Another windy, treacherous, rocky path (sandals were an awful decision) finally lead us to the castle. The pictures can tell you more about the sights than I can. A little history about Nakagusuku though for those of you who might be curious. The castle was originally built around 1440 for the Ryukyu Kingdom and was in use until 1611. It was added to the UNESCO World Heritage site list in 2000 and is a shining example of traditional Okinawan architecture. Nakagusuku Castle is undoubtedly beautiful and gave me an other-worldly feel, another weekend well spent in Okinawa!
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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