Monday, June 14, 2010

Something I can't get my head around.

Lately, I've been spending a lot of time writing at the beach, in restaurants, malls, etc. Sometimes I just go driving because it clears my head and helps me focus. It also means I've gotten out of the house a bit more, because I've had the car available to me while Eddie's at work (yay!).

Now, I work a lot of hours. Upwards of 12-16 some days, at least 5 days a week. But when Eddie is off work, we make a point of getting out and exploring the island. After all, we're here for three years, we'd damn well better enjoy it.

Ever since we arrived, though, I've noticed one thing that has remained consistent: Drive 45 minutes away from the major bases, in any Americans.

Castles? None.

Beaches? Nope.

Shopping centers? Empty.

Museums? Historical sites? Shops? Restaurants? Parks? Nada.

What the fuck, Americans? Seriously. I don't get it. The other day, I was out for about eight hours. Drove up the coast, stopped at a gorgeous resort on Kouri Island to write for a while, then went up to Cape Hedo.

I saw maybe half a dozen Americans the whole time. Two of them were friends of mine who I, through some strangely well-timed coincidence, ran into at Cape Hedo, which is about 90 km from here. The following day, those friends and I went to a beach about 5 km from the house. A beach which was fairly well-populated, but there was only one group of Americans besides us. All day. On a beautiful Sunday afternoon.

When I went to the resort on Kouri Island, the absence of Americans was so conspicuous, I was actually getting puzzled looks from the locals. Not hostile or anything, just "WTH is she doing here?"

My fellow Americans: Where the fuck are you???

You're stationed on this gorgeous island, surrounded by some of the most stunning scenery, history ranging from the time of the samurai to World War II, with incredible food and white sand beaches. WHY THE HELL DO YOU ALL STAY ON BASE ALL THE TIME???

Yes, I know, I spend a lot of time on base as well, but I also get away from it as much as possible. And aside from the aquarium, American Village (which is the single most westernized place on the island, and is walking distance from Kadena), and Gate 2 Street (where all the bars are located), I never see anyone out and about. Weekends, weekdays, sunny days, rainy days...everyone stays near the base instead of going out to all the cool stuff that is waiting to be explored.

I honestly have to wonder how many of the people who bitch about Okinawa being a shithole are the ones who never venture beyond the bases. Staying on or around base is boring. Okinawa is not.

Public Service Announcement:
There is more to Okinawa
than American Village and Gate 2 Street.

That is all.

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