Friday, March 25, 2011

Mom & Dad Visit Okinawa - Part I

First of all, I'm guest-blogging today about Extreme People-Watching over at Whipped Cream Reviews. Go have a look!!

Done reading it? Left a comment questioning my sanity? Awesome. Moving right along...

Before we came to Okinawa, a lot of people told us this place was a dump, was completely westernized, and there was nothing to do. We'd be bored stupid and climbing the walls, ready to leave, etc.

Um...bullshit. Never is that more apparent than when someone comes to visit. This week, my folks are in town. Say hi to my parents, loyal blog minions:
They're standing beside the bell at Shuri Castle, one of the many places we've gone this week. The thing is, there is SO MUCH to do and see on this island, we've been running my parents RAGGED.

Their flight came in late in the evening, so they had the first night to adjust to the time zone, sleep off the billion hours of flying, and be ready for the fun and shenanigans to begin the next morning. First stop: Katsuren Castle.
Then there was White Beach, a couple of restaurants, and our apartment. The next day, we dashed southward for some shopping, the Himeyuri Peace Memorial, and a couple of wind turbines. Oh, and Okinawa World, where we wandered through the cave:
Eddie, muttering something about "Preeccioussssss..."
Eddie, ruining a staring bird's photo, and the staring bird expressing his displeasure at this scenario:
Before they could fully recover from that adventure, we hauled ass to the north for a visit to the butterfly farm...
...and the aquarium. An aspiring supermodel, ready for his close-up:
Screw Disneyland. THIS is the Happiest Place on Earth:
Then, there was the Nago Pineapple Park and the Fruit Park.
OMG, You Guys. Seriously. Pineapple wine, pineapple on a stick, pineapple juice, pineapple tarts, pineapple cookies, pineapple white chocolate, pineapple cake. It was a pineapple explosion, and I was in HEAVEN.

Assuming heaven has automated golf carts with pineapples on top, anyway:
They also gave us little cups of what I assume was sugar water, and birds landed on us so they could dine lavishly on said sugar water:
Then it was a somewhat more somber visit to the underground Japanese Naval Headquarters. Pretty much anything involving the Battle of Okinawa is rather jarring and solemn, and this was no exception.
The tunnels alone were pretty eerie:
I mean, people were LIVING down here. By the hundreds, if not over 1,000 at a time.
Then you come across a room like this, which has pockmarks all over the wall:
Those pockmarks are from people using grenades to commit suicide after the battle was lost. It was unreal.

After that, it was time for something a bit more fun, so we went over to Shuri Castle:
By this point, everyone's exhausted, but we're having fun and there's still so much left to see, so we can't stop now! Stay tuned for pictures from Nakagusuku Castle, Kokusai Street, and a few beaches.

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