Friday, 27 September 2013


I awoke after two hours sleep feeling as though I was in the fires of hell. Going back to sleep was impossible, so I took to wandering the island again in search of shade.

In the afternoon Jamestown and I checked out the other main beach on the island.

It is known for it’s snorkelling, which was pretty great. The coral was really close to shore, so it was easy for children and less confident swimmers to go out to see the fish. Unfortunately, the effect of tourism was fairly evident. A number of times I saw people stepping or jumping off the coral (many of whom were wearing heavy shoes such as runners). It was also very obvious from the behaviour of the fish that they were very used to being fed by people; they showed little fear of humans, and would even come and bite at your hands or feet. Although to an extent it was fun to swim in what felt more like an aquarium than an actual natural environment, I can’t deny that I found it fairly distressing to see how greatly destroyed this entire ecosystem was. I guess it is somewhat hypocritical for me to make these complaints, when (despite my attempts to do so as unobtrusively as possible) by participating in the invasion of this area I too was contributing to its damage. Perhaps it was best that I was doing so in an area already doomed, I don’t know.

Onto happier things! We had also rented bicycles at this stage.

We rode them up to a lookout that was supposed to be spectacular for an island sunset.

We were not disappointed.

I took far too many pictures, but it felt as though every time I blinked there was another colour, or shade that in my folly I attempted to capture.

After the traumatic lack of sleep the night before, we were unwilling to take the same risk, so abandoned our tents and dragged our mats onto the beach. Despite waking a couple of times in the night fearing attack from bears, it was a brilliant idea, not only providing a superior night’s sleep, but also allowing the pleasure of waking up to this.

After departing from Zamami we had one more (very odd) night in Naha, before leaving Okinawa. Thus ends my dose of the beach for the summer! Six more months!

Tuesday, 3 September 2013


In our evenings in Naha, we had found our home at a Canadian pub called ‘The Eager Beaver’, and had befriended the bartender there called Sophie (I'm not sure she knew we were pals, but I like to think the love was mutual). Thanks to her, we got some good advice on places to go and things to see in Okinawa. One of her best pieces of advice was to get out of Naha. Naha is fun enough and there’s a cool vibe there, but really it is relatively small and the beaches are nothing to write home about (especially when home is Sydney, am I right?). Therefore, we packed up essentials and took to the sea.

Soph recommended we head to Zamami, a small island about two hours by ferry from Naha, and camp there. We readily obeyed. When we got there, it was the middle of the day and absolutely sweltering, but we nonetheless headed for the campsite, rented equipment and set up tents. Pick which tent belongs to the retired girl guide and which belongs to Zhang. 

Zamami was stunning.

Unfortunately, by this stage I was already extremely burnt. Slightly overconfidently, I had thought the sun could not possibly be stronger than in Australia so was a little lax in my sunscreen application. We therefore spent much of the day seeking shade, with interludes of snorkelling and exploring our island surroundings.

In the evening, we hit the town (it really was a town) and went on an izakaya crawl. My favourite was the one featuring a karaoke system, where James and I took song requests from one particularly boisterous Japanese man.

Heading back to the campsite was the first time since being in Japan I had really been able to see stars in Japan. I guess there is just so much light pollution here since there are so many massive cities in such a relatively small land mass. However, the sky from Zamami was utterly different. In the beginning I tried counting the number of shooting stars I saw, but after getting to around thirty I gave up counting.

By this point it was pretty late, and we had big plans to go out snorkelling at the break of dawn to try to spot some sea turtles. Concerned that we might not be able to wake up after only a couple of hours sleep, we headed straight for the beach to wait for the sun to rise.

It took patience and a little guidance from a friendly Japanese passerby, but we managed to find the sea turtle! It was an amazing creature to observe, I actually took a few photos with my underwater camera, but Bec didn’t bring the cables over to connect the camera to my computer, so I can’t upload them. I feel as though I could have followed the sea turtle for hours, but by this point the sun was already getting warm, and the lack of sleep was catching up with me, so I called it quits.

Friday, 30 August 2013


For anyone who has as long in Japan to travel as I have, I would say you are missing out if you don’t head over to Okinawa. You can get ultra cheap flights with Jetstar and it’s only a couple of hours’ flight. In those two hours, you go from being in mountainous Honshu to what seems more like Fiji. The day after my last exam I ditched Gifu, hopped on a plane with my pal Jamesie and headed to the summer by the sea I had been longing for (see here). There was a little drama, with me going to the wrong airport (the airport system here makes no sense), but we got our flight, so really it was no big deal.

The first couple of days we stayed in Naha, revelling in our proximity to the beach by day and hanging out at bars at night. 

I won jenga. And darts. Seeing as there is not all that much to do in Naha itself, we took a trip out to the American Village.

Assumedly due to the number of Americans in Okinawa because of the U.S. military base there, the American Village was created to cater to their entertainment needs. Filled with everything imaginable (cinema, shops, bowling, beach, bars, restaurants), it remains a rather odd place. Despite its name, it very much felt more like an American themed park in Japan than something truly American. 

It was, however, a nice spot to watch the sun go down.