Yomitan, Okinawa

I think we have interrupted the first stage shooting of a porn. Or perhaps they’re working for one of those websites with flashing banners that say “Asian brides are waiting for you!”  There’s one photographer with a long lens, and one assistant covered from head to toe in airy clothes, holding up one of those silver reflector things. The young, lithe Japanese girl in a bikini with long, flowing black hair and a winning smile has been bouncing on an inflatable tube for the good part of 20 minutes. It looks a bit absurd — she’s straddling it like a horse and bouncing in the sand. (Because that’s a completely natural thing to do, right? I mean, I do that on the beach whenever I have the opportunity.) But sarcasm aside, I wonder how many thousands of high speed shots you need to take of bouncing titties before you get the absolute perfect picture of bouncing titties?

“How long do you think they’re going to make that girl bounce on that thing?” I ask my husband, as we float in the water.

“Hmm?” he replies, his eyes glued to the action. “Yeah… I think so,” he replies, oblivious to what I’ve said. I roll my eyes.

There are lots and lots of beaches in Okinawa, but most of them are public beaches which are run by the government, meaning they have washrooms, lifeguards and the like. But this tiny stretch of sand in Yomitan, accessible by a little foot path from the road, is mostly deserted. And I suppose the perfect place to take pictures of girls straddling plastic beach toys.

The water is gorgeous and clean and turquoise. Like all water in Okinawa. We’ve been here so many times and I’m still amazed by its natural beauty.

(You’re still thinking about bouncing titties, aren’t you? It’s not your fault — it’s a very vivid image to start off a blog post with, I admit. And who really cares about how blue the water is when a Hot Japanese Girl Wants To Meet You Tonight!  Well, I may as well show you the picture. My husband took the picture. ‘For the blog’, he claimed.)

DSCN5856

We were staying nearby at a lovely apart-hotel called Morimar Resort, about an hour’s drive from the airport, on the west coast of Okinawa. And what a luxury to have a two bedroom apartment with a kitchen and living room, instead of a normal hotel room! Not to mention the huge balcony overlooking the sea and ocean views from the bath tub. A cold beer at sunset never tasted so good.

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Good morning Okinawa!
yom2
Going down to the beach

Right in front of the hotel is a small reef and at low tide you can walk along the rock pools and see shrimp, crabs, star fish, sea cucumbers, and other sea creatures. I went snorkeling at a nearby pier and saw the invasive species, the lion fish. There were lots of surfers around and a few SUPs too.

yom3
We dubbed this the ‘pool of love’ because it looks a bit like a heart

There’s no doubt, Okinawa is a paradise. But just below its incredible pristine beauty lies the dark shadow of a tragic history. Only five minutes away from our gorgeous hotel, where my darling two-year-old  splashed in the water and picked up hermit crabs, there is a chilling historical site called Chibichiri Gama (Cave) where dozens of people committed suicide during the Battle of Okinawa.

During WWII, Okinawa took a brutal beating, and an incredible third of the population was killed. During the fierce Battle of Okinawa, some of the villagers of Yomitan hid in the Chibichiri Cave. But one day, surrounded by Allied Forces on one side and Japanese military on the other, they took the drastic step to kill themselves, and their own children, rather than surrender and possibly be tortured, raped or killed by the invaders.

Entrance to the cave - you are not allowed to enter because it still is a grave and it is disrespectful to walk over the remaining fragments of bone and so on.
Entrance to the cave – you are not allowed to enter because it still has  fragments from the bodies of the victims.

It is hard to imagine that such awful things took place in such a beautiful, peaceful, lovely place. Let’s hope that such atrocities do not happen to the people of Okinawa again.

Other than the cave, one of the other things that Yomitan is known for is its pottery village. We took a quick look but like most handmade things in Japan, the prices were a bit too steep. We did like seeing the shisa being made.

Pre-paint
Pre-paint

To be honest though, the best part of the trip was just soaking in the sea like I used to do in T&T every weekend. I’ve really missed it. We do not swim in Hong Kong because the water is too polluted. But being on the beach and jumping in the waves really rekindled that feeling of joy I always get in the ocean. Joy might seem like a strong word but it’s true, it makes me feel so alive, so free.

Because Trini girls need the beach
Because Trini girls need the beach

On our last day, we were treated to the most incredible sunset. And I said, for the ten millionth time to my husband, ‘Oh sweetheart, can’t we just live here? Can’t we just stay?’  One of these days we’ll really have to go through with it, because Okinawa has become my happy place.

Doesn't get much better than this
Doesn’t get much better than this

I can’t begin to tell you how depressed I was to leave . We left the clear blue skies and turquoise seas behind, and when the plane descended into a thick layer of industrial pollution and landed back in Hong Kong, instantly my happy vibe was gone. Sigh.

But it’s okay! Because….. we’re off to Okinawa again, next month. Yes, again. No, we never get sick of the place. Never.

And maybe, just maybe, this time we won’t come back!

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One Reply to “Yomitan, Okinawa”

  1. What happened to the people of Okinawa is so tragic, I can’t believe they still have fragments of victims in the cave. Wow, but I love history so this was such a lovely read and beautifully captured images too.

    I can imagine how getting yourself back into the ocean must feel. PURE BLISS !!

    Enjoy the rest of your trip !!
    xx

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