Along the Natchez Trace

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Okinawa, Japan

Bill spent a few months in Okinawa...  in the early 1960's...  compliments of the US gov't.
Our visit was only for a couple of days and wasn't quite as "regulated" as his was back then.  However, even now, stopping in some of these Asian countries can get quite complicated.  We had to turn in our passports to the cruise ship office.  They issued us a photo copy of our passports, shown above, which when we left the ship to do our sightseeing, there were customs and immigration offices where we presented these photocopies and the officers stamped them.  We had to turn these papers in as we boarded the ship for our final time at that port.  Our passports do have stamps from all these countries we visited, but some processes were rather interesting.  In some ports, that county's military had set up tables that everyone had to file past... with passport in hand...  and an "eye-to-eye" contact was made.  No photos, of course...  also, no smiles or friendly faces.  

Back to Okinawa...
Another city with lots of big buildings...  lots of traffic and lots of people.  

Motorcycles and buses and taxis were the major kinds of transportation...
Every possible space was utilized to park motorcycles.  At every traffic light there would be a huge crowd of cyclists waiting for the light to change.

Often signs would be in both Japanese and English.  And look at the left side of the photo...  a 7-Eleven store.  Not only are McDonalds, KFC, and other fast foods there, but convenience stores like 7-Eleven and Lawson's were all over the place.

I love how often we'd see "green space" in the most unusual places...
While nothing you could stroll through or anything like that, isn't this a unique way to create some greenery on a downtown building?  Notice, too, the signs...  shops you'll find in the USA...  and signs in both languages.

Street vendors were packed in along the storefronts and sidewalks often making it difficult just to maneuver your way through the crowds.  There were lots of clothing stores, souvenir shops and many, many kinds of foods available.  A lot of the food is prepared right on the sidewalk...  the women in the upper right are cutting up what looked like cabbage.  Deep fryers were bubbling in lots of stalls, lots of rotisseries with meat rotating slowly...  there were complete meals, a quick snack, something sweet, fresh fruits....  you name it!  Since I'm finally over whatever stomach ailment I got in Costa Rica earlier this year, we passed up all the street vendors in this area despite the fact that some of that stuff looked delicious.

Of course watching people is a favorite pastime of ours...
Aren't folks interesting?
Whether they're busy at work, checking out the available foods or just strolling along I love catching them on camera.  The little girl in the middle photo was so sweet...  she would toddle over to me, then head back to mama....  we flirted with each other for quite a while.

Always on the lookout for birds, we saw these in the bay...
While the wings kind of remind me of our turkey vultures, these guys had habits more like an osprey...  they would soar... and hover... overhead ..  then dive into the water for fish or some other kind of food.  I never did get a decent photo of one....  but good enough that I can probably ID them later.

We found a drug store and checked out what they had to offer.  Many US brands were available.  
This toothpaste display has all kinds of brands.  
We wandered through several of the aisles and it looked to me like drug stores are pretty much the same all over...  first aid supplies, head ache remedies, etc.  Guess we all have more in common than we sometimes realize.

Eventually we headed back to the ship.
Celebrity Millenium

I asked Bill if anything had looked familiar... 
Heck no...  that was 50 years ago...   his plane landed on base.... and he never left the base in the time he was here.  A different time and a different life....

That's All For Today!


  1. Your toddler is a sweetie.
    I cannot imagine living in such a press of people.

  2. Huge cities and crowds of people, not really something we would really enjoy I don't think.
    But thanks for the great pictures and taking us along with you.

  3. I enjoyed seeing all these photos. It's another place that I'll likely never get to see in person.

  4. I'm always surprised when we go to another country and they have the same fast food joints we have. Seems like KFC is all over the world!

  5. Thanks for the great walking tour. It's fascinating the different approaches to security/passport control around the world. (Ugh! KFC! Here, too!)

  6. All the pictures are great! However, the food ones are the best!