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When a friend of mine and I went to Ryukyu Mura, I found myself photographing people. And that exactly what separates Ryukyu Mura from Okinawa World. Both centralizes everything that describes Okinawa. Although, it is here in Ryukyu Mura that you can get the very sense of how it was yesteryears ago because of the people who are roaming around this place.
I love its historic Ryukyu setting and the fact that it welcomes you to most of Okinawa’s traditional culture. You can expect plenty of Okinawan signature sights such Habu snake wine, shisa, pottery, houses and buildings of 200 years old, kimonos, tug-of-war rope, kijimuna, wish paper, banyan trees, and many more. Just things I have alreay introduced to you if you have been following my adventures here.
Ryukyu Mura literally has a cast who are casually doing daily chores, portraying arts and crafts, and performancing cultural music and dances for the Ryukyu Royal court.
Enter my most favorite in Okinawa, EISA…
I had plenty of chances of seeing Eisa performances. I will never get tired of it. Unlike Okinawa World, photography is allowed.
Sanshin is also playing in the background. Sanshin literally means three strings, and it is often associated with banjo. It is another strictly Okinawan part of culture. Ryukyu Mura also showcases the music of hyosigi, which are clappers that are made of bamboo or hardwood. Altogether, they perform it in front of the Ryukyu royalties.
Dynamic performances, feast of the eyes clothings and captivating cultural music, I think I’d be fine either way – the king who watches these performances or the excellent performers who entertain the king.
So if you have a limited time here in Okinawa, why not witness the different Ryukyuan dance and music and capture traditional Okinawa in one general location. Make Ryukyu Mura your one-stop area orientation.
A relatively recent blog I followed, it didn’t take me a long time to admire this blog. Loving it is so easy. I really like that Shelly @ Travel Stained talks about travel expenses on her blog. Writing excellency and professional photography await your visit there.
There are places you go to for a cultural immersion; to exercise or mesh with traditions. There are places you go to for an adventure, random or not. To a far distance or just around the corner. There are places you go for an event. So many places you go to for fun, or whatever it is your heart desires. Some arequiet; a nature wandering or a beach walk perhaps. Some are spectacular. You go to some places for some or for solely for the experience, familiar and foreign or unique. And there are these places you go to that are simply significant that you can’t just let it pass.
I am halfway through my stay here in Okinawa, Japan. When a false alarm that my stay here may cut short, I immediately dragged a friend so I can hit this historically important place.
I have walked through these grounds. I have entered the rooms and passageways where the royalties and its citizenry once were. I was admiring the majesty of the castle – the architechtural designs, its garden, the gate entrances, down to the courtyard and up to the intricate roofs and displays. I relished in the priviledge of setting foot in its court that were used for gatherings and where its troops practiced and performed Karate, the martial arts the whole world knows about. I have touched its walls that protected the Kingdom of Ryukyu.
Visiting Shurijo Castle is for its signifance. Tangibly, it’s purely sightseeing. Spiritually, it is a lot of things.
The castle’s history is the Ryukyu Kingdom’s history itself.
And for these mere reasons that I wanted to visit this place. That I just couldn’t leave Okinawa without seeing it. I feel more connected with the island much more than ever. I have been to the very soul of Ryukyu Islands, the birthplace of Karate, and what is now called Okinawa.
It may not be as eventful but the satisfaction of visiting Shuri Castle lies for its historical and cultural significance.
For more of details about Shuri Castle.
I don’t know about you, but Old Woman On A Bicycle sure is a catchy blog title. Wait until you get to meet this woman behind the wheels, Gayle Alstrom, and see her keep on rolling.
No, I’m not complaining. I am actually very very lucky with the weather when I travel. *Knock on wood* You see me and the weather god have a deal going on. He won’t turn on the sky’s shower. As a return, I have to share to the world the beautiful sights I see unless he interferes my ganders with bad weather.
Weather is such a worthy adversary when it comes to traveling. I hate waking up hearing that there’s rain outside that will ruin my travel plans. Great thing though that whenever I’m already out, the weather god is most of the time very cooperative with me.
But of course, even the weather god is not perfect. There are some minor hiccups.
First, I wanted to see Morro Bay Rock in a clear day…
But instead, I saw it as this …
Good thing the tree was there to help me out get a decent capture.
Fog was also covering most of the coastline that it was hard for me to appreciate it and take pictures of it. It was hard for me as well to drive California 1 as it was blocking my view. Tsk Tsk Tsk..
Some area I was still able to get a clear view…
Second… When I toured the inside of Santa Barbara Mission, initially the weather was not bad at all…
It started drizzling. You can see the ground is now wet. You can also see christmas trees on the door. I continued gazing around but stopped taking picture ’cause don’t want my camera to get wet. I didn’t get to take a picture of the little fountain and the church together.
You can read some more about Santa Barbara from my great blogging friend Debra – here. She very knowledgeable of the different missions in California.
This one is partly my fault. The hike sources clearly stated that the waterfall is usually dry and that it’s better to view after the rain. Feeling lucky and dependent of the weather god :D, I decided to hike Nojoqui Falls in Solvang anyway. You know how it turns out…
Urgh! Can you imagine that with water actually falling down!? Urgh!
So when was the time that a bad weather ruined your trip?
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I never look at the weather report whenever I’m about to travel. I basically let the chips fall where they may be, or just hope to weather god it’s rain that is falling. Since he didn’t live up to the deal on these particular days, I am, in turn, still sharing the pictures.
Halloween Extra Post:
This is from the floor of the building I stay in here in Japan. I don’t believe in ghost because I never saw one before (Duh, it’s a ghost). You can question the validity of this video but…
For one, it’s such a short and unclear appearance that if it was a made up video why not make it longer and clearer. Second, they really do keep the camera up and running there. Third, well this ine is not a “but” statement, behind the door is a mechanical door and next to it is a laundry room that it might just be some smoke coming out of the vent…
Though, you will see a thin smoke-like something that is moving. Then, you will see a footstep on the floor as if it is entering the door, and it will disappear…. Ooooh ….
Throwback pic… This next ghost happened to appear on the camera. I guess it wanted to eat the food we left on the floor.
It is soooo not me.
Unlike me, hermitsdoor managed to get clear shots of Morro Bay. Follow him to his adventures. Be amazed by his words and poetry. Get your mind running by good conversations and your eyes pleased by his photographs.
We took advantage to a rare opportunity for us when we got handed a key to a vehicle. We then left it up to faith to take the wheel. Stopping at wherever the road takes us, the joyride sent us to some of the most exciting and rare finds in Okinawa. Our adventures here. We continued more going up until we decided to go the northernmost point of Okinawa. The signs read Cape Hedo. We confirmed it on the map. And off, we jumped into the unknown.
A forewarning, you might find this transition morbid and grim.
There was this cave where civilians went into hiding during the Battle of Okinawa which was part of World War II. When the war was over, Americans asked the Japanese civilians to come out of the cave to rescue them and they let them know that they will be treated well. Well, the civilians were scared of being killed or sexually violated as they had witnessed the aggressors had done. The little women asked their parents to execute them rather than their fear of being raped. The parents killed their children then they killed themselves. A tally of 83 people died from those harrowing moments. Some still stayed in the cave days after the others because they still didn’t want to come out because of uncertainty, or out of humility.
Today, Japanese will tell you that the bombing of Pearl Harbor is the most humilitating part of history they wish to never happen again.
I don’t mean to correlate the horrid past from the adventure. I just want to address something. Japanese people are the nicest group of people. I experienced and proved that recently when someone chased me up to when I was going down the stairs just to return back the money I overpaid. Coming here on the island, we were warned not to worry about our belongings if we left it inside a taxi. They will go out of their way to bring it back. And they really are just very well-mannered people. These are things I just don’t expect in other countries or areas I’ve ever been to.
Jumping into the unknown is a balancing act. There is a very fine line between risk and its management and the end result and the adventure while achieving it. I, myself, am always double-thinking, always hesitant, or I would always have to know something first before I do it. As I deeply contemplated about it, I don’t see any difference from the people who took their own lives as compared to those who survived. Both of them weighed their choices.
Consider your options. Feed your curiousity as it will creep, and potentially eat you. Know your limit, seek your point of view, and assess where you at. You follow your gut. And you just go with it. That’s what we all just have to do. What follows is uncertainty.
There’s beauty in uncertainty.
Here’s to a very brave woman who went out her ways to find her grandparent’s past. She went all the way to Italy. Not only that, she only went off a hunch, of faith and trust to people in that foreign country whom she never personally met before. Follow her story here.
This was not meant to be … at all.
None of us expected that we were going to be able to do this nor even planned it, granted that none of us have our own personal vehicle. We signed up for a trip that our work set up, but only 5 of us showed up that a bus would mean excessive. And so they gave us the business van with only a promise of returning it back in good condition. No distance limit nor a curfew. You know how that sounded to us?
I’m so glad only five showed up. My previous post is high on testosterone level. This weekend, however, I could not complain as I find myself suddenly surrounded with lovely ladies.
I completely understimated their urge to travel. They were adamant to push on, to get into an adventure, and seize the day when this rare opportunity presented itself. I commend their will and energy.
We didn’t go to the supposedly trip that we initially signed up for. Instead, we decided to let faith takes the wheel.
We drove the west coast side of Okinawa stopping at … wherever.
We saw a lighthouse.
We ate Japanese treats without paying. There is this store that is kind of like a Costco where you can try to taste what they are selling. We tried a lot of it. I, for one, was full after I stepped out of the store. Ow, I bought an edible shisa. Now, my mouth will shoo away evil from my body. We also spotted a giant shisa.
The one to left is the edible one, not the one to the right.
Then we went to Zanpa Beach where we had so much fun getting our bodies slapped around by a jet ski.
I was a like a kid in a theme park exclaiming I want to go back there and do it again! Amazing how people pay to get dragged around and get splashed with jetting water. We laughed all the way. We had to hold on while we move left and right at enough high rate else we get thrown off the water. It was such a thrill to ride it. It was like a rollercoaster in the water.
We ate, and then we ate some more. For lunch… Yakiniku.
Yakiniku buffet is a style of dining where they bring you the raw meat and you heat it up right there on the table. It sounds like work, but it worked out well as none of us had cooked for two month straight. And if anything, it’s the experience that counts.
Two of the ladies were squirmish having the small octopus in their mouth.
They were down to anything the day brings. And I was so surprised by it. Though time was restricting, we still continued our joyride to the northernmost end of Okinawa.
Here’s the sneak peek…
I’ll expand about Cape Hedo on the next post.
More sights during the ride… Japanese sign on the road, Malibu Hills and huh? Okinawa Hollywood with a Statue of Liberty.
It was a completely spontaneous journey for all of us. We didn’t wake up and thought that this is what we were going to do. Let alone, we didn’t think that we were able to do this. We were lucky to get a ride. They’re enthusiastic, energetic and generally just fun to be with. And with completely random plans and our added adventurer attitude, this really is a bomb joyride.
Adventure? Here’s to a relatively new blog I follow..
Meet two more adventurer types, John and Pam Wright of Oh, the Places They Go!. Together they bike, paddle, hike, climb, and even enter a tunnel. Follow their motor home that takes you to the most beautiful landscapes, exciting journeys and excellent views along the way.
Before the main event of actually pulling the giant rope, there were plenty of festival activities that went on. It made the wait more bearable for us attendees. Me and my friend, Joshua, wandered around where the festival members staged at to chill, eat, drink, fix their customes, and prepare themselves before the actual event begins.
Luckily, the ones we hang out with have extra pastime shenanigans for us to witness – the passing of the bottle of wine.
This was not new to me. I had seen a simlar one before during a Greek Festival in Ventura, California. I was surprised to see it again here in Japan. People around the circle sing and chant. The person with the bottle dances, drinks from the bottle and passes it onto the next one.
Now, the very fun part is when my friend got invited to be in the center to drink it.
This guy did a little exhibition.
They also sang, made jokes and danced some more. Up until the magic begins …
The city festival representatives paraded in the streets with children raising flags, playing music, and the men holding on to their hatagashira, a pole with their specific banner on top of it.
Holding on to that pole is no easy task. Those men displayed strength and resilience carrying that heavy pole. There were times that the poles tilted down to almost dropping. Part of the whole presentation is to see which city district stablizes their banner the best.
There’s also a karate demonstration at the center of the event.
Then everyone’s favorite – the bringing of the Ryukyu kings assimilating the battle between East and West.
They met in the middle, act like they were fighting, and returned back to the rear.
This ended all the presentations and started the pulling of the giant rope…
Click here for The Pulling of the Rope.
Naha’s Tug-of-War is not just about the rope itself. It truly is a myriad of colors, fun and excitement, sportsmanship and overall exhibit of culture and tradition. An absolutely event sure not to be missed if you happened to come to this island in the month of October. I took a piece of this event with me.
I was speaking literally. I really came prepared bringing a knife, and I cut a piece of the rope to take home with me. These ladies were happy to get their piece as well.
I love the contrast on this image of a girl looking up to one of the banner poles (hatagashira), which I think says a lot about traveling and it captures the essence of coming into a cultural event…
Surely an unmissable experience, Naha’s Great Tug-of-War easily goes down as the best event in my book.
104. Wandering Cha will take you to the beauty and heart of the Philippines. Check out events, ziplining, diving, children laughing, hiking, everyday fishermen and farmers, and people she met along the way. This blogger is a legit traveller, as well as an eloquent travel writer. She even manages to get the most fun even when she travels solo. Be amazed with her photography. She captures the magnificent views of Philippines, and portaits the infectuous smiles and captiving eyes of the locals.
Gyokusendo Cave, from my 2 previous posts, was highly mentioned as a travel suggestion during our orientation here in Okinawa. It says that it is in Okinawa World. Given I don’t fully research about the places I go to, I really wondered so much as why they call it “Okinawa World”, and why in the Okinawa World the cave is doing there.
Luckily Okinawa World is not a theme park as I thought it sounded to be, neither a news channel. Little did I know (I’m too slow to catch it.) that Okinawa World encompasses most of what you need to know about Okinawa living. That being said, in well under a month, i got me a pretty good gist of what it’s like here in this little piece of Japanese land. No book nor Powerpoint presentation can offer that kind of knowledge in one presence than being in Okinawa World.
My favorite interest is the Shisa. It is a cross between a lion and a dog. Most houses and businesses display this pair outside. The one with a closed mouth, always left side, is to keep good spirits in. The one with an open mouth, right, is to shoo away bad spirits. The one below…
….. just smiling stuff toys, perhaps to mock whatever kind of spirit.
Above: Old houses, hanging wishes, food that day, open-mouth Shisa and Habu snake.
They also have a glass blowing and shisa making tutorials.
We each made our glass purchases. We all also tried wearing Kimonos which was so cool. We also wrapped wrapped ourselves to a very large snake. Like I previously said, it was a bucketlist galore when we were there in Okinawa World. We also tried Habushu or Habu Sake or snake wine. They also have Eisa performance, but photography was not allowed. You can visit my previous post here.
They said a swig of this snake liquor can easily knock you out, an instant sleeping pill. A bite from the snake can actually lead to many side effects including death as Habu snakes are venomous.
Extra more: Banyan tree, paper wishes, shisa on a roof, glass blowing
What is Gyokusendo Cave has to do with allllll these? Nothing, it just there in Okinawa World. Just there to confused me. I was wanting so badly to be inside a cave someday, and I got more than I hoped for. The name completely threw me off, but Okinawa World turns out to be such a very neat thing. It’s a one-stop place to get to know a location’s traditions and way of life. I couldn’t ask for a better orientation.
My most favorite Japan blog?
Cocomino!!! Cocomino’s blog is awesome. It’s your one-stop blog of all things Japanese. He got travel locations, museums, parks, family fun and games, activities like making sponges and chopsticks, what-have-they’s. One thing you need to know is that English is a second language to him, but you’ll be so amazed on how he picks up on it. I love this blog. If you want to see Japan, you gotta see Cocomino’s blog Life in Kawagoe.
Work has been put off due to a typhoon, more like a heavy rain, and so I get the extra time to catch up and write a post.
Whenever I go take other people to places I’ve been to in California, I’m always gravitated towards touring them to Griffith Park. It’s an hour and a tad more minutes from Ventura. It’s building is cool-looking. It’s kids appropiate. It has the Hollywood sign. You get to see LA’s cityscape from the top. It has one of the best spots to see the golden California Sun. To top it all off, it’s free!
We spotted an astronomer who was preparing his telescope out in the middle of the park’s ground. He was fixing to locate Jupiter. And we got the chance to see it up close through athe telescope. He even said that it is visible with the naked eye. Problem is, you just need an expert who know where and when this grand planet is going to be at.
Jupiter is 2.5 larger than the rest of the planets combined. It’s circumference is 11 times bigger than the Earth. That’d be a lot lot lot of places to travel to if it was livable.
Can you stomach this side trip?
When I was driving back from up North down to Ventura, I was in a sticky situation of whether to stop here or not.
Somewhere near San Luis Obispo’s Mission is … dum dum dum … Bubblegum Alley. That’s right! Two walls filled with sticky and icky bubblegums glued to it. The amount of rain we have here today amounts to nothing compared to all the saliva grossly welded into those walls.
More disgustingly so is how people stick other more repulsive, ghastly stuffs to it.
PARENTAL GUIDANCE is advised.
Did you see it? A real yucky and ew moment.
That’s it for the first Throwback Thursday and the second Side Trip post. I’ll leave you with this FB throwback picture.
The boy ended up to be a stud afterall.
102. Let me introduce to you magiecrystal, a true travel writer. Though her hometown is San Francisco, she goes out travelling to different parts of the globe. Check out her seasoned explorations from the sweltering heat of Asian countries to the cold winter in Paris. Her Spain posts are my favorites, but you got to see her California post Yosemite, the Girl Next Door.
What is this cave doing in a place called Okinawa World? And why do they call it Okinawa World!?
It was a bucket list galore for us when we visited Okinawa World.
I’ve been to a cave before in Bohol, Philippines but it’s only a small one. Gyokusendo Cave, however, is an exhausting but equally satisfying 5km stretch long of a walk. The second largest in Japan.
There are over a million, a million!, of massive staglamites/staglatites. Being that I wanted this so badly, I couldn’t get enough of it. Static as I was, I’m tapping my shoulder not kissing one of the million. It’s probably salty anyway, and I didn’t bring any liquor to match it with. *shrug shoulders*
My apology for the euphoria. Being in a cave is a big one in my bucket list.
It’s just so spellbinding to meander underground in a cave and be blanketed by these nature’s majestic arts. The length didn’t bother me. We were lucky that it wasn’t as hot inside as they said it normall is. The maintenance is awesome. The pathway is easy to walk on and navigate. The only problem is that …
i looked around quite diligently and attentively but I just could not, urgh!, find Batman.
Other than that, I’m just so happy that I get to scoop out 5 and a half pail off my bucket list that was going high up to the brim.
As for why Okinawa World? …. I’ll save that for the future post.
So what activity is still in your bucket list big time, and what was the last bucket list you crossed off recently?
Grand Canyon is one for me. And this Featured Blogger definitely got me sold…
101. Ingrid of Live Laugh RV is one hellova determined, persistent and diligent adventurer. When you are following an RV’er blogger, you literally are following an RV. Their destinations are endless. So much of things they see and places they go to that it’s almost a murder, self-execution, out of envy, to follow their blog. If you haven’t follow an RV blog, then better start with this one. Let it be your blog bucket list. Follow Ingrid’s RV and their Colorado exploration.
[All images are taken with my cellphone Galaxy S3 in two different occasions.]
These are my moments …
I’m in a foreign land. I’m originally from the Philippines, and arrived to United States about 10 years ago. Now I’m here in Japan for work, and this is a whole new world for me.They drive on the left side of the road. That trips the bejeebers out of me. There’s a massage chair but it’s not doing what I wanted it to do. I’m afraid that if I press something, it will eject me to the roof. I don’t know what in the universe I’m buying. We played the arcade drums without completely understand how to follow the instructions. I think I lost twice in a row. Their letters are alien to me. I’m lost in translation here….
….And I absolutely love it! These are my moments. I’m not going to hesitate. I’m going to indulge. I won’t allow myself to feel any guilt or remorse. I’m going to explore. I’m not going to just let this slip through my fingers. I’m taking every opportunity I can. I’m not going to regret being left behind. No, not again, not this time. These are my moments. I’m going to be pushy. I’ll take the risks. I’ll squeeze my time for any travel plans, be salivated for any kind of adventure, and savor these enjoyable moments.
I don’t know what they put on my plate but I’ll eat it. The language will not be a barrier. I’ll separate my long hours of work and make good use of my short liberty time. This new culture I’m in, I will embrace wholeheartedly.
This Land of the Rising Sun will be my Land of Milk and Honey for another 5 months or so.
Mihama American Village is a proof of influence and the good relations they have with the Western and the whole United Nations despite its unlikely history. It centers not only American restaurants and stores but of various European and other Asian cuisines and products as well.
Prem, one of Featured Bloggers, now has a new blogsite – dearest nelly | these are my days…