Okinawa – part 2

27.10.-4.11.

The day after Kyoko and I visited Kudaka Island, we went to the Shuri Castle. This was the palace of the Ryukyu kingdom in ancient times. It is easy to see that some inspiration have come from China. At the end of our visit on the castle, the rain came. The beginning of the forecasted typhoon. Kyoko started to worry about her flight home the next day.

And she had reason to worry. All flights was canceled on the Saturday. Most shops was closed. No training activities available as far as I knew. Felt like Kyoko was sitting in the phone trying to rebook her flight most of the day. And she got a flight on Sunday.

Even if it was a typhoon, Naha was not in the center of it. Probably there were other locations on Okinawa that had it much worse. For me it felt like a regular autumn storm, except that the rain was 24° C.

Next day we had a meal on the airport, before Kyoko returned home. My next task was to find the room I had booked trough AirB&B. It was located just a few minutes walk from the the Higaonna dojo. A very small appartement to a decent price. Took a quiet evening there.

During my many walks trough the town I passed by a Owl bar. If you don’t know what it is, I recommend you to read here.  I don’t like the concept, so I did not visit it. But outside there was a man with an armadillo. Hmm, some people are strange. (Maybe I’m not the right one to say that.)

I visited a book store, to see if I could find any local martial art books.

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Shelf 16 & 17, floor 5.

I found many books, not any local, and very few in english. But I found manga, Japanese comics. The shelf on the picture continued some meter behind me. But this shelf was only one of many with mangas. Japanese are addicted to these. Kyoko had brought one to me, One Piece. The story was started in 1997, and have so far 87 volumes, about 200 pages each! The best selling manga series in history. I got it for my training in Japanese language.

Since I decided to go to Okinawa I have tried to learn more Japanese language. I could already lots of words, but only related to karate. They have limited value in daily life. Kyoko helped me in this process. I made a list of words that could become helpful. Toilet, fruit, trashcan, etc. Yes, I had to use some of them. A day I walked in the shopping street I tried to read the words on signs outside of shops, just to keep my knowledge fit. Suddenly I understood a word that I  had read, とばこ, tobacco. 🙂

Okinawa is a tropical area with good opportunities for bathing, diving and surfing. I wanted to try surfing. Easier said than done. It might not be difficult to surf, I still don’t know. But to find an open surf shop the day I wanted to try, was impossible. Google map helped me to locate 3 shops. All quite a distance from Naha. The first was just selling swim suits and fancy cloths. The next one had a sign on the door that told me it should have been open at that time. No one answered on the phone. The third one did not even had any signs telling about opening hours. Will have to wait until next trip.

Better luck with the museum. A new karate museum, almost an hour away from Naha,

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Museum and dojo belonging to Hokama Tetsuhiro. Among the places that was easy to spot.

by bus. First challenge was paying for the bus. I did not have coins, and paper money was too big to be exchanged on the bus. Fortunately Okinawans are very kind and helpful. A young man paid my ticket. Less fortunately, the museum and the related dojo was closed. No answer on the phone. Lunch at the local hospital while waiting for the bus back. At least I had some sightseeing.

My last day on Okinawa was very long. I had to checkout before 10, and I had no training until 20. I had head some people talk about a few interesting dojos. I decided to look for the dojo of another DSC_0313.JPGfamous person, Nakamoto Masahiro. I had to take the local train to the end station, near the Shuri Castle. The train in Naha is a monorail, fast and comfortable. The rail is built on high poles trough the town, all the way to the airport. On the bottom of the picture you can see the rail, in addition to a strange looking building.

When I entered to yard of the dojo, there were no one present. I just looked into the window, and visited the roof terrace, that obviously also was used as a training area. A bid disappointed I went over to the other side of the street to find shadow. Got something do drink and eat. While I was standing there Nakamoto came in his white, old Mercedes. He went in. I did not know what to do. After just a few minutes he came out again. Then I run back over the street, catching him while he sat down in his car. I asked if the museum would be open later that day. He said no, but the next day I would be welcome. I replied that it would then wait until my next trip to Okinawa because I was leaving the same evening. Then he came out, guided me trough his dojo and museum. I bought his kobudo book, and got his calligraphy on it. He said I was welcome to come and train with hime next time I came to Okinawa. He seems to be a nice man, and says probably this to everyone, but I will definitely do that. Afterwards the drove me back to the rail station. Maybe my greatest karate moment on Okinawa.

I had more time to spend. Got some food on a very smal restaurant, without possibilities to charge my phone. Tried to charge at the tourist office, but no, they would not help. I was referred to McDonalds or Starbucks. Blaah! Then I got something that seemed to be a bright idea, visit a library. The last power of my phone was used on Google maps to locate one. It was only 15 minutes away. When I went in, it did not look much like a library, so I asked. No, it was not a traditional library. They only had only braille book, for blind people. What an irony! So I could not charge there either.

After my last training and my last supper at the Dojo bar, I went to the airport. Came DSC_0333.JPGthere around midnight. And it was closed. Puh! 6 hours on a bench, companioned by invisible mosquitos. Flight back to Taiwan first. I some hours there until the next flight, so I decided to follow my friend Birgits recommendation, go to the barefoot path in Taipei. This would be my first barefoot path. To be honest, it was awful.

Back in Norway, Oslo airport, I had to wait for several hours. I bought me access to the lounge. Absolutely worth it. Then home, 42 hours after leaving the Dojo bar.

Hopefully ready for next visit in July 2018. 🙂

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