Okinawa is the main island in the Ryukyu Island chain and is located at the southernmost tip of Japan. A blend of Chinese, Korean, and of course Japanese with a splash of American, Okinawa has it’s own cultural blend. Famous for having the longest-lived people (which is a mostly vegetarian diet despite pork and fish being famous dishes on Okinawa), as well as a large US military base (18% of the main island in US base land), Okinawa holds a distinct islander feel with a total count of those wearing a Hawaiian style shirt on the train on Friday night numbering 5 in a carriage of around 20 people.
The landscape does consist of stunning island scenery but more interesting is how the land has since been shaped by its occupants. Tombstones are scattered throughout the islands with everything being shaped around them, including the hills they are dug in to. They appear in the strangest of places, on high cliffs, in the middle of a new development and along the beach. Large bridges reach across from the main island, connecting the smaller islands and those islands to even smaller islands. A web of man-made structure reaching across the lagoons of Okinawa.
A sub-tropical climate, Okinawa had the appearance of experiencing Autumn. Trees were bare or leaves were bright red. In sheltered areas though, there were still the signs of lush tropical vegetation. The reason for the autumn appearance was a recent typhoon which whipped the island with fast winds filled with salty sea water.
The highlight for me though, was becoming the adopted granddaughter of these two as I volunteered at the camp where they were caretakers.