I begin the tale at a stop on our bus tour: Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium in Motobu, Okinawa. It is the second largest aquarium in the WORLD. And I did not enter it.
|This is not a great picture...|
|This dolphin is pretty sweet though.|
For one, the awesome topiary displays will keep you occupied for a good while...
As well as a recreation of native Okinawan homes. Or actually, if I remember correctly at least a couple of the homes which they have there are actual homes, and not fabrications... I may be wrong, though. Still, in the blazing sun I quickly retreated to these shaded areas to wander amongst the trees and homes. I didn't take too many pictures of the houses, though, because in one I spotted some women sitting there with electric fans blowing over them, just hanging out; and I suddenly had this whoa, whoa, did I wander into some place that I'm not supposed to be? kind of feeling. ¨Is this home lived in?¨
Of course I'm fairly certain you could just wander anywhere, and I was totally just having some flash of "gaijin-must-not-be-able-to-properly-read-Japanese-I'm-sure-that-sign-said-NO-TRESPASSING-and-I-just-thought-it-was-an-educational-plaque" panic, but I quickly wandered back out of there...
I wish I could remember exactly what the plaque there said... Either this was
a place to gather drinking water, or had some religious significance. Perhaps both?
You could enter into house yards like this one. I think I took this picture
after I was spooked out of one yard. Yes, safest outside the fence...
Yeah, the light was pretty much just like this.
I walked the trails, which had signposts to various sea vistas. I visited several of them. I saw many flowers and crushed through a curious and inexplicable swath of centipedes which laid inches thick across one section of the path, and whose crispy exoskeletons I mistook for crispy leaves. The horror of my destruction of them was only slightly tempered by my bewilderment and morbid interest. I took pictures.
Why were they there? I feel like I destroyed what was perhaps a busy
I tried to take a panorama shot with my keitai.
It is hard, even with the guides. Or, I am mildly technologically impaired.
I found a beautiful beach, and right beside that beautiful beach was a beautiful, empty PLAYGROUND. I was so unhappy to be alone with this beautiful playground. If I was with someone I would have been all over that beautiful playground. But because I was embarrassed to be a child alone on that beautiful playground, I paused only for a picture, which offers but a fraction of the fun of that beautiful playground, and continued down to the beach. (I also vaguely remember a sign asking adults not to play in it. Or I imagined it as a way to cope with my decision to slink away from that beautiful playground like the weak, soulless adult that I am.)
AQUATOWN! How I regret not visiting your azure slides...
I had much fun at the beach, to make up for my skipping of fun at Aquatown, the beautiful playground. The beach itself was craggy and dark with rocks. The sea was a deep and dazzling blue. The sky at its distant horizon was perhaps comparable to the Periwinkle Blue crayon that all of the girls in fourth grade were in love with. I climbed rocks, jumped about like an idiot, peered into tidal pools, and stared over the waves and to the horizon.
Further down on the beach
Click these to make them bigger.
You can see a bit of the rocks here. They were really beautiful.
If all you saw was the rock and my hand, would you
think I was petting an elephant?
I was excited to see a pufferfish, even if he was far past
his last puff.
I imagine, being called 夕陽の広場, that it looks best at sunset.
There is quite a lot to see, and not just outside. There are gift shops and various museums, as well as an Arboretum. If you have some marine-life-loving friends but you yourself are more of a landlubber, don't decide to sit the Churaumi Aquarium out. There's a lot for the likes of you there as well. Highly recommended for a visit!