24 October, 2007

..october is cheesy month..

'sunday' - bloc party

Well, once again, i have neglected this blog. And i feel kind of bad about it. Is this a sign of something? Blog-guilt? Am i addicted? I don't even know who (if anyone) is actually reading it – but i still feel duty-bound to update it.

Here goes...

So, what has been happening since i came back from Okinawa?

Actually, it has been a VERY eventful few weeks (as my facebook friends have already intuited...)

First of all, i went to the annual Oktoberfest in minato mirai. This year is the third year i have been, and it still doesn't disappoint. It is interesting going there, because every year has been a mix of old faces & new. And yeah, when you've got oompah bands, mugs of beer & a beautiful sunset, you can't really complain.

While we were at the Oktoberfest, we met some German opera singers with the Berlin State Opera who invited us to go to there dress rehearsal the following weekend. So we did.

It was a modern opera called Moses und Aron by Arnold Schoenberg and kind of has an interesting background. However, being a non-German speaking atheist, i didn't understand anything. Was impressed when they brought out light sabers sometime during act 1 (or was it act 2?)...and considering that the regular ticket price was from ¥10,000 to ¥49,000, and we got to see it for FREE, i ain't complaining...
After the opera, we met up with a couple of the singers and took them to Blue Corn to see Mooney play. They were a bit apprehensive about travelling all the way across town to see someone they had never heard of, but once there, they had a great time. How can anyone be disappointed by Mooney, i ask you?!

And what else?
Hmm...yeah, the big news...
I met someone. And i seem to have morphed into half of an extremely cheesy couple. You know those couples that make you sick when you're around them? Can't keep their hands of each other? Have pet names? Always smiling goofily at one another? Well, that's me.
I hate myself for it - but i am LOVING it! Have no idea where things are heading, but for the moment it's wonderful. It's been far too long since i had a man look at me with gooey eyes!!!

12 October, 2007

Top Ten Reasons to Go to Okinawa

thanks to Sandi, i don't have to write a diary about what we did in Okinawa...love the fact that we go on trips together and she takes photos & writes about it (and does it so well...)
all i have to do is put a link in my blog.... so go here to see & read what we did.

but that would be just lazy wouldn't it?

So, i have decided to make my own top ten list on reasons why YOU should go to Okinawa.
(and by Okinawa, i mean Naha, because i haven't been to anywhere else in Okinawa)

The list is in no particular order...
1. Slo-life
even in Okinawa's biggest city, the pace is WAY slower than Tokyo. i don't whether it was just because i was on holiday, so I was slower, but things seemed way more laid back - which led to:

2. Smiles
everybody seemed so friendly. we saw lots of smiley people - Japanese & foreigners alike.

3. Aloha Shirts
and the aloha shirts made me smile! Naha has really taken to the Cool-Biz style that the Japanese government tried (is trying?) to promote. It was kind of bizarre at first - walk into a bank and all the staff are in aloha shirts; get on the monorail & the driver's wearing an aloha shirt. but i grew to love it (yeah, in 3 days) so much more inspiring than all the grey suits we see here.

4. Green-ness
despite being a city, and despite being ugly and grey, it has WAY more green-ness than Tokyo. lots of beautiful trees & flowers. reminded me a bit of Singapore - that weird mix of concrete & nature.

5. Colour
The already mentioned aloha shirts & green-ness made Naha a treat in the eyes. so much colour everywhere: signs, people's clothes, menus whatever. just seemed to be more colour. sometimes i feel like i am living a monochrome life here in Tokyo - but there was technicolour.

6. Music & Singing
I am not sure if Sandi & me were just lucky or what, but we seemed to encounter music wherever we went: a sanshin teacher in the bar we went to on the first night (who invited us to a trance party the following night - bizarre: the trance loving sanshin sensei); the live Okinawan dance performance at Shuri Castle; the izakaya with live performances on the second night; the Japanese-Canadian fiddler we met in a bar...

7. Price
Yup, no surprise there - Naha IS cheaper than Tokyo. of course it's not like going to SE Asia, but we were getting good lunch sets for ¥600. minshukus are also cheaper (from ¥1000 a night)
seemed to spend the same amount of money though....

8. Ocean
although we didn't manage to get to the beach while we were there (what's the point when it's cloudy & typhoony?!) we were never far away from the ocean. some days we could smell it & most days we caught glimpses of it. if we had have had good weather, we were planning to take a day trip to one of the nearby uninhabited islands (which i kept calling 'no-man islands' [無人島], and for some reason have started calling 'homeless islands') I found some day packages for around ¥6000 including lunch (see number 7)

9. Distance
From Haneda to Naha is only 2.5 hours. so it's possible to go for a weekend. And ANA have a tabiwari plan which if you buy your ticket 28 days or more before you fly, it's up to 50% off.
So you can probably get there & back for around ¥30,000. Not too bad...

10 Japan
Because it's a domestic flight, you only need to check in a minimum 30 minutes before your flight.
And, if you live in Tokyo or Kanagawa, you don't to traipse all the way to Narita (for me about 2.5 hours, compared to Haneda which is 1 hour)
And, with all the new immigration regulations for international coming in next month, we (us evil foreigners) can avoid being photographed, fingerprinted or taken into small rooms & having our internal passages investigated....

Yeah, Naha rocks.


our Pokemon plane to Naha

shisa sitting guard

lovely yellow flower (have no idea what it is)

main gate to Shuri Castle (and Sandi)

Sandi with Shisa

Shuri Castle from the outside

Okinawan king's throne

what Shuri Castle would look like if there was a big official thing going on
(with lots of plastic people in attendance)

View of Shuri Castle
One of the gateways into Shuri Castle