Sayōnara Okinawa...

You know this feeling when you come back from holiday and you're happy to be back home?

upload.jpg

Back to Naha town in my favorite Capsule hotel after 2 hours of Ferry from zamami Islands, I've jumped straight in the onsen.

Very relaxing after this small travel. Thats really something I enjoy in Japan : the onsen. I've been told that on my way from Kagoshima to Tokyo there is some good ones.

It's already diner time and what's best that some nice Soba! It didn't take long for me to fell asleep.

The following day Ive checked-in for my last night in a nice guest house close to the center, traditional tatami room with shared facilities, shower, small kitchen. This is like flat sharing again. For those who think Japan is expensive it cost me £20.

upload.jpg

The floor is all tatamis and you got a foldable futon mattress with a sheet and a blanket. It's up to you to make your bed in the fashion and orientation you want. I love it! Really comfy! I slept like a baby. I really recommend it for anyone who wants to visit Japan, at least one night for tge experience.

upload.jpg

Today I'm flying to Seoul to meet a couple of Friends there : Cecile and Arnaud. I'm looking forward to see them and to discover Seoul. That will be my first time there!

It's gonna be a social event in my solo traveller life! I didn't speak that much to peoples the last two weeks. But that's true that when you are traveling alone people talk to you more. 

Since I'm traveling all my landmarks have changed, from one place to another every 2-3 days. Unpacking, packing again. Im adapting myself to this new life and even after two weeks I can see that I didn't use half of what's in my bag. That make me think that you don't need much to live as an itinerant traveler : some good resistants and clean clothes, a jacket, a hat, sunglasses, some good shoes, a small toilet kit, few electronics devices to communicate and stay connected to the world. Up to you to turn it off! And thats it!

That's all I need! Less you have, less you carry, less you worry! 

My camera, my GoPro and my laptop are taking a fair amount of space in my bag, maybe more than half of it. I also have my travel yoga mat which I didn't use yet.

I'm trying to re-organize my small backpack for the next part of my adventures and I'll need to make some hard choices haha!

Since I arrived I bought only 3 things : an umbrella (then I lost an umbrella and I bought a new one, this is the umbrella chain...), my hearplugs and a small Muji toilet kit, mine was too big. 

Before leaving I found a garden on the map which was quite far, that was almost one hour of walk and of course I got lost! Haha!

upload.jpg

I ended up walking/climbing a hill under a hot sun. I noticed that the houses there were very simple in the way they were made... No windows...

Well that was the cemetery!

upload.jpg

I've finally arrived to the garden and again thought. : All that for that! A parking lot, few cars, few taxi. After buying some refreshing water I entered the garden, that wasn't only a garden!

upload.jpg

I was happy to discover there some pieces of Okinawa history! Traditionals houses and a zen garden. Quiet and peaceful... With many paths and bridges to walk around.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

There is two traditionals houses you can enter and visit. I was so happy that I spent my entire afternoon walking around and chilling.

upload.jpg

Again, I felt like I was the only one in the garden. Where are the people!

That's a true pearl! A small gem in the city! When you sit and look around you can imagine kings and queens walking in kimonos, sandals and fan. Sometimes architecture and nature are speaking to you to remind you a past that you never knew. These gardens are the memories of the city, the latest witnesses of the old Japan.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

Here I am, having my last breakfast/brunch in Okinawa! I honestly loved my time here! It's hot!  I was always sweaty, chasing the shadows on my long walks in the city and inevitably got sunburn!

upload.jpg

I've discovered some fantastic gardens, some curious traditions, some indescriptibles Islands and some very welcoming peoples. I've watched my first sunset in the rising country sun! I met a turtle! I had one of the best Soba in my life! I tried to be and not to do and I'll keep going. I learnt that there is so many way to communicate and to be understand, no need for a specific language. A simple smile sometime is a good start.

I'm still looking to find some questions to start to find some answers. 

During these two weeks I realized that travelling is really something I want to do as much as possible and that is totally different that "long holiday".

I want to witness unknown cultures and meet differents peoples. There is a lot of to learn from difference.

Okinawa is a mix of  the welcoming traditions of a tropicals Island and the legendary japenese hospitality.

That's a part of Japan you don't want to miss if you are traveling Japan! 

upload.jpg

I'm sitting now at the airport of Naha finishing this article and looking at the sky and the ocean, time to go gate 42 to a new adventure!

Sayōnara Okinawa... You've been good to me!

upload.jpg

Make an Island of yourself...

This morning I get up early to take the ferry to zamami Island.

Theres is something magic to jump on a boat when you are traveling, this is like a travel in the travel. It took two hours to arrived at Zamami. After checking in my new room, I walked straight to the beach to jump in the ocean. The water is green blue and 30°c.

upload.jpg

When I arrived I was suprised by the simplicity of zamami town, I was expecting big hotels resorts all along the cost with thousand of tourists swimming around. No, that's not what you'll find in Zamami, you'll find the opposite : simplicity and authenticity.

After almost a week in Naha town, you need some time to adapt yourself to the pace of Zamami. Just sit and relax and don't forget your hat and some sun cream!

There is two beaches 20 minutes walk from the small city, they are both beautiful and perfect for a morning bath or sun bathing, the blue emeraude ocean is singing to you a peace song to help you to be in the present moment. Luckily I found not much peoples there, that was like the ocean was mine! Alone with nature enjoying the sound of the wave, clean, clear water...   

A small paradise, an unknown destination? I found myself almost being the only occidental walking around, which increased the feeling of immersion.

The first day there I choosed to take my time and to chill around, stop doing,start being...

An immaculate sand beach is perfect for that. Leave all your electronics devices in your room and enjoy!

Put fins and mask on and go for some snorkeling to see some beautiful fishes, coral and if you are lucky you'll meet one of the local stars : The turtles!

upload.jpg

There is a lot of scuba diving shops around, I went to see one and we agreed to meet the following day for two dives, where I was able to meet turtles, shark and an octopus.

Dive were shallow, but no need to go deep to see amazing fishes and coral diversity.

upload.jpg

During the first dive we went through some narrow caves with open roof letting some godrays coming in, that was stunning. Unfortunately on the second dive, a part of my equipment failed (out of the water) and I decided that I will snorkel the following days. I was lucky to spend almost 20 minutes with this beautiful turtle and I saw some magnificents school of fishes.

upload.jpg

After few days in zamami, I felt really chill, peoples here are very nice and welcoming.

Close to my room there is a nice cafe where you can sit in the garden, coffee is awesome and sandwiches are really tasty! Yummy! That was perfect for lunch break, you know the break in between the bath in the ocean and the nap;) haha...and then bath again ...

This town/village really kept a sens of simplicity which I really like. There is 500 peoples living on the island and even less during off peak.

One night, I was walking in the street looking for diner, and I couldn't really find some restaurants, when I saw two peoples looking at a wall and opening the door which looked like a simple house to me. That was a restaurant! I pushed the door as well and was welcome to sit in the living room on some tatami, tv was on, open kitchen, the couple leaving here was cooking diner for the guests. I had some very nice Soba!

It remenbered me my first experience when I arrived in Japan last year, I was walking around looking for a restaurant but everything seemed to be close and hidden behind a curtain, as a shy European you need to open the door and to ask, most of the time you'll be welcome to enter to have awesome food.

when writing about Naha, I told you that music was everywhere in the street. This is the same in Zamami, regularly I can here some music and announcement while walking in the city. Every hour there is a gentle music, and sometime someone is announcing something I can't understand. Haha!

upload.jpg

After a day snorkeling in the water I got sunburn, so no beaches for me today, maybe tonight to watch the sunset...

Sunset time was around 6:30pm, I Walked to tbe beach and found a nice spot to enjoy it! Quiet time watching the sun going down and listening to the ocean song.

I've spent 5 days on Zamami Island and could have stay longer. I really felt in love with the rythm here, the time to be, to look at birds, ocean, fishes, clouds. That was a good time not to think, just to be one with myself. I know now almost every streets, every small hidden restaurants, where to find the turtles, when the tide is the best, I wonder if I'll come back one day...

upload.jpg

Here you just have to let it go and everything will follow... Time will stop... and everything will be up to you...

A Horn is ringing, this is the ferry calling us to go back to civilization. Good bye Zamami! And thanks you!!!

upload.jpg

Are you ready to be an island?

Stop doing, start being.

So where is the Ocean, where are all these fabulous beaches I saw on googles pictures ? 

The Ocean is definitely surrounding the beautiful city of Naha but after checking yesterday at the tourism center it seem that the closest beach is 40min away by bus. The tourist officer recommended me a trip to the kerama island which I'm planning to do next week! Scuba diving Ya!!!

upload.jpg

I've heard that a typhoon was coming in the next days. Let see how it goes!

Today, I've decided to take a day off! Haha Yeah..

I mean not visiting much, walking randomly in the city as I like to do. Behind the market I found few typicals streets with a lot of pottery shops, workshops.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

The sun was high and no one was in the street, my guess : everyone is taking a nap!!! The cats were taking a naps.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

It's been almost a week that I arrived in Okinawa. The weather is good as the people always smiling and welcoming. Chilling around when you are in holiday is the best. No stress of what you should or shouldn't visit. By trying making the most of our time we sometime miss the most important, the now. 

 Stop doing, start being...

 When I red this sentence few days ago it seems so simple and obvious. We are all busy doing things, working, acting socially, chating, walking, always trying to find something to be busy with. When I say "we" I should say "I".

Since I've start working years ago, focusing on my career, I stopped being. I got busy over the years and I missed something essential "Being". I forgot what I really like to do. I was always aiming for better, more and better. When you think about it there is alway better somewhere and we can always get more. But that's like chasing something you will never aim.

Recently I was writing about how I've discovered meditation, in a way that make me realize that I should stop doing and start being.

That's not an easy one to recenter oneself. This might be why I choosed to travel alone, to feel and to be again in the present moment.

Being by myself force me to think silently, to look around and to be more aware of my surrounding,  to notice small things in my daily life. Travelling a new country is a way for me to shake up my cue, my habits. It's a way to meet me again, a way to be.

upload.jpg
upload.jpg

On my way back, I've walked by a square garden with a giant rope.

Walking around I found few workshops, that was the Naha craft center with craft shop and workshops. I could stay hours to watch them worked. A glass-blower(not sure if its the right name in English) and a craft potter... You can book some time with them and learn how to...

If you are wondering what are these small/big statues half lion/dog you can find in front of all houses In Okinawa, they are called Shi-sa.

A protection against some evils.

You can learn to make one with the craft potter. 

upload.jpg

Would you try one of these workshops?