Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Trip to Okinawa in 2015 - Day 6

Finally it came to our last day in Okinawa. I recall after we checked out from our apartment, we would be able to get a taxi right away (very lucky 🚕😄) Here comes a question, how could we tell the taxi driver where to go? Probably he understood the English word "airport". But we wanted to stop at the domestic terminal for lunch. So I wrote down 国內線 (similar to Chinese character) and gave it to the driver.

The driver did drop us off at the correct terminal in Naha airport. We went to the food court in the domestic terminal, which I think it's on the 2nd or 3rd floor??? Anyways it doesn't matter now since there was a renovation in early 2019 which I believe the domestic and international terminals are connected together and the floor plan might be different from before ... hehe 😅

As you can see from our photos 4 years ago ( I don't know how it looks like now). The food court was spacious since not many people there and we could pick any table we like. I really loved the food court since it's not crowded and it's very comfy no matter where we seated.

There were some souvenir shops across the food court, good for last minute shopping! I remember my mom bought a local bitter melon 苦瓜 for her brother. It was the most beautiful bitter melon we've ever seen. It was very green and fresh.

The picture of Shureimon gate (守禮門) at the food court reminded me that I forgot to visit Shuri (首里) which was a royal capital of the Ryukyu Kingdom (琉球王國). A number of famous historical sites are there including Shuri Castle and Shureimon gate and they are all designated as World Heritage Sites by UNESCO.

Some of the seats at the foot court has a view of the planes ✈

Time to order lunch! Uh-oh ... couldn't read the menu 😟  Fortunately they had displays, not edible thou. What can you image by looking at the display above? I could picture a happy moustache man. Tomatoes are the eyes, cucumber is the nose and pork cutlet is the moustache ... haha!

More displays to look at ... do you think the picture on the right looks like Chinese doughnut (油炸鬼)?

With mobile phone, I took pictures of the displays and showed them to the person who prepared the food for us. No communication barrier ... hehe. Here's my order ... do you think the display and the real dish look alike? 

We still had some time after lunch so I went to the upper floor with my mom. She saw the display of avocado and vegetable sandwiches and decided to buy one.  Now she knew the trick, take a picture and show to them 😂

Remember the title of my blog is "Inspirational Thoughts"? I was inspired by this simple and healthy sandwich ... should make some for summer picnic ✌

Time to leave Okinawa although I would like to stay for a few more days. When we were waiting to board on the plane at the boarding gate in the international terminal. The flight attendant of Hong Kong airline let us go to the front because of my mom (not my auntie as she looked much younger than her age). Very good service, they respected the senior and we were the first to get on the plane!

Overall it was a relaxing trip and nice experience. We had some fun also. I learned two Japanese words to use in Okinawa - konnichiwa (hello) and arigato (thank you). Then I got mixed up when I talked to the cashier in a convenient store. Before the payment, I wanted to say hi but I said arigato. Then after payment, I wanted to say thank you but I said konnichiwa. Even my brother noticed the words were wrong 😅

Finally I finished writing my Okinawa trip before another new year. Thank you for your patience 🙏💓

Saturday, December 28, 2019

Trip to Okinawa in 2015 - Day 5

Happy Holidays Everyone! Now I continue to write my blog for the trip in 2015 ... haha. Does the above picture look like a traditional Chinese garden? It is a Chinese garden in Naha, Okinawa called Fukushuen 福州園 (https://www.naha-navi.or.jp/fukusyu-en/). 

According to Wikipedia, Fukushuen was constructed in 1992, in celebration of the 10th anniversary of the establishment of the sister city relationship between Naha and Fuzhou in China.

Fukushuen was one of the must see attractions that we visited in the morning. It took us 10 minutes to walk from our apartment to the garden, which was a healthy exercise 😄

The scene I like most there was its pavilion with the waterfall and a bridge in front.

As Fukushuen is a representative of traditional Chinese garden, there are many Chinese couplets found at different entrances. Examples:



Any idea about the picture above? 

Let my auntie and brother demonstrate it ... put 100 yen (around $1.50 CAD) into the machine to buy a box of fish food. Then drop the food into the lake. See ... many koi and even turtle come up for the food!

After visiting Fukushuen, we headed towards Naminoue Shrine (波上宮) since it's within walking distance. Probably another 10 minutes to get there. What's special about this shrine? I think it's the location as people can overlook Naminoue Beach and the ocean at a particular spot in the shrine.

According to Wikipedia, it is originally a sacred space of the native Ryukyuan religion, due to its location and natural beauty. At some point it came to be known as Nanminsan: Nanmin is the Okinawan reading of 波上, meaning "above the waves", which is pronounced as Naminoue in Japanese. 

I recall there were much more visitors in Naminoue Shrine than Fukushuen. There was a Chinese tourist group with a tour guide explaining the shrine so I merged into the group and paid attention to what he said ... hehe! 

Next we went to Karakara Buffet for lunch (http://karakara-okinawa.com/). I found this restaurant on a website and like it very much since it is similar to buffet I had when I travelled to Nagoya in 2012. Both restaurants have lots of wood design creating a cozy and natural environment. They offered local ingredients and seasonal vegetables. Every time when I had buffet in this type of restaurant,  I felt I was in a countryside garden (很有田園氣色).

However Karakara Buffet was not easy to find. We were almost there but had no clue about the exact location. None of us can speak Japanese so we just picked a young guy to ask for the direction. With simple English, we hoped he could understand what we asked. It turned out he's so excited to be able to practice his English with us. Although his English was a bit limited, he was able to use the term "elevator" because the restaurant was just located on the 9th floor in the building behind us...haha!

As you can see from the pictures, the restaurant provided variety of vegetables and sauces, noodles and two types of rice. The desserts were light and tasty! The most popular dessert was almond tofu pudding which was gone very fast. Once we saw the staff bringing a bowl full of almond tofu pudding, we grabbed it right away 😆

There were several signs in the restaurant to indicate the food category by three colours - green, yellow and red. Green means fibre, yellow means carbohydrates and red means protein. Then it showed us how to place our food on their plates.

I wanted to be creative so I didn't follow their way. I put whatever I like on the plate. One thing I like their plate design is I could try nine different food but each one was just a small portion (like a sample tasting) so I would not eat too much and gain weight.

Just right outside the restaurant, they put pictures for the dishes available in November (the current month). I think it's a very good idea!

After we returned to our apartment, I was trying to check my office email on its computer. But the login screen was in Japanese! Wow! Better not to touch it so I didn't check my email there.