Thursday, June 25, 2015

Okinawa Day 10

 The Ocean Expo Park was our next stop which contains the Churaumi Aquarium, Manatee Pool, Sea Turtle Pool, Dolphin Lagoon, Native Okinawan Village, and Tropical Dream Center.

There was a large flower shark and many other displays put together with flowers of other sea creatures. Not to worry, I broke that shark so we could ride him around.

We started out heading for the aquarium which is huge and is the only one that is big enough to house whale sharks. 

There are divers in the tank with the rays and whale sharks. One was filming and the other was cleaning the acrylic surface. I wonder if they draw straws to see who scrubs? The big whale shark is 8.5 meters long. The acrylic is laminated to about 60 cm thick. The aquarium introduces an open system in which sea water that is scooped from the ocean enters the aquarium tanks and then is returned to the ocean once again.
 Another aquarium section was the Journey to a Coral Reef which had sections on the Coral Lobby, Life in Inoh (touch pool), the Coral Sea, the Sea of Tropical Fish, Coral Reef World and Freshwater Life.

 No petting the sharks.

Journey to the “Kurosh” exhibited the Shark Lab, the Kuroshio Sea, and Aqua Room. Journey into the Deep Sea was the last exhibit area for the aquarium building with sections for Deep Sea Gallery, Small Marine Life in the Deep Sea, Deep Sea, Ocean Planetarium, Aqua Lab and the gift shop (of course!).

Next we were off to the Manatee section, Sea Turtles and then the dolphin show.

Lastly, off to the Tropical Dream Center! The entrance/gift shop is the Stained Glass Hall.
This is the ceiling!

This is one wall inside the hall.

The grounds were impressive with all the tropical flowers and displays. It rivaled the Botanical Gardens but in a different way as this was a much more intimate arrangement that invite leisure and contemplation.

The view from the top of the Observatory was impressive as it is about 6 stories tall and is already up on a cliff. You did not realize that the courtyard area flowers were in a heart shape until looking down at them.

This was a long but wonderful day.

Okinawa Day 9

It is raining a bit this morning and mom is still sleeping. We will most likely blow off the Oceanic today and go to a museum to stay out of the rain.

We made it over to the Okinawa Prefectural Museum and Art Museum. It is split into two section with individual fees for each. 

They had a Disney section on the art side that was quite comprehensive. No further pictures were allowed in the Disney or the art exhibit.

There was also an exhibit on how some of the prints are made using a one-time mold of plaster. The steps involved were interesting:
·       Take a block of plaster
·       Carve it
·       Color with oil based crayons
·       Paint with oil paint
·       Set the plaster in water to loosen the oil
·       Remove from the bath and press the paper to it
There was a large expo on one of the famous artist that used this technique. There was another exhibit that was more permanent featuring a variety of artists.

The other side of the museum covered archeology, mythical, history, and other items of Okinawa. This was very interesting and some pictures were allowed.

Gods that visit villages!

We then went off to Gen to have sushi. They have a whole bunch of Shisa on the roof who all appear to be drinking or partying.

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Okinawa Day 8

I haven’t found a formal name for the sports park we visited today. 
Daughter #2 goes there to walk the dog, feed the fish and collect coral/seashells. It was large and quite nice.

Time to water the dog.
We cleaned up and went over to the commissary followed with a trip to the AEON Mall Okinawa Rycom. This is a five story large mall with the fifth floor being all restaurants and great views. The mall has everything except large clothing. I have yet to find a t-shirt or anything that I can wear. Largest size is XL in most things. Waist size goes to 38. There were the usual plethora of women’s shops so Justin & I found a restaurant with a bar and had very nice hot Hakutsuru sake at Red Lobster. I don’t know if that is supposed to be a good sake but it hit the spot. Yes, go figure, Red Lobster. I understand that the food is not good compared to the other restaurants. The upside to the restaurant being empty was that the bar was also empty!

We then proceeded to see if we could walk all the floors of the mall. I think that we succeeded! The girls were quite busy shopping. I finally found something to purchase.
Awamori is a distilled version of rice wine that has some black mold in it. I had no idea if any of these will be good. We sampled the one on the right and I do believe it is an acquired taste!  

Trying to do a selective decipher from a translation app.
Middle bottle - Mizuizumi old wine 43%
Left bottle - Rui Izumi Shofuru – serve at 25 degrees.
Right bottle - Rui HR Izumi 30% recommend to dilute with hot or cold water. We forgot to dilute it!

We had dinner at the Wild Ocean Grill & Bar at the mall which interestingly enough had more steak than seafood. I had the Atlantic Salmon which was done very nicely. That was the best offering but seemed odd as we are surrounded by the East China Sea and the Pacific Ocean. Oh, well. I also had some corn and potato wedges that came with it. I haven’t had either of these since August on my Diet of Nope. They really tasted good!

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Okinawa Day 6 & 7

Day 6 (Sunday) was a lazy one. We went to the new five story Aeon mall and got to drive around it as all the parking lots were full.
It was a beer and barbeque day.

Now, day 7 was a bit busier as we went to Shurijo Castle in Shuri overlooking Naha and the bay. This castle was fairly trashed in WWII and has been and still is being restored to original condition. This was THE seat of power for the RyoKyo Empire for centuries.

Traded cameras with an Okinawan gent so we could take pictures of each other.
Long winding trail on the palace grounds,

Castle entrance

I found some new friends on the roof!

More pictures to browse. Password = Okinawa

One fantastic place after another!

Okinawa Day 5

Someone was a bit tired after hiking up and down the hills at the botanical so we went for easy today.

We went to the beach to hang out. The floaties are for the jelly fish net so that there is an established swim area. Most did not seem to car if anything was posted or not.

I found some rally large jacks along the breakwater. The ends of these "jacks" are about 6' in diameter. Some of the more adventurous teenagers were hoping from one to the next. I peeked over looking at them and you could definitely fall through gaps and become trapped. Hmmmm. Natural selection in progress. Nice artwork on the wall along with some graffiti. 

The sunset was cloudy but still nice.

The company was great!

On the way back we stopped at Tenkaippin for some traditional Ryokyo ramen noodles. Yum!
I found someone game enough to let me take a picture in the prop outside of the restaurant!

Monday, June 15, 2015

Okinawa - Day 4

Day four was a trip to the Southeast Botanical Gardens. On the way I spotted this, a Masonic Lodge not far from base. They are everywhere!

The botanical gardens were beautiful. Take time to smell the flowers! It was a series of one outstanding area to the next. They had an area to go view and play with some of the animals there. Pure tourist but still fun.

Daughter #2 found a new friend.
Password is required for this folder. Password = Okinawa
Enjoy the photo album. Don't worry, there's more!