Friday, December 31, 2010

Things I'll Miss About Okinawa

Having written about what I miss in America (and dislike about Okinawa), I suppose it's only fair that I write a bit about what's good about Okinawa.  Don't mistake my eagerness to return to the States as disgust toward Okinawa.  While there's certainly things that I dislike about this place, there are also many things that I like.  Here's the short list:

Low crime rate.  There's not much crime here, and the little bit there is can mostly be classified as petty.  Okinawans have no worries about letting their small children walk the streets, day or night.  Criminal behavior brings dishonor to a person's family, so it just simply isn't done (for the most part).  The locals are peaceful, by nature, and very polite.  It's not uncommon to see cars and homes left unlocked here, with no real worries of theft.  I would worry more about theft on base than out in town.  There is a nice display of ancient urns (the type that hold a decedent's ashes) outside of a nearby museum, and they're simply left sitting there unguarded.  I remarked to my wife that if they were left out like that in America, they would be stolen or vandalized.  

Polite people.  The people here are very polite, and quite helpful.  I'm not saying that there are no polite Americans, but let's be honest; if you go to any city in America, you are bound to encounter rude people.  That's not the case here; the only rude people you are likely to encounter here are Americans.  It's sort of embarrassing actually; we're perpetuating our own stereotype.  

Great local cuisine.  There are a couple of restaurants that I'll certainly miss when I leave here.   One place is a little izakaya near our house (like a neighborhood bar and grill) that serves a variety of Okinawan and Japanese cuisine.  If you want good sushi, there's no substitute for being in Japan!  I'll also miss the "sushi-go-round" restaurants when we leave; they have little plates of individual pieces of sushi circulating the entire restaurant on a little conveyor belt.  You can just reach out and grab the dishes as they pass by your table.  That way, you only have to purchase one piece at a time; if you don't like what you grabbed, you've only spent a couple of bucks on one small dish.  

Amazing scenery.  I'm living on a tropical island; the scenery here, particularly the beaches, doesn't get much better.  The towns and cities are appalling, but the rural areas and beaches are absolutely beautiful.  I'm talking postcard perfect tropical views.  The buildings here ruin many views, since they're all drab concrete structures (even the smallest houses are concrete), but that's the price you pay when you live in typhoon alley.  

Living here has been a positive experience in many ways, and I'm glad that my family and I have had this opportunity.  I'm particularly thankful that my kids have had this experience.  I am, however, more than ready to head to my homeland. 


Bushwack said...

Sounds like a great place to settle. Are you coming home? This nation needs YOU back brother.

Our gene pool needs some chlorine it's becoming diluted with morons at a rapid pace...

Happy New Year JJ.

Just John said...

@Bushwack: Thanks buddy. Yes, I'm coming home next summer, for good.

I'm not sure that my nation needs another pissed off person that is disgusted by fedzilla, but it will have one.

cary said...

Summer, eh? Just in time for another round of "the globe is warming! the globe is warming!"

heh heh heh