Naha, Okinawa, Japan

March 27,2019

First, here are a few pictures from Norm’s camera from yesterday’s adventures.

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And yes, I guess they have to have instructions on using western style toilets here?

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A work of art at the pan Asian dinner last night. And one of the waiters with the dumplings.

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Our first view of Okinawa and breakfast on the terrace.

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Today we chose to go with Becky (our book club leader and Japanese culture expert) to do a project using coral to dye fabric.

Twelve of us gathered in the terminal and decided to take a taxi to the workshop.  One group took a large van and the other took a regular taxi.  Becky’s husband is blind – both are fluent in Japanese so he went with the smaller group and she went with most of us in the van.  It was about a 20 minute ride.  We made sure to get the paper with the cruise terminal info written in Japanese in case we needed it to get back.  Most people here are not fluent in English.  The small taxi took short cuts through very narrow streets and the van had a bit of trouble navigating the corners but we all made it!

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What a fascinating place and process. 

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Our instructions were in Japanese and Becky translated for us.  Basically you used paint (4 colors which could be mixed) and rubbed it over the fabric after stretching it over various pieces of coral, fish and Okinawa symbols. 

Shuri Ryusen has 43 years of history and plays a big part of Okinawan dyeing culture. Coral dyeing uses the natural shapes of coral to create your own pattern. Corals are believed to bring happiness and had meaning of “prosperity of descendants” and “longevity”.

Nine of the group chose to do this while Becky’s husband David and two other men stayed downstairs for coffee. 

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Norm joined the working group as you can see.  This workshop also taught the bingata fabric dying process but we chose not to stay on for that as they only took 6 and there were other people there.  We had to be back on board at 2:30 so it was a short day here.

Here we are doing the work and showing our finished products.

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Here is my creation, front and back.

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And here are a few more pictures of the beautiful place.

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Here they had the fancy Japanese Toto toilets that have heated seats, bidet capabilities, etc.  And we still need instructions!

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If you plan to visit Shuri Ryusen dying studio (and we would highly recommend it) here is the address:

1-54, Shuriyamagawacho, Naha, Japan.

After we finished our projects (and paid about $30 US), Norm and I walked to the Shuri Castle. This was the administrative center and residence of the Ryukyu royal family for over 450 years until Okinawa became a Japanese prefecture in 1879.  It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.  It rests on a hill providing outstanding views of Naha and the sea.  It is surrounded by tall curved walls and the castle is a mixture of Japanese and Chinese architectural styles.  The simplicity is striking when you compare it to ornate palaces we have seen in many other countries. It was a beautiful day and we enjoyed walking through the castle and the surrounding gardens.

And, by the way, there is free wi-fi all throughout the city.

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This is the crown of the Japanese emperor.

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This is the Shurei gate which serves as a symbol of Okinawa

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After our castle visit, we walked to the monorail so we could take it back to the shopping area where the shuttle bus stop was.  We wanted to find a noodle shop to have lunch before heading back to the ship.

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It was a fast and easy trip.

We found a noodle shop where you paid on entrance by choosing the picture of what you wanted to eat and were given tickets to present to the waiter.  That makes it easy when you can’t read Japanese.  Google translate works but this was even easier!

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This place had a lot of displays of pottery, etc.  We enjoyed our noodle lunch and beer as you can see!

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So glad we didn’t choose Charlie’s Tacos.  And was Charlie’s place open or closed??

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After lunch, we just had time to catch the last shuttle bus back to the port.  When we got to the stop, there were already 45 people waiting so we had the choice of a taxi or walking back.  We love to walk, so we headed back and our friend Joe joined us.  Here are a couple of the sights on the way back.  Are these dogs praying??

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We passed some pretty gardens and the directions were good.  Turn right at the dragon!

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On the schedule for tonight – an early show with pianist and singer Bradley McCaw and the main attraction – the International Battle of the Chefs with our executive chef, Mario and Farid, who was the chef on our other ATW cruises and is now here on a few days vacation with his partner Jennifer who is our Oceania Ambassador after Carol went on vacation.  We know them both quite well and it is fun of Farid to “work” while on this week long vacation on the ship.  If you read the blog from 2017, Farid is the chef that made our cake for our vow renewal ceremony.

Now a sea day before getting to Kobe where we will take a tour to Kyoto.  Really looking forward to that.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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