A Travellerspoint blog

Life's a beach if you can find it

Not knowing where you are going gets you to unexpected places

semi-overcast 14 °C
View Off to see the Sense i on patgoodeve's travel map.

In the bustling city of Naha there is a beach. One might expect that on an island. The girl at the Tiara hotel counter told me it was a fifteen minute walk; maybee she said 115. No Karate today. Sketch book in my bag off I went. The streets in Naha don't go north and south or east and west, they go wherever they feel like. After two hours of walking I found myself in some type of restricted port area. Big machines, big trucks and containers, big, big Uniformed Guard. He was smiling and not pointing anything at me. I smiled my best stupid Gagin smile, "Onegai", smile, "Doko",I said, eyebrows up, here my Japanese ran out, "Beach?" It took him a minute and like every other person on Okinawa he tried to help. His arm pointed out back the way had come and made and around the corner gesture. Off I went. After another fifteen minute walk I came upon the Naminoue Shrine, Shinto religion I think. Beside this was a monument to a Mr. Bettelheim, a Gagin, who brought anesthetic to the island. Further on came the interesting part of this walk. I came upon a statue of Budda with a halo and on the base of the statue was a swastika, three actually. I wonder if halo's and swastika's are an old Chinese or maybee Indian symbols. I of course took a picture. If the folks at home know about this send me a mail.
On to the Beach!
Just over the hill from the Naminoue Shrine is the beach. A big rock cliff that the shrine sits on, two hundred meters of sand forty meters wide surrounded by a sea wall. Then the big city part. Less than a half a kilometer out in the shallow water a huge bridge and just past that what looks like another bridge being constructed. No panoramic view, no vistas of the South China sea, just construction. Don't bother with the beach. I'm told the best beaches are in the north part of the island. Me and my bathing suit will go there. I did a sketch anyway. P

Posted by patgoodeve 17:05 Archived in Japan Tagged foot Comments (1)

Drawing people out with a little sketch

Kids and dogs aren't afraid of a guy with a sharp pencil

overcast 24 °C
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For the second afternoon now I've found a quiet spot near Yagi Dojo in a Chinese garden given by the city of Wu Shu to the city of Naha. I spent the morning trying to comprehend how Sempei Ota performs kata Seiuchin. He is kind enough to keep on showing me and I'm stubborn enough to keep on trying. Sense i Yagi says; "practice every day and each day you will get a little bit better. Just how small is a little bit? Anyway back to the drawing board. With my wrinkled sixty year old face kids usually cry when I smile. They run if I frown or the sun is in my eyes. But let me open my sketch book and hold a pencil and suddenly, I'm harmless . Most people are very polite not actually breathing on me. If I turn, the adults will pretend to stare at the stone I'm sitting on. I do try to find the most bum shaped one. Flipping the pages of the sketch book seems to be an ice breaker. Some clap; either trying to kill mosquitoes, or pantomiming me to close the book. If you want to make new friends here's a new way to do it. p

Posted by patgoodeve 01:34 Archived in Japan Tagged educational Comments (0)

A little sketchy

sunny 18 °C

We've all had a day; sometimes too few, that's not too crowded. Where the pace is on more human terms. Few machines; no cars and traffic, no alarm clocks, no crunching numbers; just human pace, walking, sitting, voluntary jumping if you are into it.
I had to wash my Gi, in the tub. Hung it on an old clothes line on the roof and let the East China Sea wind and sun work their magic. I've been meaning to do some sketches of the Chinese architecture in Naha The Okinawans were and are heavily influenced by the Chinese. Not the Maoist communist lets occupy Tibet Chinese, more the dynasty kind. The city of Wu Shu built a Chinese enclave in Naha; one of my favorite places. Very quiet, very peaceful, except for the occasional mainland tour bus. The tourists run about quickly; snapping pictures, exclaiming at the coy, pointing at this and that. Then in a flurry of funny hats and polished shoes scramble back for a quick run to another place. The locals, jaded, seldom come here. So I, in spasm of tranquility, spent the entire day, sketching. Chinese temples, towers, and Buddas now fill pages that ill help me to remember this beautiful place. Tomorrow it will rain and after my walk to the dojo and back, my nice clean Gi won't be fresh anymore. p

Posted by patgoodeve 00:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

A quiet day

rain 26 °C

It's quiet today my companions have returned to Canada. An overcast morning burning off before lunch giving me time to partially dry my Gi on the concrete roof in the south west Pacific wind. A two hour walk trying to find a bakery. The bakery disappeared in the twisty streets and my poor memory. I did find George's restaurant something I couldn't do last night when I was actually looking for it. Another half hour of walking then some food. Lunch was an interesting affair of point and get. This time it turned out to be some type of liver and spinach with runny macaroni salad and cold tea. I sat at the counter trying not to lean over too much. I didn't want to singe my eyebrows from the flaming woks. With old age the eyebrows do become more of a fire hazard, ears too. I made it back to the hotel just in time to miss a torrential down pour. My Gi which was drying in the window now is a little damper than it was; though it did keep the bed from getting too wet. A quick nap then karate tonight. P

Posted by patgoodeve 00:00 Archived in Japan Comments (0)

Yagi Dojo

An education in a martial and a culture

semi-overcast 20 °C
View Off to see the Sense i on patgoodeve's travel map.

The people don't like Gagin, at the Dojo ( training hall) they will 'take you on', the food is different. Well I've been here 17 days now and only one warning was near being right. The Okinawan people are exceedingly friendly and almost every day I've had people, sometimes total strangers go out of their way, a long way out of their way, to help. Whether it is showing a stranger how to get a monorail ticket to offering to walk you back to the hotel.
The Yagi Dojo sits atop a three story faded white concrete building. Almost everything is made out of concrete because of the Typhoons. On the mainland it is earthquakes, here it is high winds.
I've only been practicing karate for twelve years. The karate ka here start when they are four or five years old and keep at the art all their lives. Some start late, like me at 48. I met one gentleman here who started at 76 and is a black belt at 80. He's my hero! The style here is different from what I am used to at home. That is to be expected. Okinawa is the trunk of the tree and the Canada branch is many people and many miles removed. Everyone I have met at the Yagi Dojo has been a gem of a person. There has been no intentional whooping of the Gajin butt. Don't get me wrong they could, easily, they just don't' it's a matter of superb control and politeness. The one thing the doom and gloomers were partly right about s the food. There is not a lot of distinction between; breakfast, lunch, or dinner. The same could be said for other countries I've been to. The local booze, Awamore is a different story; made from Thai rice and infected with a black mold then distilled. It takes a certain getting used to. There are different levels of alcohol and different additives. One of the stranger ones is pickling a venomous snake called, Hanbu. These snake are everywhere in the overgrown bush areas and the locals get their own back by catching them and making the pests part of the local 'Viagra' scene. The drink is so popular now the snakes are raised in captivity, bred to be pickled! I guess if they weren't they would be on the endangered species list. Funny, if you want to save an endangered snake tell everybody they are good for the libido, then someone will breed them! P

Posted by patgoodeve 20:02 Archived in Japan Tagged educational Comments (0)

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