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Sunday, 23 June 2019

Okinawa Day 1


I wanted and needed a solo trip to live a life solely for myself, for a few days.  Rather budget constrained since I am living on my savings so I could only look around Asia.  The place has to be relatively safe for a nincompoop cum stoner so that my family wouldn't be worried and that I would back in one lump piece.

Hong Kong and Taiwan were good but I prefer to explore a new place..... I don't feel safe being alone in China; I am not familiar with Indonesia; Malaysia not far enough to excite me....  I finally filtered down to Chiang Mai.  I was about to get the air tix when I saw Okinawa was almost the same price as Chiang Mai!  Wow!  Cheap!  And it's still Japan!  So yeah!

I booked the air tix with zero knowledge of Okinawa.  All I knew was I would be going to Japan!  YAY JAPAN!

The next default step, accommodation.  Initially was looking at AirBnb, then I realised that I might need help, like calling a cab, asking for directions etc, so I decided that a hotel with a reception to slightly depend upon would be a better choice.  I started off with capsule hotels and hostels, trying my ultimate best to lower down the cost.  But I have this 老人 habit of going to the toilet a few times in the mid night, sharing toilet seemed a big hassle for me.  Haiz....  want to save also cannot.  Anyway, the place I gotten was very decent, you guys will see from the post later.

With air tix and accommodation booked, my solo trip was confirmed and I had 4 months' time to find out about Okinawa before departure.  Towards nearer date, I booked 2 activities with KLOOK.  The weather seemed comfortable, able to travel light without bulky clothes, all were set.

A few of my friends were like: "Aiyo why you go alone?  Go alone where got fun?  You sure or not?  You not scared arh?"  Nobody understand how seriously happy and excited I felt, to be finally alone with no strings attached, waaahaaahaaahaaa.....

I was alone but was never lonely, it was sensational solo trip, embracing myself, I enjoyed more than imagined, totally charmed by Okinawa!

Sharing herewith my solo adventure in Okinawa:


Destination:  Okinawa (Japan)
Duration:  5D4N  31 Mar to 4 Apr 2019
Mode of travel: Solo free & easy, with 2 KLOOKs
Flight: Jetstar - $360 with 15kg baggage to and fro (good deal right!)
Accommodation:  Naha West Inn $306  https://78west-inn.jp/en/
Weather:  Sunny and extremely windy around 16 to 22 degrees
Currency: approx SGD1 = ¥80
Time difference:  1 hour ahead of Singapore



2.00am   Flight from Singapore
8.10am   Touched down Naha Airport
9.00am   Breakfast - Pork Tamago Onigiri
11.00am Check in Naha West Inn Hotel
2.00pm   Lunch - Jack's Steak House
3.40pm   Naminoue Shrine
4.00pm   Naminoue Beach
5.00pm   Kokusai Dori Shopping Street
5.30pm   Chiku Chiku Hedgehog Cafe
7.50pm   Dinner - GuenPin (Puffer Fish Restaurant)
10.00pm Don Don Donki
12.00am Back to hotel


I weirdly visited the 2 extremely points of Japan, Hokkaido the north most and now Okinawa the south most.  Hope that one day I get to visit it's mid too.

Hubby dumped me in the airport rather early for my 2am flight.  After check in, found a coach and slept a little till time's up.

It was difficult to sleep on the flight without him beside me as a side cushion.  I was wide awake around 5am.
Outside the window was this hues of red with a bed of marshmallow clouds and I was just a glass panel separated from it.

Thank god for the safe landing at Naha Airport at 8.10am.

After clearing, I sat down to activate AirSim.  This is highly recommended for frequent travelers and many countries were available, simply purchase online before travelling.  We find it very convenient and so far very reliable too.  The card can be use forever and now my son is using it in Germany without complains.

Upon arrival, I stayed in Naha Airport to explore.

The 1st floor of Arrival Hall (with almost nothing) is not connected to the Departure Hall.  I had to go to the 2nd floor, walked through Yuinichi Street to get to the Departure Hall.
Yuinichi Street consist of 20 retail shops in 2 rows.  I run through it without stopping cos I was hungry, needed to look for breakfast ASAP.

There were plenty of food options but I was aiming for Pork Tamago Onigiri at the 1st floor.

The 1st floor of the Departure Hall was a lot bigger while 1st floor of Arrival Hall was literally bare.

A small massage parlor and a convenient store that sells economical bentos.

A big fish tank "advertising" for Churaumi Aquarium.

Along with it were counters for various attractions and also car rentals.

Opposite was my find!

Read from somewhere online saying that Pork Tamago Onigiri at airport outlet no queue.  Got cheated.  I did something that I would never do in Singapore......  I queued for 20 mins -___-|||

The brand of luncheon used was stacked and shared to everybody in the eatery.

Most of them were having take aways, so seats were available though limited.

My tofu orinigiri with SPAM lucheon and tamago ¥440 and ice tea ¥200.

Ingredients were simple and common, but the combination turned into heaven when kiap with sushi rice.
There's no complicating cooking skills, the plum sauce used (which were hidden within) made the entire rice burger very satisfying on every bite.  Suddenly miss my family, I wanted them to have a taste of this too.

Energy replenished.  There were 2 other restaurants at the 1st floor, nothing much and it's time to move on....

Back to the 2nd floor.
If you have limited time in the airport, I suggest that you give Yuinichi Street at the International Area a skip.  Concentrate shopping at the Domestic Area would be more fruitful with plenty of tibits and practical souvenirs.

The 3rd and 4th floor could be seen from here, mostly restaurants at those 2 floors.
By the way, A&W is at the 3rd floor with absolutely no queue.

Literally spending a fortune before even stepping out of the airport lolxx...

I headed back to Yuinichi Street to this shop that sells salt.
Okinawa kinda famous for it's salt.  Couldn't believe there were so much variety and with different grain size.  Salt for beef, for soup, for salad, for stir fry, all different pattern, omg...

All the items bought in airport could be found in Kokusai Dori Shopping Street, generally the prices were the same.  That I found out later.

Shopping bags were heavy, took a cab to the hotel, around 15 mins journey for about S$18, didn't record down the exact.

My nest for the next 5days:
Naha West Inn
1 Chome-16-7 Nishi, Naha, Okinawa 900-0036, Japan

Booked through www.booking.com cos their website layout was easy for me to navigate and clearly shows it's distant to various attractions.

I paid extra ¥2000 for early check in at 11am.  I needed to brush my teeth, a good shower and a snooze, didn't want to wait till 3pm.

The lobby area.  Nothing extravagant but the high standard neatness never fails in Japan.

The counter with 2 receptionists always, they were able to conversant in simple English.
At the right hand corner was a coffee maker FOC for hotel guests.

There's also a cold beverage vending machine near the lift lobby.

Very much like a HDB lift.
The 2 little stools by the sides were incredibly useful to put shopping bags while waiting for the lift.

I borrowed a trolley from the reception due to excessive shopping in airport lolxx...
The key didn't open the door after numerous turns of left and right.  Some room attendant came to help, just to realize I went to the wrong door lolxx....  Blur until....

The corridor was like HDB's.

This was the correct one.

After the main door was a washing machine on the right and a full length mirror on the left.

The shower and bath area with a basin.  There's no place for me to put my toiletries.

Big bottles of body soaps on the floor were more than enough for my 5 days' stay.

The WC was in another cubicle.

Opposite the WC was this kitchen sink and stove.  Since I wouldn't be cooking, I place my toiletries here and did my washing at the kitchen sink.
Behind the sink was a small fridge with a microwave on top of it.  Couldn't find a photo of it...

There's a door to separate the bedroom from the kitchen and washroom.  Super single bed, the TV was on the writing desk which double as my make up table with a small mirror.
I used the square dinning table to put junks and opposite was actually the wardrobe with sliding door.  Behind the bed was a balcony.

Nearly forgotten, I got a video here, so let's take a tour round what they called a Semi-Double Room (Main Building):
So basically, that's my accommodation, the cheapest option in Naha West Inn.

Finally felt more alert after an hour's sleep.  19 degrees, comfortable, not cold, I thought.

Stepped out for lunch.  The street was quiet and windy. 19 degrees felt like 15.

It was a 2 to 3 mins walk from the hotel to
Jack's Steak House
1 Chome-7-3 Nishi, Naha, Okinawa 900-0036, Japan

Queue again, haiz.....

It was another 20 mins wait.  
Even filter couldn't erase off my frown lines.

It was so crowded with both locals and tourists.
The interior was very woody, even the walls were covered with plywood.

Menu was on the wall but in Japanese.

They had English menu specially for tourists.

I ordered Tenderloin Steak 200g ¥2300
It came as a set with cream soup and a salad of shredded cabbage (I hate it) and corns.

The steak came on a sizzling hot plate with some onions.
I am extremely picky on beef, but I guess I couldn't expect too much for the price paid.

After lunch I headed back to the hotel to grab a jacket as I was freezing, body not use to the weather yet.  Also check out the Family Mart opposite the hotel.

Convenient stores were everywhere and most had public washrooms.  

Everything were visually pleasing even in convenient store.

Many choices of bento available and all looked so yummy.

Coffee vending machine looked very interesting, particularly those 3 bottles of syrups.  Yes syrups for coffee!
Regretted not buying one to try, left with mineral water instead.

I walked out again towards Naminoue Shrine after putting on an extra jacket.
Saw a cute little fire engine along the way.

Tiny blooms by the road.

Some event which I had no idea what it was all about.

I stayed a while to watch the performance.

Distracted by the event, I walked another route and found myself on a red light district >.<
Luckily it was day time and all were closed.

Naminoue Shrine (波上宮)
 1 Chome-25-11 Wakasa, Naha, Okinawa 900-0031, Japan
Free admission.

It's only about 800m away from my hotel, distracted and walking in snail speed, took me about 20 mins to reach.
The shrine exist since 1890 but was destroyed during World War II.  Rebuilding was done in 1950s, 60s and 1993, not much historical value to me.  The shrine was "new" except for the torri gate.  But I wasn't able to tell which torri gate is historical: the above or the below?

There was a wedding ceremony going on so didn't get to walk into the temple.

Chinese influence was obvious in structure of building as well as garden landscaping.

I wanted to wear a kimono too but nobody's gonna help me to take photos, so gave it a miss.  Next time...

Statue of Emperor Meiji.

These were the steps for cleansing before praying.  Kinda complicated.

This mama was patiently guiding her son, I should had followed lolxx...

Anyway, I just rinse my hands here and left.

Naminoue Beach was just behind.

The sand was beautiful, the water was clear but I supposed it was too cold to dip in.

The highway was build along the beach.
The wind continued to mess up my hair.

I walked all the way to the rear end just to realise I was at the wrong direction to take the overall pic of the shrine.  It was blocked by bushes and rocks.
I had to get to the other side of the beach, oh no.....

Snailed my way back to the shrine, looking at plants I never seen before....

Grandpas having a great time over a game of chess.

Jaws Meat Pie, tenderloin steak not digested so had to pass it.

There were a few cute cats around the beach and outside the shrine.

Asahigaoka Park next to the shrine.  I climbed up but nothing to see, so I left quickly.

Had to walk out of the shrine and from the main road to Tsuji side of the beach.

I finally made it over the other side of the cliff, swimming would be the fastest route though, heehee...
It's very quiet over this side, I seen less than 5 humans.

The undying wind...

Swimming not allowed for certain area??

Beach equipment such as brolly, benches, floats etc were available for rental here.

The angle was not as idea as I hoped but still better than previously.

So this was my shot for Naminoue Shrine on the cliff.  Perhaps the best angle must be taken from the sea or highway which I couldn't either way.

My hair and dress danced wildly in the wind.
I placed my phone on the floor and tried a thousand shots to get a few right ones, something which I wouldn't be able to do with family or friends.

Wasting time was a luxury, under Naminoue bridge (not an official name).

When I saw this map, I had unknowingly finished the stretch of Naminoue Beach.

This was the BBQ park and I was already far away from Naminoue Shrine.

End of Naminoue Beach, my short fat legs passed away...

The whole area was deserted, I walked into a random lane towards the main road, strained.  There were so few vehicles on the road that I began to worry.  There's no GRAB, no taxi, no bus stop, nothing except for unfamiliar buildings.  When I finally saw a taxi, it was like a savior, 救命啊!

Cab fare was around S$15 or S$18, just take my money, let me rest my legs and brought me to Kokusai Dori Shopping Street.
The first thing I saw when got off the taxi was this beef skewer stall, seemed popular, but I had no stomach space le...

Kokusai Dori Shopping Street, was vibrant and bustling with both locals and tourists.
The main road was closed to accommodate the weekend crowd.

A pair of Shisa, Okinawa's lucky artifact.
The open mouth shisa traditionally wards off evil spirits, and the closed mouth shisa keeps good spirits in.

Many shops were huge and I saw items that I bought in airport also available here.

Everything was fascinating and my dead legs revived lolxx...

Custom print T-shirt shop.

And beside it was a stairs which leaded to a hedgehog cafe.

Chiku Chiku Cafe
1-2-8 Matsuo, Naha-shi, Okinawa, 900-0014, Japan (along Kokusai Dori Shopping Street)

There were about 20 hedgehogs, it's amazingly clean without odor and not a single poo was seen.

Albino pine on semi-defense mood.

So cute.

2 balls all spike up cos I kept waking them up lolxx...

I spend 30mins with these cutie pines for ¥1300 (a cold drink included) and another ¥400 to feed them.  I was given a choice of dry food or worms, dry food please.

Most of them were sleepy only this was on the wheel furiously lolxx.

Alright just spotted one lump of shit.

See how it ran.

My experience with hedgehogs were more than 30 mins.  I got to know and had fed them with eggs, chicken, apples and corns.  They are sleepy heads in the day and active at night.  Basically timid in nature, it takes time for them to feel comfortable in your palms.  I miss them.  If you read my Dayre, you probably know how hard it was to contain myself..... 

Moving on.....

Awesome t-shirts around but I didn't buy any, trying my best at least not to expand my wardrobe.

Not all merchandise were lovely.  I didn't know whether to laugh or cry at these toad sling bags.
They were just............ so gross omg... Who in the right mind will buy sia, waahaahaa....

Public phone going to be history soon.

Souvenirs shops, hotels, cafe, restaurants were endless, I walked on and on towards the puffer fish restaurant I found online.
I had to skipped venturing into the small lanes else I wouldn't be able to reach the restaurant in time for dinner.  Dinner was turning into supper.

I bought small items along the way and people spoke to me in Korean, waahaahaaa....  Immersing in atmosphere of Okinawa, I find it different from Hokkaido. 
Some of the locals looked different, darker skin tone with more deep set eyes.  People were polite but bowing wasn't a habit here, they were more easy going and causal.  I didn't find out online and nobody who visited told me anything either.

Okinawa is Japan, same same but different in a unique way.

From 5pm I walked till 7.30pm, I finally found and reached
Guenpin Restaurant
Makishi 1-3-59, Shiisar Inn, Naha-shi

Luckily I didn't miss it as it's located at the basement.

Their reception with real puffer fish.

I was told to come back after 30mins.  Really couldn't walk any further, I just sat at their counter and waited.  I was here specially for their puffer fish cuisine, not cheap but die die also must try, literally.

The place must be good for celebrities and underground lovers who needed extra privacy.
Each table were surrounded by blinds, so I could only hear other diners but couldn't see anybody in full.  The surrounding was dim and I was without a lover.

I ordered Tenraku Set ¥7020, my most expensive meal for the trip.

The restaurant happened to be under staff, the crew taking care of my table was practically running around.  The following dishes came one by one with long waits in between.  I was an exhausted stoner, so I didn't mind.  Would be bad if you had plan your travel itinerary tightly.

1st:  Parboiled Tiger Puff Skin Sashimi.
Felt like chewing on rubber bands, I was more impressed with lemon citrus soya sauce.

2nd: Tiger Puffer Sashimi.
To my surprise, it didn't taste like fish.  The texture was like sotong though not as chewy with very mild sweet taste.  It's probably overrated due to the poison behind, with too high expectation, I had to say I was disappointed.

3rd: Deep Fried Tiger Puffer
I wished they deep fried the sashimi.

Tough fish texture  but the seasoning was flavorful, the salt within was tantalizing, I just had to order a bowl of rice to go with it.

4th: BBQ Tiger Puffer

This was good too though some skin got stuck to the grill.
Great partner with rice, nom nom...

5th:  Tiger Puffer in hot pot

Tiger Puffer slices didn't infuse much taste to the hot pot but I liked it.  I would get sick with too much heaty food.  Veg was very much needed too.

Kami Nabe looked amazing, amazing paper.

Easy on my palate.

7th: Porridge in Tiger Puffer Broth
Rice was added, egg was poured over a sift into the hot pot turning it into porridge after 10mins.

Nice and sibei full liao.

8th: Black sesame ice-cream
This came when I asked for the bill.

I was alive after the 8 course dinner.

The restaurant's card if it helps.

Dinner ended around 10pm.

Donki was diagonally opposite.
Don Quijote
2 Chome-8-19 Matsuo, Naha, Okinawa 900-0014, Japan
There was a large sex toy department which I was too embarrass to walk into cos I saw some men inside >.<  Next time I should just brave up lolxx....

I spend 2 hours shopping.  The contact lens I wanted was out of stock, bought a tamago pan, pokemon bath towel, some tibits and this yellow frakta bag.
Yui Rail, I couldn't (again), this pic taken in a cab, heehee....

Back in the hotel at Cinderella's time.   Wearing pajamas provided by the hotel.
2 pieces were provided, I wore it before and after shower like a bath robe.

I tried to wake up as early as possible the next morning.

Count down, I have more 4 days' post to work on.