Thursday, December 8, 2011

A Journey to Okinawa: The Japan Trip Highlight Reel

My childhood buddy JR is stationed at an U.S Air Force base in Okinawa and offered to show me around the enchanting island. Free board and tour guide? Visit an old friend while saving thousands? I’d be remiss not to take advantage of the opportunity! It's time for me to fly back to Florida, but at I have photos to look back on.

Here are a few highlights from our explorations:

1) Delicious food and tea was EVERYWHERE.

Ah, the motherland for Japanese food and tea lovers! I documented every meal, the grocery stores, and even the drink vending machines you’ll find around every corner. Above is an inexpensive Family Mart convience store bento lunch I enjoyed with an delicious bottled oolong tea at the beach.

2) 100-Yen Stores and Shopping.

There were bento boxes, tea cups, and more that cost a fortune in the states available for cheap at 100 yen stores in Japan. Besides the 100 yen stores, Window shopping was very rewarding. Attention to detail is evident in everything; for example, above is a selection of bath rugs in the prettiest collection of patterns and textures I've ever seen.

3) Castles, Shrines, Culture, History

We did a lot of sight-seeing. We saw all the ancient castles Okinawa had to offer, caves, kitschy tourist attractions, and secret shrines in clandestine mountain caves and proverbial cubby holes. Finding and exploring these hidden sights was my favorite part of the trip.

4) Beautiful Beaches and Mountains: Sea and Sky

Okinawa, Japan has a tropical climate. When it wasn’t raining I was able to enjoy the pristine white-sand beaches and calm, clear waters. I loved hiking through the mountains, swimming, and exploring the diverse landscape.

5) That gorgeous vintage shop in the mountains

Of course the vintage shop and café we stopped at deserves another mention. It was such an unexpected treat. I love taking less-traveled paths to discover the unusual, I find the best thrift stores and vintage treasure troves this way.

Honorable Mention: The Worst Karaoke You'll Ever Hear...

You can't visit Japan without singing Karaoke with some locals! I laugh every time I watch this! By the way, I was in heaven because this Karaoke joint had a HUGE selection of early, hard-to-find Jackson 5 and Michael Jackson tunes! But not “Dick in a Box” which has become my trademark Karaoke jam!

It’s been a beautiful, dream vacation for this Japanophile. I’ll miss Japan, but I’m eager to get home and work on my Twelve before 2012 list, have meetings with my business partners, and spend time with friends and family.

Let's all take mini-vacations every weekend. Even if it's a picnic at an unexplored park in our neighborhoods; it's good for the soul.
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  1. New follower :).. that is beautiful! Someday I wish to go to japan, this just made me want to go even more! :)

  2. New follower :).. that is beautiful! Someday I wish to go to japan, this just made me want to go even more! :)

  3. New follower :).. that is beautiful! Someday I wish to go to japan, this just made me want to go even more! :)

  4. Can't wait to see more pix, Van! It looks like you had a great time! Glad to have you back on OUR continent!! :)

  5. tiff: Thanks for following and for the comment. Save up and visit, you won't regret it. I already can't wait to go visit the mainland!

  6. Lori: I'm glad to be back to get some work done around the house, but I'll miss the abundance of good food, tea, kawaii stuff...

  7. Looks like you had a lovely time, Van! Did you ever get to check out Tokyo?
    <3 Jackie @ Let's Go Thrifting!

  8. Jackie: Nope. The adventurous side of me was dying to but the thrifty side couldn't let this vacation get too expensive. Looking for a thrifty way to get over there...

  9. It was definitely a pleasure to go with you to Japan. I'm truly delighted with your photography and your awesome stories. I really hope you enjoyed your trip as much as I did. LOL Have a nice weekend.

  10. Yadira: Glad you liked the photos, I'll be adding them all to Flickr for everyone to peer through as well.

  11. Hey Vanessa... I LIVE! Just happened to peep in at Thriftcore just in time to see that you were lucky enough to visit JAPAN?! :O I'm sooooooo jealous!

    When I have a little free time I'll have to read and savor all of your photos and live vicariously through you. Again... JEALOUS. Visiting Japan is basically my dream!

  12. Hey Amelia: I took a peek at and love the new look :) I'll be uploading all my picks to flickr soon and linking them here. I already can't wait to visit Japan again- make sure you visit one day, too. You'll love it, naturally!

  13. Goodness. Just found your blog today. I'm a Riverside resident, I love thrifting, AND I'm from Okinawa! Hello!!! :)

  14. Bingo bash game is very awesome and lack the curiosity if you dont have bingo bash chips free as this is the most useful resource in bingo bash games.


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