It seems like more than a week has passed since my last posting: so much has happened!
As I sit here, it’s another lovely, early autumn day outside, the wind is blowing and the sun is trying to break through the clouds. The cleaning up in the streets below hontony mansion after Otori Danjiri is continuing – it seems a bit sad after all the infectious excitement in our neighbourhood over the weekend! 🙂 I will write more about the Danjiri later.
Talking about infections, that was the only bad thing about our trip to Okinawa – I picked up an ear infection, from the swimming pool probably. 😦 The antibiotics that the ear, nose and throat (ENT) doctor gave me on Friday caused an allergic reaction, which forced me to take the day off work on Saturday. I only went to that particular doctor because my friend works there, so she feels a bit embarrassed now, and I was joking that her boss tried to kill me! 🙂
Let me tell you about our holiday. We arrived at the hotel, the Zanpa, around 3pm on the Sunday afternoon and were taken to our pleasant tatami Japanese style room. We had decided that this style of room would be better for sleeping arrangements with the kids.
For the previous few days before our holiday we had been watching the weather forecast with interest as there was a big typhoon near Taiwan, which was predicted to move towards Okinawa. However, although it was a bit windy when we arrived, it was sunny and hot. So, immediately, Hugo and I headed off to the excellent big pool, leaving my wife and Irie in the room to unpack the suitcases. After half an hour of fun splashing around in the pool we returned to our room to find my wife more excited than us – but for different reasons – and with suitcases still unpacked!
Suzuka (my wife) said that we couldn’t stay in that 3rd floor room (the only tatami rooms were on the third floor) because she had found several ants on the floor and furniture, and she was going to call reception to see if we could change rooms. I had a quick look and discovered she wasn’t joking – there were a few ants around the window and other parts of the tatami floor. Normally, it wouldn’t bother (worry) me, but we didn’t want the kids to be bitten, and my wife was quite concerned about the baby. So she called reception and explained the situation.
I could see my wife’s expression change while she talked on the phone, suddenly she had a big smile! 🙂 She put the phone down and I asked her, “What? Are they going to give us a free dinner, or something? What did they say?”
She replied, “Well, the receptionist said that sometimes when there is a typhoon it causes ants to appear on the lower floors (hontoni?) and there is nothing they can do, but they are going to move us to another room.”
“OK … ” I said, “but you said all the tatami rooms are on the third floor …”
My wife gave a big grin and laughed, “They are going to upgrade us to the royal suite on the 12th floor.” 🙂
While I was dancing round the room with two confused, but happy, kids, there was a knock at the door and room service came to collect our bags and move us to the luxury of the 12th floor. Our holiday had got off to a fantastic start thanks to a typhoon and a few ants. The royal suite room, as you can imagine, was enormous, with a great ocean view and very, very comfortable furnishings: beds, sofas and bathroom, for example. I am not sure whether the Queen of England would say it was luxurious, but the Zanpa Royal Hotel’s royal suite was perfect for us. The only problem was that the fridge in that room was tiny – much smaller than the one on the third floor! 😦
The typhoon never arrived in Okinawa, although it was quite windy some of the time. But we were able to swim in the pool twice every day, and we went to the beach when we wanted to, but we couldn’t ride the aquabike that my son was so keen to do, but that was a minor disappointment.
I have been to Okinawa twice now, the previous time was 3 years ago, that was at the same time of year, too. I have only good things to say about Okinawa: the people are so friendly, the food is fantastic as is the scenery, and on the roads people actually drive correctly (not like south Osaka!!) – we will definitely go to Okinawa again, maybe next time, when my daughter is a bit older, we will go to one of the smaller islands such as Iriomote.
But, my advice to you – the next time you go on holiday, anywhere in the world, make sure you take a little bag of ants with you … hehehehe 🙂 Although having said that, my wife reports that when she was in Greece several years ago, she and her friends found a variety of bugs in their hotel room and when they ran quickly to reception to tell the manager he just laughed and said, “every room have zee bugs … heheehe …” and waggled his little finger in a creepy way! 😦 Japanese service is very good, eh?
Anyway, a few highlights of our trip …
For me personally, one of the best things about our trip was the Toyota rental car – it was superb, a new family car, bigger than the one we have at home. On the third day we drove up the coast to the magnificent aquarium. We have been there twice now, if you haven’t been I thoroughly recommend it! 🙂 A beautiful location and a fantastic drive up the coast, about an hour from our hotel. This is not my video, but it is exactly what we saw – the kids loved it! It has the best cafe location I have ever been in though the food is not so good 😦
On the third day we went to a place only 20 minutes drive from our hotel: BIOS on the hill. A walk in the park
This place is located on the top of a small mountain. A wonderful park with thousands of flowers, particularly orchids, and loads of stuff for the kids (and adults) to do. We had a trip on a boat, played shamisen and met an old woman whose sister was a professional player.
My son said that the best thing about the whole holiday, better even than the hotel pool, were the goats at BIOS – you could actually take some of the baby goats for a walk! If you go to Okinawa and you are in the area, it is a lovely place to visit for a relaxing half day.
Finally, the food. Now, I love goya, and I always have since I first ate it some years ago at my friend’s house. His family were originally from Okinawa. So, on our trip we ate a lot of goya, and a lot of umibudou, which we would call sea-grapes – they really are delicious.
However, what my son really liked and kept wanting to eat was Okinawa soba, which originally could only be eaten by the Okinawa royal family – hontony. If you don’t believe me, you can check here 🙂
It seems appropriate then that we were upgraded to the royal suite before we went out to look for Okinawa soba!! 🙂
Looking forward to the new term – see you all soon. Thanks for reading, and hope you enjoyed this posting – take notice of some of the useful expressions I have highlighted in the text above.