Okinawa part 2 - dining and shopping!

Good afternoon! I'm trying really hard to stay on track this week with blogging but I can tell you I would much rather just lay down and nap haha. Today at work our main computer system was down so there was literaly nothing for me to do half the day, I just kept thinking how much I could get done if I was at home. Well I will change jobs soon, I will still work fulltime so I won't get any more personal time, I just hope my next job is not worse haha!

Today I will write a bit more about my Okinawa trip, I think this post will require the most research for me as I don't remember the place names at all. Put me back in Okinawa and I could take you right to these places, but ask me the name? Forget it haha! One good thing for me when traveling is my spacial reasoning so I can very easily find places with paper map or such.

When I stayed in Naha, Okinawa, I was in a hotel on a road just off of Kokusai-dori (lit. International road) which is like the main drag downtown. Kokusai-dori stretches about 2km and it's got all the tourists roaming around, as well as the USA military people getting drunk at night. Here there are tons of touristy shops and especially restaurants, bars, cafes etc. There's some conbini and there used to be a OPA mall with all your gyaru needs (Universal-doll covered it's closing here). So it's great for a stroll after a long day sight seeing as most stores along this street are open till around 11pm.

In a shopping arcade street
I didn't spend too much time on Kokusai-dori just because I was too busy really seeing the sights of Okinawa, plus while the atmosphere is interesting I had no need to check out the shops and restaurants.

For a more charming experience make sure to visit the shopping arcade streets that bisect Kokusai-dori at about the mid-point which are named: Heiwadori, Mutsumidori and Ichiba Hondori.  They are all inter-connected so you can roam around for quite a long time. There are tons of gift shops, but also fruit stands, diy craft studios, handmade goods, restaurants and a fish market. It's rathering overwhelming if you are looking for soveineers as you keep thinking "What will the next shop have??" well they all really have the same handful of items in various iterations so just buy what you like when you see it :D

Hello Kitty branded Okinawa gifts
Who in your life needs One Piece Okinawa socks :D

As for eating, we used a travel magazine for recommendations, but there should be plenty on the internet! From a western viewpoint you can check Tripadvisor, Total Okinawa, and Okinawa Hai

Like any place in Japan, there are local specialties that you must try when visiting! For Okinawa it's Chanpuru: a stirfry featuring the goya which is used often traditionally, Taco Rice: a fusion food originating from the American presense in Okinawa, Rafute: thick cuts of pig belly, Mimiga: thinnly sliced and boiled pig ear, Umibudo: seaweed with an interesting pellet shape, Purple potato: it's found in a lot of sweets. Well there's tons of amazing food in Okinawa so try as much as you can! And as always try to find a small/local restaurant for more authentic tastes.

Coming up I will cover the Ryukyuan Palace, and America Village. Please stay posted and I hope these posts will be useful during your own travels! Or if you're stuck in your home town like me - something fun to dream about haha!

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