For around £60 you can escape from the crowds and elevated prices of mainland Japan and fly to Okinawa. Needless to say trading cherry blossom, ramen aromas and vehicle fumes for long meandering streets, with the crystal sandy beaches was a wonderful break. Despite the downpour that followed us from Osaka, arrival and navigation was painless. First stop from the bus; Churaumi Aquarium. Speechless! The signature tank scales in at 22.5 metres wide, 8.5 high and with a square area of 35x 27. If that isn’t enough calculations for you, the tank is home to thousands of fish, including three whale sharks. Complete and total awe whilst watching these majestic creatures. It is like watching a cinema screen in real time. Even though I’m not such a fan of keeping big sea animals in confined conditions, the exposition of small fish is mind blowing – the choice, colours and shapes.
Our little retreat only lasted for a day and a half before leaving to Kyoto, but on a personal note for me it was amazing to visit the place in which Mas Oyama founded Kyokushin Karate. Having trained in the martial arts since the age of 11, I was filled with high hopes and intentions to find an active dojo teaching Kyokushin Karate. To train with true professionals within the art, only to find out, that the style of Karate has mostly died out with the late death of Mas Oyama. Once that plan failed, beaches, butterfly farms, and long walks were an adequate substitute and there are loads of little things to do along the way. It’s almost hard to suggest or to say what to do and not to do, because I spent such little time there.
I will say however, that breaking up an extended trip is a must. A level of desensitisation will occur and a numbness to the surroundings will set in. Nonetheless, I’m not saying stop everything, pack up your things or to close your eyes. Just take a few days, a week, however long and simple, sit down. Observe, without talking or interaction. Look at the old lady 10 metres away, feeding her dog, or the baby who throws the same toy repeatedly whilst her mother is on the phone to her friends. You can learn a lot from looking externally.