Myriam Moret's Weblog

Okinawa in Pictures/Okinawa en photo

Posted on 4/21/2008 by Myriam Moret

That's it folks! It's almost the end of my Japanese adventures. 7 days and I'll be back in Old Q.C. to take part in the 400th celebrations, jump out of a little yellow plane and plan my next adventures.  But don't worry, I'll keep blogging!

But it ain't over 'til it's over and I promised some pics of Okinawa. So here for you ladies and gentlemen... M's adventures in Okinawa in pictures.

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C'est fini les amis! C'est presque la fin de mes aventures Japonnaises. 7 jours et je serai de retour dans la Vielle Capitale pour prendre part aux célébrations du 400ième, sauter en bas d'un petit avion jaune et planifier mes prochaines aventures. Mais ne vous inquiétez pas, je continuerai à blogger!

Mais c'est pas fini tant que c'est pas la fin et je vous ai promis des photos d'Okinawa. Donc pour vous mesdames et messieurs... Les aventures de M à Okinawa en photos.

 

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And we're off! This is the best picture from a plane I managed to take yet. The sky was big, blue and clear just like I like it.

Et c'est un départ! C'est la meilleure photo à partir de l'intérieur d'un avion que j'ai prise jusqu'à maintenant. Le ciel étais grand, bleu et clair. Juste comme je l'aime.

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You just know it's going to be a good place when Yoda is there too. Vacationing but ready to fight, the little wise guy was standing inside a shop on Kokusai Dori.

Vous savez que ca va être un endroit génial quand Yoda y est aussi. En vacances mais prêt au combat, le petit sage étais dans un magasin de Kokusai Dori.

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Shuri Castle. Now a suburb of Naha, Shuri was the capital of the Ryukyan Kingdom. The original castle was almost completely destroyed during the Battle of Okinawa (1945) but it was rebuilt by craftsmen using ancestral techniques. The reconstruction was based on the original plans and photographs. Okinawa and the surrounding islands used to be an independent state and it wasn't until 1879 that they were annexed as a Japanese prefecture. The Chinese influence is still strong in the architechture, customs and food of the Ryukyu Islands as they maintained commerce with China and other country while Japan sheltered itself from the rest of the world.

Le chateau de Shuri. Maintenant une banlieu de Naha, Shuri étais la capitale du Royaume Ryukyien. Le chateau original fut presqu'entièrement détruit pendant la Bataille d'Okinawa (1945) mais fut reconstruit par des artisans, avec des techniques ancestrales. La recontruction fût basée sur les plans originaux ainsi que sur des photos d'archives. Okinawa et les iles environantes formaient un état indépendant avant d'être annexés comme préfecture japonnaise en 1879. L'influence chinoise est encore très prononcée dans l'architechture, les moeurs et la nourriture des iles Ryukyu car ils ont maintenu le commerce avec la Chine et les autres pays pendant que le Japon adoptais une politique de non ouverture sur le monde.

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It was in Okinawa that I finaly got to see the white painted woman. The Okinawan version of a Geisha, she was performing a "dance" which was rather like an exercise in appearing not to move while still moving. Contrary to many peoples opinion, Geisha are NOT prostitutes, they are "skilled entertainers" in a japanese sense. They sing, play instruments and dance, are cultured and can converse on many subjects and perform tea ceremonies and cook traditional japanese cuisine. The high price they command is due to the intense commitment required into becomming a Geisha and the short lived career they have. Once they marry, Geishas are out of the business and leave the Okiya (geisha house). They often end up owners of traditionnal japanese restaurants where they can best put their skill to use.

C'est à Okinawa que j'ai finallement pu voir la femme peinte en blanc. La version Okinawaise de la Geisha perfomais une "danse" qui étais plutot un talent pour avoir l'air de pas bouger tout en bougeant quand même. Contrairement à ce que beaucoup croient les Geisha ne sont PAS des prostituées, elle sont des interprètes de talent dans un sens japonnais. Elles chantent, dansent et jouent des instruments, sont cultivées et peuvent tenir une conversation sur plusieurs sujets, elles connaisent aussi l'art de la cérémonie du thé et de la cuisine traditionnelle japonnaise. Les prix exhorbitant qu'elles chargent ont beaucoup à voir avec la dédication intense et la courte durée d'une carrière de Geisha. Une fois mariées, les Geisha doivent quitter leur emploi et l'Okiya (maison des Geisha). Elles se retrouvent souvent propriétaires de restaurants traditionels japonnais ou elles peuvent mettre leurs connaissances en pratique.

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The best thing about Okinawa is the weather. It was hot and sunny most of the time and I got to wear cheap flip-flops and show my my crooked, battered, tom-boy legs to the world.

La meilleur chose a propos d'okinawa c,est la température. Il faisait chaud et ensoleillé la plupart du temps et j'ai pu porter des flips-flops cheap et montrer les pucks sur mes jambes croches de tom-boy à tout le monde.

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In for my 1st ever scuba dive. The water was quite warm for me but the "born and raised in Okinawa" instructor (the one with 2 straps on her tank) felt it was a bit cold.

À l'eau pour ma 1ère plongée sous-marine. L'eau étais assez chaude mais mon instructeure (celle avec 2 straps sur sa bombone) qui est née à Okinawa trouvais ca un peu froid.

After scuba diving in Chatan Town, while driving up the Island to Pineapple Park we stumbled uppon this beautiful beach. It was completely deserted, the water was warm a good breeze was caring the salty smell of the Japan sea. We ended up spending a lot more time there than we had plan but still made it to Pineapple Park before it closed.

Après la plongée sous-marine à Chatan, en se rendant a Pineapple Park, on est tombé sur cette plage magnifique. C'étais complétement désert, l'eau étais chaude et la brise amennais l'odeur salée de la mer du Japon. On a finalement passé pas mal plus de temps à cet endroit que prévu mais on est quand même arrivé a Pineapple Park à temps.

An hilarious moment of the trip. The ride in the ridiculous pineapple shapped cart to visit the park and the soft porn music that accompanies the ride. Anyway, the pineapples were tasty and it is quite impressive to see an entire field of pineapple bushes.

Un moment hilarant du voyage. Un tour dans un ridicule cart en forme d'ananas avec la musique de soft porn qui joue en accompagnement du tout. En tout cas, les ananas étais bons et c'est quand meme impressionant de voir un champ entier d'arbustes d'ananas.

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North of the Island in Ocean Expo Park, there is a traditional Okinawan village. Most people go there just for the aquarium so there is none of the giant crowds that you get used to see everywhere in Japan. It was worth a tour and made me wish that somehow Okinawans would have maintained more of this more simple way of life.

Au nord de l'ile dans Ocean Expo Park, il y a un village traditionel Okinawais. La plupart des gens visite uniquement l,aquarium onc il n'y a pas cette foule immense qu'on s'habitue à voir partout au japon. Ça vallais la peine de le voir et à ça m'a fait un peu souhaiter que les Okinawais aient conservé plus de cette simplicité.

Churaumi Aquarium, the second largest in the wolrd is host to thousands of species but the main attraction remains the giant tank called the Kuroshio Sea. With 1 981 290 gallons of water, it hosts 3 whale sharks, numerous manta rays, barracudas and many other fishes.  The front panel is the largest scrylic glass panel in the world with a height of 8.2 metres, a width of 22.5 metres and 60 cm thick.

L'aquarium de Churaumi, le second plus grand au monde est la demeure de milliers d'espèces mais l'attraction principale demeure l'aquarium geant appellé la Mer de Kuroshio. Dans ses 1 981 290 gallons d'eau vivent 3 requins baleine, plusieurs raies Manta, des barracudas et plein d'autres espèces marines. Le panneau frontal est le plus grand panneau d'acrylique au monde avec une hauteur de 8.2 mètres, une largeur de 22.5 mètres et une épaisseur de 60cm.

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I went crazy for the flowers in Okinawa and took them all in pictures. There were Hibiscus bushes everywhere and as you can see, they grow bigger than my head.

Je suis viré un peu folle ave les fleurs à Okinawa et je les ai toutes prise en photo. Il y avait des bosquet d'hibiscus partout et comme vous pouvez voir, elles poussent plus grosse que ma tête.

North of the Island there is a very famous waterfall called Hiji Fall. Apparently the trail that leads to it is very beautiful and you get to see a lot of wildlife. When we got there, however the trail was closed (it closes realy early, like 16h00) so we decided to drive up a side road in hope that we would maybe get us close to the trail and manage to get to Hiji Fall anyway. So good rebels as we are, we back the car, and take the side road. After about 10minutes up the mountain the GPS announces loudly that it is ending guidance. Ok, so even the GPS doesn't know where we are and we're in the middle of the jungle so might as well keep going if we dont want to spend the night here. The drive was sinuous with a 16° downward slope in a curve at one point but the highlight of this trip theru the jungle was the bridge that took us from one peak to another in the mountains. Lucky we didn't encounter any Habu snakes on our many stops.

Au nord de l'ile il y a une chute célèbre appelée Hiji Fall. Apparament le sentier qui s'y rend est très beau et vous pouvez voir la faune sauvage. Par contre quand on est arrivé le sentier étais fermé. (Ça ferme vraiment tôt, 16h00 environ) donc nous avons décidé de prendre une route de montagne dans l,espoir qu'on arriverais proche du sentier et qu'on pourrais voir Hiji Fall quand même. Donc, en bons rebèles, on recule et Hop! Sur la route de montagne. Après 10 minutes le GPS annonce qu'il romps la communication. Ok. donc le GPS ne sais pas ou nous sommes et on est au beau milieu de la jungle donc aussi bien continuer si on veut pas dormir ici. La route étais sinueuse avec une côte descendante de 16° dans une courbe mais le moment le plus cool c'est quand nous avons traversé un pont qui nous a mené du sommet d'une montagne à une autre. Heureusement, on a pas rencontré de serpent Habu malgré les nombreuses fois ou on s'est arreté.

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Habu snakes pickling in sake. Habus are the plague of Okinawa. Habus come right after Cobras and Mambas as for fatalities. In order to manage the population of Habus on the islands, the Ryukyu have introduce moongoose from india but they have proven inefective as the habu is a nocturnal snake and the moongoose is most active during daytime. While visiting the Habu museum, you can see the chart of fatalities due to snake bites in Okinawa. The peak seems to be during the late 40's early 50's when americans were buiding bases on the island but didn't bother to get to know their surroundings very well... and they got bitten! Nowadays to control the populations of habus, they are under controlled hunting. A lot of the captured snakes venom is extracted to go into what they call Habu Sake. Alchool containing minute non-lethal amounts of snake venom and then the alchool is aged in barrels cntaining the dead snakes. I'm bringing some back, altough not with the snake in it 'cause I just didn't wanted to explain the dead snake in my luggage to the custom officer.

Des Habus marinant dans le sake. Les habus sont la plaie d'Okinawa. Les Habus viennent juste apres les Cobras et les Mambas pour les fatalités. Afin de controler la population de habus sur les iles de Ryukyu, ils ont introduit des mangoustes de l'Inde mais elle se sont montrées innéficaces etant donné qu'elles sont diurne et les habus nocturnes. En visitant le Musée des Habus, vous pouvez voir la charte des fatalités. La majeure partie de ces dernières fût vers la fin des années 40 et le début des années 50 quand les américains commencèrent a construire des bases sur l'ile sans se soucier de connaitre leur environnement... ils se sont fait mordre! De nos jours le contrôle de la population se fait par des chasses controlées. Beaucoup du venim des serpents capturés est est extrait pour se retrouver dans ce qu'ils appellent Habu Sake. De l'alcool contenant une quantité minime et non-mortelle de venim qui est ensuite vielli dans des barrils contenant les serpents morts. J'en ramèene mais pas avec le serpent car je me voyais mal expliquer le serpent mort dans mes bagages aux douaniers.

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The Peace memorial in Okinawa AKA The Corner Stone of Peace. The hundreds of granit plaques list the names of all those who lost their lives in the battle of Okinawa regardless of country of origin and civilian or military status. As of today it contains 240 609 names of Japanese, Korean, American, Chinese, English and many others who died in this terrible battle that would be the begining of the end of world war 2.

Le Mémorial de la paix à Okinawa AKA La Pierre Angulaire de la Paix. Les centaines de plaques de granite portent les noms de tout ceux qui ont perdu la vie dans la Bataille d'Okinawa sans égard a leur pays d,origine ou leur statut civil ou militaire. En date d,aujour'hui il contien 240 609 noms des japonnais, coréens, américains, chinois, anglais et beaucoup d'autres qui ont perdu la vie dans cette terrible bataille qui marqua le début de la fin de la 2ième guerre mondiale.

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In the south, other than the Memorial, you can visit a HUGE limestone cave that will bring right into the D'ni civilisation of Myst. (And I am totaly aware that after the Yoda pic, talking about Myst just branded me the biggest geek ever)  Gyokusendo Cave is the longest limestone cave in Japan and 850 metres of it can be visited. All along tiny bats flutter here an there and water drips from stalactites. It is a great experience, although not for the claustrophobic.

Au sud, autre que le Mémorial, vous puvez visiter une ÉNORME grotte de calcaire qui vous emmenera droit au coeur de Myst dans la civilisation de D'ni. (Et je suis consciente qu'après Yoda, ce commentaire à propos de Myst viens de faire de moi une geek incroyable) La grotte de Gyokusendo est la plus longue grotte de calcaire au Japon et 850 mètres de celle-ci peuvent être visiter. Tout au long de la visite des petites chauves-souris se promennent et l'eau goutte des stalactites. Une experience vraiment cool mais pas pour les claustrophobes.

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And since one doesn't set foot on Okinawa without a thought for Mr. Miyagi, it was with great joy that I managed to snap this picture of the mailbox of the Miyagi family that lives on the 331. Granted that Miyagi is as common on Okinawa as Smith or Jones in the US, that could be a quarter of Okinawa Island... But I like to think that after training Julie-San, Mr. Miyagi returned to his homeland to live a long and happy life and that he lived in little white house by the beach with a red mailbox. Thanks Pat Morita for Mr. Miyagi! Hope you got them all to "wax on, wax off" up there :p

Et comme on ne met pas les pieds sur Okinawa sans une pensée pour Mr. Miyagi, c,est avec joie que j'ai pris cette photo de la boite à lettres de la famille Miyagi qui habite sur la 331.  Comme Miyagi est aussi commun a Okinawa que Tremblay au Saguenay, ca pourrais être le quart de l'ile,,, Mais j'aime bien croire, qu'après avoir entrainé Julie-San, Mr. Miyagi est retourné au bercail et qu,il vécu une longue vie heureuse dans une petite maison blanche au bord de la plage avec une boite à lettres rouge. Merci Pat Morita pour Mr. Miyagi! J'espère qu'ils son tous en train de "lustrer, frotter" là-haut.

 


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