Last Updated 27 Jul 2020

The wonderful food

Category Food
Words 667 (2 pages)
Views 335

I must confess that there is much of Japan that I do not know about.  What I do know of Japan comes from my childhood and from my brief stay in Japan in the past.  As a child I was always fascinated by the magic of Japanese television; shows such as Godzilla (Gojira) and Space Giants (Ambassador Magma) would fill up my afternoon television slots.

In class, I would often share the beauty of Japan with my class by creating posters on Japan in the hope that others could enjoy the magic and beauty that Japan possesses.  Needless to say, the time I spent in Okinawa not only altered my preconceived notions of what Japan really is but the experience also exposed me to a beauty unlike any that I have ever seen in my life.

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My Okinawa experience is an experience that I will never forget.  There is something for all the senses:  The wonderful food (the sushi, the sashimi, the colorful and scrumptious bento meals); the warmth and friendliness of the people around; the colorful sights from billboards and store signs; the chorus that one hears from the people on the street yakking on their cellular phones and of course the overwhelming love that felt for Japan.

There is no other place in the world that seamlessly and effortlessly incorporates such high tech innovations and gadgetry with the quiet yet powerful beauty of ancient Japan all in one place.

While all of the sights, sounds and delicacies were indeed quite an experience, it was not until I came to a brief understanding of the history of Okinawa that I was able to truly enjoy the experience that I had there.

Okinawa is historically a separate nation, possessing a distinct culture and language unlike that on the mainland.  Okinawa has a different language from that of Japan, using what is called Ryukyuan, though its use has been slowly declining over the years.

Aside from the difference in language, the difference in culture can be seen in the different architecture that one encounters while exploring Okinawa.  There are a number of Gusuku’s or castles that still abound in the area.  The houses are also different because quite a number of them feature a shisa on the roof which closely resembles a dragon.  This is due to the Chinese influence which has also found its way into the local culture.

Okinawa is not known to be a tourist haven for foreigners and has been primarily developed to cater to the local tourists. As such, one is expected to know a little of the local language and dialects in order to travel around.

Once one is able to overcome the language barrier there are virtually no limits to the number of tourist sights that one can come across.  As mentioned earlier, the unique architecture in the area can be seen in the Shureimon Gate, which built in the 16th century, is a traditional symbol of Okinawa.  The Shurijo castle is also a sight to behold as its imposing façade greets the visitors who drop by.

The local tour guide gives a wonderful tale of how this used to be the center of all Okinawan culture.  Aside from the castles, there is also the Tama Udun Royal Mausoleum, which was built in 1501 to house the remains of King Sho En.

On the whole, my Okinawa experience was quite a revelation.  I never expected to see much of other cultures infused into the local culture given the history of Japan.  It was refreshing to see bits and pieces of Chinese and Thai culture in not only the sights but in most of the foods and music as well.

The magnificent buildings and the general cleanliness of the city of Naha is also amazing given the tourist traffic that it serves every year.  Despite the influx of a number of tourists, Okinawa has still managed to maintain its own unique culture and combined with the beautiful scenery that abounds around every corner it is truly a wonderful experience for anyone, local or foreign.

The wonderful food essay

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