Friday, August 17, 2012

a fresh pair of eyes

August is not the best time to visit Japan. For one thing, it’s HOT. And HUMID. Also, we sometimes have typhoons during the summer. Nevertheless, my parents operate on relatively limited schedules and so, braving the heat, humidity, and the possibility of typhoons, they arrived in Okinawa on August 2 for a two-week whirlwind tour of Japan. 

I think I can say with confidence that Japan had never been on my parents’ must-visit list. In fact, I'm quite sure there are MANY places they would rather have spent their vacation time. And yet, as soon as Yoni and I got word we would be stationed in Okinawa, my parents promised they would visit us here. And as long as they were making a trip to Japan, they figured they would try to see more than just Okinawa. In the end, they decided to spend one week here in Oki, and one week on the mainland, splitting their time between Kyoto and Tokyo. It was, altogether, a really great two weeks that we got to spend together. And while this week I’m going to talk about our time in Okinawa, I promise to write about Kyoto and Tokyo next week.

I spent a lot of time wondering what to show my parents when they finally arrived in Okinawa. In fact, as I previously wrote about on this blog, I even pre-screened some activities to see if they would be worthy of our time. But I still had a hard time deciding how to structure our days. Okinawa has many different faces, and I wasn’t really sure which one (or ones) they wanted to see. When I finally asked my mother some version of this question, she said she wanted to learn about the WWII history, and to see beautiful things. That didn’t seem a particularly helpful response at the time. But ultimately I found it helpful to see the island with two fresh pairs of eyes. It was incredibly validating on the one hand (knowing I’m not crazy for disliking certain things is always good) but also served as a good reminder that, even when things aren’t perfect, it’s important to find elements of each experience to appreciate – even if it’s only natural beauty.

I took the following photos at the lighthouse on Cape Zanpa. While I had not pre-screened this particular day trip, the dramatic vistas certainly enabled both my parents and me to get our daily fill of lush island scenery! 

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