|The banyan tree in the heart of downtown Nago, Okinawa, where|
Caroline Latham lives. This tree is old and is considered to be
the residence of the local god of Nago. Older banyan trees
are characterized by their aerial prop
roots that grow into thick woody trunks, which can become
indistinguishable from the main trunk with age.
Old trees can spread out laterally, using these prop roots to
cover a wide area. In some species, the effect is for the props
to develop into a sort of forest covering a considerable area,
every trunk connected directly or indirectly to the central trunk.
(Look up "banyan trees" on Wikipedia for more fascinating info and images.
|My suitcase in front of the Hotel Yamada in Nago at|
5:30am when Caroline picked me up so I could
take the bus to Naha (southern end of the island) to
take the plane to Kobe.
|Note the orange and white structures in the background for lifting|
cargo from ships.
There were fascinating big buildings along the train line route from the airport that just had to be photographed.
I'm amazed at how Japanese take English and make the words their own. Miura-san and I were coming back from her horse-back riding session and driving into her city of Ashiya. I noticed a business sign above a big lighted store front that read, "Reform and Gardening." Huh?! I asked her what that meant and her explanation was that, of course, it meant to fix your house and garden. So, I told her that we don't use the word "reform" that way. We use the word "renovate" or "fix" in that situation. The word "reform" to us has to do with changing a person's behavior. Oh, she said...mmm.
|Halloween is everywhere in|
Now I have to talk about Halloween in Japan. It's become the latest craze for selling food, candy, sweets, desserts, you name it. They really don't do trick-or-treating and they don't really understand the origins of Halloween, but there was orange and "Happy Halloween" EVERYWHERE. Even the mayor of Tokyo (a woman!) dressed up in a costume (couldn't figure out what she was supposed to be, possibly Alice in Wonderland). Halloween lingered on until the first week of November. Then came Christmas decorations....... no Thanksgiving in between.
|Traditional old-style toilet in Japan.|
|Post offices in Japan are always designated|
with the red double lined "T" above them.
Now they also say Post Office underneath.
I had to mail a box of things back home and so walked up the street to the Post Office which is only two blocks away. I'd gone there on my last trip and had already visited once with Mariko-san this trip in order to send a birthday envelope of rabbit cards to friend, Bethany Styer, in Lansing. As I started to walk inside this time, the automatic doors didn't open.... Shades were drawn. No lights inside. So when I got back to Mama-san's she said, "Oh yes. It's a holiday for the Emperor Meiji's birthday. So you had good exercise today!" Lots of people use the post office here for more than mail and stamps, but for Post Office bank accounts. Evidently you can also use it to withdraw money from an ATM there.
Have you noticed all the English below a lot of the signs? Japan is preparing for the upcoming summer Olympics in 2020. This is a country that prepares. English could be considered its second language. My friend, Caroline Latham in Okinawa, is teaching English to doctors and nurses at the Nago Hospital because there are so many Chinese tourists and they don't know Japanese and the hospital staff don't Chinese, and English becomes the common language.
"Keitai denwa" is the Japanese for telephone but "iPhone" (of course) for the cell phones almost everyone carries walking everywhere. On the train and subway, an entire line of people will be reading or texting on their cells because talking on the phone is not allowed on the trains or subways (hallelujah!) so there's lovely silence or quiet talking only and, therefore, you can hear the announcements of the next station coming.