Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Eve, Beach Walking and Storming Castles

Well it's official. 2010 is here and whether you say twenty-ten or two thousand ten one thing is for certain, 2009 is gone. I don't know where it went, but it sure felt as if it didn't stay long. I could do a year in review for everyone or stuff to expect in the upcoming year but I'll spare you. We all know how 2009 was with the economy, celebrity deaths, politics, etc. No need to be reminded of it in detail. I don't know what 2010 has in store. I'll get 3/4 of school out of the way. People will be coming and going and a bunch of people will be getting married. So yeah, not including the stuff I can't predict, busy year.

For us ushering in 2010 was different. We had heard that there was going to be a fireworks show boasting 10,000 fireworks but we decided to bag that for something a little more cultural. We went to the Peace Prayer Park which is a memorial site for those who lost their lives in the Battle of Okinawa during WWII. There was a movie about it, in Japanese then speeches. Then during the lighting of the 7 candles they had there a lady sang. Afterwards everyone went outside to where they lowered a flaming wreathe to a torch down below. People lined up to light mini torches then went up to the main torch and stood in a circle. After everyone was in the circle they counted down to Midnight then lit the center torch. Singing and merry making commenced after that while others rang a giant bell.

The next day we went to a beach during low tide to check out the tide pools and look for shells. We saw a lot of sea urchins and sea cucumbers. What was really cool was the two crabs we saw. One had hairy-like legs and the other one was green and spotted and blended in with the algae. However, with the blue moon being New Years Day, the tides were pretty extreme so the tide was coming in, in a rapid pace. We then went to Cape Manzamo and looked around. The views of the waters around here are amazing .When the sun hits the water just right you get some awesome colors of blue.

We tried to hit some tide pools on the 2nd but we missed low tide. It was okay though because we hung out and walked on the beach. In the water there were about 10 - 15 people kite surfing. With the winds blowing they were moving along pretty fast. One guy lost his board. That was sad.

Sunday, we went to Shuri Castle which was the castle used by the royal family. Being that there were still New Year's celebrations going on there were a lot of people there. They had a stage with various Japanese dances going on and it interesting to see the different styles. After that we went into the castle. We had to take our shoes off as to not track dirt and such through out the castle. There were various parts of the castle we weren't allowed to take pictures of. We went through the gardens and throne room. They had a glass floor in spots to see down to where some of the original foundation was. They even had the original fountain head dating back from the early 1500's pouring water into the spring there. A lot of history going on. * There was a point too where you could over look the surrounding areas. It was used to monitor the seas for sea traffic and potential threats to the empire.

Other than that, we're doing the beach thing some more and hanging out. We are going to the Peace Prayer Park during the day this week so I can see the monuments and such. We are also going to the Ocean Expo Park this week, which I've heard is the second biggest aquarium in the world. So yeah pretty stoked to do that. But I need to get going it's time to clean shells and what not. Stay tuned for more Oceanic adventures of our international edition of Smoke Before Fire!

* - Paragraphs and descriptions don't do the actual viewing and experiences justice. To fully understand how epic it is, one must visit the sites and experience everything themselves.

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