Cycad

More popular than hibiscus, more striking are cycads in Okinawa.

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Why do the Japanese love it so much?
http://botanyboy.org/cycas-revoluta-in-japan/

Emperor Akihito planted a pair of King sago palms at the Japanese garden in Jurong when he visited Singapore as Crown Prince in 1970. They represent our friendship strong and steadfast. He said.

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Cycads use pollen in reproduction which can explain how prolific they are in Daisekirinzan 大石林.

Cycad revoluta is native to Okinawa. Used as part of a garden landscape. Be careful that the leaves are toxic and sharp. But surprisingly sago is made from King Sago palm. Wikipedia has a short writeup on a hypothesis that some bacteria found in the roots make their way into the human body and cause of some neurological disease. Although no evidence is cited, I am steering clear of sago flour.

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Majestic.

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In Singapore, cycad are prone to be eaten by the cycad blue butterfly, indigenous to Australia. It doesnt seem to be a nuisance in Okinawa. Wisdom here on controlling what flora and fauna you allow into the country.
http://www.pacsoa.org.au/wiki/Cycad_Blue_Butterfly

Cycad fossils date back to 280 million years ago and commonly thought to be around when dinosaurs roam the earth.

A very good writeup if you are considering cycad for your garden. Also known as King Sago Palm. https://dengarden.com/landscaping/sago-palm-cycas-revoluta

Source: https://christophereppig.wordpress.com/tag/cycad/

Grown as a bonsai
https://www.bonsaioutlet.com/sago-palm-bonsai-care/

Propagating a cycad:
https://gardenerspath.com/plants/ornamentals/grow-sago-palm/

Okinawa lion guard dogs

More common that Shuri soba has to be the Shisa or lion-dogs in Naha city. They remind me very much of Chinese stone lions guarding important monuments or temples.

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The Chinese lions are usually depicted in pairs.

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A male with one paw on an embroidered ball (represent rule over the world ) and a female with one paw on a cub (represent benevolence ). These lions or Shi-si are in front of buildings.

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In Okinawa, the lion-dogs are on roofs or on gates. They are also in pairs, a closed-mouth female to keep in the good spirits; an open-mouthed male to scare evil spirits away.

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Myths abound as to how this tradition came about. Today it is on every building.

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Tsuboya Pottery Street, Naha, Okinawa

Next to the Makishi Market, a good 25 min walk from O’hartote is the Tsuboya Pottery Street where the Ryukyu kingdom gathered all pottery makers.

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Today, the street is a pleasant and pretty walk of pottery items, cups and items of daily use.

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Be rewarded with McDonald’s end of the street.

Postscript

We bought two chopping boards of Kusunoki wood at Utusama, a bowl of Okinawan blue at the shop beside the Museum and 2 mugs to remember our trip. We didnt visit the Museum because it was closed.

Yanbaru Lohas Lodge

I found this accommodation on Air Bnb although it is available on Tripadvisor as Yanbaru Lohas and they have glamping tents and usual hotel rooms.

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Cottage where we stayed for 2 nights.
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Shower is above the horse stable with attached public bath for 2. Very cold at night. But hot water and a jacuzzi warms you up.

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At night you get up and walk out about 30 steps to the bathroom shared with glamping tents. But during our stay we were the only ones.

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2 horses in the stable. Not smelly and well groomed.

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Just 5 steps away, your own private beach and unblocked view. It was cloudy so we didnt see any stars.

We were more keen to visit the Falls etc and daylight ends at around 6pm with no night lamps so we didnt fully enjoy the compound even though it was very pretty and there was only 1 other couple staying whom we never ran into.

Megumi who has been working at the place for past 4 yrs is from.Fukuoka. She speaks english and has been to Singapore 10 years ago. Time to visit again Megumi!

Uppama-beach (natural beach) (10 min by foot)
Gesashi-Mangrove Hirugi Park (Rhizophoraceae) (10 min by foot)
Gesashi-Fising port (20 min by foot)
“A-i-u-e-o” (restaurant) 10 min by foot
“Hokaze” (cafe lunch) 3 min by car
“Kaguya-Hime” (rose gerden, lunch) 3 min by car
“Mori-no-Fukurou” (restaurant) 10 min by car
“Canaan Slow Farm” (restaurant) 15 min by car
“Agarinuhama” (restaurant) 15 min by car
“ECOPA” (restaurant) 20 min by car
“Tachiga-a” (restaurant) 30 min by car
“Michi-no-Eki” (roadside rest area) 15 min by car

Accommodation:
Yanbaru-lohas
〒905-1205 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, 東村慶佐次167−2
0980-43-2884
https://g.co/kgs/MZRmaV
Booked under Megumi Log House under Airbnb

Christmas lunch at L LOTA on Kouri island, Okinawa

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No more Christmas Tree next year.
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A DIY Christmas tree with Christmas decorations.
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A real sugar cane and bittergourd farm next to the restaurant.
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Christmas lights around Bird of Paradise. I always suspect they need a sudden drop in temperature to flower. Mine has not flowered in 4 years. Help!

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View of Kouri island bridge from the restaurant.

We had 1 lunch set and 1 coffee. Kind of like a moveable feast. No more agu pork for me after my experience on Kokusai Street.

Restaurant L LOTA(エルロタ)
〒905-0406 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, Nakijin, Kouri, 466−1
0980-51-5031
https://g.co/kgs/YChaNj

Okinawa flora

Okinawa flora is subtropical. Because land is abundant outside of the main city, most people grow tropical plants in their front porch.

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Callicarpa Japonica Var Luxurians, bloom in Oct to Dec. Seen at the Daisekirinzan stone park 大石林.

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Japanese Silver Leaf seen at Shuri castle and almost everywhere.

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Gebashi Mangrove in Higashi. It is opposite the eating place where we have our dinner.

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Cycad at Shuri castle.

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Cycad at Daisekirinzan 大石林

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Banyan tree at Daisekirinzan 大石林

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Hibiscus

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Pineapple, sugar cane and bittergourd patches almost everywhere in the north. Its a farming community with small plots.

Day 3 Chatan to Nakijin, Okinawa

After breakfast, we immediately set off for Aeon Mall next to American village.  There is tax free for purchase of 5000¥ above. But bring your passport. What do we buy? Stock up on groceries, the Zojirushi flask half price in Japan, good quality sake, and Japanese cosmetics.

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Drive from Chatan to Cape Zanpa and Maeda. It was such a hot day and we were not into anymore limestone rocks.

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Didnt realise sea cucumbers are so soft.

Planned to check out Pancake House and Bakery Suien enroute to Churami. Unfortunately for us its closed from 23 Dec to 3 Jan.

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Very well worth a visit. I cant absorb beyond an hour. Sea urchins and puffer fish are part of Japanese cuisine. Didnt realise the puffer fish is so cute.

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Enroute to Churami SEA Acquarium. Long drive. We entered at 4pm. There is discount at 1280¥ per pax.

Whale sharks and manta rays

Not plants but animals

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Photos taken by me in the Acquarium
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Big eyes is discovered at 100 to 200m.
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Its really an experience looking at the exhibits and walking around. Although the acquarium’s official closing time is 630pm in winter, the exhibits are far apart. The last entry is 530pm. So when you enter at 4pm, you only have time for the main Churami acquarium and feeding time of the whale shark at 5pm.

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I had booked the night at Cielo Unten which is 35 mins away. But the roads were narrow with no street lamps and a different kind of ecperience. Dark cloudy sky, no street lamp. Strong wailing wind. In the end we arrived at 630pm in pitch darkness. What a way to spend Christmas eve.

What an irony to note that our accomodation was next to a good restaurant Coco Neel next door which closed for thr day just as we arrived.

We went to bed hungry on Christmas Eve with nothing to watch on tv. Only to discover a restaurant Coco Neel was literally beside our restaurant and closed at 630pm.

Accommodation:
CIELO UNTEN(シエロウンテン)
〒905-0403 沖縄県国頭郡今帰仁村 運天402-2
098-989-7617
https://g.co/kgs/2H9BLk
(Found by searching google map and Facebook for anything near Chillma and Kouri island)

Spotted garden Eel

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spotted_garden_eel

I am fascinated with the spotted garden eel at Churami Seaquarium. I have seen this in a cartoon and didnt realise its real.

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Video I took of the spotted garden eel at Churami.

According to wiki, “the spotted garden eel is a small fish that can reach a maximum length of 40 cm. Its body is anguiform (eel-like): long, thin, with a circular cross-section. The head appears shortened because the large mouth is close to the also large eyes.

The body is white and covered with many small black spots. The spotted garden eel has three larger distinctive black spots; the first are the gills opening and the tiny pectoral fins, the second in the centre and the third one around the anus.

Fairy garden

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No more Christmas trees for me next year. But a Christmas bonsai. If I can find a manger scene instead of father christmas.

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Artist easel with pails, an idea to keep tools and hang more plants?

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I really felt like digging them up and bringing them home. Draped across the drive way. Enchevera or some succulents.

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レストランFull里
Furusato
Japan, 〒905-0411 Okinawa-ken, Kunigami-gun, Nakijin-son, Amesoko, 1124
+81 980-56-1223