Beauty of the Islands of Japan

Ama Beach
Beauty of the Islands of Japan



The soul of Japan is an old blog, and I have been showcasing the beauty of this country longer than almost any traveller in the world. I will resume today with island hopping. In this post I will talk a little about our recent trip. As you may, or may not know, Japan is comprised of over 6000 islands! It would be impossible to visit all of these islands in one’s lifetime, so I will introduce a few and give you a little information on them. Maybe even inspire you a little.



From Naha Airport you catch a bus to the to the ferry terminal. It’s about a 15 to 20 minute ride. There you board the Zamami Ferry. It’ll take a little over an hour to reach Zamami Islands. The reason for selecting this island is because it’s a good base point for all other islands to hop from. Smaller ferries arrive and depart from this island more frequently than the other tinier islands. 



Zamami has the tiniest village I have ever visited in my life with only one police officer and one stop light on the whole island. There is only one supermarket which is open from 7:30am to 11pm everyday. You will not see any major convenience stores here. This supermarket services all the needs of the island, but has a strict entry requirement - you MUST wear masks.



Lion dog is considered a god in Okinawa



Accommodations are limited, but are reasonably priced. You should be able to find something under $100 a night, or less. I suggest using Trip Advisor or Jalan websites for that. There is only one ATM on the island and it is located at the Japan Post Office near the ferry terminal. There are no taxis and buses run every hour to only two beach locations; Ama Beach and Furuzamami Beach. Ama Beach to me is the pride of Zamami Island. What seems like miles of soft sandy white beaches; beautiful corals; and tiny marine life is like a real paradise.  

Beautiful sea turtles and fish can be seen here.



Island food, my favorite subject.   It goes without saying that the seafood is excellent; I don't need to post a gazillion photos here about that.   However, I will post 2 photos instead of dishes that I highly recommend.   One of the most well-known local snacks is called Spam onigiri  / rice balls with eggs, mayo, and spam.    Every morning at 7:30 am the 105 Grocery Store will have warm fresh spam onigiri out on a tray.   I could not stop eating these.


Next up I highly recommend a truly local dish called "mozoku soba" seaweed soba served slightly chilled with iced cold beer.


This locally harvested seaweed is basically flavorless, but has a nice jelly like consistency which enhances the experience when eating the noodles.   The restaurant can be found here.


I am your patriot teacher...

I am your patriot teacher.

I have been preaching the good gospel of Japan love since the days of Koizumi.    I used to take dates  and students on Yasukuni Shrine tours back in my early days here.    I was the one who put three fourths of Japan's natural preserves on the map.   I taught the world about the “Jukujo” and Japanese sake love, and about the balance between hot spas, sexy matures, and sake.   

Now, the beauty of the Jukujo motherland is in distress.    The horrid COVID19.   The pandemic is here now and it’s the Japanese mans fault for not protecting the motherland.   It’s the Japanese man’s fault for not being man enough to be proactive enough.   Now, my Japanese Jukujo Sex Moms are at risk - my lactating Queens.  At  Risk of extinction.  The eradication of an entire species.   

The Abe administration wants to embrace the  Olympic flames and pipe dreams of Governor Koike at the worst possible time in the nation’s history.    The gods are angry.   Fuming mad.   Blowing smoke out of their snouts.    Where o’ where are the guardians of Japan.   Must I be burdened?   My hands are full trying to keep Japan afloat.   

Lesson #1  

1) Wear masks and gloves on trains to protect from Japanese man breathe.   They are super carriers.  
2) Be courteous to others.   Don’t hoard all the toilet paper and essentials.  
3) Drink hot sake before bed from time to time. 
4) Play gunka before bed.  

Yamaya

Reservation only and you should sit at the counter.   Japanese is required.   One of my favorite sake places,  

Enjoy real local sake in Niigata 
https://drive.google.com/uc?export=view&id=1vYgkjnwkuRBy37Q4uB7KQiiqVfDumTKa

Ishigaki Islands, the last southern frontier of Japan

The soul of Japan has  evolved into an old blog from  an old fogy man-baby with a young soul.  This blog has evolved…Did I just say that?...   At any rate, I’ve sown seeds folks. No one knows the hand that planted those trees.   I’m an old foggy fogy….man. ( clearing my throat)


In this post: I will cover one  tropical island, some food, and one Japanese sake.  And maybe a little lore. So let's get down to business....



What is sake, again?   => It's called "nihonshu" and it's a drink that has been infused in almost every aspect of Japanese culture and tradition for thousands of years!   The very essence of this drink is considered "divine" here in Japan. It is the balance of water, rice, and koji that gives it its vibe. Then it's bringing these 3 elements together to create the perfect drink.   




The sake I will introduce to you is made by Taikokushuzo, an Okinawa Prefecture brewed sake called "Rei - Mei no Aki Agari" 黎明の秋あがり.  The dawn of a new era Autumn version and she is a Junmai-shu. . Nihonshu do + 4 acid 1.9 and alcohol is 16.4, so a little strong. This sake is best enjoyed with baked fish and salty dishes, very consistent with Okinawan style food.  Expect clean snappy notes with a small tail at the end.


( " Okinawa is not well-known for its nihonshu, and neither is Tokyo but both places brew decent sake.    The axiom is that all food and drinks are good in Japan is true.")



So now that you are setting down with that  nice sake in your imagination we can safely move to the island for tonight's topic.   Ishigaki Island. Just as a side note, Japan has almost 7000 islands, and this island in tonight's post is the most southerly inhabited island in Japan. About a 100km from Taiwan!

A decade ago the prolific Tokyo Governor, Shintaro Ishihara dove into the abyss off the coast of the Yaeyama Island chains to proclaim Japan's territoriality.  A moment I was particularly proud of this moment.    It showed the world Japanese men had balls / kindama!    I too am a nationalist and did the same.



These aren't worth protecting?  The beautiful corals that provide sanctuary for millions of fish and sea creatures...

We rented a boat and rode out to this spot to enjoy the deep of the sea.  I dove 5 times during this last trip and was blessed with beauty every single time.   This is a free diving paradise!



I have to always show my respects to the ancestors of the Japanese at the shrine.   There is a presence here, a deeply profound one.  I can sense the souls that toiled in the fields and in the sands for food and beauty, like a timeless struggle.

And the food, how can I forget about that!  Fresh chilled goya salad with homemade pineapple dressing and pork fried eggs.



Theme music below


Feel the Coolness of the Blueness: Japan's vast marine preserves.



Summer is usually at its peak in August in Japan with many Japanese returning home to be with extended family, friends, and relatives.  It's almost impossible to get around by car with traffic and packed trains. Many locals stay within greater Tokyo to enjoy the festivities.  Perhaps the most exciting time to be here is summer because I love the cool of summer water off the coast of anywhere in Japan.  




Just the other day we went over our gear to make sure everything was in good condition.  Fins, snorkels, gloves, and rash guards; Japan is notorious for box jellyfish. We hopped on the express called the Tokaido Line from Tokyo to southern Izu - took 90 minutes to reach our destination.   Taxi ride from the station was 1000 yen / $10.00 USD. We found a nice little dive site and got suited up and in the deep blue we went. Our eyes were blessed beyond our expectations!




The summers are hot, humid, and sultry around the entire island, including Hokkaido, which was once a safe haven for those escaping the heat, is now just as hot as Tokyo!   Global warming is being felt as I type. Here in Japan, locals douse the pavement with cold water to help cool their door fronts. Chubby babies eat shaved ice with purple tongues while a doting mother fans it incessantly.   The smell of hot musk permeates the air, like it's be cut through with a knife.   



Japan is blessed with having some of the highest concentration of oxygen in its waterways and oceans.   The oceans are teeming with marine life here and is good for snorkeling and skin diving - surprisingly.   It is said that places like Maui, Guam, and Oceania are vastly more beautiful in both depth and scale than anywhere in Japan, but not so fast here.   Blue Grunts, rockfish, and trumpet fish are all found in abundance an hour from Tokyo Bay! It is true that you most likely will not see giant sea turtles and sharks off the coast of Izu.  And you may not expect to sea sea grass in abundance either, unless you go a little farther out.  



("Japan has over 7000 islands, many uninhabited.") 

There are touristy waters just around the Shonan area - except for Taitei Beach - which are no longer beautiful but were once graveyards 400 years ago - Kamakura.  When only the ruling class could afford a burial site. If you weren't in this class your body was beached after death right where the kids play in the sand today.  



Nah.  What I am talking about is the beautiful cool waters off the rocky coastline of Kotogawa Beach in Manazuru. Dark sea water is often cooler than see through blue ocean water.  The drop off point is fairly steep shortly after entry. Beach entry from a rocky coast is dangerous and you should enter nearest to the water.  




After a long afternoon of snorkeling in the deep blue it's time to eat and drink, so off we went to a local eatery near the station.   We first rehydrated with a few ice cold beers and fresh Japanese sake.




All of Izu is famous for outstanding seafood, especially the sashimi.   The fish is never frozen instead it is made to order and kept alive before cutting.


Fresh horsemackerel

Deep fried mackerel!

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Beauty of the Islands of Japan

Ama Beach Beauty of the Islands of Japan The soul of Japan is an old blog, and I have been showcasing the beauty of this country l...