Zamami Island is 40 km from Okinawa in the East China Sea. With a population of only 500, it is a secluded home to crystalline waters, colorful coral beds, and island tranquility.
What stands out the most, however, when I consider Zamami, is Kazu’s family.
My husband and I visited Zamami a few months ago, and we randomly chose the Patio Reef Guesthouse upon arrival at the ferry port. At the guesthouse, we were greeted by a rowdy group.
“Today is my birthday!” Kazu announced, “Please join us!”
Flattered by the invitation to spend time with them, we sat down and shared celebratory glasses of awamori, the local rice wine. The rest of the night full of laughing, conversation, and revelry passed in a flash.
We teased Kazu about his love life and gave him advice for finding Miss Right. The family told us the legend of a dog who swam weekly from a nearby island to Zamami to rendezvous with its canine “girlfriend.” And at one special moment, the group spontaneously broke out in traditional song as one member played the sanshin.
When they brought out the birthday cake, Kazu said to us, “Your timing is very lucky. Now we eat cake.”
I can’t agree more… we were lucky that night.
The next morning, Kazu’s entire family drove us to the ferry terminal. Waving and smiling, they bid us farewell.
What happened on Zamami Island with Kazu and his family is exactly why I love travel.
This post has been entered in the Grantourismo HomeAway Holiday travel blogging competition.
Where have you found locals to be wonderful and unforgettable? Do you have any special memories of time spent with locals during your travels? Do share!