A Day in the Life

I’m preparing to leave Okinawa in a few months, and lately I’ve been intensely aware of how I spend my days.

There are so many aspects of the local lifestyle I want to take home with me, but sadly some things just won’t translate.

To remember this time, though, I’ve been documenting the details. Years from now, I’ll look back and reminisce.

I’ll be writing a “Day in the Life” series in coming weeks. Here’s the first installment for this past Saturday:

6:30 am       My favorite time of day is morning. I drink coffee and take in the view from my balcony. I’ll never get tired of watching sun rise over the ocean.

8:00 am I usually walk around the neighborhood for exercise. Here are a few sights I saw along the way today. Godzilla, anyone?

Many homes in my neighborhood are protected by a pair of shiisa, mythical lion dog creatures that scare away evil spirits. Below are some variations, including an adorable homemade rock shiisa.

11:30 am After walking, I took my paper, plastic, glass, and aluminum to a recycling center. Trash collection is taken very seriously on this tiny island, resulting in fines for improper disposal!

12:30 pm For lunch, I ate traditional Okinawan soba, a soup made from pork broth. Locals believe the special pork is one of their secrets to long life.

3:00 pm I ended up at a Cat Cafe next. Because many Japanese don’t own pets, Cat Cafes (offering drinks, snacks, and cuddle time) are popular. There’s lots more to say about       this experience, so stay tuned.

8:00 pm My evening ended at a Taco Cafe for dinner (yes tacos are eaten here), where I ordered the Burrito Special. Silly me wrongly assumed it would be behemoth sized as I’m accustomed in the States, but it was the size of a 3×5 index card. After dinner, I lingered outside a jazz trio performance and admired the colorful fashion of the audience, including a few cross-dressers!  Admission cost 2,000 yen, and  while I was interested, the US/Yen exchange rate hasn’t been so good lately. I settled on people watching outside instead.

10:30 At home, I usually read before turning in and there’s always singing, chanting, or sanshin playing (banjo) coming from the houses below me. I’ll miss the free evening entertainment.

What’s a “Day in the Life” like for you? I love to read about how people live around the world. Tell me in the comments!

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22 thoughts on “A Day in the Life

  1. Tacos? Cat Cafes? (Yes to the Japanese tacos, no to cat cafes – I’m allergic,but what an intriguing concept)Isn’t it interesting how we look at things differently, focusing in on little details when we know we will be leaving? You’re very wise to start documenting and I look forward to hearing more! 🙂

    • maryrichardson

      Dear Margo,
      Yes, cat cafes are definitely not for everybody, but it was surprisingly fun. I’ll share some funny details about it in a future post. Sadly, I wish I had been noticing the small details every day!

  2. Hola Mary. I enjoyed this post about the simple pleasures of living abroad and it got me thinking, especially since I’ve been struggling lately with certain aspects of my life in Havana (after 9 years – yes! Im a slow learner). There have been some very interesting comments on the topic (why are so many expats women? why are some places harder to assimilate than others) and interestingly from some women who have lived in Japan.

    I look forward to more installments of A Day in the Life.

    • maryrichardson

      Thanks! Who knows what the secret is to expat life and living abroad? In my experience, it’s not ever straightforward. There are always complicating factors about leaving family and perhaps just not “feeling” the expat country. I’m hoping to squeeze the most good that I can from the next few months.

  3. What a fabulous view to wake up to! I remember you mentioning before that you are a morning person, and I can see why 🙂

    And that soba picture practically has me drooling on my keyboard. I’ve never seen soba noodles like that. Is it only available in Okinawa or can you get it in other parts of Japan and other countries?

    • maryrichardson

      Hi Ekua,
      I think you can find soba in many Japanese restaurants in the States, though they will most likely be called “udon”. There is a difference between Okinawan and Japanese soba, and there have even been court cases over what they can be legally called! Yes, they take it very seriously… I’ve never seen them so thick in other Asian countries, but there are so many noodle varieties out there, I can’t keep up!

  4. Well, you can’t take the ocean with you but you can surely bring a shiisa! My cat would really love those cat cafes, he’s quite spoiled and loves to be petted.One Chicago ritual that I enjoy is walking along the lake when it’s warm and gazing at the famous skyline.

  5. wonderful feature! i will be moving soon too, and it puts me in the mood to savor what i have here in boston. though though i loved it as a student, this second time around it was more of an arranged marriage, and as such i have really grown to like it (especially my neighborhood) and will miss it.

    and… cat cafe… what a brilliant idea. i would love a cat (or dog) cafe. i always play with my neighbor’s dog, but am too allergic to keep one at home myself. this would solve the problem.

    xo

    bb

    • maryrichardson

      BB,
      I love how you chose the word savor. It’s the perfect word for what I’m doing. i recently found out our departure has been delayed by 3 weeks, and I’m actually excited to have the extra time.

      Where are moving next?

  6. Great post Mary! That restaurant sounds like so much fun. I really want to go there. I used to tell my husband that I would love to go to a place where you can just adopt a pet for a day and return it after you’re finished having fun with it.

    Japanese are so ingenious!

    Hope you’re having a wonderful week!

    • maryrichardson

      Thanks Reese,
      The cat cafe is a fun concept, isn’t it? I figured most people would be against it since a lot of people have weird feelings towards cats, but it’s strangely a success.

  7. Sign me up for the cat cafe. It just seems like it would be a fun thing to try. Oh well, I have my own cat to deal with so that will have to do for now.

    I start my mornings off with a good cup of coffee too. But I usually just relax and read the news before heading out. I had a great view of the Mississippi, but I moved recently so I don’t have that anymore.

  8. Mehmet

    I agree with the other commentators. Cat cafe is a great concept. Especially in this day of age where most of us choose not to settle and therefore abstain from getting a pet.

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