The big trip of the year was visiting Okinawa for the 5th International Festival (Uchinanchu Taikai) with my parents and friends and relatives. We had been there five years ago,
Star Sand Beach
My folks and I signed up for a tour of the "outer islands" -- we flew an hour south of the main Okinawan island to smaller and more rural islands close to Taiwan and Korea.
On one of these islands, Taketomi, there is a "star sand" beach -- sand partially composed of tiny star shaped shells. You had to look very closely to see them, but they were prolific and they really were shaped like stars.
5th Worldwide Uchinanchu Festival
When we are in Okinawa we stay at the Deigo Hotel in Okinawa City. Being a good southwestern dweller, I thought at first it had to be a misspelling of "Diego Hotel". However, it is Deigo, the name of a flowering tree native to Okinawa. The hotel logo is based on the flower's design.
I can't tell you how much I like this hotel. It's run by a family and it's not fancy. To tell the truth, it's rather plain, but it's comfortable and clean. The important part, at least to my mind, and my family's mind, is that the food is excellent here. Breakfasts are elaborate and change every day... dinners were uniformly good. The Japanese believe their rice is better than rice elsewhere, and it's hard not to believe it too, when you are there.
The two other great things about this hotel are the free internet access computers in the lobby, and the communal bath facility on the top floor. A huge bath, tinted red from the added minerals. Even on a muggy October day it is a treat to wash off and take a hot soak. Really puts you in a happy state of mind.
A Family Vacation
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