A lot of friends and family have been talking about coming to visit us while we're out here, so I thought I'd make a list of things that I find helpful in Okinawa. I've been here as a tourist and as a resident, and I find this place so incredible every single day. I can't wait to share it with everyone who comes to visit!
7 Things You'll Need in Okinawa
1) Booties- for all aquatic activities. Coral and other sharp rocks are everywhere, even if you're cooling off in the water, you will need something solid to step on. (An old pair of Chucks works just as well).
2) Layers- Okinawa has an ever-changing climate: it can rain and be sunny and get windy within minutes. Be prepared to be in a bikini one moment and a raincoat the next! There are umbrellas everywhere, depending on what season you are here, decide whether it's worth picking one up (they are inexpensive and available EVERYWHERE)
3) A good camera-- (that you KNOW how to use)
A lot of moments come up that you'll want to capture, but you won't have time to carefully adjust settings- hilarious shirt, funny sign, beautiful bird, beach drive by-- be quick or know what auto settings get you good shots. If you're here as a photographer, it's a different story.
*Waterproof case for your camera/phone is also a good call.
4) Cotton based clothing and comfortable shoes-- This is a humid climate: bring those cotton flowy dresses and pair them up with some bright tennis shoes, or rock some wide pant legs with cropped tees. You want the comfortable shoes because it's a great place to walk, run or ride a bike to see the sites! This island is part of Japan, but super laid back when it comes to fashion (unlike dress-up heaven, Tokyo) so have fun with your outfits, and keep it casual.
5) Sunscreen (even if you tan! ) This is the place where you burn up. There are plenty of arm cover ups that locals wear religiously, and even parasols that you'll see on the beach. Know your skin and how sensitive it is-- you don't want to spend your vacation getting over a sunburn--trust me.
6) Basic Japanese Phrases and Cultural Guide: Most people speak very little English here and this is a culture that is very polite. Don't piss people off, learn how to say please, thank you, and the always useful: where's the bathroom? If you have allergies or don't eat certain meats, for example, make sure you learn how to ask if that is in your food.
7) An open mind: things here are different. Don't be afraid to try new foods, or explore places you have no idea what they are. Most of the time you will have no idea what the packaging says or what the signs on the side of the road want you to know.
Some of the best times we've had on this island were when we just followed signs to random places and let ourselves get lost. And some of the most delicious food I've ever tried--well, I still don't know exactly what it is... but I'm still alive!