Our days are beginning to run together. With little to distinguish day from day, I suppose it was inevitable that my recollection of dates and times would become a bit fuzzy. As Russell frames our current living situation, “It’s a little like the movie ‘The Terminal.'” I find the experience frightening. This hazy period of my life is similar to the way I felt during those sleep-deprived months after [S] was born. My eating habits are out of sync with traditional meal times; hours alternate between passing far too quickly or much too slowly; and, I am wholly unaware of the day or date. A former client once told me, “Kimberly, you have a strong mind.” If he could only see me now.
This weekend stood apart from the previous two weekends we’ve been on Island for two reasons: (1) we had a vehicle; and, (2) we got up close and personal with the East China Sea. Finally. Those who know me best are well aware of my love of the water–and of islands. Indeed, I am seduced by the ease and beauty of island living. Be it Hornby Island, where we spent our days spotting Eagles overhead, walking on the beach or staring at the surrounding smooth-as-glass waters, or half way around the world at Jeju-do, where I watched bright turquoise waters gently kiss its white sand beaches, the island lifestyle calls you to shed your worries–if only for a fortnight–and give into nature’s lullaby of gentle waves lapping the shoreline. To say I was disappointed not to have seen the Sea immediately upon arrival to Okinawa is an understatement. Of course, I understood. It was late. It had been a long day. It was dark. We had a lot of luggage.
What I don’t–and can’t–understand is why it took us 18 days to see the Sea in person. It is an Island, so, yes, technically we saw the Sea from high points on base. And we glimpsed it from our Sponsor’s vehicle as we were ferried from Point A to Point B. But we were never close enough to dip our toes in–or take a snap of–the Sea’s pale blue waters. That was, until yesterday.
Yesterday, we explored Mihama American Village–its hallmark a dominating red Ferris wheel. It was described to us as a large outdoor strip mall. If that weren’t telling enough, the Village boasted a larger than life Red Lobster restaurant, a Sbarro’s pizza, and a Tony Roma’s, beckoning customers through an array of neon signs. Most people walking around American Village–listening to tunes from the 70’s, 80’s and 90’s–were not Americans, but Japanese or Chinese. As we walked away from the looming Ferris wheel, we walked towards the Sunabe Sea Wall and were greeted by the heat of high noon and our first proper view of the Sea. The scene greeting us was from a postcard. The waters boasted complementary hues of blue. And the clouds, puffy and white, sat low against a pristine blue sky, giving the setting an illusory feeling of closeness.
We were the only people foolish to be walking on the sea wall in the heat and spent only a few minutes gazing on the refreshing water before ducking into an air conditioned store specializing in intricate and creative music boxes. After walking through the shops we hopped into our Premacy and drove north on Route 58 in hopes of finding a proper and secluded beach–a plan recommended by a tour book. (Road signs are in Japanese, but tourist destinations oftentimes are also marked in English)
Although our journey did not take us to the beach we intended to find, we found Torii Beach at Torii Station, a United States Army base. There we had our first encounter–albeit it brief–with the Sea. The water was lukewarm, but refreshing under the scalding sun. And it was clear as can be. We saw small fish swimming underfoot and I ran into one of my (many) arch nemesis–the sideways walking sand crab. If this beach is any indication, aqua socks for the family will be a necessity given the presence of coral and glass mixed in the sand.
Ours was a tepid start to beach hunting, to be certain. While the beach we visited fails to rival Horseshoe Bay or Seven Mile, fortune favors the bold and we are looking forward to searching the Island for the perfect family beach.
Let the adventures continue.