On previous visits to Japan I explored Tokyo, Nikko, and Kyoto. This was my first visit to Okinawa. After a 2.5 hour flight from Haneda airport in Tokyo Nori and I landed at the Naha airport on the island of Okinawa where we rented a car and drove 2 hours north to Motobu Town. The architecture along the way was colorful and reminiscent of Mexico. Life was slower paced than the hustle and bustle of Tokyo. I felt myself starting to breathe and to relax. Before checking into our hotel in Nago, we stopped for lunch at a local restaurant to try traditional Okinawa Soki Sobu noodles. These noodles were exceptional. After lunch, we checked in at the Mahaina Wellness Resort and then took a drive to Emerald Beach which was just a short distance away. This beach was true to its name. The emerald green water was so clear and inviting. There was a storm brewing so we were not allowed to go near the water but we made plans to return the next day.
We spent the following morning lounging poolside at the hotel and then took an afternoon excursion back to Emerald beach. I found myself on the other side of the planet lounging on the most gorgeous beach and I was still wallowing in my sorrows. After the day in the sun we ventured away from the hotel for dinner at a Japanese family style restaurant where we had hamburg, which is basically a hamburger with gravy. Before returning to the resort we stopped for some shopping and grabbed some locally bottled Okinawa beer and Okinawa ice cream. And with some persuasion from Nori, I took my very first Japanese hot bath that evening.
The next morning we had breakfast at the hotel where I made friends with the extremely friendly stray cat who was too cute to resist giving a few handouts. After breakfast, we took a short drive to catch a boat to Minna Island for a half day of exploration. We arrived to have an entire side of this serene beach to ourselves. I was in heaven. I walked the beach and collected shells, floated in the water, played in the sand, and saw fish in the water and crabs on the beach. It was a perfect day. Sadly we had to catch the boat back in the early afternoon. Upon returning to the hotel we took another hot bath to clean up and relax before dinner. Dinner that evening was a steak house which was quite delicious.
After dinner, Nori had a surprise for me. We took a drive to Fukuki street. Nori read that Fukugi Trees or “fortune trees” were located on this street and thought it would be good luck for me to visit this place. We rented bicycles from an old lady who told us that cars could not pass through the paths where these special trees grow. It was nearing sunset and the weather was spectacular. As our bike journey began I felt a sense of joy overcome me. I pedaled slowly because I wanted to savor every moment. Riding my bike through this peaceful tunnel of trees somehow took all of my troubles away from me. I was crying happy tears. I had a new beginning and somehow these trees were responsible for showing me that. God brought me there that day. I had been worried I might not overcome my sadness over the loss of my marriage but my will to move forward was suddenly back in full force and I wanted to cry out to GOD, thank you! I AM ALIVE! That is what is important. Everyday is a new beginning. We create our own happiness in this life. It took a trip to Japan and a bicycle ride on this amazing island to remind me of that…and for that I am forever thankful.
About the Author: Stacey Sloughfy. I am 41 years young. I enjoy nature, sunshine, travel, animals, music, writing, running, eating, concerts, the ocean, my cats among many other things. I was blessed to have been raised by two amazing parents. I hope to inspire others in a positive way. I am alive and for that I am thankful. Find me on my blog or follow me on Twitter.