One day in Naha
Trip Start Jan 09, 2013
123Trip End Ongoing
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Given I had one full day in Naha, I contemplated how to spend my time there. There is supposedly the world's largest aquarium, where they manage to keep a whale shark
Since Okinawa was heavily attacked by America during WWII, I was interested to visit a museum, a memorial, or some place to learn about Okinawa's role in the war. I decided to visit the Underground Navy Base, where the Japanese military managed operations against the Americans and where a military general ultimately committed suicide among his subordinates at the end of the war.
When I traveled to Philippines, Thailand, and Malaysia, I visited museums and learned about the brutal Japanese occupations of those countries. In Okinawa, the story was reversed. The film clips, articles, and pictures depicted how the Japanese civilians were murdered, starved, and enslaved by the American military upon attack of Okinawa. For the first time on this trip, I was able to view the Japanese side of the war. It was eye-opening to see a different perspective from the opposite side.
To get to the memorial, I took a Japanese public bus for the first time! Figuring out a public transport system in a developed country is overwhelming!! There were tons of buses of different colors, lines and directions. Even though I speak the language, managing to get on the right bus was just as challenging as getting on a bus in a foreign country. But I took in this experience with a sense of adventure and I really enjoyed observing the bus interior, local elderly/children riders and the bus driver who multitasks driving, announcements, fare exchange and customer service.
Another culture shock I observed on the streets is that Japanese people do not jaywalk, even when there are no cars in sight! Pedestrians patiently stand on the side walk for the green light. Unbelievable. Another orderly behavior I haven't seen anywhere else.