Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Okinawa World

Sharon let it slip at some point that she really likes caves. Well, I had heard that there were some caves to explore here on Okinawa, but we hadn't discovered any yet. So, after a quick google search I found out that not only does Okinawa have some cool caves, but it has the second largest cave in Japan. Pretty sweet, huh? Plus, it gets even better. The cave is part of a place called Okinawa World, a place with performances, craft demonstrations, places where you can do your own crafts, a snake show, and more.
We had heard of Okinawa World, but had never really gotten any reviews. Let me be the first to say, it is awesome! We all loved Okinawa World. When we first got there we thought it was a little expensive (1600 yen = about $17), but we were there over 5 hours! So, if you divide it out it's really good value for money.
We got there just in time for the snake demonstration. It was like any other snake demonstration, but you were able to hold a big python before the show started if you dared! Well, Sharon and I dared. Snakes creep me out a little so this was a big step. I mainly did it because when I was 3 my parents took me to Silver Springs and I held a huge snake (I was way braver back then) so I thought this would be a nice reminder for them.
Yes, I know. Sharon looks way more comfortable than I do with the snake, but I swear that lady would be comfortable in any situation. I'm still working on that.
During the snake show the snake charmer worked with the local habu and a cobra.
Above, you can see him milking the snake. This whole thing gave me the willies.
The final part of the snake show was snake versus mongoose. The entire show was in Japanese so we couldn't really understand what was being said, but we caught on when he was taking a vote on who would win. Sharon and I, and a couple Japanese audience members, voted for the mongoose because we didn't want to see the cute, furry creature get killed. Everyone else voted for the snake. What a bunch of cold-blooded thugs. To see who won watch this:

Ok, ok, so it wasn't a fight at all. It was a swimming competition between a mongoose and a seasnake. I guess that just emphasizes that we should learn some Japanese!

After the snake house, we checked the schedule and it was time for the Eisa dancer show. I was very excited to see this because we enjoyed these dancers during the festival in August, but it's nice to know we have somewhere we can take our guests to see the dancers if they don't come during festival season. These pictures had to be taken on the sly because photography wasn't allowed, but I promise that even if I hadn't snuck my own pictures I wouldn't have bought the DVD.

This lady was awesome and stayed animated the entire show.

I'm not exactly sure what was happening here, but there was an old woman and her drunk old husband. Then a shisa dog came and stole the husband's sake jug!

At the end of the show they asked everyone to dance. You didn't have to ask Sheron and Sharon twice. Chris and I made the observation that all the Japanese people left all of their belongings on the benches while all the Americans gathered everything and took it with them. Either we have trust issues or the Japanese are just more honest.

After the show you could pose with the performers and they would use your camera to take a picture for free.

After the dancers we had a quick lunch and then made our way to what drew us here in the first place, the cave! It was absolutely amazing. I believe it's about 5km long and the public is allowed to walk through about 1 km of that. It is huge and open and I never once felt closed in. It's hard to take pictures in such darkness, but Chris was patient with the tripod and some slow shutter speed.

Some stalagmites near the beginning.

All of us in part of the cave. Their pamphlet says there are more stalactites here than any other cave. Plus, some of them were HUGE! They were too big to wrap your arms around. It was incredible.

The thing behind is called the Golden Cup. It is a stalagmite and it was awesome. It was probably my favorite feature. This picture doesn't do it justice, this formation was 31 m across.

I love this photo that Chris took. Yes, the lights are making the water look so blue, but it was still breath taking.

After the cave we went through the craft area. They had weaving, bingata, origami, and more. For a fee, you could try your hand at any of the crafts.

I loved these origami birds blowing in the breeze. They were made from a fine fabric rather than paper.

Our last stop before hitting the souvenir shop was at the photo house. For a small fee you can dress up and they'll take a picture that you can buy for an additional fee. However, they will also take as many photos as you want with as many cameras as you provide. Here are some of our favorite shots:

The formal family with our giant shisa.

Busting out the '80s style pose.

The happy couple.

Stay tuned because we still have Forest Adventure and Cocock's Nails left!


maria said...

Thanks for the offer to send us some stuff. That's awesome. :) We don't really NEED anything that I can think of off the top of my head, but could you tell me some of the "healthier items" you do have on base?

Hope you've had a good week. Huzzah for the weekend, though, right?

Have you ever heard of I've been looking around on there and thinking of ordering some stuff that I can buy more in bulk... like oatmeal.

Katie said...

your blog is such fun to read, thank you for keeping up on it! I love the photos of you all dressed in the native garb.