Sunset over Maeda

Last week was stressful! We had our first vets appointments for the move back, we packed and posted 10 boxes back home, I had a job application to write and submit (and if you've applied for jobs in Australia, you know how much work goes into writing the key selection criteria document!) and we were also negotiating a lease for a unit back in Melbourne, from Okinawa! Anyway, it was a difficult week....

Luckily our weekend was thankfully a little more relaxed. Saturday night we went over to our friend's apartment and hung out while watching this gorgeous sunset over Maeda. There's just something about a sunbeam that gets me, you know?

Hope everyone else had a nice weekend!

Golden Week 2017 recap

Golden Week, that miraculous time of year in Japan where there are 5 national holidays over a week and everyone has time off work has been and gone! Our Golden Week was lovely. The last 2 years we have either had friends visiting or been away somewhere, and for our last Golden Week in Japan we decided to stay in Okinawa and finally start getting organised for the move home. This basically involved sorting, packing and more sorting and packing. Have I mentioned yet how moving house is one of my least favourite things in the world? Yeah, well it is, and an international move makes it even worse.

We found out that shipping our stuff back to Australia is basically the same cost as it would be to just replace everything when we get back, so we're posting only our treasured possessions home and need to sell all the rest. Anything we can't sell we'll need to somehow figure out how to get rid of....

The biggest stress and most expensive part of the move has to be the pets. Australia is crazy strict with the requirements to get the pets back and compared to the cost of sending pets back to the US, which everyone else seems to do here, it's about 4 times more expensive to Australia. Anyway, we knew what we were getting into and luckily prepared accordingly. We'll be starting the vet visits to meet the requirements this week! Here's hoping it all goes smoothly.

We did, however get to do some fun things during Golden Week. The first day we had our friend and her son over and made fresh pasta which was so delicious! It always seems like so much effort (which it is) but the payoff is so worth it!

The one good weather day, we wanted to drive up to Sesoko Island, but halfway there and stuck in extremely heavy traffic, we decided to give up and settled for a beach near Nago that was actually lovely!

The other great thing that happened Golden Week, is we finally fixed G's bike, took off the training wheels and within 10 minutes he had basically mastered it! Now he's a little speed demon on that thing! It's awesome!

We made homemade pasta!

Oh how I love the water here <3

No training wheels!

Leaving Okinawa

So I haven't really been sure how to write this on the blog. I've already told family and friends, as well as my work, but anyway, we'll be leaving Okinawa at the end of June.

We've been here for over 2 years now and for a number of reasons, we've decided to move back to Australia.

I'm super grateful for the experience, and although the adjustment to life in Okinawa was harder than I expected, i'm so glad that we had this experience. We've had the amazing opportunity to live overseas as a family and go on some unforgettable trips together. We've been able to live in a house on the beach and watch the sunset over the ocean everyday from our deck. These are the things I will remember.

Although there is a lot i'll miss about Okinawa (the beaches, the beaches and the beaches), i'm really excited to get back to Melbourne and set up our life there again. I want to be able to hang out with my friends, see live music, eat good food and hopefully find a cute apartment and a good job.

At the moment we are kind of living in limbo.... wrapping up our jobs here and trying to find replacements (anyone want to move to Okinawa, let me know, there are 2 jobs going!), starting to pack and sell some of our stuff, but in the kind of weird place where it's still too early to be applying for jobs in Australia, or places to live......

We've got just under 2 months left in Okinawa now, and my main goal is to get in as many beach days and snorkelling as possible before we have to leave and go back to a frosty Melbourne winter. We've just come back to work after 5 days off for Golden week, and although we spent a lot of time sorting through our stuff and packing boxes, we still managed some relaxation and beach time. Our biggest challenge will be navigating the move back for our pets! Australia has crazy-strict quarantine rules, so we've got a complicated process to navigate.

I hope you will all still be interested in reading along with my adventures back in Melbourne, although i'm really going to need to think about a new name for this blog! Suggestions welcome!

Thanks for following along with my adventures in Okinawa. There will still be plenty more in the next couple of months.

Beach Camping on Miyagi Island

So since our last camping trip to Kouri Island, I was hesitant to try it again, but I have to say, last weekend, we had camping success!

Thanks to a tip from a friend, we ventured to Miyagi Island (insert Karate Kid joke here...) to find a secluded beach they had camped on before. We packed up the car with anything we could possibly need and headed out! It took close to an hour to get there from our place, but we also stopped on the way for snacks and supplies at a couple of conbinis on the way.

Ready for the drive!
family selfie!

When we finally found the beach, we were actually surprised to see we weren't the only people there with the same idea. There was a bunch of people starting to set up their campsite in the particular spot my friend had told us about, so we headed over to the other side of the beach next to the cliff and decided to set up our tent there. Thankfully the tent set up took maybe 30 minutes compared to at least an hour the last time, and once we had it up, we were able to get some shade, as well as go in for a swim!

As the afternoon went on, the campers over the other side of the island got larger (I think there were at least 3 tents) and we also got another camper setting up behind us and another group in the middle of the beach. Even though this beach was obviously not as "secret" as I thought, it was still fantastic and there was plenty of room for everyone!

Although the beach on Miyagi island was relatively small, it was large enough to be away from the other campers at the other end of the beach and not be disturbed by their music, and the water was lovely! There were butterflies flying around everywhere and big rocks for G to climb on.

All set up :)

Beautiful Miyagi Island, Okinawa

low tide
So in love with our tent!

As the sun started to set, it got quite chilly, so I was glad we brought warm clothes. We cooked tofu burgers for dinner and toasted marshmallows on our fire when it got dark. The sky was so clear, that when I woke at 3am and went outside I could see the Milky Way! It was gorgeous and made me wish I had a camera able to capture it!

We eventually woke around 6am, and got up to make coffee and just watch the ocean out the front of our tent, before the water just became too tempting and we went in for another swim. We were debating whether to stay and camp for a second night, but i'm glad we decided to pack up and drive home after lunch. It was such a relaxing and lovely experience, but I just can't get a good sleep when we camp, and I was exhausted by the time we got home. I can only imagine how tired I would have been after 2 nights!

All in all, i'm so glad we made the decision to go camping again! Even though I never get much sleep, it was better than last time, and the beach was so much nicer! I keep reminding myself that I would never be able to camp ON THE BEACH in Australia, so I need to make the most of these opportunities while I can.

That face <3

Miyagi Island in Okinawa, has some gorgeous beaches and blue water. Why not bring a tent and try camping on the beach! It's the experience of a lifetime!
Does it get any prettier than this?
Rock climbing
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Miyagi Island in Okinawa, has some gorgeous beaches and blue water. Why not bring a tent and try camping on the beach! It's the experience of a lifetime!

Picnic at Maeda Beach

Yesterday was glorious! I am still basking in the relaxation of FINALLY getting a beach day! I feel like the weather has been unseasonably cool for too long, and it's taken forever to warm up to swimming temperature. 

Anyway, after a day of rain on Saturday, Sunday turned out to be glorious! We decided to pack up a picnic and head to our favourite close-by beach, Maeda beach for a couple of hours!

When we arrived it was low tide, but this beach is still great for snorkelling at low tide, and it probably made it easier for us to get in as the water was warmer than at high tide. I feel like this beach is definitely getting more popular than a couple of years ago, but it's still a great beach to find yourself a shady spot to relax. 

We set up our stuff and snacked on some of my homemade faux tuna and cucumber sushi rolls and fruit. After a snack we got right in the water! I managed to get a really nice snorkel in, and was happy to see the clown fish still in their anemone I remember from last year. 

I think once you visit this beach, it's hard to go elsewhere. In my case, it's only 5-10mins drive from my house, and no matter the tide it's a great place! If you're looking for a new beach to visit, I recommend heading here. There's even a great pizza place (Pizzeria da Enzo) you can get a snack from before or after your beach visit.

You can find the pin for the beach here. Enjoy your visit!

The Entrance to Maeda beach. Is there a view more perfect than this?
Basically my favourite view

Maeda beach at low tide, with crystal waters great for snorkelling.
Explorer pup

Enjoying the shade

That water <3

Cave window

Well deserved shaved ice with fruit!
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Maeda beach in Onna, Okinawa is the perfect place where you can snorkel straight off the beach, as well as find plenty of shady spots to sit and enjoy the beach!

Nakagusuku Castle Ruins

Last week when I took a leave day, originally my only plan was to visit Futenma Shrine, however, when I was on the way there, I saw the sign pointing to Nakagusuku Castle Ruins not far away, so I decided I might as well check it out while I was in the area.

I've been to a couple of castle ruins in Okinawa so far, Nakijin Castle Ruins to see the cherry blossoms last year, and Zakimi Castle ruins in Yomitan when I first moved here. I have to say, I think that Nakagusuku is my favourite (but hey, my memory might be getting rusty cause I visited the others so long ago).

Nakagusuku, to me, just represents everything Okinawa. The old, run down ruins, the view of the gorgeous blue ocean, and green, overgrown plants. It basically sums up Okinawa. Anyone disagree with me?

Nakagusuku Castle Ruins is a UNESCO World Heritage site and the age of the castle is not known, however it is believed construction began in the 1400s. That's over 600 years old guys! Crazy!

Anyway, It was well signed and easy to find the ruins. There is a decent amount of parking out front, and when you walk in the entrance you need to pay 400yen per adult. There is a steep, flower lined hill before you make it to the ruins. Te ruins are actually quite extensive, and it was nice to wader around and feel like I was lost in time. Unfortunately it was quite gloomy when I was there, so there wasn't really the shining blue ocean view, but it was still really great. I think this place is definitely worth a visit if you're in Okinawa.

Nakagusuku Castle Ruins, Okinawa


You can walk around the wall and enjoy the view of the ocean

The view from the Nakagusuku Castle Ruins in Okinawa
Shame it wasn't a sunny day!

Apparently that's an abandoned, haunted hotel over there!

There's a well down there!


The well