My Okinawa Crush

A Random Decision

Instead of having a detailed plan for my working holiday, I told myself, "Enjoy and explore to the fullest, let things happen!" One day in Hakone, when I was having lunch with a colleague, she seemed to be very shocked by how slow I ate, "Are you really from Hong Kong? The pace of Hong Kong people is very fast, isn't it?" Well yes, I'm genuinely "made in Hong Kong", but an error version probably…… Then I asked which place looked like my 'home'. "Okinawa!" , she said. Her answer did inspire me. I started searching information about Okinawa and I really wanted to know how much I look like an Okinawan.

Okinawa

From the hill to the sea, from grassland to sandy beach, from smoky hotspring to chilled seawater, I officially moved from the east to the south of Japan! Having polished my cooking skills and basic Japanese in the kitchen, next step I wanted to improve my language by being a restaurant waitress. The blue ocean and water sports in Okinawa immediately got my heart, and the people in Okinawa were much more approachable than those in Kanto area, their lives were slow, and I could totally see why people thought I belonged there.

This Moon Beach was just 5-min walk from my home, best place to spend my leisure time.

Working in Okinawa

I got an offer to be a waitress in a western restaurant inside a resort. Since this job required lots of interaction with guests, I had to work on my formal Japanese, which is so different from conversational Japanese. In the beginning, I couldn't follow what people talked in the staff interphone, and even got blamed by my senior for being unresponsive. It was indeed so hard listening to the earphone while serving guests at the same time. But I did not want to make 'being a foreigner' an excuse for not doing something, to boost my Japanese listening skills, I spent a lot of time watching local television programmes as well as news reports, and revised Japanese when I had days-off. One month later, I found myself being able to reply to those instructions on interphone. And I could even get some of their jokes.

Enjoying this beautiful sea view at my work place.

Not too early to get retired

Compared with the job in Hakone, this job was so free and I was allowed to pick my day-off. So I could travel around Okinawa as much as I want.

(Left) The place I stayed is called "Onna-son" which was famous for diving. (Right) Local people called Miyako-jima the most amazing outlying island of Okinawa. This is the best sea view I've ever seen.

You can find similar beaches in SE Asia, but not as well-preserved.

Glass making is famous in Okinawa, so I joined a workshop. My teacher said I was talented as a beginner!

I stayed in Okinawa for 3 months and joined the New Year celebration, then it was time to move on to a new stage. How can I not miss the beautiful sea and nice people in Okinawa!

Like Chinese, Japanese people visit their families and friends on January-1st ,the New Year Day, I too went celebration at one of my friend's home.

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Emily Ha

Graduated from the City University of Hong Kong, Emily's curiosity for overseas lives rooted from her experience of being an exchange student in San Jose State University in America. She joined the television industry after graduation and went to working holiday in Japan in 2014; currently stationing in Tokyo, she got an offer from a Japanese TV program production company, with chances to travel around Asia for overseas TV program shooting.
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