石垣島 (Ishigaki Island, Okinawa) / Part 1

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5月の中旬から旅をしています。

現在はバルセロナ

気温34度、湿度34%。地中海が目の前にある、人口100万人ぐらいの中規模都市。

朝と夜は最高に過ごしやすいけど、日中の日差しの強さはやばい。

だからやっぱりシエスタは文化の一部として発展したんだなぁ、って勝手に納得。

ところで、シエスタ(wikipedia)って「日の出から6時間後」っていう意味らしく、昼食(スペインは午後3時頃)をとった後に休業をするのが習慣。

 

スペインは旅の途中の話なので、続ける前に話を巻き戻して今回の旅の始まりから書き込みします。

 

5月になって一仕事を終えてスケジュールにでかい空きが出来た。

こんなチャンスは二度とこないかもしれないと思い、折角だからその分でっかい旅に出ようとふと思った。経験値を増やすためなら貯金は喜んで使う。そんな性格。

最初に思い立ったのが沖縄。

本島は小学生の時ムーンビーチっていうリゾートに行ったのを覚えてるけど、折角だから東京から一番遠い所に行こうと思い、石垣行きのチケットを購入。

 

I've been traveling since mid-May.

Current location: Barcelona.

Both the temperature and humidity today are at 34C and 34%.

A mid-sized city of about a million people with well-maintained beaches creating easy access to the Mediterranean sea.

The early mornings and evenings are really nice but the blazing sun during the day is no joke. No wonder the siesta is part of the culture here.

On a side note, apparently siesta (wikipediameans "6 hours after sunrise," and it's customary for the Spanish to take a break after having their lunch at 3pm. 

 

Anyway, before I talk about the present, I'd like to rewind because I haven't posted any updates since March.

 

Back in May, I completed a big job and saw an opening in my schedule. 

It was an opportunity I couldn't pass up. So I decided to take a trip. 

I had a bit of savings tucked away, so I could actually afford to go on the trip that I dreamt up. Spending money on experiences that expand one's horizon—I look at this as a worthwhile, if not one of the most important, investment that one can make. 

 

As a child, I had been to a resort called Moon Beach on the main island Okinawa, the chain of islands that form the southernmost prefecture of Japan. But I wanted to go somewhere new, so I chose the island of Ishigaki, which was the furthest direct flight I could book from Tokyo.    

 

 

温故知新 ("onkochishin") — to visit the old in order to learn something new

A photo posted by Masataka Odaka (@masatakaodaka) on

Change

There is something about cherry blossoms ("sakura") that resonates deeply with the Japanese soul.

Last year I was in Portland, Oregon and even though there were quite a few admirers of the cherry trees planted by the waterfront, to most of the locals, it was another beautiful spring day, nothing more, nothing less. 

This year, I was back in my hometown of Tokyo, Japan during the bloom. The mood in the nation changes. News programs report on the bloom and massive crowds gather to go drinking under the trees. Temples host lantern-lit festivals. There even is a word for the act of going to see the blossoms: hanami. "Hana" means flower, and "mi" is the verb for to see.

オレゴン州ポートランドの水辺沿いには桜の木が植えられているエリアがある。

とても奇麗だけど、やっぱりなにか物足りない。

海外生活が長かったのでいつもタイミングを逃してたけど、今年は久々に日本で桜が見れた。15年ぶり。

目黒川上に吊るされる提灯の列、川に落ちて運ばれていく散った花。

この時期日本にいれてよかった。

 

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(Portland, Oregon) March 2014

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 (Tokyo, Japan) April 2015