Okinawa and the Joys of Cleaning Poop

I might be the only person who goes on a beach holiday and worked on a farm without getting a tan. Perhaps October isn’t the best season to visit but I thought it’d be less crowded that way.

beach

On the days I went to the beach, the skies looked like that. It’s not terrible though – the showers are sporadic and clears up every half hour. It’s also a nice tropical climate so it’s not like you’d suffer hypothermia.

Speaking of seas, they are completely gorgeous. The pictures don’t do it justice because in real life, they’re turquoise clear and you can snorkel off the shore and swim with a whole bunch of fish.

beach2

Most of the popular beaches have an equipment rental stand nearby and some offer boat rides further out too. I headed to this island called Tokashiki along with a boatload of tourists. It was pouring when we arrived and while I waited in the shelter, it was quite funny to see very enthusiastic people running in the rain to the waters. When the skies finally cleared, they started waddling out too so it was quite a sight.

Transport in Okinawa is pretty expensive and sporadic and it makes sense to rent a car if you’re heading to more than one area even as a solo traveller. Buses to further north on the main island cost roughly 2000yen one way and not all places are connected by the same bus.

On the day I did rent a car, I drove to American Village because it sounded like reverse-Chinatown. Apparently since there’s a military presence on the island, there’re lots of influences all around. There’s an A&W which has root beer and charcoal burgers and Taco Rice, which is exactly what you’d imagine, is a local norm.

In American Village, you’d obviously find traditional American sights like this ferris wheel.

wheel

There’re lots of shops selling military iron-on patches and fatigues as well as jeans and uh Taco Rice. Very American.

Anyway, the highlight of this excursion is to spend a couple of days WWOOFing at a farm on the main island. I had intended for a two-week stint but my schedule didn’t work out. The idea is to work at a farm in exchange for lodging and food and I wish I had more time to do this.

I was at Kiyuna Farm which is mostly an animal farm with some crop farming on the side. The farm is run by a sweet elderly couple who speak enough English for all the international travellers to understand. For everything else, we learnt Japanese.

We were housed in very basic sheds beside the chicken coop so you’d wake at 430am naturally. Honestly, it’s pretty ridiculous how clean and well-kept the place is considering it IS an animal farm. In the day, we’d do cool stuff like shovel shit and feed cows and in the evenings, we’d gather for a cosy communal dinner before checking our emails or taking a stroll or whatever strikes your fancy in a rural farm. I got to pilot the Shit Gundam which by far is the best thing I’ve done in Okinawa.

shit

Some days, we’d be invited on short trips to nearby attractions or the beach or to some family friends’ places. It’s completely idyllic and if anything I feel bad for not staying as long to work.

Work. That’s a subjective term too because there’s the most awesome of chores lined up. I’d feed rabbits any day.

rabbit

There’s a whole cluster of cats that live on the farm and here’s the crowd watching in on the milking process, hoping to get a taste.

cats

If there is any leftover milk, they’d get it in their saucer and they’re very smart about this so they’d gather at the door quietly waiting for their turn. The prettiest cat is a little on the arrogant side though.

cat

There’s also a dog on the farm who’s BFF with the cats and for some reason, more than once I’ve chanced upon said dog and this cat strolling alone on the roads. Every time they see me, they’d freeze with a completely guilty look on their faces.

I’m still not too sure what to make of that…