Challenge: Travel To One New Country Every Year (Japan / Okinawa)

When my coworker got rehired at my office, I didn’t realise what type of darling it was that I was going to be spending my time and shared cubicle with. She has the same travel vs money issues as I do, except she had actually gone internationally with it, while I just took too many trips to NYC, Seattle, and Vegas.

Recently, she sent me this Unlikely Radical link of a challenge to travel to one new country every year.

I accepted. We now have our shared goal. Since this was presented to me in 2015 and I took a trip to Cancun, Mexico this year… I will count that for 2015.

My 2016 goal: Japan / Okinawa

This has been a goal of mine for over a decade. Although I am Filipino, I spent about a decade of my formative years as a family member in a Japanese-Okinawan family. They were Americanised, but not to the point where culture was lost on them. I learned a lot of possibly basic, but in my eyes, intricate and fascinating aspects of the culture. There’s still a lot to learn and the family had a collective curiosity about their own heritage that was contagious to me. Even after I had long spread my wings away from the family, we keep in touch, and my passion and curiosity for it has stayed alive.

I have totally romanticised the country and culture in my head, I’m sure.

I have a small task list of goals, which I will keep small because each task is a world on its own:

  • learn some Japanese – enough to get by, but push for a bit more than that.
  • target places to research: Okinawa is a must. Saga was recently brought to my attention by the internet.  I’m looking for places other than Tokyo or Kyoto. While those are some places I would like to see one day, they are not my priority for my first visit. I will probably ask some of my favourite bloggers, Catherine Toth, Melissa Chang, and Grace & Ryosuke for some trusted advice and recommendations. I don’t know them personally, (well, I joined Melissa Chang for dinner once!) but I totally fangirl over them.
  • Decide: Spring or Fall? I hear March-May is good, as well as November.
  • I’m a big fan of using Airbnb vs hotels. If I can manage this as I island hop, I will be a happy gal.
    • (Edit: I just learned from reddit that Airbnb is illegal in Japan. Hm.)

In addition to the above, I have to take into account which annual celebrations I would be excited to experience.

Of interest during a our possible target travel times:

  • Lily Festival on Ie Island
  • Kariyushi Million Fantasy – If this is an annual thing…
  • Shurijo Castle illuminated at night – this happens nightly! Woo!
  • Urasoe Park Rollerslide

We’ll see what else. I’m not a big fan of overloading myself during a vacation. I like plans to be casual and tentative. I’ll definitely end up at any beach as often as possible. Aside from that, I’m the type to grab an Airbnb, take trips to the local convenience store and grocery, cook at home, eat outdoors (this will be a challenge with the cultural standards, so I hope we have a patio), and take walks everywhere we can manage.

This is step 1! 🙂 Until next time!


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1 Comment

  • Reply
    I am Metal Heart
    05/09/2015 at 5:27 PM

    I’d love to go to Japan too. I hope I get the opportunity soon, it seems like such an impressive culture. I hope you’ll share some impressions then on your blog 🙂
    xoxo Carina

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