Without having the option ($$$$) nor really the desire to fly home for Christmas, 
I decided to visit Okinawa in Japan's south. I found it to be a strange place,
probably for a few different reasons. The main reason being that it doesn't 
actually feel much like Japan. It's geographically closer to Taiwan than Tokyo,
it's much more tropical than the mainland and the Ryukyu language is beyond being a
mere dialect- it's a whole other language in itself. People were really friendly to
me here and I got to talk to a lot of old geezers about their Okinawa life and
language, as well as pat a lot of super friendly stray cats. I stayed in the
cheapest hostel I could find and the whole town of Naha had a real SEA vibe to it.
It was also really strange seeing LandCruisers getting around and lots of American
dudes with short hair.

Lots of rooftop gardens in Naha. I saw this one from the street and just walked
up to the top of the apartment building. I gave this man a bit of a shock by
just arriving like that. He was friendly though and told me all about his garden.
His daughter went to Melbourne on exchange 20 something years ago.

These little cans of drink are Japan's supposed answer to hangovers. If you see
salary man drinking one of these you know he had a big one last night.

Never met a vending machine like you before.

The suburb where I was staying was definitely seedy. Lots of hostess bars and
furniture sitting right out on the street. Not such a strange thing for Sydney but
definitely weird in Japan. If there's one thing Japan knows how to do it's to
dispose of things the 'right way'.

"Article IX of Japan's constitution is a treasure of the world."

Cats! Cats everywhere!

The very best part of the trip was getting out of Naha, heading toward the Kerama
Islands and visiting Zamami.
When I first got there it was overcast and the island felt very Lord of The
Flies- minus the Chinese tourists.

This place would be the absolutely best in summer.

I got a little bit sick from eating here.. It really added to the whole South East
Asia vibe I was picking up.

Rooftop gardens!

Bye tropical friendly Okinawa. Leaving Okinawa and heading back to Tokyo felt a lot
like leaving Cairns and going back to Sydney.