It seems spring has sprung in Okinawa and by gosh it is beautiful! Last weekend we took a 5 minute drive to the village Kitanakagusuku to check out the sunflower fields located behind a local high school. With an estimated 400,000 sunflowers in bloom it was a lovely way to brighten up our cold & windy Saturday. We were also lucky enough to time our visit for the start of the 6th annual sunflower festival meaning that the roads were filled with vendors selling all sorts of things from potted plants, fresh produce and even cotton candy!
The wind was bitterly cold so we didn’t end up staying long, just long enough to snap a few photos, have the girls pose for a couple of photos for some local people and buy some goodies; Matt couldn’t pass up buying a huge bottle of juice to bring home, however, it took me only one sip to realize it was definitely not juice but rather oil!
Its not just sunflowers that are in bloom but also the beautiful cherry blossoms. This weekend Nago Central Park hosted its 52nd Cherry Blossom festival, one of 3 festivals dedicated to the sakura flower happening this weekend, and I could not wait to head to Nago to see them for myself.
We arrived half an hour before the festival started, which was great as it meant we beat all the traffic and managed to score a close parking spot, however we also arrived just in time for it to rain and when I say rain I mean downpour. Having spent yesterday at the beach with Eden actually going swimming, we arrived in Nago completely unprepared. Thankfully we had one umbrella in the car and I found a cardigan and 1 sock for Clio to wear, however, the rest of us had to tough it out.
The cherry blossoms, while not fully bloomed, were breathtakingly gorgeous as was the park itself with lush greenery, waterfalls and lots of steps, it was definitely worth getting drenched for. We made our way down to where all the vendors were and it didn’t take long before we started sampling the goodies. First up was squid on a stick covered in barbecue sauce, Eden seemed to really enjoy this, which surprised me because it was rather chewy.
As we continued along checking out the vendors, the rain did not ease up, so we eventually settled on eating lunch at one place that offered shelter, not because we particularly wanted what they had on offer! It was great to get out of the rain, even if it was for only a few moments.
Eden had spotted a fishing game she really wanted to have a go at, I am pleased that at Y500 ($5) she hooked something so won a prize (an interchangeable necklace thing). At every festival we go to we always see these plastic masks and I have been wanting one forever (don’t ask me why!) so finally seeing a reasonable price for them the entire Curtis family got kitted out in plastic masks, which worked out perfectly because Eden turned hers into a hat which helped protect her (ever so slightly) from the rain.
We made it to the end and onto the street where performers were starting to set up but choose to turn around and make our way back to the car before our kids froze. On the way up Matt stopped for a spicy pork kebab at one of the nicest vendors ever. Seeing how soaked Eden & I were they invited us into their tent to catch some warmth off the cooker, brought us some delicious hot ginger tea, tissues to wipe away drips, a stool for me to rest on and even loaned Eden a jumper. Matt posted a photo of this scene to Facebook with the caption ‘feeling blessed’ and I couldn’t agree more, this was definitely the highlight of my day.
As soon as we arrived and the first raindrop fell I kept telling Eden “We are going on an adventure” its a line I often use with Eden when things don’t go quite to plan, to get her to not focus on the negative aspects but rather keep her intrigued about what may happen next. Until being welcomed into the vendors tent I had wished the rain to stop, but as I sat there witnessing their generosity, exchanging a few words and watching them interact with Eden I was pleased for the rain, it was a little adventure that we wouldn’t have had otherwise.