Editor's Note: The following photo blog describes the creepy feeling an Industrial Worker of the World gets in touring Okinawa, Japan, the scene of the U.S. military's largest, and bloodiest, invasion of World War II on April 1, 1945, and the justification for, a few months later, the dropping of nuclear bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
Okinawa Tomb Sweeping Getaway
|Once Leona figured out the fare rate, we were on our way. The first thing we did was check in to our hotel; seven stops and twenty minutes away. We soon arrived at APA Hotel.|
After strolling and choosing ceramics for the home, we pumped water at the well and worked up an appetite. We knew exactly where to go: Makishi Public Market for fresh seafood lunch.
Makishi Public Market is a row of covered streets with merchant stalls and shops lining the way. It seemed a bit antiquated, a throwback to the '60's, and many of the vendors showed their age. No modern fashions were to be found here but there were a number of second-hand stores and book shops. In one of them, I came across the 1979 theater guide to the Japanese cast of Fiddler on the Roof. Oy Vay! Wish I could hear the soundtrack!
Another shop made a unique starchy peanut-tofu pudding onto which you splash some sweet soy sauce and dig in with a tiny spoon. You can see the extent of quality control from the old-timer making filling one cup at a time. The mall was antiquated but it was not dirty or smelly at all. After buying a pencil, with a tip of a monkey head, we got another tip, from the vendor of cat related items, and we made our way through the uncrowded tentacles of the mall to Makishi Public Market food court. The fresh catch we saw was amazing.
|Tip: Go early for lunch (around 11:00 am) for the best selection.|
Shurijo Castle Park
|At least it wasn't made of Lego!|
|Perhaps this is one of the buildings that wasn't blasted to smithereens during in the Okinawa Invasion. Maybe they picked up the splinters and taped it back together.|
|Many of the stones were still there, reassembled, although there was a lot of fabrication copied from old photographs. They did have the blueprints from past repairs to guide them. The rebuilt palace was finished in 2006.|
|This is what one structure looked like before April 1, 1945.|
|Down to the cave in the mouth of doom...|
|Like spirits hanging in the wind, beauty, and a reminder.|
|...down down down in the gloom gloom gloom.|
|All the Blue Seal ice-cream couldn't make the invaders presence sweeter. All the A&W Root Beer won't quench the murderous nation's throat. There'll be dancing and singing when the people of this planet send American capitalism away for good.|
|Where have all the soldiers gone, filtered through the mud and gore? Gone to crystal springs in caves, everyone.|
|Such beauty cannot cover the inhumanity of man to man in the name of greed. Look at this entrance to the cave in Southern Okinawa. Who came in here to hide and escape? Who came in here to rape and murder?|
|Back to the|
I decided to Google "Battle of Okinawa" last evening. I am glad I remained ignorant about the blood-soaked island in WWII's bloodiest Allied attack, an invasion much larger than in Normandy, on mostly civilian population, the fierce fighting they encountered used as an excuse for dropping the nuclear bomb on Hiroshima and Nagasaki; to reduce civilian (and Allied) casualties. It must have been cheaper, too, than losing hundreds of planes, ships, artillery, and over 12,000 U.S. deaths and twice as much injured and shell-shocked, 200,000 Okinawan and Japanese deaths, mostly civilian, and the Western propaganda blames the Japanese for being ruthless and using civilians as human shields.
Like a sore throat from bronchitis, Okinawa will always be hard to swallow, but it is a nice place to recuperate; get your voice back. Take a sad song and make it better.