A group of us decided to take a trip to Okinawa during Golden Week (a period in Japan with several holidays one after another), because we had school off those days. But, we made a mistake and thought Golden Week was a week earlier than it actually was. (Well, in my defense, I wasn’t the one planning the trip. I only belatedly found out they’d booked the trip during school days and was able to get righteously angry.) But the flights were booked, the hotel was booked, nothing for it except to play hooky!
As with most of my travel around Japan, we took Peach Airlines. I’m sure I’ve said it before, but I’ll say it again: if you’re flying within Japan, or if you’re flying from Japan to another nearby Asian country, there’s a very good chance that Peach will be the cheapest way to go. It’s not the most comfy–the seats are small and fairly cramped for a long-legged, 5’11” gal such as myself, and there’s no in-flight services like food or television. But most of their flights are only a few hours tops, so it’s not such a big deal.
We arrived in the Okinawan city of Naha, one of the major cities and a popular tourist destination. We found ourselves in the midst of some major One Direction advertising as we went to meet up with the other half of our friends. Our group had actually come in two groups. The larger group of us had taken the slightly cheaper earlier flight, but because it was so early in the morning, they’d had to get there the night before and sleep in the airport to make the flight–so much effort for a slightly cheaper flight didn’t make sense to me, so I took a later flight along with one of the students from Mexico.
So we stayed at this place called Hotel Stork. It came up in the search for hostels, and wasn’t too expensive–I think we each payed around $30. But what we didn’t realize about the place before we got there was: It’s a love hotel. (There were several clues, but what really gave it away was the fact that you could book the room for an hourly rate, or a full night.)
In Japan, love hotels are common for people who want a place to hook-up or enjoy a night together. It’s not such a scandalous thing. It’s common for husbands and wives who live in crowded family homes with children and in-laws to sneak away to one for some privacy. But it wasn’t such a shabby hotel. As long as you ignored the fact that there was only one bed, regardless of whether or not you had one or two people. (In particular, the guys in our group were not super happy about this.)
But once we were all reunited, we went in search of food. Okinawa was interesting in that it reminded me less of Japan, and more of America. Maybe it was just the location of the hotel, but even in Tenri, there was a large variety of small restaurants around. Here, we only found a few family restaurants (similar to Denny’s, Carrows, etc.). There’s also a large mall nearby, but it was typical mall-style: full of fast food, but traditional Japanese restaurants? Not so much.
So, we settled for Gusto’s.