[ Apr.2017 ] We went to Taketomi Island which is a small island only about 10 minutes away from Ishigaki Island in Okinawa, Japan by ferry.
It is a custom for tourists to take a water buffalo carriage here, so at the port, the buses were waiting to take us to the carriage stand.
Of course we were planning to take the carriage, so we got on the bus and went to a sort of tourist centre.
Many people seemed to have booked a tour including the carriage and rental bicycles.
Without waiting for long, we got on the carriage.
About 20 people were together.
The guide introduced our water buffalo, saying “His name is Ryu. He is a good looking guy, but the problem is that he has a short temper. If he was a man, he would be just before 30 years old”.
After that, he talked about the the relationship among the buffaloes they had, but of course he explained about Taketomi Island, too.
For example, the population of the island is roughly 365 but one third of them came from other prefectures.
The famous Shisa (Okinawan lion statues on the roof like gargoyles) was originally made by roof tile makers with the leftover materials as a gift to the customers.
Also we learned that the walls in the town here were made of corals and they were not fixed and just stacked.
Then the guide took out a Sanshin (Okinawan traditional three-stringed instrument) and started singing.
He sang two songs and the second one was rather sad:
An woman laments her misfortune saying “I fell in love at the age of 19 but ended up brokenhearted. Please let me go back to myself of 19 years old” and the song continues to answer to that, ” If we had been able to make flowers bloom on a dead tree, we could have made you back to 19, but…”.
Okinawan music consists of the scale of 5 notes i.e. do, mi, fa, so and si, so it sounds exotic.
After about a half an hour ride, we got off the carriage, took a picture with the water buffalo and then we headed for Kondoi Beach by bus.
But this bus was problematic because we had to book in advance.
And the staff was rather rigid.
When I called to book the 1 o’clock bus at 12:50, she said “The next bus is 1:30 pm”.
So I asked “What about 1 o’clock bus?” and she said “But you have to book 15 minutes in advance”.
In the end because I asked her to check the spaces for the 1 o’clock one, we could got on it.
Actually, since we arrived on Ishigaki Island, we have had similar small troubles here and there.
It seemed that many of the people here were rigid and not flexible, which reminded me the people in Finland.
Anyway, Kondoi Beach was wonderful and it is just like the beach I imagined on the outer islands in Okinawa.
The white sand spread and the shallow water was so clean and beautiful.
We were told a few days ago that it would be too cold to go into the sea with a swimsuit, but in fact it was hot enough on the day and quite a few people were in the water.
But not too many people were there, so the view was not spoiled.
We regretted that we did not have our swimming gear.
Later on the way back at the port, the colour of the sea was impressive, too.