Okinawa Sunrise

Monday, January 28, 2008

Cherry Blossoms again!

As an eternal optimist, I hedged my bets this past weekend and dragged Adrian north of Nago to (hopefully) see cherry blossoms in bloom by Nakijin castle. As faithful readers will recall, 2007 did not prove an auspicious year for punctual flowers!!!

The Nakijin Cherry trees were a little more prompt although not out in full force as you can see from the pictures! It has been very cold by Okinawan standards in the past few weeks (low 60s) so I think they retreated back into their buds to wait it out!

Nakijin castle however is very impressive. It is also a UNESCO world heritage site for those of you keeping track. It was built in the 13th century and was the seat of power for the Northern most principality on the island, Hokuzan. It traded independently with China until the central principality, Chuzan, invaded in the early 1400s. It then became the seat of the central area's Governor of the north. Now it serves mostly as a spiritual center and is a working archaeological site. Also as you can see it was a popular spot for tourists like us!

Christmas and New Years Pictures!

Christmas and New Years!

Dear All!
I know I have been a poor excuse for a blogger! And I promise to add more frequent posts to my ever expanding list of new years resolutions!

Now while this blog was originally set up to chronicle my Asian misadventures, you are going to see here some decidedly un-Asian pictures! That's because Adrian and I reminded ourselves just how very far we are from all we know by flying 14 hours to Europe for the holiday season. But we were so happy to spend some time with Adrian's Dad in France and then my whole family in England. As many of you know, my sister Vanessa is spending this academic year in Oxford. So it was a good in-between meeting point (sort of!) for my family from New York!

We left the Okinawan winter, which hovers around lows of 65 degrees, for the FRIGID temperatures of northern Europe. However that was easy to get used to with the help of stylish leg warmers and long-johns. What really threw us off were the early sunsets! Some of my favorite pictures from our trip were taken at Blenheim palace at sunset on Christmas day....right after we finished LUNCH!!! Blenheim, for those who don't know, is a gloriously Pemberly-esque estate in Woodstock, a village not far from Oxford. It was built for the Earl of Marlborough in the late 18th century if memory serves and is notable for being the birth place of Churchill (his mother was a guest there when she went into labor, pretty impertinent for a guest if you ask me!). We think that we actually ran into some relations of the Earl when we stopped a group of other walkers to ask for directions which they very kindly gave and then walked into the palace! Eeeek! And I hadn't worked on my curtsy or anything :)

Other highlights of our trip included an amble in the Cotswolds, the beautiful hills and dales that surround Oxford. I found my future home, an old school house converted into a home in a little village called upper slaughter. I'm sure I'll be the only resident that doesn't remember the reign of King George but whatever!

We are now back in Okinawa and hope to regale you with stories of Asian travels in 2008.
However Adrian deploys to Iraq in March so they might be Natalia dominant! Hope you don't mind! I plan on keeping my mind off his absence with frequent trips and increased Japanese language immersion! Please know that you are all welcome to come and keep me company as well!