Sunday, September 20, 2009

Making a Pig of Yourself at the YuiYui Rest Stop




Drive north on HWY58 from anywhere in central Okinawa heading to the un-congested beaches and mountain scenery and coming or going you’ll want to get out of your car and take a stretch. The YuiYui reststop with cartoon-like symbols of birds and a statue of a brightly colored bird lifting weights on the ocean side of the road will lure you in. Not your typical tourist trap, with souvenirs, toilets, over-priced maps and dining, this roadside stop has as museum, and best of all, it’s free! There are displays of the wildlife native to the yanbaru (north country) wilderness, ancient farm implements, pottery, baskets and various items considered antique in Japan that still play a role in the cultures of Okinawa, today. Expecting to find the food on the expensive side, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to learn that you can stuff yourself with a lunch for less than 2,000 yen.


Ran outa time to hunt Wild Boar, rainy season, then Summer heat, grandkids on vacation, 3 trips up North to investigate a Shinugu Matsuri (Festival) story, sorry; I let my Blog followers, Website viewers, friends, family and dogs DOWN, but that’s the way it is when you wait ‘til you’re over 60 and decide you have to pick up a camera and try to get published in National Geographic before you croak!

The good news is: On the way back from a drive to the northern territory with (soon to be world-famous writer) Rachel Sensei and a back seat full of (2) rambunctious boys, we made a pit stop at the YuiYui Rest Area. Being Rachel was nice enough to drive, translate and keep the kids at bay whenever I was using my camera, I figured the least I could do was spring for lunch.
It was already past 1:30PM and everyone was starving. I imagined it’d cost around $40 to feed the 4 of us at a tourist trap, but what the hell; I hadn’t offered to put gas in the car, yet and thought, “Maybe if we stuff ourselves everybody but the driver would sleep and be quiet the rest of the way home”.
Taking a few shots of the scenery outside for some future travel guides was a good idea, too. So, I snapped a few to maybe help people recognize the place in case they can’t read the Japanese for YuiYui. It really is a convenient stop for anyone heading to or from Okuma Beach or Hiji Falls and places north, like Hedo Point. Just look for the giant Kuina Bird or the other character pictured here, lifting weights.
We all had different meals, Goya Champuru, Soba, Pork Tonkatsu and, I forget what else. The waitress even asked if we spoke Japanese, so, I think she would’ve helped us in English, if need be.
Anyway, I expected the tab to be up in the 5,000 yen range, but it turned-out to be 2000 and some change. I know the meal I had would’ve run 1400 yen in any restaurant down south, but it was only 800 yen, there!
And, GET THIS!...I found some wild boar hanging out in the museum and shot them, too!
One of these days, I’ll get the real deal for you, but I’m starting to think it’s going to take some external lighting hooked to a motion detector, or one heck of a good external flash because the darn pigs have only been active in the pineapple fields at night. The pineapples are almost all harvested, but sweet potatoes are on their menu, too. One of these days, I’ll get one for you.
The latest news is, I decided Mondays will be my webpage day. Look for something new every week. I’ll Blog, change the music and maybe even post my favorite shot of the week, just to keep you coming back. Tell all your friends and relatives to have a look, too: Ryukyu Life and let me know what you think of it.
To be continued…..

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