The Study Abroad Newsletter

Japan Escapes

Mackenzie Tokuda

Marine Science major
University of the Ryukyus, Japan

Before I was even a student in college I knew that studying abroad would be great for me to find the culture that I have no connection too. My family is part Okinawan but none of us know anything about Okinawa or even Japan as a whole. With that in mind coming here was the clear choice for deciding where I could go in this world.

seafood market The first day in Okinawa, my friend took me to a popular street called Kokusai Dori which is basically a street full of souvenirs to buy. There were many restaurants to eat at but what I found unique was the fish market there. The first floor was full of live seafood (lobsters, crabs, scallops, sea urchins, etc) and what you do is you pick what you want to eat, and the workers cook it for you on the second floor! extremely fresh and probably the best seafood I have ever eaten in my life. Some of the lobsters were bigger than one of my dogs as well.

tug of war

A couple weeks later there was the Tug-of-war festival that took place at kokusai dori for three days. The large rope was spread along the largest road in the city of Naha and there were many smaller ropes connected to it so we could actually pull on it. My side won so that was great! Also after the war, we were able to take pieces of the rope home, so everyone gets a prize. It was really crazy, if you look up tug of war Okinawa festival on Youtube you can see how crazy it can be.

One of the sites that I visited for a field trip was Shuri Castle. Back when Okinawa was called the Ryukyu Kingdom this is where the many royal meetings took place and its structure and design is largely influenced by China who constantly traded goods. Even though it has been a while since I have been here however it still feels like I haven't experienced many things about Okinawa and Japanese culture and time still feels like it is passing by too fast. But I will be doing my best to savor it while I can and create even more amazing memories here.