Tour to Okinawa
Pulling the luggage as my feet trotting in a melodic pace, I was heading towards the deport gate. My gait totally gave my feelings away. Everything was new to me, since the last time I left my country was a couple of years ago. Things have changed. Modernity, state of the art equipment, fancy decoratings all exemplifying an embarkment of a new journey. This time, as a physical therapist!
Within an hour’s flight, I arrived at Naha international airport. Clear air, fresh breeze among the atmosphere. Every single cell inside me was lifted. Following was the first encounter of the local people during my check in of the hotel which I was to live in for the next three nights. As an embodiment of courtesy, the Japanese people often bow with more than forty-five degrees of hip flexion while maintaining lumbar neutrality. This front desk clerk performed the perfect kinetic control task just in front of my eyes. The performance was excellent, not to mention the attitude. As a decent therapist, I had to respond kindly in return. So, I shrugged my shoulders and pulled off my best chin in and nodded with my deep neck flexors. It was a delightful civil international interaction.
Sun rose; I awoke; went to the renting company; got a car and drove. The second day was like a reborn to me. Cars in Japan are right handed driven. Upon sitting in the driver’s seat, it felt as if I were in the mirror world. Continuing on that day, I kept driving as I were a patient with left hemiplegia pusher syndrome, with my car drifted to the left unconsciously. But good news is that I took classes in motor learning, and after massed practice with variable setting and errorful learning, my schema adapted. The morning was spent in the southeast botanical garden. A little aerobic exercise while touring the pathway, carefully motion analysis during fishing, and was followed by lunch.
Lunch sparked ecstasy with Okinawa soba and Japanese curry. The former dish was a kind of famous and authentic local noodle. After that, we watched the dolphin show at the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. Inside the aquarium, all kinds of living lives of the sea were presented. On the other corner, specimens were filled in jars and shelves. Large white shark skin was soaked with drugs, dried up and then pinned on the wall; sliced tissue corpses were exhibited on the model; dolphin and shark brain lay silently beside each other. Aw, this is Anatomy 101.
On the third day, the weather changed and even started to rain. This didn’t stop me from going to the highlight of this journey, Shurijo Castle Park, a world heritage. Standing in front of the Shureimon gate, awe was not the only thing I felt, but also slow motion. Why? The answer is “winter”. It was January, so of course it was winter. However, not just the season, but also the great scientist Winter, who had contributions in the foundation of motion analysis. From Winter’s experiment, I learned that with a high speed camera, such as iPhone 6s Plus, we can have some interesting results. Thus, in front of the gate, I jumped, clicked. Voila! A snapshot of me posturing with the height matching the gate captured in film finished.
What goes up must comes down. Meaning the next stop was underneath the surface, gyokusendo cave. Step by step, descending the ground into earth. Darkness, moisture, and serenity were sucked into this very cave. What came to my eyes was definitely breathe taking. On the other hand, what came to my nose was literally “breathe taking”. So, I could only use pursed lips and huffing technique to remain oxygenated. Almost one kilometers of stalactite, stalagmite and column growing all over the cave, coming in imaginative forms such as cups, shipwrecks, statutes, etc. It was an underground world, manifesting the presence of time through rocks.
The rest of the trip was filled with shopping, gourmet and casual events. Drug stores with duty-free discounts, Japanese version of McDonald’s, green MOS BURGER, LOTTERIA and the list goes on. To me, this trip had many meaningful points. Okinawa have changed so much for fifteen years since I went there as a young boy. I, myself have changed as well. Now, as an adult, as a physical therapist, this tour to Okinawa has some remarkable memories that will lie deep inside my heart and I’ll never forget.