Saburo


There are many paths that lead to many exciting and interesting places on Okinawa. Lying relaxed and exhausted at the end of a recent path I had taken was Saburo a three legged dog who is surrounded by a whole lot of love!

I first learned about Saburo in March of this year (2014) while reading an article in the Ryukyu Shimpo, a popular Okinawa based newspaper. It was not the title that grabbed my attention but rather the photo of a joy filled puppy running along the beach. Unable to resist I clicked the link and started reading.

Saburo is far from an ordinary puppy and he has overcome far from ordinary circumstances. Once a stray Saburo was the victim of a hit and run last year which left him seriously injured. When Kiyoshi Oshiro, a nearby sabani (traditional Okinawan fishing boat) builder, heard the loud bang and Saburo cry out he did what he could to help the injured dog. With the loss of his rear left leg and a broken back local veterinarians told Mr Oshiro that Saburo didn’t have a chance of recovery. However, despite the professional opinion he was given, Oshiro didn’t accept this diagnosis and sold his very own sabani in order to cover the cost of Saburo’s surgeries which would ultimately save the dog’s life.

Saburo-kun: Miracle Dog - Itoman City Okinawa, Japan

Following the surgery, as one might expect, Saburo could not walk. This is where Tomoko and Kazukai Takara step in. This husband and wife team, who work along side Kiyoshi Oshiro, faithfully took Saburo for walks along the beach twice a day using a special harness to help support his lower back and remaining rear leg. Day after day they continued this rehabilitation until one day it finally happened. . . . Saburo’s rear leg started moving. The rehabilitation continued and now Saburo not only runs enthusiastically along the beach every day but also enjoys daily swims in the ocean.

The article, which reminded me of the good in the world, put a smile on my face. I shared it with a few of my dog loving friends and then, like sometimes newspaper articles do, it went out of my head. It wasn’t until months later when I spotted a sleepy three legged dog in the corner of a sabani workshop that I remembered of the article and exclaimed to the man who graciously was showing us around: “That’s Saburo!”

Immediately the room filled with love and the men, who just seconds ago were making a beautiful sabani by hand, came over to greet me and introduce Saburo. Kiyoshi Oshiro quickly informed Saburo that he had a visitor and that he should get up to greet me but the dog, who was clearly worn out from his early morning swim didn’t do much more than glance my direction and accept a belly rub.

Having the chance to meet Saburo was purely chance but I have to say I am very glad that the opportunity presented itself. He is such a wonderful dog who is surrounded by a whole lot of love!

Patreon Banner June 2014

Gone Fishing!: Bait and Tackle in Central Okinawa


Visit any stretch of Okinawa’s coast and you are bound to see at least one fisherman with his fishing pole in the water waiting for a bite. That being said it should come as no surprise that fishing is a popular activity here in Okinawa and therefore bait and tackle shops can be found pretty much everywhere.

In the central Okinawa area there are two such shops which are not only popular but also conveniently located and easy to find. They are Sannory and Sea Land. This post will take a quick look at both so that if you’re planning on trying to catch dinner the old fashioned way you will be well equipped and good to go!

Sannory サンノリー is a shop with two locations here in Okinawa but the easiest to find is just along Route 58 not far from American Village. What makes it so easy to find? Well, it’s brightly colored, large. . . and oh yeah it looks like a boat!

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Although the building is quite large on the outside Sannory features only one floor of fishing supplies. However, don’t IMG_2278let the previous statement fool you, there is by no means a limited selection of fishing gear.

Much like you would expect, Sannory has an extensive selection of fishing poles, bobbers, hooks, line and lures for everyone from novice first time fishermen (and women) to competition level professionals. What you might not have expected is the assortment of supplies for other types of fishing such as spear fishing and net fishing. There are also selections of supplies to make the fishing experience more enjoyable such as chairs, hats, towels, shoes, clothes and other gear. Once you’ve got a fish you need a place to store it which is also available at Sannory in the wide selection of coolers of all shapes and sizes.

NOTE: Even if you’re not into fishing but looking for a cooler this might be a place to check out as there are a variety of sizes and styles which can be more accommodating than your average “picnic” cooler. 

The staff of Sannory is kind, helpful and always friendly. Although the store does not often have English speakers available there are various English “cues” which may be pointed do at the front counter making it easy to communicate important information.

Sannory takes yen and credit card (only for purchases over ¥5000).

Sea Land シーランド is another popular shop again located on Route 58 not far from American Village. It is very easy to find as it is immediately across the street from Camp Lester and Starbucks.

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IMG_2329Sea Land feels very much like a department store all dedicated to fishing. There are two separate floors dedicated to a variety of fishing goods and supplies from notice to competitive professional.

Everything you could possibly need for fishing is available through the many aisles which also included images of the fishermen and types of fish they caught with particular products (common among fishing supply stores here in Okinawa).

Much like Sannory, Sea Land has a variety of items to include fishing poles, lines, coolers, shoes, clothes and much more making Sea Land a one stop shop for everything you need to go fishing even if you’ve never gone before.

The staff of Sea Land again remind me of department store workers, very busy and not as “mom and pop shop” so some other places I have visited in the past. However, if you had a particular question I am sure they would be happy to help. I was unable to determine whether Sea Land takes credit card particularly because it was not listed at the register so at this time I can say that they only take yen. (Please feel free to comment below if you have any more information on this particular area.)

These are just two basic examples of bait and tackle shops here in Okinawa, however, there are many others with a similar feel and selection throughout the island. If you’re wanting to give fishing a try or if you absolutely love to fish stop by one of these shops and I am sure you won’t be disappointed!

The Islands of Okinawa


When you hear “Okinawa” you probably think of one particular island in the southern part of Okinawa. However, Okinawa is also what is known as a prefecture. A prefecture is a section of the country, almost like “New England” although in Japan the prefecture has it’s own government jurisdiction. That being said Okinawa Prefecture is not just one island but a collection of islands.

So how many islands are there to visit and now accessible are they? That’s a great question especially with so many tourism websites focusing on Okinawa Prefecture for the 2013 travel season. There are three different categories of islands in Okinawa Prefecture. The first is the islands accessible via bridge from Okinawa’s main island. The second are the islands accessible via ferry and the third are the islands accessible by plane.


By Car (Average Cost: $0.00)

Okinawa prefecture’s most accessible and affordable islands to visit aren’t far off the cost and don’t require anything more than a car to get to. These islands are connected to Okinawa’s main island via a bridge and you can travel to and fro without any additional cost.

Although these islands are close to the main island they have various unique characteristics making each one worth the trip even if you’re only there for a short drive. One of the things that makes visiting these islands so great is that since you drive to them you don’t have to worry about sticking to a strict schedule like you might have to in order to catch a ferry or plane.

By Ferry (Average Cost: $12.00 to $130.00)

The next set of islands which are close to Okinawa but not close enough for a bridge must be accessed via ferry. In most cases a trip on a ferry will cost anywhere from $12.00 to $130.00 depending on where you are planning on visiting and how you plan to travel. Naturally if you plan to visit the island on food you will pay less but if you want to bring your car the cost will be much higher.

To visit one of these islands you will need to find out which port has ferries which travel to your desired destination. Also be sure to check for the most up to date prices because as always prices are subject to change. One thing you may also want to consider is weather and sea conditions. If sea conditions get too bad (which sometimes even happens on days which seem beautiful) the ferries will stop running which means you may find yourself on the island and unable to return that night. In that case it may be wise to plan ahead in the event that you may need accommodations.

By Plane (Average Cost: $500.00)

Finally are the islands which can be accessed via a plane. These are by far the least accessible and affordable islands to visit. A trip to one of these islands will cost you at least $500.00 per person without accommodations and/or ferry trips to other islands. As with any other destination that requires a plane these islands require the most preparation and consideration when deciding to make the trip.

 

What islands you want to visit really depends on the amount of time and money that you have as well as what you want our of your trip here to this part of the world.