Destination | Rest of Japan

– Pictures 1-16 are all from Yoron Island.  Yoron is a tiny island and is part of a small strain of islands off the southern tip of Japan called the Ryukyu islands (Okinawa is the most well-known).  I believe the circumference is approx. 14.5 miles, with a population of around 6,000.  In other words, it’s very small.  The place is special to me because my mom spent her early years there and she was incredibly fond of it.  It’s not hard to imagine why — the first picture was taken at the spot where her house once stood.  The island is absolutely beautiful, and landscape-wise, seems to be somewhere between Japan and Hawaii.  The main export from the island is sugarcane, and the place is full of sugarcane farms. The whole island is surrounded by coral reef, which results in shallow beaches and extremely clear and blue waters.  It’s also interesting to note that the Ryukyu islands andit’s people have a pretty distinct history and character because of it’s separation from Japan (geographically, and at times, politically).  My grandparents were both originally from the neighboring island of Amamioshima, making my mother 100% Ryukyuan, and myself at least 50% Ryukuan (I believe my father’s side has some Ainu in it, which is sort of the northern equivalent and who look even more radically different than mainland Japanese, but anyway…) Another big reason why it was a big trip for me.

– The 6th picture down shows a shoreline with some special seaweed/algae growing on it which is unique to the island.  If you look close, you can see some old ladies harvesting it.  Turns out I had it the night before with some Tofu and soup and it was delicious.

– Pictures 9-11 show some old hand looms on the island used to make fabric from banana plant fibers, and the next two pictures show some of the fabric it made.  Beautiful stuff.  I was tempted to buy some but it was pretty pricey, as it should be.

– The clothing shots were some Uniqlo pickups in Tokyo.  It’s so cheap, I couldn’t resist.  I got a nice pair of raw selvage jeans in black denim for something like 60 bucks.  The gray chambray on the left has some nice selvage details on the inside of the placket and at the gusset.  The gray chambray on the right was 1900 yen — approx 20 bucks.  How could I not?  Then a pair of sweats for some straight illin’.

– Also pickuped a Kelty teardrop backpack and my big splurge — a suede pair of Yuketen Ranger Moccs.  I know I have a pair of them already, but I found them at the United Arrows outlet store and I couldn’t say no at a discounted price.  I’ve been a sucker for suede lately and it’s got some neat details that make it different from my other pair, namely, a chunkier welt with ridge details and piping.  Pretty sweet.

– Next few pictures are from Iwakuni, including it’s most well-known piece of architecture, the wavy Kintai bridge.  Been going there since I was a little kid.

– I just missed cherry blossom season by a week or so (it’s probably starting now or very soon), but I did catch some blossoms of a different variety that bloom earlier.  My dad claimed that the other, more prominent blossoms are much more delicate in color and impressive in sheer number.  Oh well.

Can’t wait to go back.

4 responses to “Destination | Rest of Japan

  1. so amazing! yoron island, now on my bucket list.

  2. i went to iwakuni last august (in the midst of that heat wave! enh), as i do every time i go back to japan. very fun place.

    haven’t been to okinawa. yet. will remedy that… eventually.

  3. I didn’t know your family was from Okinawa, that’s awesome.
    My paternal grandmother is from Okinawa and my parents actually met there on the island at a DoD high school back in the day. My paternal grandfather is from Hiroshima.
    My grandparents actually live in Iwakuni now. Didn’t know many people were aware of the place either.

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