We had planned to visit an emu farm this Sunday with Yoshi’s colleagues, but as they couldn’t make it Yoshi and I decided to travel up North instead (the emu farm will have to wait until next weekend). We’d heard about a place called the British wine and tea shop online, which is located not far from Nago. The reviews were positive and the pictures looked beautiful so we were intrigued. Also, I was looking forward to a proper cup of English breakfast tea! For some reason the Japanese insist on drowning brown tea in milk and sugar and I just can’t take to it.
We left at around midday and the sun was beaming. It was 26 degrees and I’d smothered myself in factor 50..I’ve already burnt my shoulders, chest and back since moving here! I think I’ll have to invest in a parasol. The sun creams here, I’m sorry to say, are absolute crap. They’re watery, small and super expensive. A small bottle (27ml) can cost almost 1000 yen and it doesn’t last more than a week. I’m about as white as you can get without being an albino, so not good 😦
The drive was about 2 hours long and the route we took was very scenic.
We also passed by a couple of American Army bases. The Americans have army bases up and down Okinawa (20% of the island overall) since they occupied this island after WWII. The largest bases are located down South. Next to where Yoshi and I live in the city of Uruma is Camp Courtney. Their presence here is somewhat controversial as they sometimes disturb the locals when testing weapons etc, and a minority of the personnel have committed serious crimes in the past, including the abduction and rape of a Japanese school girl. I’ve witnessed fighter planes coming and going near Uken beach and occasionally see American personnel and their families out and about shopping or visiting restaurants. Some places here accept dollar bills and have English speaking servers. Occasionally I get mistaken for an American although I’ve also been asked several time if I’m Russian. (^_^’)
As we approached The British Wine and Tea Shop, we came across a pineapple park.
I’ll be honest, I was bit perplexed at the idea of a theme park/attraction dedicated to pineapples. My partner, who is basically a big kid, wanted to go. It was 600 yen to enter. So of course, we did.
I’m actually glad we went to be honest. It was a mini adventure. As you approach the entrance to the park you can hear the pineapple theme tune which will haunt me for the rest of my days. Listen at your own peril. (Click on the pineapple)
Once you get inside you are asked to put your camera away as you climb into a pineapple shaped car. This car then moves through a pineapple greenhouse in which you can see some really beautiful flowers and also the different stages of pineapple growth (you’re allowed to take pictures once the car starts moving). when you get out of the car you are then asked to sample pineapple flavoured wine, juice, cake and sweets. The pineapple wine was pretty good, I think I’m actually tempted to buy some next week 🙂
These delightful little monsters are called Shisa. They’re everywhere in Okinawa. You’ll often find them outside people’s homes sitting on top of gates or perched on the end of benches. They resemble a cross between a lion and a dog and are supposed to protect from evil spirits. When found in pairs, one normally has an open mouth and a tongue sticking out to ward off bad spirits, whilst the other one with the closed mouth keeps good spirits in. Traditionally, the male is the one with the open mouth and the female keeps her mouth shut. Until she gets home and puts that pillock in his place ():)
Yoshi and I bought these in the souvenir shop because we thought they were cute and you can’t live in Okinawa without a pair of Shisa! It’s Typhoon season in a couple of months, so we need all the good luck we can get.
Eventually we arrived at the British Wine and Tea Shop and we were not disappointed. It was in a stunningly beautiful location and they served English tea, scones, cake and wine. We had missed lunch but Yoshi helped himself to a scone, clotted cream and jam and was very impressed. The owners, John and Maki were lovely and very hospitable. John kept us company whilst we were there and we talked about the weather and England and his dogs Ollie and Cromwell 🙂 They also have a very pretty three year old daughter, Lydia. We definitely plan to go back!
On the way home, we helped ourselves to a bento from a Combini and just about managed to keep our eyes open as it had been a long day. Unfortunately Yoshi has to go back to work this week and I have studying to do. But there’s always the emu farm to look forward to!