Friday, August 12, 2011
Day 132: Shuri Castle
We went for our weekly dose of culture, visiting Shuri Castle today. In 1945, during the Battle of Okinawa, it was nearly destroyed. It was reconstructed in 1992, over the original site. We learned that in it's history it had been destroyed and rebuilt 4 times. In its latest build, they raised it 700+cm above the original foundation. In the main building pictured above, there is a plexiglass window on the floor, for you to look down at that parts of the original foundation and stone work. Before the war, it was designated a National Treasure. Surprisingly during the war, the Japanese military set up its headquarters underground at the castle. The USS Mississippi is said to have "shelled" it for three consecutive days beginning on May 25, 1945. Messed up on both sides if you asked me. If you care about your culture and treasure your national monuments, you don't setup your headquarters in those areas expecting to receive sympathy. However, as a human, I'm still slightly taken back that another people lost parts of their culture in order to preserve my own. But, and thats a big but, I'm all about self preservation, so we'll leave it at that.
After the castle, we headed over to Kokusai street in Naha. This is a main strip with souvenir shops, restaurants, and markets filled with plenty to keep your mind and wallets preoccupied. We stopped off at a traditional Japanese restaurant for lunch. Sat down to a menu completely written in Japanese. We pointed to order several tasty treats and used what little Japanese we knew (yes, thank you, & very much) to make sure the deliciousness would arrive as we pictured it. I had pig's knuckle today, and it was delicious. Actually, it reminded me of brooklyn. Pig's feet and collard greens, HOLLA!! (all that was missing is the hot sauce) hahaha....