As the plane scoots in over the solid blue mass of sea that is the coral-guarded waters of Okinawa I look out the window to see two F-16 fighters burst past in the distance. This is the first indication that my experience in Okinawa is gonna be a little bit different.
As I stand in the American Villiage in Kadena the following day, looking out across the vast expanse of An American Mall Car Park in Japan and framed by the basic baige block of the most Jersey-est of Malls that stands behind me I realise that there’s something here in Okinawa that I really don’t like the feel of, something that gives me the willies.
The weather hasn’t been the best, there is a tropical storm out towards Tiawan and it is fucking up the weather. Don’t get me wrong, I went out on a boat trip this morning and now I’ve got a dirty red farmers tan on the way. It’s just the storm is fucking withe the tide a little so I haven’t been able to do the scuba diving that I came down here to do. It’s a pity but I do get to see the craziness that is the surroundings to the American air force base in Kadena. Huge scary men walking around topless and uncontested (certainly by me) in GI pants next to a very poor seeming Japanese population. Air raid training warnings going off and F16s and the jumbo jets that refuel taking off and landing (some sort of drill). Michael Jackson playing loudly in the streets, advertising the upcoming film, and a feeling of a pandering to an American audience which has sullied a Japanese tradition that I have loved so much on my travels so far.
It’s not that I’m disappointed or don’t find this place intriguing. It’s definitely been worth visiting and I catch an awesome sunset, despite the annoyingly happy couple getting in the way. But to say I like it or encourage the concept of combining these two great nations in this unholy fashion would be a lie.