Jes Lee

12/31/14 – Yomitan Pottery Village

From my journal:

Today we went to the Yomitan pottery village. It is close to where Julie lives, and different from the pottery village we visited the last time we were here…this seemed somehow less geared towards tourists, and more local. It was beautiful! We bought quite a few pretty pieces! The little independent shops were adorable.

This village has the largest outdoor kilns on all of Okinawa. They are built into the sides of the hills and the doors are bricked up each time they do a firing, and broken down again when the firing is done.

There were not too many people around as New Year’s is a huge holiday here and many places close down. There was still plenty to see, and plenty of little shops open. It was such a lovely walk today, with lots of sunshine!

IMG_0636An outdoor pottery workshop

IMG_0647The doors to the giant outdoor kiln that are used to load and unload pottery. There was a pile of bricks at each one.


One of the large outdoor kilns – this one was right in the middle of the village.


This is where they would have lit the fire for this kiln. I’m not sure if this one is used anymore, or if it is just kept there to show. There were four other kilns just like this near the edge of the village. They looked much the same, but the other four had more modern roofs on them.




Many of the little pottery shops had displays set up outside and on the porches. Each shop was basically just a house with a large display room in the front. They were all packed full with shelves and as much pottery as they could fit on display.

Film photos from that day:


12/29/14 – Okinawa Aquarium

From my journal:

Today we made the trek to the aquarium. It is around 66.2km from where we stayed, but factoring in traffic, road construction, stop lights, a break for lunch, and a packed parking lot, it took us almost 3 hours to get there. The scenery was awesome though!

The aquarium was pretty spectacular with a giant 4 story aquarium view at the end with 3 huge whale sharks, many different rays, and two dolphins – one that kept swimming behind one of the sharks, trying to bite his tail, and one that kept sneaking up behind fish and goosing them.

At the very bottom, the glass from the observatory sloped into the tank so you can look up at fish swimming above you. One of the rays would swim to the top of the curved glass and slide back down.

We spent over 3 hours walking around there!

The views outside were beautiful. You could look out over the ocean from where you entered. There were so many little gardens planted around, it seemed like there were flowers everywhere.

On the way home we took a back road that cut across and took us through part of the mountains. We drove through tiny farming villages with houses that looked like they were close to falling down, packed together in some areas along the mountain side.

There were little roadside shops set up along the road selling fresh oranges. We stopped and bought a bag from a woman. She kept giving us samples as we decided what variety to buy. 1000 yen for a huge bag of the sweetest oranges I have had in a long time…less than $10.

We eventually got back to the road we had come in on, and decided to take the expressway the rest of the way to save a bit of time. Julie said something in Japanese that made the man working the toll booth giggle…we laughed the rest of the night about that!

So many adventures!

This is why we always take the back roads.  You never know what you’ll find a long the way.

iPhone photos of the day:

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Film photos:

12/28/14 – Sea Glass Beach




The drive to Sea Glass Beach – through sugar cane fields!


Julie took this photo of us…






Bee hives behind the honey shop!


American Village at night…

American Village is odd – I believe it is basically what they think America is like, which just ends up in this surreal mash-up of touristy Okinawa and American things. But, it is pretty at night. And we found a little art gallery displaying wood block prints by many local artists. The work was beautiful!

Sea Glass Beach was beautiful, and much how I remembered the beach we found on Zamami Island the last time we visited. I have never seen the smooth glass pieces like we did there. That was almost magical the way it added pops of bright color to the sand! We drove through at least two sugar cane fields on the way there. There was actually a drink vending machine in one of the fields! I swear they have those everywhere in Japan!

Here are the film photos I took of that day…