Sunday, January 29, 2012

Heiwa-Dorii

Everytime I think of this street I remember this song because I'm a child of the 80s and putting things to music is how my brain functions.
So instead of "Hey now, hey now...," I think "Heiwa (prounounced hay-wa), Heiwa Dori-i-i-i." Okay, I've tortured you enough, now on to the story...

Two weekends ago, it was raining as it is apt to do in Okinawa. We were all sitting around with a little cabin fever, snipping at each other (the truth, folks, nothing but the truth). Ron asks, "What should we do?".  I remember seeing an article about Heiwa Dori in a local newspaper and suggested going. At the time, I was reading this fine book:
Georgia Pellegrini (who is just GORGEOUS, isn't she?!) among other things discusses how we have a detachment from how our food gets from farm to table. We walk into these fluorescent lit supermarkets where our food is prepackaged into styrofoam and cellophane containers. We don't really think about how that chuck roast got there, just how we're going to pop it into a crock pot and have it for dinner.

 I lived part of my primary and part of my high school years in Japan. During the summers, we visited my mom's family in Taiwan. Going to market was a part of daily life. Yes, there was a fridge, but that was mainly for leftovers. We bought that morning what we would cook that day. This happens in many countries around the world. It makes a whole lot of sense to me, your food is fresher and there's less waste.  If we wanted chicken, the butcher would grab an unsuspecting bird from a cage and make it happen. At first, my brother and I were wide eyed and aghast. Prior to this our chicken came from the commissary or the local Winn Dixie, sans feathers. After awhile, of course, we adjusted. My husband spent part of his life in Guam and the Phillipines. He had a similar childhood, only his involved some of the actual harvesting of the animals. Part of us moving to Japan involved a longing for our kids to experience a different way of life that doesn't involve supermarkets and big box stores. This is a long way of me getting to part of why we went to Heiwa Dori. If you get a chance, take a look at this video and you can see what we saw and get a little bit of what my rambling is about.

Getting to Heiwa Dori is a bit like a treasure hunt. You park on a main street with lots of sounds and flashy signs to attract tourists. We ended up paying ¥500 (or about $7) per half hour for parking without realizing it. This is one of many reasons why I should really learn to read Kanji. 
Then you walk by souvenir stores with wares somewhat unique to Okinawa. 
Habu Sake {yes, that's a snake}

frog purse with Shisa dogs in the background

Hello Kitty store

You turn into an area that is like a tunnel with stores on either side. Still, you wind your way through souvenir shops until you almost miss the public market. I would have walked by it if Ron had not seen it and abruptly turned toward it. I'm so glad we didn't miss it because it was amazing to see all the shopkeepers and their wares. Most of the shellfish is alive. The fish is super fresh and in colors you've never seen before. The shopkeepers are all very nice.
brilliantly colored fish

fiesty lobsters with a topshell on the side

Fugu or Puffer Fish

I'm really glad we had the opportunity to experience the public market. We also took home some really tasty pickles after being offered generous samples by the shopkeeper. Pickled vegetables are a big part of a traditional Japanese meal.

I will be taking your orders for frog purses for a limited time, so take advantage. I'm only kidding, folks. Thank you for checking out our adventure. I hope there will be more to come.

1 comment:

teacher jessy said...

Tina it is so great that you come by my blog! I have been catching up ur blog and glad that you are discovering and enjoying Japan. I'm sure that it brings back a lot of memories during ur schooling days. Well we're planning to go Japan prob this or next year, maybe we can meet up :) btw which part are u at?