Day 1 of our Okinawa trip should’ve been uneventful. Our bags were packed with essential items already. What came unexpectedly, however, was a typhoon that delayed our flight for 4 official hours according to the boarding pass (6, including the time on the plane). We therefore couldn’t claim the insurance for flight delays. But the upside was that we didn’t need to change our regular hotel, capsule hotel, and wifi rental bookings to the next day.
After 2.5 hours via Hong Kong Airlines, we arrived at Naha International Airport. It was a small and quiet airport, which wasn’t bad. Naha had 337000 people of the Okinawan Island’s 1+ million. There was a sizeable US military presence, which you could see from the fighter helicopters in the sky, the Y license plates on the roads, and mixed Caucasian-Japanese and African American-Japanese teenagers in the malls. Most of these could only be seen outside of Naha though. What could be seen in Naha, however, were Americans and Indians who’ve learnt Japanese and came to Okinawa. I was particularly relieved when I saw them in Family Mart, because that meant I could speak English instead of fumbling with my 3-months worth of 幾らですか, 何処ですか, and 今日何時まで働きますか.
After my family settled in Hotel Mercure Okinawa Naha, I set off to try my first ever night in a capsule hotel. After maneuvering through the dark alleyways, arriving at the dark Star Capsule Hotel Naha entrance, and seeing a bunch of shady figures behind the glass doors, I almost wanted to go back to my original regular hotel. Good I didn’t, because it was really clean and quiet inside. All though most guests were awake, they all were quiet and respectful. I was probably the loudest one as I went downstairs to the lockers, showering room, and toilet quite often.