seiko, who's from miyako, an island about 50 minutes away by plane, only began living on the main island of okinawa when she started attending university. since i'm only familiar with certain parts of naha and places closer to the school and my home, seiko and i are perpetually like two tourists whenever we're out. i'm always getting lost in the car and she's always squinting at the map.
since the beginning of the spring break seiko and i have started taking little road trips to places that we've heard so much about but never had the time/opportunity/guts to go to. so far we've discovered and eaten at new cafes, munched on handmade tarts at tiny bakeries and shopped for souvenirs at far-out shops selling knick-knacks and designer chocolates.
just this week, we finally found the up-and-coming settlement of minato-gawa 港川 after an hour of hard searching. minato-gawa, which sits just minutes behind the island's major traffic pipeline route 58, is uncomfortably located in a tangle of metal factories, car workshops, condominiums and even a swimming school.
once you get past all that however, you'll find yourself surrounded by a collection of 40 or so single-storeyed houses shaped like rectangular boxes and doused in happy shades of paint. minato-gawa was originally the site for cluster housing for the american soldiers in the 70s, and since prefectural authorities loosened up much of the red tape governing the rental and sale of houses in the area, everyone from the architect to the tart-maker has moved in, creating a mixture of shops, offices and houses that is altogether spontaneous and irresistably charming.
here are some pictures of minato-gawa (tried my hand at a free photo collage software i got off the internet):