Okinawa #4

When Okinawa became Japanese in full again, in 1974, it was the economic boom, airlines were growing fast, so as mentioned in a previous post, ANA and JAL picked up great locations and built up hotels on the island, launching the boom of domestic tourism to the islands.

I stayed at the ANA InterContinental on Manza Beach, wonderful location, 31 ha of activities, gardens, swimming pools, a private beach, boats, sailing, it is a unique resort.

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Okinawa #3

Okinawa has a special history, it is the last addition to Japan becoming part of the country only in 1872 after being name Ryuku kingdom for centuries.

From 1945 to 1974, it was American, until 1965 and then a base for the Vietnam war until 1974, today, still 26000 Americans work in the bases of Okinawa, some of them are in fact in the city center of Naha, which creates odd situations and some challenges and problems.

one thing that I picked up is that the cars have a Y on their number plate if driven by Americans and, in case of accident, there must be both Japan and American police taking care of the paper work

 

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Valentine’s day in Japan

Here the tradition is that Japanese LADIES offer chocolate to their Valentine.

Men do nothing, just receive!

this turns into a massive commercial opportunity. look at the metro corridors in Ebisu this Tuesday evening, just before the big day, shops all along, ladies queuing and buying!

ANA – great airline

In Japan, as many other things, airlines work differently from the rest of the world, LCC have not invaded the market just yet simply because ANA and JAL dominate the market.

In the past, they even agreed on sharing some airports, for example Yonago is ANA airport while Tottori is JAL airport only. At the beginning of the air travel, these airlines spotted nice locations in every destination and build their own hotels to accomodate the travellers at their destination. Hence, in Japan, you find still a lot of ANA hotels and Nikko, JAL Hotels. along the years, they have sold some of them but the domination remains. they also sell packages, have brochures etc. with the economic downturn, JAL suffered and went into administration for the last 10 years, however, they went out of danger this 2017 and started to expand again opening new routes etc.

Now LCC start expanding from Korea, Thailand etc. but ANA has also it own airline, you can now fly Peach or Vanilla when you are in Japan

Both airline, despite of their domination, still maintain a very good level of service and I typically fly ANA and love it.

Flying domestic is easy, you turn up at Haneda, 30mn before your flight and you are good, I never do this as I still have the European stress on long queues, strikes, etc but here, all is organised and smooth and flights are always on time (unless typhoon, snowstorm, real reasons…)

Flying international, if from Narita, takes more time since the airport is far away (90mn by bus, 1h15 by train) but equally well organised

I flew ANA in December on long haul and the service was impeccable, great food, they offer broth, what a great idea, they serve ice cream after the meal in economy, the cabin attendants go round during the whole flight offering tea, coffee, water, blankets, etc. I can only recommend them

Okinawa – #2

One thing that is very visible in the island is the number of school trips from all around the country. Okinawa has a great image for the climate, the ocean, the nature and most of the highschool trips consider Okinawa

And again, I am so impressed by the discipline, the organisation. All students stand in line. all is cool.

At the airport, they simply sit in groups quietly on the floor waiting for their flight. Best practice we could use in Europe where we always end up with a noisy messy group