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Japan Okinawa Naha Navy

6 November 2018

I joined the imperial navy

As depicted in numerous computer games such as battlefront, Okinawa was the site of one of the bloodiest and longest battles of WW2. US forces needed to establish an air base on Okinawa to control the region. They were successful. One of the last places to be overrun was the navy headquarters tunnels in Naha, so thats where I went today.

I expected it to be on the ocean and have ships or submarine berths attached to it, but instead its built into a hill under some castle ruins. I suspect the old castle already had some tunnels under it, so they extended those.
Because I enjoy roasting in the humid sunshine, I walked a long round trip from my hotel to the headquarters and back again, just a 20km journey. It was interesting enough, I stopped at multiple supermarkets along the way to gawk at stuff and buy a banana, buy a bottle of water, use their bathrooms or use their rubbish bins.
In one particular shop a small guy in uniform decided to stalk me, following me around the entire store, so I played with him for a while by taking stuff off the shelves and pretending to read it upside down, pretending to drop it, putting back in the wrong place temporarily. I could see it was sending him insane, but then why was he following me so obviously?

Anyway, the navy tunnels were quite interesting, it is probably not a full day trip and it is hard to get to by public transport according to the internet (no bother to me though).

I planned only a small outing today because it is WASHING DAY! And washing day never goes smoothly, today has been no exception so far.
The washing machines or laundry as they call it are located inside the hotels public bath area, which is closed between 10am and 3pm for cleaning. The machines are not in the actual bath area but the change rooms. So I wander down with a suitcase full of dirty clothes and attempt to enter the change rooms. An army of cleaners stand between me and the entrance making a cross over their chest. I thought back to my recent military training but opted against rushing the enemy.
I tried explaining in English, then Chinese, no go, eventually as I stared them down, they called down to reception and asked me to speak on the phone, I just said... laundry? And the phone was snatched off of me before I could even here an answer. A long conversation ensued and finally I was escorted the final 3 metres of my journey to the washing machine.

Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - I was amused that not only have the orange cones and barriers been erected around these road works, but some rope has been strung across the area as w

I was amused that not only have the orange cones and barriers been erected around these road works, but some rope has been strung across the area as well, just in case a helicopter planned to land on this spot.
Whoever makes the black and yellow rope in Okinawa is rich, its everywhere! On the mountain yesterday there were kilometres of it.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - On my journey I had to cross a number of bridges. Enjoy the view. Clear blue skies all morning.

On my journey I had to cross a number of bridges. Enjoy the view. Clear blue skies all morning.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Of course, there was a small shrine to hike up and enjoy the view. Below we have old people golf. Its like golf but you throw/roll a 'bowl' into a big

Of course, there was a small shrine to hike up and enjoy the view. Below we have old people golf. Its like golf but you throw/roll a 'bowl' into a big hoop placed on the 'green' that is actually 'brown'. 'Quotes'.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - I always enjoy the colorful anime characters decorating graves in shrines.

I always enjoy the colorful anime characters decorating graves in shrines.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - What kind of day would it be without a red torii gate in Japan?

What kind of day would it be without a red torii gate in Japan?


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - The only 'train' in Okinawa (yes more quotes and brackets too) is the Naha monorail. I like impressive infrastructure.

The only 'train' in Okinawa (yes more quotes and brackets too) is the Naha monorail. I like impressive infrastructure.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Racist! If you have kept up with the news you will know that Japanese schools are expelling students who do not dye their hair Japanese black.

Racist! If you have kept up with the news you will know that Japanese schools are expelling students who do not dye their hair Japanese black.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - This is a very impressive playground on the side of a hill. I can think of 10 ways to die here. I got half way down before I got stuck.

This is a very impressive playground on the side of a hill. I can think of 10 ways to die here. I got half way down before I got stuck.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Here is the view of the far side of Naha, which is a large city.

Here is the view of the far side of Naha, which is a large city.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Here is a view of a small rubbish dump on the grounds of the old castle with the main part of the city behind it. That rubbish is visible from the vie

Here is a view of a small rubbish dump on the grounds of the old castle with the main part of the city behind it. That rubbish is visible from the viewing platform on the navy headquarters grounds, quite surprising!


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Now I am inside the museum. The main claim here that I am suspicious of is that the Japanese naval offices were finally defeated when they were gassed

Now I am inside the museum. The main claim here that I am suspicious of is that the Japanese naval offices were finally defeated when they were gassed by US marines. Internet says -
'However, despite the intense anti-Japanese feelings and the steady increase in budget and personnel for the Chemical Warfare Service (CWS) during the war, the United States never used lethal gases in the Pacific.'.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - It is a very small museum but there is quite a bit of English. The people selling the tickets told me to spend time reading everything in the musuem i

It is a very small museum but there is quite a bit of English. The people selling the tickets told me to spend time reading everything in the musuem in detail.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Now I shall descend into the tunnels.

Now I shall descend into the tunnels.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Like all war related things in Japan, first I must pass the paper cranes.

Like all war related things in Japan, first I must pass the paper cranes.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - It seems a long way down, I guess its not really, but it is solid rock.

It seems a long way down, I guess its not really, but it is solid rock.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Darkest photo of the day. I find it weird that apparently they had to dig it by pick and shovel in a hurry, yet they have carved fake tree logs / root

Darkest photo of the day. I find it weird that apparently they had to dig it by pick and shovel in a hurry, yet they have carved fake tree logs / roots into the walls?


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - The tunnels go for a few hundred metres. There are a few areas still off limits according to a map.

The tunnels go for a few hundred metres. There are a few areas still off limits according to a map.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - This salt covered room is where the lower ranks slept standing up.

This salt covered room is where the lower ranks slept standing up.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Some of the tunnels are very narrow and low. There were not a lot of emergency exits, I was checking!

Some of the tunnels are very narrow and low. There were not a lot of emergency exits, I was checking!


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - The main tunnel.

The main tunnel.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Despite a hundred guys sleeping standing up, this is the commanding officers banquet hall.

Despite a hundred guys sleeping standing up, this is the commanding officers banquet hall.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - On my return journey I passed through some mangrove swamps. I did not see any crocodiles.

On my return journey I passed through some mangrove swamps. I did not see any crocodiles.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Heres me in the near future. Staring at birds in mangroves through multiple telescopes.

Heres me in the near future. Staring at birds in mangroves through multiple telescopes.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - Enjoy one more view of Naha for the day.

Enjoy one more view of Naha for the day.


Japan-Okinawa-Naha-Navy - I cut through the backstreets to get back to my hotel and its off limits washing machine. Naha is not all bright and colorful tourist friendly areas a

I cut through the backstreets to get back to my hotel and its off limits washing machine. Naha is not all bright and colorful tourist friendly areas after all.


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