Nathan had parked our Hilux Surf--basically a Toyota 4-Runner--right outside the arrivals area and it was, of course, on the wrong, I mean left, Helen, side of the road. We'd left L.A. Monday morning and it was now Tuesday night (Japan being 16 hours ahead of Pacific Time), so it was dark. It's a 45-minute drive from the Naha airport to the apartment we're staying in. It's 100% city, the signs a confusion of hiragana, katakana, and kanji stretching up several stories. The roads are overall narrower but the drivers a completely different breed than in Italy. In fact, if you let them into traffic they will bow to you. It's amazingly gratifying, and I've started doing it.
I am not going to admit to the source of our first meal in Japan, but let's just say that it had a drive-through and I was lovin' it. We were staying in the apartment of a guy (heretofore referred to as "Wally") who is out of town for an extended period, and lives in the same building as our sponsors. We could have stayed in the hotel on Kadena, but...this was right next to Nathan's work and about 100 meters from the East China Sea. The only downside was the mattress (heretofore referred to as the Iron Lotus), which in true bachelor form Wally had not bought a box spring for, so it felt like we were sleeping in two canoes perched next to each other on this big, fancy canopy bed frame. But that first night neither of us cared because I was sleeping too hard and Nathan was in the living room with Eva all night because she thought it was daytime.
The next day Okinawa pulled out all the stops for us and showed its true colors. It was sunny, hot, humid, the sea was turqoise, and apparently I failed to take a single picture. It's been mostly overcast and rainy since, so that was a treat. From what I hear, though, every day of non-hotness is something to be savored.