OkinaWAH! ๐Ÿ‹ ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Dear Dayre,

Okinawa has been amaaazing so far!!!
This is my first leisure dive trip and I think Iโ€™m gonna be so spoilt from now on?! ๐Ÿ˜‚

But first, a quick summary of where weโ€™ve been and what weโ€™ve been up to for the past few days!! โค๏ธ๐Ÿค—

SG โœˆ๏ธ OKA via Jetstar Asia

Our red-eye flight departed at 2am and we arrived at Naha Airport, Okinawa in the morning at 8am, ready to start the adventures!

Beautiful sunrise onboard ๐Ÿ˜ But I was sitting on the wrong side! The colors of the sky was so fiery and orange on the right side!

Still got this picture of the candy tones of the gradiented sky though, how pretty! ๐Ÿญ

Breakfast at C&C cafe

First meal in Okinawa was at C&C Cafe, one of the more popular breakfast spots in Naha!

Oooo they had really good soufflรฉ pancakes ๐Ÿ˜‹ The menu is like Western Hawaiian fusion done Japanese style?

I had an omelette rattatouille! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Makishi Public Market

Oh, right across the road from C&C Cafe is a pretty famous onigiri shop that specialises in Spam onigiri!!

We tabao-ed these for lunch. So good!!

Itโ€™s just spam, tamago, rice & seaweed but the combination is just so satisfying ๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹๐Ÿ˜‹ They also have special flavours too, like mentaiko, ebi and more!

Makishi Public has all kinds of fresh produce from ishigaki beef to these huge ass abalones and strange colourful fish!

We just walked around to look at the stalls. There is also an eatery on the second floor, you can literally buy whatever you want on the first floor and get them to cook it for you on the second floor!

Around the market, you can also find many little shops such as this shop that sells bonito! (Like, those bonito flakes you see on your takoyaki) ๐Ÿ™

Did you know theyโ€™re made from dried, fermented, and smoked skipjack tuna?

These are the โ€œsanshinโ€ (ไธ‰็บฟ), a traditional Okinawan musical instrument with three strings and a snake-skin covered body!

The Okinawan man selling these played and sang us some old tunes and I really love the lilt and traditional Japanese melodies ๐Ÿ˜ Reminds me of some of the Japanese pieces I did in the choir and sounds so heartwarming and folksy!

These are an Okinawan specialty, brown sugar โ€œdonutsโ€!

Brown sugar in Okinawa (kokuto) is made by slowly cooking down pure sugarcane juice, so it tastes a little different from American brown sugar.

The Okinawans even eat brown sugar cubes on their own as a sort of candy!

Tsuboya Pottery Village

This place is the centre of ceramic production from 1682, when Ryลซkyลซ kilns were consolidated here by royal decree.

Popular Okinawan ceramics like the shiisฤ (lion-dog roof guardians) and containers for serving awamori (Okinawan liquor distilled from rice) are all made in workshops around Tsuboya and we even visited one of them and watched the craftsmen in progress!

This old man was so cute hahaha he was bobbing his head along to the pottery turntable!

I was more distracted by this cutie pie OMGGGGG look at this adorable dog! He looks like a husky x corgi mix! Soooo cute!

Finished products for sale in the shops!

Theyโ€™re quite pricey though. Every piece is handmade from start to finish!

Whale-watching at Miigusuku Port! ๐Ÿšข

We were quite unfortunate because it was a overcast day and the weather conditions out at sea was very rough ๐Ÿ˜ข The three hours boat ride was super rocky and there were so many people throwing up onboard including me ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

We did get to see glimpses of a whale which breached the water for a few seconds and sent up some spurts of water above the sea but I honestly didnโ€™t get to see much ๐Ÿ™

Checked into Palm Royal Hotel!

Small but cozy hotel room and most importantly….

HOT BATH TIME ๐Ÿ›€ Really needed the hot bath especially after one long plane ride and a very cold windy and wet ferry ride!

๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ๐Ÿ˜Œ Bliss.

Dinner at Yatai Mira / Kokusai Food Village! ๐Ÿฃ ๐Ÿฑ

Yatai Mura is a little food village comprising of many different eateries and small restaurants so thereโ€™s lots to eat there!

We picked a small sushi place called Chocotto Sushi and it was legit one of the most enjoyable dinners Iโ€™ve ever had! ๐Ÿค—

Sake being poured out of a fish shaped container ๐ŸŸ so cute!

We ordered the Ikura don and it was insane. Look at the amount of roe on this bowl!!!

Okinawa grilled pork belly!

Chef preparing sushi ๐Ÿ˜‹ The sushi tasted so good, I really would go back a second time if I had the chance to!

Orion blue beer ๐Ÿบ Tasted better than regular beer too!! Somehow lighter and less bitter.

Kani sushi ๐Ÿฃ ๐Ÿ˜‹

Everything was so fresh and delicious! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Look at how the chef piled on the ikura!!! MADNESS!

The chef was super cute, he made us shout after him โ€œOIโ€”SAAAAโ€ with every heaping of ikura, apparently thatโ€™s what the okinawan fishermen yell as they haul fishing nets up from the sea!

After dinner: Off to Donki to shop around – Itโ€™s just three minutes away from our hotel!

There was a Pablo cheese tart shop, so we stopped to get the special okinawan flavour – Sweet potato cheese tart!

Tadaaaa~ Sweet potato and melts cream cheese!! Shiokkkkk.

This special Okinawan flavour of calbee is really yummy!! Itโ€™s the Okinawa lime, known as โ€œshikwasaโ€ and the poptsto chips were so zesty with a bit of vinegar ๐Ÿ˜‹

Definitely gonna buy some back home to Singapore!!

AND MY FAVOURITE. Strawberries!!! ๐Ÿ“ Bought these at one of the street side stalls selling fresh fruit. Ripe and sweet, for only 580 yen? It would cost at least SGD20 in Singapore ๐Ÿ˜•

We went back to rest up quite early because we would be flying out from Naha to Ishigaki Island the next morning!

It was a good start to the trip though, especially enjoyed dinner so much!!!

๐Ÿ“บ Commercial Break! New arrivals on TVD tonight 8.30PM ๐Ÿ“บ

First up – This TVD manufactured piece that I love! Itโ€™s slightly edgy and still feminine at the same time, and makes any outfit more stylish!

You can pair it with a midi skirt or flared skirt, or go with high-waisted pants like the above! ๐Ÿ‘†๐Ÿป

Black is super stylish too! You can match it with a printed skirt as well, doesnโ€™t it look pretty? ๐Ÿค—

Comes in White, Wine & Black, sizes XS, S, M & L! โค๏ธ

Rolling out the oriental designs just in time for CNY: This Mandarin Oriental Jacquard Dress is lovely!

Itโ€™s a simple colorblock piece with a mandarin collar & embossed jacquard skirt thatโ€™s not too over the top โค๏ธ

This color combination is really pretty! Looks like a porcelain vase ๐Ÿ˜

Or Navy and Pink perhaps?

Comes in S, M & L! ๐Ÿค—

Another apt piece for CNY because of its festive color!

This is similar fabric to the wrap top we launched the previous week – But a dress version! The fabric is really soft and comfortable too.

Comes in XS, S, M & L!

Canโ€™t go wrong with a fit & flare cut and this beautiful embossed floral print! ๐Ÿ˜

We picked this for CNY as well, isnโ€™t it a pretty piece?

This design comes with pockets too! Very convenient.

Comes in S, M & L!

The last new design for tonight!

This dainty lace sleeved dress is the kind of dress you want to wear when you visit your boyfriendโ€™s family hahahaha itโ€™s conservative enough for even the most traditional parents!!

I particularly love the scallop hem details and delicate lace fabric!

Itโ€™ll easily work as well for office ladies or corporate functions ๐Ÿ˜Š

Comes in S, M & L!

Aaaaaand~ Good news for those looking for Asmmetry Tee Dress!! Our restocks arrived early and we will be releasing them tonight too!!

Itโ€™s your last chance to grab this piece before CNY, so donโ€™t miss out on it ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—

So, see you #dayreshopaholics on www.thevelvetdolls.sg, new arrivals are up online already! โค๏ธ๐Ÿ˜

On to Okinawa Day 2!

We woke up early for our domestic flight from Naha to Ishigaki Island!

Check out that cute cat cartoon on the plane wing – Thatโ€™s a Iriomote cat that is native to Iriomote (another island) and is said to be exceedingly rare! Itโ€™s one of the mascots of Iriomote island and youโ€™ll see illustrations and other kinds of Iriomote cat merchandise around.

Our flight was only about an hour long – We landed on Ishigaki Island and headed straight to the dive shop for our first dive!

Dive #1 & #2 – VIKING SCUBA

After getting fitted out with our dive gear and equipment at VIKING SCUBA, our first dive operator, we drove down to the beach and proceeded onboard for the two dives of the day – Hanagoi & Mash Two near Kabira Bay!

I only brought my own mask, so I had to rent the full works – Wetsuit, BCD, regulator, fins and hood vest.

We were blessed with super good weather that day for the first day of dives, which was really lucky ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป The weather was so fine!

The waters were incredibly clear and blue! ๐Ÿ˜

The waters are cold around winter time in Okinawa at around 22 deg, so thankfully @evonnz helped me get the Mares Fireskin rash guard thatโ€™s fleeced-lined!

It really kept me warmer in the cold waters, along with the 5mm wetsuit and hood vest rented from the dive center!

The downside is that wearing so many tight layers of neoprene is SUPER uncomfortable and troublesome ๐Ÿ˜ซ

Getting in and out is bad enough but itโ€™s even worse when you need to put on wet gear or be onboard in wet gear ๐Ÿ’ฆ

Some images from our first two dives!!

As you know, Iโ€™m still a beginner to diving and Iโ€™ve only clocked in 5 dives so far, so I was really thrown into the deep end literally and struggled a bit with my descending and buoyancy, especially on my first dive.

We also went quite deep (around 25m or so), which is actually deeper what an entry-level diver like me should be going (open water certification allows you to go to 18m).

Thankfully, we had two very experienced dive instructors from Gill Divers and Eugene, my dive buddy gave me a lot of guidance and help.

I think I got the hang of it during my second dive and was so much more comfortable in the water, enjoying the underwater experience so much more!

We saw lots of coral fishes and smaller marine life in very good visibility, although there wasnโ€™t any amazing sightings, it was a good first two dives and also gave me more dive experience.

Noob me!

I was especially impressed with our lunch onboard – Super delicious bento lunch! My virgin dive experience in Tioman was definitely nothing like this! ๐Ÿ˜†

@evonnz and I, tired but happy after completing our first two dives!!

One picture with the sparkling blue sea ๐Ÿ˜

Kabira Bay โ›ต๏ธ

We drove to the nearby Kabira Bay after our dives and caught a surreal sunset in pastel rainbow hues against turquoise waters!!

Apparently, you can spot lots of marine creatures like mantas, turtles and giant cuttlefish during summer diving season at Ishigaki!

Checked into Hotel GranView Ishigaki and finally got my hot shower, shiok!!!

i was looking forward to dinner very much – We had the famed Ishigaki Beef for dinner!

Dinner at Ishinagiya

Whatโ€™s so special about Ishigaki Beef? Itโ€™s supposed to have a lower melting point, resulting in a more appetizing result on the palate as the sensation of the beef fat doesnโ€™t linger in the mouth.

I donโ€™t know about all that jargon, but to me all wagyu beef is good beef and Ishigaki beef is no different! ๐Ÿฅฉ

Extremely tender, melt-in-your-mouth and mouthwateringly delicious!! ๐Ÿ˜‹

Can you hear the sizzling ๐Ÿ˜‹ So much YUM.

I went back to the hotel so satisfied and full – Finished my night with a dip in the hotelโ€™s public bath and it was legit the best bath ever!!!

Okinawa Day 3

Call time on Day 3 was bright and early for another day of diving! We got brilliant weather again, how fortunate of us ๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป๐Ÿ™๐Ÿป

Had to pack up all my stuff because we would be taking a ferry ride to our next island after our two dives.

Also, there is really no point in dressing up prettily when youโ€™re going to have to change into dive gear and wear a damp wetsuit for the most part of the day, with crappy sea hair and chui face after diving ๐Ÿ˜‚

What Iโ€™m wearing:
Muji bra spag top
VS tights (i keep these on under my wetsuit!)
Uniqlo water-resistant windbreaker

Hit up the FamilyMart nearby before setting off to the dive shop, I love shopping at FamilyMart and just looking at their huge selection of food and drinks! ๐Ÿ˜

Dive #3 & #4 – TOM SAWYER ISHIGAKI

Tom Sawyer Marine Shop is highly recommended because of their meticulous attention to detail!

I was struggling to descend on my first dive and Chika-san was very reassuring and helpful, grasping my hand and helping me descend properly.

I really managed to get the hang of it on the second dive too, with an additional weight as well and it went so much better!

Ready to set off to Kuroshima, an island thatโ€™s about an hour away from Ishigaki by boat for two dives – Hoping to spot Manta Rays!

I really liked this dive boat because it was so spaciousness and clean and neat, with little holes for holding tanks on either side of the boat and a little cubicle to put our wet gear down after dives!

Long boat rides are pretty boring so we were just waiting, riding out the waves and taking selfies ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ @evonnz

The most incredible lunch Iโ€™ve had onboard a dive boat so far – Legit hot home-cooked food by Chika-san, one of our dive guides!

We were served salmon in clam chowder soup, japanese scallop rice and miso soup!! Howโ€™s that for japanese hospitality?

Hot food tastes extra delicious when youโ€™re wet and cold out at sea!

Although we didnโ€™t get to spot the mantas, we did see a cute turtle on the second dive! I think turtles are so cute ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜

I also felt a lot better with my descending and buoyancy in water, and generally a lot more comfortable being under the sea, which made the diving experience a lot more enjoyable!

Beautiful coral rocks around Kuroshima!

Hereโ€™s a picture of Eugene assisting me underwater, probably I was having trouble with my buoyancy or something? ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Thankful to have so much guidance and help from the experienced divers, it made a world of difference to me!

Ready to get warm and dry after disembarking from the boat!

IMO, the suckiest parts about diving are
1. struggling into wetsuits and gear
2. being wet & cold in damp gear onboard in between dives
3. Having to put on wet & cold dive gear when youโ€™re nice & dry ๐Ÿคฌ

1 is bad, 2 is worse and 3 is the worst ๐Ÿ˜‚

These are Wee and Eugene, the two dive instructors from Gill Divers!!

Theyโ€™ve been super helpful and Iโ€™ve definitely learnt a lot more about diving from these few days spent together.

Diving always leaves us hungry, so hereโ€™s a quick snack stop at Family Mart – The soft serve is so good! We had a brown sugar soft serve and the ice cream was so milky and light.

Ferry ride from Ishigaki to Iriomote! ๐Ÿšข

Weโ€™ve been hopping from island to island so often that Iโ€™m starting to lose count!

Iriomote island is just a short ferry ride away from Ishigaki, it took us barely 40 minutes to reach Iriomote.

Checked into Nirakanai Iriomote! ๐ŸŒด

We checked into a gorgeous villa style resort at Iriomote, Nirakanai!

Look at the hotel room. So rustic and pretty!

We had buffet dinner at the hotel and it was really good!!

So apparently, taco rice is super big in Okinawa!

It consists of taco-flavored ground beef served on a bed of rice, frequently served with shredded cheese, shredded lettuce, tomato and salsa.

Looks just like tacos on rice without the shell ๐ŸŒฎ and…. tastes exactly like tacos on rice too ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

The rest of dinner was yummy too, especially loved the sweet potato cold soba with onsen egg!

Thatโ€™s the end of Days 1-3 of my Okinawa adventure so far, and Iโ€™ll carry on the updates in the next post! ๐Ÿค—

Of course, Iโ€™ve been updating regularly via IG stories as well (pinned it on my highlights) so you can check out my IG too if you wanna see more!

Feel free to leave a comment too, if you have any inquiries I can help you with โค๏ธ

Good night, and update again soon!

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