Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Where the Streets Have No Name

by Pa Rock
Cultural Explorer

I am getting more comfortable transporting myself around the base and the local community, whether by car or on foot.  But to get from the proverbial Point A to Point B, I am having to train myself to recognize and remember landmarks.  All of the Okinawan streets and alleyways are marked in Kanji script, and Kadena Air Base is street-sign-challenged.  The streets at Kadena have names, and they can be found on maps.  Many, however, do not appear on signposts at intersections - and  I have given up looking for them.  Now I know to turn at the Fire Station, or the banyon tree, or the rusty gate, or whatever!  Navigating by landmarks takes a lot more effort, but I am learning my way around in a very concrete manner.

Walking is also a challenge, especially on base.  Sidewalks have a tendency to begin and end at odd places, and when they encounter a road, a connecting crosswalk cannot be assumed to be waiting for the tired pedestrian.  It is not unusual to encounter intersections with a crosswalk for one street but not the other.   Jaywalking often appears to be a risky necessity.  (But I am still exploring, and there may be a method to all of this madness!)

Well, I am heading home from my evening blogging at Camp Foster.  That is a right out of the parking lot at The Spot, taking care to get in the left lane, a left out of Gate 4, straight across Highway 58 with the Blueberry Cafe on my right, left at the end of the 1st block by the vending machines, left at the next block with the Ishigaka Cafe immediately on my right, followed by Mike's Tex Mex on my right, and left into Mikano Mansions where I can park in either spot labeled 602.  It's as easy as pi!

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