Sunday, May 15, 2011

Kokusai Street and Perestroika

End the war!
by Pa Rock
Oh how I miss the sixties!
Cultural Explorer

Murphy, Valerie, Kelly, and I went into downtown Naha yesterday evening for a couple of hours of walking up and down Kokusai Street doing the tourist shopping thing.  None of our group bought much, but it was fun exploring.  We visited two salt stores - places that specialize in exotic salts from around the world - and I had a dish of salt ice cream from a street vendor.   Surprisingly, at least to me, salt ice cream is delicious!

There was some protest commotion going on along Kokusai, that included a rally at one end of the street, followed by a protest march, replete with a woman chanting from a car loudspeaker, the marchers chanting in response, and the occasional fists raised in defiance.  We originally saw nurses gathering signatures on petitions and assumed it had something to do with nursing or medical care, but there was some English-sounding phrasing coming from the loudspeaker and the chanting crowd that led me to believe the chant was "End the War!"

Nostalgia prevailed!

Okinawans keep the ugliest dogs - black and white mutts that appear to be mostly some terrier mix.  I stopped and petted one that an old man had on a leash, and the mongrel, hungry for attention, was all over me.  I told Kelly that I want a dog, and now I have this gut fear that she will show up with one!

I bought two tangerines from a fruit and vegetable vendor for a total of one hundred and two yen.  They were tart, tangy, and wonderful!   I also picked up some island art to put in Christmas packages while my friends roamed around a fish market.

A quonset shop on Kokusai Street
Our final stop of the evening was at Perestroika, a great Russian restaurant that Murphy had discovered during some of his earlier explorations in Naha.  I generally avoid eating out on the economy, but I had Beef Stroganoff and a side of garlic bread - wonderful!  I also had a piece of Napoleon cake for dessert.  (Not sure why the Russians would honor Napoleon of all people with a dessert.)  Murphy had some wine that was supposedly Stalin's favorite.  Kelly liked it so well that she ordered a bottle for her birthday next month.

Aside from good food, Perestroika also had a floor show - one female dancer who stomped and swirled among the booths and tables in a beautiful display of Russian folk and gypsy dances.  She performs Saturday and Sunday nights.

Daniel Murphy finds a friend on Kokusai!
A good night on the town has nothing to do with the town - and everything to do with the friends!

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