Japan trip, day three – Taketomi / Ishigaki

So after yesterday’s long lie I was up early on Wednesday morning, hoping to make the most of the day. 6.30am to be precise! After a swim in the pool I made my way to the resort reception for a lift to someplace I was pretty excited about.

As I mentioned yesterday, shisha are a mix between a dog and a lion, and houses and buildings on Ishigaki and Taketomi island have them on their roofs to ward off evil spirits. I was off to make one of my own at a tiny pottery on the Island. Potter Mizuno Kageyuki didn’t speak any English and my Japanese is pretty limited, but we got by!

First of all Mizuno demonstrated how to make a shisha. I watched carefully as he divided the clay in to lumps and started forming the body, followed by the head and other parts. Ten minutes later and looking at a pretty stunning piece, it was time for me to have a go. Just before I did that however, Mizuno scrunched up the shisha he had made, so I couldn’t cheat by copying his!

Slowly but surely, I made the body and started on the head, eyes and nostrils….

After an hour and some checks with Mizuno I eventually finished my shisha. I was really pleased with it and can honestly say the only thing Mizuno did on this was dab some water on it to make the small bits stick. I did have to be reminded about “more hair!” and “more fire!” though. Below is my finished piece!

Mizuno says it will take two months to dry properly, and then the resort are going to send it on to me. I’m really looking forward to having it as a guardian in my flat!

After the pottery, I took a ferry into Ishigaki,Okinawa’s main transport hub for a look around the town. There wasn’t much to see really apart from pretty tacky souvenir shops. There are some t-shirt designers on Ishigaki though so I did pick one up as a souvenir.

I was hankering for a burger I must admit, but Google Maps told me the nearest McDoruando was a 35 minute walk away. Instead I headed into A&W burger. This US chain used to be bigger than McDonald’s, and I think its presence on Ishigaki is due to the fact that the island used to be occupied by the US. I had the Birthday Burger to celebrate A&W being on the island for 50 years – the curly fries were delish.

After catching a ferry back to Taketomi, it was nearly night time, so I typed up the first bit of my blog sitting in the lounge chilling. Then I had a tasty room service meal of beef gristle (hmmm) and vegetable curry, which came with a little pot burner to keep it hot. I also raided the mini bar again 😉

Then I headed out to try and take some pictures of the stars. I used a 30 second shutter speed and a tripod, and they looked brilliant on my camera screen, but I’m not even sure you can see the stars in the photo above. The next day I would be moving on from Taketomi, but not before another trip into the village and a search for star shaped sand on one of the island’s beaches.