Black Girl Fly: Talia Carpenter
Home city: St. Petersburg, FL
Travel desitination: Okinawa, Japan
I was actually selected to go to Oki for a summer program working with children whose parents were in the military.
Had you been to Asia before?
No! This was my first time so I didn’t know what to expect. Oki is often referred to as Japan’s Hawaii.
There were about 20 of us spread across the island.
How much was your flight?
Our organization covered our flights, but they can range from $600 – $1000+.
First thing you felt when you stepped out of the airport
“OMG!! I’m a zillion miles from home and I’m here for THREE months!?” This was my first international trip so my drive and interest to travel outweighed the many fears and concerns I had.”
Best moment of the trip
We spent time at Okuma Beach Resort where I went rode jet skis, a banana boat and went snorkeling. As I’m snorkeling, I remember looking at this beautiful blue water and the most tropical fish I’d ever seen, thinking “Look what God made.” I had such a humbled spirit filled with so much gratitude and joy. This was my life and I was so thankful for the experience. Being halfway across the world, I was able to truly realize that the beauty of God’s creation knew no limits and had no borders. That was one of the best days of my life.
One thing anyone who goes to Okinawa must see
The festivals in Okinawa can be AMAZING, so try to catch the Eisa Festival in July. If not, a guest favorite is “the Banana Lady” show (not for everyone, so research before you go).
One food/drink travelers must try
Try the sweet potato ice cream (which is purple) and, if you’re bold, try the sake. You’ll fnd jars and jars of dead snakes inside a jar of alcohol for sale!
A few fave restaurants were Arin Krin (The Garlic House), Coco Ichibanya (Curry restaurant), the Sushi Go Round, their
Four Seasons, and whatever you do, visit Sauce Live! Try to go on a night where there will be entertainment.
Sauce Live, from what I remember, is owned by an African American man that stayed in Oki after military life, so it’s like Soul Food meets Japan!!
What should you know about being a Black girl in Japan?
They LOVED us. We were always greeted by strangers with a warm smile or someone who wanted to chat it up for a bit and ALWAYS treated us with kindness. They wanted to know about our culture as Blacks in America and were quite intrigued with our hair (I had braids at the time). As a traveler, I’ve never felt as safe as I did in Oki.
Would you go back?
Next destination on your list
Where can people follow your travel adventures?
Instagram: @TaliaCarpenter and Trip Advisor: Talia_C