It’s only been ten months, yet it feels like…maybe not a lifetime, but it certainly feels like I’ve lived a life here. New routines were formed, friendships made, regular haunts frequented, notable destinations explored, local idiosyncracies discovered, seaside locales enjoyed.

It’s been a peculiar time to be here on Okinawa, the level of social and commercial activity repeatedly recalibrated under successive states of emergency, the place for the most part devoid of tourists, unusually quiet as a result. I’m heading to Tokyo next month. I’ll be there for a while — a few weeks, possibly longer — and there’s plenty to look forward to in Tokyo, but while I’m away I’ll miss life on this island with its easy rhythms and simple pleasures, its blend of cultures, warm weather and easily accessed beaches, an absence of crowds and a wealth of luxuriant open spaces. Needless to say I have plenty of photos to tide me over until my return, and memories too. So I won’t say sayonara; rather, ja ne.

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