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Buried deep within the forested mountains of Okinawa, far beyond the sun-drenched beaches that lovingly caress Zamami island, and farther still from even the most basic signs of civilization (i.e., cars, internet cafes, department stores), lies Beach Rock Village, a sprawling labyrinthe of cedar trees, curious teepees, towering treehouses and Mongolian yurts. It is a place that infects you with an urge to run around like the proverbial kid in a candy store, and wildy explore every corner of this green wonderland.  Here, one can enjoy horseback riding on a nearby beach, kayack down a treacherous creek, and even take up the lost art of farming.   Essentially, it’s Disneyland for hippies.

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Of course, the main purpose for our visit to Beach Rock Village was lodging.  We needed cheap accomodation and luckily we were not let down!  Only US $15 for one night in a spacious tent (teepees were out of our price range, unfortunately), and breakfast the following morning.  We did have to share the tent with a couple of menacing-looking but ultimately harmless spiders, which I daresay gave Dan, the so-called nature-lover, quite a scare.  Never have I heard such a high-pitched scream of “Oh my God! Kill it! Kill it!”  Naturally, yours truly, a veteran from the Kagami Spider Wars, was unperturbed, granting the presence of our eight-legged friends no more than a shrug and a yawn.

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After securing our luggage, we proceeded to drink ourselves silly under a sky dripping with the light of thousands of stars.  Stories were swapped with our hosts, many of whom were recent college grads from the Tokyo area.   Forsaking the frantic boredom of a stacatto corporate life, they had opted for a more relaxing—and more meaningful, some might argue—existence. 

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The next morning, Dan, Shiho, Divina and I chased butterflies, dodged wasps at the top of a treehouse, marveled at hippie craftsmanship, and said, “Wow!  How cool!” more times that I can remember.  All in all, a great time was had by all, especially Dan, who finally realized his secret fantasy of drinking maple syrup in a treehouse.  Whoops!  Wasn’t supposed to reveal that juicy tidbit…   

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While I don’t believe I could have lived at the Beach Rock Village indefinitely, I would like to have spent a bit more time there in order to get to know some of the volunteers.  Alas, it was not meant to be.  Perhaps the next time I find myself wandering through Okinawa, I’ll make a more extended visit.  Until then, I shall have to be content with pictures and memories.

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