Thursday, December 29, 2016

#25: attend a concert or a music festival abroad

I know what you're thinking. Easy peasy. But I strongly assure you, 'twas not so.

I envisioned myself jammin' out, rockin' deep to my core surrounded by happy concert goers. Not a worry in the world. 

Spoiler alert: This did not  e x a c t l y  happen. 

I had a few ideas in mind when I pictured checking this item off. The one at the forefront of my fantasies involved Mumford & Sons live in Ireland, naturally. But, we weren't going to Ireland, and Mumford & Sons wouldn't agree to adjusting their performance schedule based on our travel plans. Go figure.

I scoured tour dates for every band I could think of that I'd like to see, and festivals that might just match up with our itinerary. Nothing lined up. Notta. Zilch. We would miss some top acts by mere days in some instances. 

And that's how we ended up witnessing Vanessa Carlton's "comeback", live, in Okinawa, Japan. 

Well that escalated quickly. To an anticlimactic climax. 

But we were in Okinawa! The Hawaii of Japan! I was visiting my BFF! The water was beautiful! We were adventuring in waterfalls disguised as ninjas! (I'll explain later.)

So, despite checking off #25 being a touch of a letdown, we were having an Okiventure. (That's Okinawa + adventure in a brand new word; see what I did there?)

This is what I had learned about Okinawa thus far:

- There are a crap-load of vending machines. Seriously, you'll never go thirsty, as long as you have change in your pocket. 

- They have ginormous carrots. GINORMOUS. 

My, those are some large carrots.
- Okinawan salt cookies are made of Jesus' tears and likely exist as the most holy thing on earth.

Salt cookie flavored ice cream AND CRUMBLED SALT COOKIES. 
- Okinawan people were super happy. Probably on account of the salt cookies. Just a theory. 

It's quite obvious that I spent the days leading up to VC's "comeback" show (and yes, I plan on using quotations around comeback for the remainder of this post), and eating many many Okinawan salt cookies amongst other delicious treats-- sushi, the freshest of fresh fish, some pastry ice cream concoction that should be illegal, and mooooore cookies. 

When we weren't eating, we dove deep into the adventure corner with probably the best guide there ever was. My BFF had been living on the island for almost 3 years prior to mine and KJ's visit. She knew her sh*t and I felt like we were being let in on some of Okinawa's best kept secrets

Ones that looked a little like this:

Trekking to waterfalls as ninjas (likely annoying anyone we encountered with our headbands and karate kicks).

Being on the lookout for Puumba. You know, from The Lion King.

Biking Bise, a town with the oldest people on the island, sugar cane fields, and gorgeous coastline. As long as you return your wheels, you'll get homemade muffins too.

Side note: I ran over and nearly wiped out on a potato.

Discovering the 'Big Crack'. 
(Pretty sure it's the technical name.) Trek down a scary jungle path riddled with snakes and you too could be rewarded with a huge crack in a rock. Here's the thing about the crack- it's actually a wildly sacred crack. Probably where the salt cookies are made. Read more about the sacred land called Warumi.

Almost sh*tting my pants on a kayak. 
It was beautiful don't get me wrong (the kayaking scenery) but my stomach was having a moment that I'll fully blame on the Chu-hi. My arms got a workout that day. 

Dining in hammocks.

Playing the Game of Life after a blockbuster sunset whilst drinking at Okuma resort. (and I was far more "successful" than in my real life.)

Battling a giant bee in my bento box.

(Offending bee not pictured)
Mounting a giant stone bird statue, of course.

Eating rainy day ramen. 
Did I mention the part about ordering it from a machine?

Getting the best pedicures of our lives. 
No, seriously I am ruined for any and all other pedicures..and I ain't even mad.
We sat in lazy boy recliners, drank iced tea whilst super intricate designs were painted on our toenails as if they were tiny canvases. Oh, and the extra loooong foot massage. That too. 

No one wants to see a close up of anyone's toes, nobody. So, sorry. 

Want a pedi? Cocoks is the spot.

Intense showdowns with an angry rooster.

Roller sliding until we got roll-burn (think rug-burn on steroids). 
All you need is a slab of cardboard and your inner 5 year old. In all seriousness though that sh*t burns. It scraped at least 5 layers of skin off and scabbed over. But- totally worth it.

Finding hidden beaches upon hidden beaches. 
A hidden beach trifle, if you will. And even one with goats.

And it was, on one of the beaches that we stumbled upon Vanessa Carlton shooting a new music video, her piano perched on a cliff.

I KNOW, right?!

At least, we were convinced it was her. It was late afternoon on the day of the VC concert and we were wrapping up our expeditions for the day with a quick stop at another glorious cove. It was there that we spotted a random piano on a coastal cliff, causing us to notice the entire camera crew skirting the area. All evidence lined up; it had to be VC herself shooting the new music video for her comeback. And we were here, and we would meet her, and she'd bring us onstage later and we would be the bestest friends. 

M a g i c a l.

OR- or it was a random Japanese singer shooting her music video and VC was no where in the vicinity and we wouldn't be sharing cookies and bottle of wine post-show with her. 

You can guess which option it was.

To abate our disappointment, we then did what any normal person would do before a Vanessa Carlton concert. We went to the nearest Purikura and took Japanese glamour photos:

So here we were, getting amped up for Vanessa, which, by the way, was a free concert for the troops and opened up to the locals as well by the USO. Getting pumped included adult beverages, reminiscing about VC's hits back in the day, and hotdogs, naturally.

Thing is, I actually liked VC the whole year or so that she was popular. Her top hit was 1,000 Miles, at least it was the only one of her songs I could think of, so that definitely had to be it. 

We joined the throngs of free concert goers at Camp Kinser, gathering in front of the stage and my stomach bubbled in anticipation of VC's rebirth. Or- maybe in disagreement with the hotdogs. Either way, we were ready. She came out, and it was pretty exciting, actually. I mean, I was checking a list item off in the company of my besties, drinking a beer to the tunes of someone I used to listen to on the radio. All in all, no complaints here. 

Except that she kept playing songs nobody gave a rat's a*s about. I mean that in the nicest way possible. We just wanted to hear the big hit.

"WE DON'T CARE ABOUT YOUR OTHER DITTIES VANESSA JUST PLAY 1,000 MILES ALREADY!" I thought screamed. After all, I had traveled well over 1,000 miles to see VC play her GD hit of 1,000 miles, ironically enough.

Just then, a fellow concert attendee read my mind and barked "1,000 MILES- 1,000 MILES!" That was the only fuel I needed- I started to chant. If there's one thing I love, it's a solid chant.  

And I had started a revolution. 

The crowd caught on and joined in, and finally Vanessa listened. The list item culminated in that moment as she started playing 1,000 miles and the crowd went as wild as a crowd seeing Vanessa Carlton can go. We sang along, we danced, and spilled some beer. Classic VC concert.

So maybe the concert wasn't quite how I envisioned it. It was, in the end however, all about the Okiventure. VC and her 1,000 miles? That was just the cherry on top.

**Attend a concert or a music festival abroad? CHECK! Invent a new kind of adventure and name it an Okiventure? CHECK, CHECK!


  1. Good post, your article is really nice, love it!


    1. Thank you! Much appreciated, and thanks for reading :)