Japanese swimming tease.

Konichiwa from Okinawa!

Such a pristine serene marine scene!

However!…

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… Looks can be deceiving. Turns out you can’t swim here – under any circumstances, by (natural) penalty of death!…

The beach is peppered with ‘Do not swim!’ signs and pics of all sorts of ghastly poisonous monsters – jellyfish with long tentacles, rock-fish and even snakes. Yikes! And there are plenty of sites on the net that seem to confirm that swimming here is a no-no. I wasn’t so sure though. After all, some sites say walking down the street without a helmet on is guaranteed suicide. So I investigated further…

I had a good long peer along the coast but discovered nothing there out of the ordinary. But then I looked around and saw quite a few heavily-built lifeguards walking about in smart blue shirts. Maybe the threat to life should be taken seriously after all? But I felt more under threat by these guards! Stocky, stone-faced, mysteriously menacing… though they do bow and smile and say konichiwa. Not sure I’d like to be ‘rescued’ by them. I’ll take my chances with the underwater Okinawan threats :).

Bottom line – no swimming. Shame. Maybe next time – in a less guarded and signposted Okinawan spot…

This ‘lovely view, deadly swimming’ lark reminded me of a similar experience: besides scores of signs screaming ‘No swimming! You’ll die!’ or some such were much more convincing signs of danger: every 10 or so meters along the beach were installations that housed… vinegar! Yep, dousing a bite from a ‘stinger’ in vinegar is the best antidote until proper medical help is sought. That was in Australia. You see how the vinegar in the bottle is blue? It’s dyed specially – so folks don’t steal it!

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And anyway – it IS possible to swim on Okinawa: I did so on another part of the island in 2009 or thereabouts.

Another ‘anyway’… – what were we doing here? We were here for a large Japanese conference on all things cyber, including cybersecurity. Here’s how we were greeted at the welcoming gig on the eve of the conf. Only in Japan.

And on that charming local-specific note, I end this mini-series from Japan. I’m now heading home for some time off from hectic business trips in faraway places. Recuperation in the home nation, as it were :).

All the photos from Japan are here.

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