Stories from the Ginowan Fish Market, Okinawa, Japan

Stories from the Ginowan Fish Market, Okinawa, Japan

The fresh, salty smell.  The cool ice crunching. The hustle and bustle of the skilled workers.  A port-side fish market is quite possibly the happiest place on earth.



Undoubtedly, there is a sense of purpose and energy in the air.


For this, is an Okinawan fish market.


And the bounty of the sea…


…is a national treasure.


Where every moment counts, as these fish have only been ashore for a few hours.DSC_0504

And “Tahma”, the resident alley cat, is waiting for his share.


Tahma must be a king among cats.  His place as the premier alley cat of the port must have been hard-earned.  He wares his status with brazen confidence.  I say “hello”…. and he won’t talk to me.


He won’t look at me.

DSC_0517So I take a walk.


And I see a place, so much like my childhood home on the Oregon Coast.


Where the boats only rested in the afternoons.


And where a peaceful spot was always within reach.

DSC_0545Where there was always work to be done.


And wet ropes curled around themselves, neat, but in a kind of disarray.


Where beauty comes in blue.


Tahma is happy now.  His kind friend did not forget him.


He looks at me.







For directions to the Ginowan Farmer’s Market, as well as many other fresh markets on Okinawa, please go here.

IMG_7834Shannon Vavich is a baby-wearing, homeschooling, mama of seven who is also a chef and a freelance food writer.  She follows her husband and his military career all over the world, and currently lives in Okinawa, Japan.  She has a little dog named Paprika, and an Okinawan cat named Mochi.  She wears red lipstick, likes nice shoes, and loves rocky road ice cream.  She is currently writing a book on Okinawan and Japanese cuisine and cooking.  More


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