Flowers and Soba in Miyakojima
Miyakojima is located in the far south of Japan among the southernmost islands of Japanese Archipelago, where tropical flowers are in full bloom though Tokyo metropolitan area is slightly covered with snow. It takes about 3 hours by air to Naha, Okinawa from Tokyo and transfer there to one hour local flight to final destination. We visited Miyakojima in late December and at that time, it was rather unseasonal “cool” climate below 20 deg.C. We felt bit cold because of the strong wind by its own climate in the area. Almost every day was big windy day during our stay there.
Kobano-Sandanka(小葉の三段花, flame of the woods/ Ixora coccinea) is cute little 4-points star shape and its colors are pale red to sorrel tone. It has been said to be one of the three beautiful flowers in Okinawa area and we often enjoy them everywhere in this small island, Miyakojima. These are often shown as hedges not only around roadside tree, but home and small garden. Literally meaning of Kobano-Sandanka is that it blooms three times at the timing (Sandanka) with of small leaf (Kobano).
Okinawa-soba is famous for its sliced Sanmai-niku topping (pork belly). We visited soba restaurant “Niima-soba” on the roadside to Ikemajima island. It was almost closing time for the lunch but a lady welcomed us in showing charming smile, so the place turned out to be our exclusive luncheon room with meltingly delicious Sanmai-niku. She graciously explained us the feature and meaning of Okinawa-soba with Sanmai-niku. Also, mini history about this family-owned restaurant and about the house inherited from her parents because the house is almost normal residential structure and interior in the area. Now, Okinawa-soba is specialty local dish and named “soba” but never be made with buckwheat flour (soba-powder), but with 100 percent wheat flour.
Bougainvillea is blooming throughout the year in all around Okinawa area. I really enjoyed various colors of bougainvillea this time, however, it comes to be more vivid in autumn through next spring time, since it is one of short-day plants. Short-day condition means that the day length becomes shorter and a short-day plant in Okinawa such as bougainvillea, hibiscus and poinsettia easily form its floral bud during this period. On the other hand, flower-bud formation of a long-day plant such as iris and carnation are the opposite during spring through autumn time.