This won’t be an ode. Not per the actual definition, anyways. I can’t form lyrics and poems are hard.
Tribute below (culturally/grammatically flawed):
I’ve been here for nearly a month. That is a long time. Certain people have endeared themselves to me. The views and the sounds are things I look forward to every day. Different cultural niceties have become familiar. My trip has been special and my memories will be fond. I would like to pay respect to that.
First, to the ocean. Every morning I stand on the balcony and I stare at you. I am on the seventh floor and you are directly below me. You are blue, almost teal, and you are vibrant. I can see silhouettes of rock and reef. Shades and shadows persist but they do not mask your transparency. I would be able to see sharks swimming, too, but there aren’t any. That’s disappointing. I hear you, though, and you are therapy. Your sound rises and falls in waves. From my balcony, standing silent, I hear everything you are. I hear your tranquility and I hear your force. I don’t hear any shark attacks–shark or victim–which, not to be a buzz-kill, is deflating. But still, thank you.
To the beach that lines the ocean, thank you. I’ve walked on you every day. I’ve worn shoes and I’ve walked barefoot. I’ve walked naked and I’ve been arrested. You’ve given me shells and provided me rocks. You hide secrets, in caves, and you let me explore. I’ve put you on Instagram and I’ve labeled you #dopebeach and #playaplaya. Girls have liked it. I scan you in the morning and follow you in the evenings. You are soft and you are warm. We are friends. I #love you.
Hotel concierge Jessica. I showered the ocean and beach with compliments true as gold. I wanted to do the same to you, in terms of gold and showers, but you didn’t respond to the note/room key I left you. That is ok. You are still special to me. I still value you and you are still a fond memory. On three different evenings you helped me order Dominos pizza. Without you, because I couldn’t communicate “four large pepperoni and bacon, add jalapeno”, I wouldn’t have gotten my pizza. You didn’t know how to say “thin-crust”, which hurt, but you still speak both languages beautifully. I am grateful. I miss you. I miss us.
To the staff of both hotel restaraunts, I can only say this: friendship. You smile as I enter. You wave when I sit. You laugh when I use chopsticks. You bow as I leave. We are friends. Thank you.
To everything that falls under the title of “Onna Ocean boardwalk”, I appreciate you. I’m including everyone and everything. As I battled demons of personal health, cardio, and diabetes, you fueled me. I ran on and by you each morning. As the ocean is beautiful, it is distant. It alone would not have kept me running. I wouldn’t have kept going. I needed the hotels that line the streets. I needed the shops that spark the commerce. I needed the drivers that forced my agile darting movements. I needed the clean side-walk and I needed the fresh air. I needed it all. I will miss it all.
You are part of the previously mentioned boardwalk, but still, Okinawa Sheraton, thank you. You prepared chilled drinks and offered scenic beauty. Your lobby was open as it was inviting. I felt at home. I ordered drinks and charged them to different rooms. I played ping pong and embarrassed your guests. You let me be me, and I won’t forget that.
Chi-Chis. I will miss all employees. To both the dancers with the keen abilities of bodily monetization and to the friendly bartenders who accepted American Dollars, thank you. You’re establishment upheld diplomacy while maintaining just the right degree of nasty.
Oi-Yea (pronounced oh-yea). A small bar in a small building–supplying big fun. In your back corner, there is a lap top connected to a monitor speaker system. Your owner enabled YouTube access, friendly to those who speak American. I played music for several hours. We laughed, and danced, and drank, only stopping when the previously mentioned owner told me to stop playing Celine Dion. I wish you all the best, Oi-Yea.
To Mr. Kitty, my greyish/black feline friend who ate breakfast with us, I hope to meet again. Small children and elder hotel guests were afraid of you. I wasn’t. I saw you as a friend who liked breakfast sausage and scrambled eggs, nothing else. I don’t see color.
And finally, to Okinawa. In an all-encompassing emotive sense, “arigatou gozaimasu!”