When the ferry was approaching Okinoerabu, it was raining cats and dogs. This was really not a good start to my weeklong bike trip! After just leaving the dock, I noticed a small hotel so I checked in. Was reading in my room for a little while when I heard a knock on the door. Takano-san, the hotel owner, felt horrible that the inclement weather forced me to stay inside and not see his beautiful island. Much to my surprise, he offered to drive me around the island and show me the sights! Saw a wide array of gorgeous flowers everywhere, beaches, and magnificent vistas. It was great having a local give me a two-hour island tour!
The next day I was blessed with glorious sunshine. Breakfast consisted of rice, fish, a small salad…and Coke! Takano-san had wrongly assumed that all foreigners have Coke with every meal. Spent the next two days biking around the island and relaxing on the beaches. Breakfasts came with coffee instead of Coke. Takano-san and his wife kept me very well fed during my stay and were extremely kind and helpful, pointing out hidden gems that I would have never known about. And all through this time I was speaking Japanese at a conversational level only. We enjoyed a lot of laughs and fun. I was a bit sad to leave this beautiful place, but I will never forget the kindness of Takano-san.