Being naturally averse to traffic jams, long lines at airports, overcrowded trains and cranked-up hotel rates, I've never been one for traveling far on a national holiday in Japan, especially during Golden Week in May when a few of them cluster together.

But this year, as my wife, Shiori Tsuchiya, and I had our 15th wedding anniversary in April, we decided to throw caution to the wind and celebrate with a trip to Zamami Island during Golden Week.

I'd already visited several islands in the Ryukyus besides the main Okinawa Island where we now live — including Amami Oshima, Tokashiki, Kume-jima, Aguni, Aka-jima, Geruma and, in February, Zamami. So, in commemorative mode, Zamami would be the first one to which I'd make a return visit — and there were several very good reasons for that.