Growing up in a small beach town on the west coast of Florida, much of my free time as a youth was spent in or around the Gulf of Mexico. The Gulf was almost always warm, not unlike bath water, yet it provided the perfect respite from the stifling heat of the Florida summers.

As a child I took all of this for granted, so it follows that now, as an adult, I long to recreate those carefree beach days. When a friend from San Francisco came to visit me in Tokyo, it was the perfect chance to recreate those youthful, aimless days of summers past — so off to Okinawa we went.

Okinawa is the largest in a series of islands, known as Ryukyu, situated about 1,500 kilometers southwest of Tokyo. The climate is humid and subtropical, with temperatures above 20 C throughout most of the year and a rainy season roughly from May until mid-June. The trick, where travel is concerned, is to get there in the magical week after the rainy season has ended but before the tourists arrive. Unfortunately, we missed the window. The photographer in me loves a tropical storm on a warm and moody beach, so regardless I was happy.