Louie Sanchez is the author of the blog Map It! Okinawa about places to see and things to do in Okinawa, as well as its rich history and culture. We had a conversation via email about the blog. His answers were as interesting as his blog.

Fukugawa Falls (Photo by Louie Sanchez)

This was one of my best finds by accident. It is in a very remote part of Okinawa…almost a needle in a haystack find. Was driving one day and saw a trail…and curiosity took care of the rest. I like to imagine, that it some how called me to go there. Like I was meant to find it and share it with others. It really changed me and how I viewed nature.

I asked Louie how he came up with the unique layout of the blog and he said he is a web designer and understands viewer usability. Then Louie went on to say that “people like consistency so I kept using the same format: picture, map, photo album, GPS coordinates, and explanation. People are comfortable with expectations on the web I think. I wanted it to be a quick guide that sparks curiosity to see more and more places on Okinawa.” It certainly sparked my curiosity, Louie!

When asked about how the blog came to be, Louie told me he was on a two-month visit to Okinawa last year and was taking so many pictures that he thought it’d be easier if he posted them on a blog for easy viewing. It grew organically from there: he added a map, then some descriptions about the area and the rest is history, as they say. Louie calls it a “Eureka moment.”

Map It! Okinawa is the ideal companion for those visiting Okinawa: it provides maps and extensive information about each place, including directions, parking availability, degree of difficulty of treks, and other guidelines. Louie included wildlife information, which I found very useful as I’m not going to go anywhere where there are snakes!

I asked him if the wildlife information was first hand or from books, and he said that it “is through both research (internet/books), talking with local Okinawan, and experience. Each place I write about is through personal experience. This is a must cause I have to  put myself in my audience shoes for safety sake, and because of the language/culture barrier I may have to spell out do’s and don’ts as mitigate any “Lost in Translation” moments. Other things I have to consider are the climate, parking spaces, bath room facilities, road traffic, culturally expectations/taboos, if they had kids or not etc. So yes, I take a lot of notes both mental and written.”

Louie’s vision for the blog is that it is like a journal that helps people plan their visits and learn about “Okinawa’s rich culture, wonderful people and its natural beauty,” as he puts it.


Read more

An Okinawan Wedding

Ancestor worship in Okinawa, Japan

Photo essay: Okinawan sumo wrestling

About the author

Ana Astri-O’Reilly is from Argentina, where she lived until five years ago. She currently lives in Dallas, USA with her British husband, but they move a lot. Previously a translator and English and Spanish teacher, Ana first started writing to share her experiences and adventures with friends and family. She speaks Spanish, English and a smattering of Portuguese.