Google+ Fractured Fairy Tales: What I Miss Most - Okinawa

Saturday, August 2, 2014

What I Miss Most - Okinawa

If you haven't seen Rambling of a Marine Wife's post What I Miss Most- go read it first,  I can almost mirror her post, but I'll try to make mine different. 

If you have been a follower for any period of time you know I love Okinawa, I love Japan, and we are holding out hope we will someday return to Japan. But for now I have to live vicariously through friends who currently live there and share all the pictures of their adventures on facebook. And I have my own pictures, they document probably the most fun and adventurous three two years and 9 months of our lives. I frequently look back at Okinawa with fond memories of good friends, great food, and so many adventures. I wish I had been more active on my blog during that time so I would have more detailed stories to go with those pictures. 

So without further adieu : 

The things I miss most from Okinawa 
(in no particular order) 

Vending Machines EVERYWHERE
Even in the middle of nowhere. I had at least 3 very close to my house, less than a 2 minute walk.  My favorite drinks were, Fanta orange, Aquarius (like a gatorade, but a very mild, refreshing flavor) and Sanpincha (a jasmine-y tea that is also delicious, unsweetened and very refreshing on a hot humid day.) Sanpincha was probably my favorite of all, the best one is in the Yellow CocaCola can with the shisa and hibiscus on it. And in the winter (or in some machines year round) you could get hot coffee too! A cute little can of Georgia Cafe au lait to start your day! 

Georgia Coffee. Yummy/

 Bike rides along the coast
I was lucky and both while living on base and off base I was very close to the ocean. Oh wait, on Okinawa you are always very near the ocean... But I was super close, less than a mile I would say. When we moved off base, and Paul deployed, I picked up bike riding as a way to spend my day (and maybe to get to and from the izykaya without driving.) I would frequently spend HOURS out exploring on my bike, going 20 miles in a day was pretty common. 

The Festivals
One of the things I could never get enough of is all the festivals, it seems like there was always something, somewhere being celebrated. So much fun. 

I could go on for days about the food, oh the amazing and wonderful food, Japanese, Indian, Thai, Greek Gyros, even the Mexican isn't that bad. And seriously the fish was so fresh in most restaurants/sushi joints it was usually caught that day. "Catch of the day" had a whole new, literal, meaning.

Drink (of the adult variety)
Okay, I'm not gonna pretend that Okinawa has an amazing drink selection, you can get most hard liquor, but beer and wine are a little lacking, even on base. But.. I did develop quite a taste for Orion, Okinawa's beer of choice (and locally brewed), and there is always Chu Hi, which, I have no idea what it is, I think it's a mixed carbonated beverage with sochu. I love Chu Hi! and it's a great alternative to beer or mixed drinks. 

Okinawa (and I would imagine, most of Japan) is just fun, and silly, and cute. The guy at the farm across the street regularly walked his bull. Where else will you see that? There is so much cute, everywhere you look! Even the garbage truck plays a fun song, that sadly reminds Americans of an ice cream truck, but you don't want to run after this guy. 
Cute cups of something, inside a free gift mug!

My 'hood
Speaking of the farm across the street, I am so sad but this is the only picture I can find, and it's in the middle of a typhoon. This is taken from my bathroom window, and that little yellow stand is a farm stand that was regularly filled with fresh veggies! They also grew sugar cane and had cows too. 
Just down the street there was a woman who ran a little store out of her garage, selling things like beer, sodas, rice, the bare essentials, and occasionally (if you made it at the right time) bento lunches. Much closer than the konbini (convenience store)

Most beaches by our house were not "swimming beaches" with beachy sand and stuff, they were very rocky and muddy and full of dead coral and lava rock, so you could do what you wanted, like take your dog for a dip. Or take your fully clothed self for a dip when you ran to hard and far in the heat and you are about to puke (only happened once)

The Late Nights/Early Mornings 
Okay, I partied like a frat boy in Okinawa. Paul and I didn't have kids, we had no responsibilities and we partied, hard, and frequently. I am so happy to be a mom, and to have responsibilities, but sometimes I miss it a little. 

Driving on the "wrong" side
I dunno, for me driving on the left side of the road seemed more natural, it was more comfortable for me. I super dooper miss that. 

It's hard to explain. I frequently get asked "why do you love Okinawa so much?" and I just can't answer. It's everything, every bit of that island I love. You just won't get it, unless you get it. There are a few people I know who get it, where Okinawa is just their happy place. I will always have a place in my heart for that island, and I deeply hope that someday I will be given the opportunity to return. 
I could go on forever, but I will call it complete for this time. 
I will leave you with a picture of the sunset from my bedroom window.


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  1. Oh yes, I miss festivals in Japan, too. If you had nothing to do on the weekends, you could just find a festival somewhere!
    I miss Daiso, too - everything I needed at a bargain.

    1. Totally miss daiso too! I found there are some in SoCal though, they are a bit of a drive, but it's doable!

  2. We loved our time in Misawa and I still miss it! Although I don't miss the winters! Hopefully we'll get back to Japan again :) My favorite vending machines were the egg ones, they always made me laugh:)



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