"When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky"
-Guatama Siddharta

Over and under and up and down...sunshine and thunder...a laugh and a frown!

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Words of wisdom on a bathroom wall


I took this picture in Austin TX this summer, and just rediscovered it while going through some of my photos and trying to organize things. I have to say, I love it!

Sefa Utaki


Finally, a day that didn't involve getting saturated in rain! It was absolutely beautiful today! I may have been a little eager when I put on my bathing suit, sundress, sandals and bolted for the door with my camera! The swimsuit probably wasn't necessary. One does crazy things in the presence of weekend sun!

Visited a World Heritage Site called Sefa Utaki, it is a Shinto Shrine that has been recognized as a sacred place since the earliest times in Okinawa history. The shrine consists of a lot of caves and rock formations with breathtaking views of the sea. It all has ties to the Kingdom of Ryuku, although there are no structures standing on the property anymore.

After that took the scenic route, literally drove the entire southern part of the island. Went through some quaint villages, along the sea, through the mountain (if you want to call it that) until we eventually made it back.

Books Read:

Catching Fire

Saturday, October 8, 2011

So that's what my name means...


I was given a printout at work the other day that had my name in Kanji and then had a bunch of Japanese translations of my name. I scanned it but apparently my blog hates pdf files and wont let me upload it! I'll share some of my favorites with you...

phonetic & denotative transcription: a good and elegant wax tree
phonetic & eulogistic transcription: one who is considerate and heroic; tender dew drops on a snail; a considerate nightingale in the ivy
attention getting transcription: a stupid wild duck in the ivy; a wolf which chases a mule
brainteaser: a short mule Note: "Lau" =low in Japanese

So as you can see, my name is very...diverse...and I'm sure noble. In another language perhaps.

Friday, October 7, 2011

At least it wasn't rectal


So today after work, I convinced a coworker to go with me to a Japanese pharmacy because she speaks some Japanese (enough to get by) and I trust their medicine more than I do American medicine. Here's how that trip went.

We find this place in an ally, which isn't a stretch since almost everything here is located in something resembling an ally (really those are two lane roads). Go into the shop and are greeted by a nice man (the pharmacist) who proceeds to speak to me in Japanese even though it's very clear that my dear coworker is Japanese and speaking with him in Japanese (as I cannot). She relays my symptoms. He then asks if I have a fever, through translation I indicate that I don't think so. He offers a thermometer to check. I pull out the thermometer and it's a digital one but not one of the ones that comes with the disposable plastic sanitary shields. Crap. So my coworker kindly asks for something to clean it with. He gives me hand sanitizer and a tissue. OK it's going to be one of those kinds of establishments. But to be honest I was game for whatever this guy was throwing at me as long as it would take the cough/chest congestion away (throwing in a side order of sleep would only be a bonus!). I "sanitize" the thermometer and take a seat and put it in my mouth when he has a horrified look on his face and my coworker quickly translates "oh no, it's for your armpit". For the next minute while it calculated my temperature I tried to calm myself and think about something other than the fact that I had just put this device that thousands of people had shoved under their arm, into my mouth.So of course the embarrassment causes me to sweat profusely and turn bright red. He's taking my temperature from my armpit, of course it will read high, and it did (but not too high considering how embarrassed I was. Hand sanitizer kills that right?

After a lot of translation, I was given a box of medicine and some complimentary garlic pills (natures antibiotic I'm told) and sent on my way. Just about $20 and 15 minutes. Can't get that kind of personal service in the states. Especially considering this pharmacist probably has more schooling than a lot of our brain surgeons.

Now fingers crossed that this concoction works.

It's nasty, it's a granulated texture, you dump the contents of the package in your mouth (preferably in the back so they don't sit on your tongue because the taste is so bitter) and then quickly down the hatch with a LOT of water! This is a process that is required 3 times a day.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Happy Feet


First pedicure of the trip...and I can say with 100% confidence that I now have happy feet!

Unfortunately, because of Cocok's I'll never be able to be happy with a pedicure outside of Okinawa!

They do an amazing job! Every toe has stars on it, with glittery detail!

Aside from the artwork, the actual pedicure and leg/foot massage are out of this world. If I had millions I would do this daily!

I assure you, this will not be my last Cocok's/pedicure picture of the trip. There will be many more to come, in fact, I need to schedule my appointment for the day before I leave so go home with some fresh looking toes :)

Monday, October 3, 2011

Good for a laugh


Today after work I stopped into the Japanese grocery store. I prefer these to the ones available on base because lets face it, the produce is WAY better (it's not brought in on a cargo ship/plane), they don't use pesticides here, and organic is a way of life not an expensive trendy option.

In shopping at the Japanese grocery store you are always taking a risk, unless of course you speak Japanese or can read one of the three alphabets that they utilize...none of those I can do, but I enjoy the adventure! It's always fun to get home and prepare dinner wondering what exactly it is that you're eating/cooking!

One of the things that I love about the Japanese grocery store is the size of the carts and the system that you must follow. The carts are tiny, picture the smallest carts available at US grocery stores and make it even smaller, now you get the idea. They literally are crafted to fit a basket (also smaller than their US counterparts) on it. This is the proper way to commandeer your shopping vessel.

So in between produce, what I believe was tofu, and then the very fresh fish section was a woman set up (Costco style) with samples. She totally roped me in with her display of very bad English, the words she did know was music to my ears "Okinawan treat". Speak no more. I stirred the mixture around, it felt like a gooey pudding and had some sort of brown sauce on top (syrup?), following the lead of my eager Japanese counterparts I shot the treat right down the hatch...and almost gagged it back up. This was not a treat. First of all the consistency was horrible. Very thick, gooey. The "sauce" was like a peanut/soy sauce. Not at all what I had hoped for when she said "treat". I learned a very valuable lesson today, don't let the Japanese sample ladies make you the brunt of their jokes! Just say no.

I was able to get some amazing items at the grocery store, so all in all it was a win! Japanese pumpkin is amazing, if you've never had it, find it somewhere...immediately...and steam it. Beni-Imo also amazing. It's the Okinawan purple sweet potato. Japanese cucumbers, fantastic. I purchased some sushi for dinner, I'm hoping it was tuna, but I guess I'll figure that out when I take a few bites tonight. I was also able to get a steamer that will fit into the "skillet" that I have to cook with in the hotel. This should help with all of these amazing veggies that I now have!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Pineapple Park and Ufuya


Nothing says Sunday like overeating, good company, and a pineapple themed park adorned with pineapple golf carts to transport you through this "it's a small world-esque" experience. One song played throughout the park, on repeat, and after hearing it once you realized that you'd want to have earplugs if you worked in an establishment like this. But of course the Japanese employees were all very cheerful and happy, as if this was the best song they heard all day, for the 10,000th time!

After pineapple park and all of the samples (again I ate too much fresh pineapple and had some kind of mild allergic reaction, my lip started to get tingly and feel swollen, only then did I step away from the fresh pineapple table and stop eating!) we went to Ufuya, a little gem of a restaurant that we discovered last go round. You literally have to follow a sign in Kanji to find the place (no English indication anywhere), through a back road (very narrow), through a cemetery, then it opens up to this amazing restaurant that I can find no better way to describe it other than Swiss Family Robinson. Little huts/buildings built into the mountainside, waterfalls all over, and you literally dine in an open air experience, often times feed from a beautiful waterfall. Inside the tables are the traditional well tables, so you are sitting on the floor. The food is amazing. This time they had an English menu which helped only slightly compared to our previous dining experience. Turns out I ordered the exact same thing!

All in all an amazing day. When we got back to the hotel I was exhausted and had a very full belly, so what else do you do on a Sunday afternoon, nap. As I was falling asleep my room started to shake. Earthquake. No nap for me.