As I sit here in my Virginia house during this snow storm I am reminiscing about my life just a few months ago when we were living on the beautiful island of Okinawa. I truly miss it and feel as if I left a little piece of my heart there. I saw another list with things people miss about Okinawa but I decided to start my own list because there was so much I wanted to add to it! I know many of my friends feel the same way I do! Enjoy! Enid Randall
Apparently Japan has the highest number of vending machines per capita, with about one machine for every 23 people. My son loved trying a different drink everyday. The selection is crazy! Even the Coke tastes better since it's made with real sugar cane, not corn syrup like in the US. My mind was blown when I got a can of hot coffee. Yes, the can itself was hot too!
Did you know that there is no tipping in Japan? No tipping in restaurants or in cabs. If you tip it is actually a bit insulting. The thing that blows my mind is that even though you don't tip you still receive the best customer service!
I wish there was a Coco Ichibanya Curry House near me in the states. I heard there are some in California. If you get the chance don't miss out on having some Japanese curry at any of their Okinawa locations. My son has food allergies and they even had gluten free options!
Literally they are dollar stores but it's almost an insult to call a 100 Yen store that. You can find so many cool things to buy at a 100 Yen store and they are all good quality items! I loved going there and loading up on Japanese snacks and goodies!
One of the worlds largest aquariums, the Okinawa Charaumi Aquarium is located within the Ocean Expo Park in Okinawa, Japan.
I know I am not the only one that fell in love with Japanese deep-roasted salad dressing! I am so happy that there is an International store near me so I can keep eating this yummy goodness with my salads!
Driving can be tricky when you first arrive on Okinawa. I was scared to death knowing I'd have to drive on the left side of the road and that the drivers seat was on the right side of the car. I had to often remind myself "keep your hiney on the liney" so I could keep myself on the correct side of the road! Just as nerve racking was remembering where the turn signal and windshield wipers were (opposite from US cars). Oftentimes you would accidentally turn on the windshield wipers when you actually meant to turn your turning signal on! They even have a name for this occurrence- the Okinawa wave!
I decided to also start a list with funny signs I took pictures of during my time on Okinawa. I still giggle when I read them!
Yes, this one should say "Merry Christmas" but it says "Many Christmas" instead!
Forget the squatty potty- most Japanese places and homes come with a Japanese bidet or wash let. These toilets do everything! They are heated, play music to um- cover undesirable "sounds", wash you and deodorize! I also noticed that bathrooms, even in public places are so clean! Miss Japanese toilets!
Ok, how many Japanese cars have funny names that mean other things in English or Spanish? Who comes up with these names?! 😂
I am still craving a nice hot bowl of Okinawan soba! This one was from my favorite soba spot near McT called Agena Soba.
Okinawa is known for it's Ryukyu glass, handmade glassware produced by skilled craftsmen. I picked up a few pieces and regret not picking up more!
While on Okinawa I collected loads of sea glass and my favorite sea pottery. I have a large bowl full of broken Japanese pottery that I found on the beach near Camp Schwab which I adore. My husband joked that we would go over on weight with my sea glass alone when it was time to move back to the states!
Eisa is a form of Okinawan folk dance performed during the Bon festival to honor their ancestors.
Am I weird that I miss typhoon season? Being snowed in here in the DC area is no fun but I actually enjoyed being stuck in the house during the typhoons on Okinawa. The kids and I enjoyed the family time we had during these times. playing games and baking lots of goodies! We texted our friends pictures of crazy things we found in our yards the next day. Good times (as long as everyone was safe of course!)
Ah! Just thinking about getting a Cocoks pedicure brings back good memories. It was the go to place to go with my friends and then we would head out for lunch afterwards. You get a nice drink (usually tea) and there were tons of designs to choose from. The massage they gave you was unlike any I've ever had. Getting my nails done in here in the US pales in comparison!
This is a video my son shot when we first arrived on Okinawa! Enjoy! Enid Randall
No Copyright Intended* Some Clips are a little shaky, no stabilizer :/
Ok, maybe I don't really miss squatty potties but we all remember the look on our faces when you happened to stumble into a bathroom with one!
I love the story behind the donut shop Mister Donut. Apparently two brothers in law broke up their partnership with each opening up their own coffee and donut franchise. One open up- you guessed it-Dunkin Donut and the other Mister Donut, now headquatered in Japan.To be honest I like Mister Donut better since the donuts are light and airy and come in all sorts of fun flavors.
Located near Camp Foster outside the fire station gate 3, Gen was one of my favorite restaurants. My favorite dish was the butter fish. Wish I could go there now!
I could totally go for one of these warm, fried Okinawan donut like balls called Sata Andagi! These are native to Okinawa but are also found on Hawaii.
If you are a woman and you are moving to Okinawa you must join Okinawa International Women's Club (OIWC). I had the pleasure of serving as president last year and I had the time of my life serving with these women!
Okinawa International Women's Club or OIWC is an organization made up of women from all over the world who gather at monthly events to promote friendship and cultural exchange while at the same time raising funds and awareness for different charities all over the Pacific Realm. The OIWC is a non-profit organization that has been around for 60 years. In those years, the organization has donated food, clothing, money and many other items to those in need.
We had monthly luncheons, gatherings, field trips, cooking classes- you name it while raising money for various charities. You can find out more here:https://www.facebook.com/pages/Okinawa-International-Womens-Club/273522789344590
There is something about Kewpie Mayo. It is totally addicting! Believe it or not, this mayo actually has a cult following! This Japanese style mayonnaise is made with whole egg yolks, rice vinegar, and a hint of the flavor enhancer MSG. This adds that Japanese Umami note giving it a uniquely different flavor than the mayo here in America. (Umami is touted as the “fifth taste”, a savory taste that fits alongside the classic salty, sweet, sour and bitter receptors found on the human tongue).
Kewpie mayo is used in many Japanese dishes including sushi. #kewpie
I'm not sure when I first met talented Okinawan artist Kyoko Nakamoto but I feel as if I've known her my whole life! If you come to Okinawa you can't leave without one (or many as in my case) of her prints or original art work. Her artwork graces my walls and I am forever reminded of my time on Okinawa through her pieces. Check her out here: https://www.facebook.com/KYOKOARTGallery?pnref=lhc or here: www.kyokoart.com