Goodbyes are never easy. It’s an old cliché, but we all know it’s true. My Okinawa goodbyes were not particularly graceful or memorable. They were actually rather abrupt, but in some ways, I like that better. As my friend Sally said, it’s like ripping off a BandAid. Or diving head first into cold water. You’ve just gotta do it. And in the end, most of my goodbyes were not that serious, because I know I will see many of these people again. But there was one goodbye that was harder for me. Because I know I will never see my Uken family again.
It’s hard to explain what Uken Beach means to me. On the surface, it may seem obvious: I like cats. Cats are my spirit animal. And believe it or not, I haven’t always been as obsessed as I am today. Sure, I’ve always loved them, but it wasn’t until my mother got rid of my cat while I was in college (without my knowledge) that I truly realized their significance in my life. As my mom struggled with mental illness and my home life disintegrated, Sammy was my consistent source of comfort. When I didn’t have her anymore, I felt her absence on a very deep level, and from then on would obsess over when I could finally get another feline companion of my own. Continue reading →
Cafe Pipineo is about 10 minutes from my apartment and serves the most luscious cinnamon rolls I’ve ever had my whole life.
Welp! We are just about 6 weeks from our presumed rotation date, and the Marines still haven’t given us orders for the next assignment. Never mind that pretty much everyone else in our lives knows where they are going. Chuck and I are masters of the “hurry up and wait” philosophy, at this point. That said, I continue to assume that we will depart Okinawa this spring. With our time here drawing to a close, I am hoping we can squeeze a few more adventures into our remaining weeks – however big or small.
One thing I will surely miss are the darling cafés that dot the island. They typically offer just 2-4 menu items at any given time, which sounds limiting but actually ensures a more memorable culinary experience. Of course, the ingredients are always fresh and local, and the décor is consistently unique and charming.
I won’t mind having more options (especially vegetarian and/or gluten free) when I return to the States, but I don’t know what I’ll do without a hearty guarantee of savory Japanese curry, garnished with local vegetables known to bless Okinawans with the longest lifespans on the planet.… Continue reading →
I first visited the Cosmos Fields in Okinawa 2 years ago, and I had a great time frolicking in the sea of pink as Chuck humored me with a couple of cute photos. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit to having more photo-shoot oriented fun when I took my friend Sally to see them for the first time.
It’s hard to believe that Chuck and I will hit our 2-year mark in Okinawa in just a couple of weeks. One year left sounds like both a lot of time, and no time at all. Much has been done, and yet there is still so much to do!
I didn’t mean for this blog to turn into a travelogue, in which I only update when I go somewhere exciting. Even if no one ever reads it, I want to look back on it myself and remember all the adventures I had, big and small. So, here’s a quick re-cap of what we’ve been up to since our Thai Holiday, in reverse chronological order.
It has been quite a while since I updated last, particularly about my adventures in Okinawa. Chuck has been away playing war games around the Pacific, while I enjoyed two weeks off from school (even if work continued to pound away at my sanity.) My weekends have been full of fun and sunshine, rather than papers and presentations. Here are a few highlights! Continue reading →
Before I moved to Japan, the crazy cat lady in me longed for a “box of kittens” that needed my help. Now that I live in Okinawa – an island practically swarming with homeless, feral, and/or dumped cats – I am overwhelmed by the “boxes of kittens” that come my way… Continue reading →
Since moving to Okinawa, I’ve seen plenty of Buzzfeed-style blogs and lists about what makes it unique, special, or funny. Since arriving here myself almost 1 year ago (!), I’ve come up with a list of my own. Very little of it is scientific, of course. These are just observations I’ve made since moving here last April. I hope they provide a bit of insight into the cultural experience I’ve enjoyed here so far 🙂 Continue reading →
Okinawa is known for its plethora of flower festivals in the first half of the year. It seems odd to be frolicking in blooming fields and strolling among blossoming trees in January and February, but that’s what I’ve been doing lately!
Holy smokes!! I hate being this delinquent on my blog, mostly because I really enjoy writing for it, and recounting all my adventures. But my new course for school is kicking my arse with one of the toughest workloads yet. Seriously, I have something due EVERY DAY. What gives? At least the subject matter is interesting!
It’s still January, so it’s not completely pointless to write about New Years, right? There isn’t much to tell anyway… at least now that I feel so removed from it already. Chuck and I experienced hatsumode with some friends, which is the Japanese ritual of visiting a Shinto shrine in pursuit of good fortune in the new year. They don’t see it as a party holiday like Americans do. It’s a time of reflection and prayer. Of course, we did ring in 2015 in true American style as well, with a party at the nearby Officer’s Club, but we did the reflection part too… even if it was as semi-skeptical tourists. (Click the slideshow to see captions.)
Futenman Shrine. It was packed!
Tying my fortune to the laundry-line wires (as I called them)
Carnival-esque fare in the surrounding neighborhood