A friend and I tried a sweet little restaurant in Uruma today, called Soupcon Seaside Cafe. Like many of the restaurants around here, it was tiny and tucked away, but it had great food and the loveliest ocean view… we enjoyed a delightful stroll on the beach afterwards. It is a definite keeper!
In the week leading up to Typhoon Vongfong, Na Yung came to visit from the Middle East! Mother Nature must be in quite the mood these days, because there was actually another typhoon whipping our coast the weekend she arrived. It was not nearly as bad as this one, but it still put quite the kink in our plans – particularly anything to do with the beach.
Still, we managed to have a great time. We at least saw the beach once:
Nikki & Chuck were off to celebrate their 4-year anniversary in China.
Alas, Typhoon Vongfong, the “largest storm on Earth in 2014” had other ideas (the blue dot is Okinawa.)
It’s a good thing it’s so fascinating to track, because it gives me something to do at home when I should be at the Great Wall of China right now. Currently, it’s a hypothetical “Category 6” super typhoon, with a cloud span that would cover the entire United States. It is comparable in size and power to the typhoon that struck the Philippines last year. Good thing Okinawa is much better equipped to handle such a storm!
Honestly, I am amazed we still have power. Of course that could change at any moment, as the storm creeps closer…
It should peak in another 6-9 hours. While I am disappointed our trip to China is kaput (for now), it is quite cozy to be hunkered down in my concrete bunker with Chuck, my kitty cats, and my ridiculous new Hello Kitty slippers.
Seriously… I don’t even like Hello Kitty!
So many mini-adventures in the month of September! Since it’s been a while since I last blogged, I’m going to give an abbreviated version of the month’s highlights. Then at least I can be all caught up and start afresh when I leave for CHINA at the end of next week 🙂
1. Miyagi Island & the “Hidden Beach”
I had heard a lot about this little spot about 20 minutes and a bridge away from where we live. For me, it fell short of expectations. Granted it was low tide, but the large-pebbled sand was unusually harsh on our feet and the water was mostly seaweed and murk. It’s too bad we don’t have our snorkel gear and special ocean shoes yet, because that’s what I hear Miyagi is truly known for. Still, it was by no means a wasted trip. There were some lovely views, interesting rock formations, and the ride down was an adventure in and of itself.
2. Southeast Botanical Gardens
Not a very exciting name – and nothing of particular note to share about it – but a pretty place, nonetheless. The gardens are expansive and lush. Chuck kept commenting how he felt like he was in Jurassic Park! Highlights included feeding the capybara, giggling with the spider monkeys, and having zen moments in the lotus garden 🙂 The giant spiders lurking at random corners though… not so much!
3. Okinawa World
Okinawa World is one of those places that’s mostly gimmicky cultural theme park, but with some really cool surprises – like canoodling with the “lucky” white python above. We hung out with pythons, habus, and boas, and lived to tell the tale. I even tried habu sake, albeit inadvertently (I thought it was some fruity plum wine!) Chuck tried the much safer sugar cane juice. We also toured the 300,000+ year-old Gyokusendo Caves, which were truly awe-inspiring. The low point was touring the “zoo” of sorts, especially when I saw the mongoose. Poor guy was going nuts in captivity.
4. Ziplining at Forest Adventure Park
I don’t think much needs to be said, except that I faced my fear of heights with admirable gusto (if you ask me.) Just watch the video…
5. CATS – as always 🙂
New babies at Uken Beach means both joy and sadness for this girl. I’m pleased to say that more have survived this month that I originally thought, though a couple are missing… I like to think there are more survivors than usual because of my high-protein visits!
And then there’s my own precious little fur babies, loving each other hard – as you can see in this pic. They are endlessly entertaining. So far, there hasn’t been any blood. I think they both secretly love it!
I have such mixed feelings about Okinawa.
It is beautiful and exotic, but heavily peppered with ugly and distracting architecture.
The skies are striking and waver between extremes at the blink of an eye, but the congested island itself simmers and festers in its own oppressively hot and sticky steam… featuring smells you can’t quite eliminate from your walls, linens, and furniture.
You step outside and even if you are perfectly still, you will quite literally melt within 30 seconds – glistening wet on every square inch of your surface. It’s unlike any humidity I experienced in the American south, and there’s simply no escaping it…
… But the water is blue, placid, and refreshing. There’s always, always that 🙂
Chuck and I experienced our first typhoon this week!
Typhoon Neoguri (neoguri means “raccoon”, by the way) came with a lot of hype and it certainly delivered, albeit not to the extreme that was originally predicted. Sunday we stocked up on supplies, Monday we went to work, and by Monday night/early Tuesday morning, we were officially under Neoguri’s attack – continually receiving the well-intended but decidedly unhelpful emergency alerts to our phones like the one below:
Our particular corner of the apartment building was mostly sheltered, so the wind and rain didn’t seem all that bad at first. Getting quite antsy, I decided to go out in it… twice! I captured some great video footage of Chuck braving the powerful winds. The chaos at the end is me getting tumbled around. I almost hit a wall, but managed to stop myself just in time. I blame my slippery flip flops… Kids, don’t try this one at home!
Here is a selfie of me before venturing into the typhoon, and one after. Wearing glasses and a bun in my hair were not the smartest moves! It was truly exhilarating, though, and definitely more powerful than we realized, once we left the concrete shelter of our apartment building…
We lost electricity after the storm actually peaked. I was in the middle of cooking Italian sausage spaghetti, which was a crying shame, because of course I had to dispose of the sausages in the end. We resorted to sandwiches, wine, and Cards Against Humanity by candlelight with some equally bored neighbors. The night was warm and sticky without a working AC and dehumidifier. The wind continued to howl and the rain poured with more monsoon-like fury than before. We didn’t get power back until the next afternoon.
Luckily, our particular area in Okinawa is on high ground, so our neighborhood suffered very little damage. Other areas, however, were not so fortunate. Cars were overturned, trees were down, and flooding was rampant.
Next time, I’m taking a page out of the Locals’ book. For everyone who thought I was crazy for going on in the typhoon in Chuck’s camo rain jacket, check out these Okinawans who ventured out for foot races… stark naked! 🙂
It’s kind of sad, but I have more feline friends than human ones at this point. I’m back to paying regular visits to the shrines down by Uken Beach and have a posse of regulars who flock to me as soon as I exit my car or dismount my bike. Other people feed them for sure, but no one else brings tuna fish… so I am definitely their fave 🙂 Here are six of them, with a few details about each in the captions! Crazy cat lady… what?
Introducing: Thomas, Merckel, Bethany, Elf, Simone, and Bertha.
Featuring Saturday night dinner with friends at Sushi Zen in Yomitan: the Zen Roll! Most of the rolls I ordered (especially the Typhoon Roll) were decadent and way too large to eat without cutting up or taking bites.
Sushi Zen is Japanese-owned but for American customers only – no Japanese allowed unless they have a membership. Totally odd concept to me… But it was yummy!