Day 49+48

Day 49+48: Okuma + Seawall

Am I cheating at this point? Well technically I am behind by 18 days. So. There.

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Okuma Resort

Instead of kayaking in Hiroshima like I originally planned no thanks to shenanigans by some folks on the Oki-rock, I found myself back on said rock after a week-long excursion on the Mainland.

Not wanting to waste a perfectly good (not to mention perfectly rare) remainder of a clear and sunny weekend, my friend Haley was kind enough to drive us to Okuma for the day. Granted, on a map Okuma doesn’t seem that far off, but when you’re driving 50 mph on the designated expressway, yeah it’s quite the trek.

Okuma is a well known resort area on Okinawa, and there’s a section reserved for the military, which often means it’s not totally overrun by tourists, but given that there are well over 25,000 military+dependents on island, there’s still quite a bit of traffic.

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Attempting to grill my marshmallow

Thankfully the beach wasn’t super crowded, while Haley and me took over an unoccupied grill in front of probably an occupied cabin and had ourselves an impromptu barbecue with hot dogs and s’mores.

Afterwards we floated a bit on my whale shark floatie and for lack of a better description, my water hammock, cause it had a net you sat in while suspended by an inflatable ring. Anyways, it was the best thing ever and of course I waited a year and the month before I leave to put it to good use. Figures.

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Hers is vegan, I am an unapologetic carnivore

Then we made the long drive down back to my place by the Seawall, hunted down some burritos and watched the sunset.

The Seawall is this area by Sunabe where truthfully a lot of Americans live and there’s a bunch of bars and restaurants along, you can probably guess, a seawall. There are concrete barriers but still plenty of opportunities for people to go snorkeling or paddleboard and a walkway that stretches along the seawall where people bike or walk or job.

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Being super adorbs

I live right on the Seawall (Which I guess for most people is THE PLACE to be, but I am a self-imposed hermit who’s deathly allergic to alcohol and most people, so it’s not exactly the greatest fit), but I’ve never sat on the Seawall to watch the sunset. I guess it’s a lot like the beach right in front of my apartment. Because it’s always there, I can always make excuses to go there another time. But that time is ending quite rapidly. Especially considering that the movers are coming to pack up my stuff less than a week.

Jeepers.

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Day 50

Day 50: Are you a fan of delicious flavor?

Truthfully, I wasn’t particularly found of pineapples until I started watching Psych, a crime-procedural dramedy, more so on the comedy than the drama, about a guy named Shawn Spencer with superior observational skills and pretends to be psychic to solve crimes with the Santa Barbara police and his best friend/partner/bro-mate, Gus. It’s full of gags and 80s references and pineapples, which Shawn loves for its delicious flavor despite his aversion for pointy things. The pineapple became the mascot of the show and for me, it became a favorite of mine as well.

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I have sweaters and jewelry and little collectible statues of pineapples. But it wasn’t until I moved to Okinawa that I started to enjoy eating pineapples.

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Nago Pineapple Park

Because of the tropical climate, pineapples are also grown on Okinawa, there’s even a park dedicated to the pineapple with cheesy pineapple golf carts, an odd-looking mascot, and gift shops with pineapple-based goodies from cakes to jams to dried and fresh fruit to wine, yes pineapple wine.

 

Day 51

Day 51: Next time on Dragonball Z!

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Running headlong into the 90s nostalgia, Dragonball Z also celebrated their 30th anniversary, prominently featured as a headlining snow sculpture at the Sapporo Snow Festival (Believe me, this thing was huge).

The big bad granddaddy of the fighting anime genre, Dragonball Z follows Goku, martial artist and friendly resident alien as he beats up bad guys threatening to destroy earth, each villain becoming more insanely stronger than the next.

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For most people, myself included, Dragonball Z was the first anime series most people were exposed to, both compelled and annoyed to follow the series week after week, watching 30 minutes go by with the characters monologuing and powering up before a single punch was thrown (There are memes on this)

I’m not immune to the steady release of Dragonball goodies as I’ve acquired for meself figurines, pajamas, and dragonball onesies for my nieces and nephews.

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Day 52

Day 52: You jelly?

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I can’t read kanji to save my life, but I’m willing to venture out and try foods…mostly based on the picture and the packaging. I wasn’t the biggest fan of tofu growing up, but as you get older, tastebuds change and well, I’m certainly more fond of this summer treat than 10 or 16 year old me would back in the day.

Technically it’s almond tofu jelly, but more commonly known as almond jelly. And given the intense humidity here on island, it’s a great and refreshing summer treat that thankfully won’t give me killer brain freeze.

Day 53

Day 53: Hammock Life

 

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Living right next to the ocean has its ups and downs. Mostly downs for meself no thanks to the constant battle with mold and rust and flight exercises. Do not get me started on the flight exercises all day and all night, which does not help my already irregular sleep patterns from shift life.

But when the temperature is just right and it’s not pour buckets or blistering hot, then yeah, this is a pretty sweet spot to lounge the day away.

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Day 54

Day 54: Uniqlo

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One of my all time favorite clothing stores, I was thrilled to be within reasonable driving distance of Uniqlo. The closest Uniqlo back home was in New Jersey. So trips to the store were far and few in between

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Uniqlo, which is like the Japanese version of Gap, except more affordable and the clothes are way cuter, is primarily known for their winter gear. Which is exceptional when you live in DC and survived several snowmaggedons. Living on a tropical island where the lowest it gets is around 50 degrees, eh not so much. Still, I’ve had plenty opportunity to wear my beloved puffy jackets, down vests, and heat tech from wintery trips to the mainland to cold nights on the labor deck (I don’t know why it’s permanently 60 degrees in the hospital and even colder still when the temp drops between 0300-0600).

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I am looking forward to moving back stateside and away from a tropical climate so I can go back to wearing my winter gear. And even more so excited that there is a Uniqlo in Seattle where I can continue to shop my favorite Japanese brand in American sizes (Cause a petite, stick-thin Asian girl I am not)

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Day 55

Day 55: By the power of the Moon!

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When you think of Japan, one of the key words that comes to mind is Anime, and one of the most recognizable Anime characters is Sailor Moon.

One of the progenitors of the modern magical girl genre, Sailor Moon is 14-year-old  Usagi Tsukino (Which literally means ‘Bunny on the Moon’), who discovers she has cosmic magical powers and uses them to fight against evildoers threatening to destroy the galaxy with the help of her best friends and fellow magical girls and along the way discovers she’s a reincarnated princess, finds true love, meets her daughter from the future and all kinds of shenanigans.12670198_10101053438612432_8944280023559753729_n

I remember first watching Sailor Moon on Toonami on Cartoon Network, daydreaming what it would be like to fight monsters with superpowers in a hopefully stylish but functional outfit (Even at young age, I questioned the practicality of monster-fighting in heels. Badass stomping boots would’ve been more effective), and being annoyed at the end of every episode over the frustratingly slow plot progression and filler episodes (Which was a very 90s anime thing, i.e. Dragonball Z).

90s nostalgia has come back in full force and with it, the resurgence of popular television and series and movie remakes, including Sailor Moon. Although I haven’t kept up with the recent remake, I’ve done my share of collecting all the new Sailor Moon merchandise, figurines, key chains, makeup, the works.150

With luck, I managed to snag all 10 Sailor Senshi figurines, but I only held onto my favorites (Including Sailor Saturn and a chibi version of Princess Serenity).

Day 56

Day 56: Blue Cave/Snorkel Reattempt

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#teamnosleep

Really though, I am notoriously known for adventuring immediately after night shift when most sane people would go straight home and fall happily asleep in their beds. But when the opportunity strikes, you have to make the most of it, sleep be damned.

I had been eyeing this excursion hosted by Kadena Outdoor Rec for the longest time, but the timing was never right, whether I worked that day, I was off island, the trip was full or I just missed it completely. Thankfully, and of course right as I’m about to leave Okinawa, I managed to snag two spots and convince my work buddy Haley to travel with.

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Now when I do adventure right after night shift, it can go two ways, either I get a second wind and get pumped on caffeine/adrenaline/sheer determination to power through. Or I turn into Queen Grumpypants, Supreme Leader of Sleep Deprivation.

Thankfully, I got Hyper Sarah instead of Grumpy Sarah, raced down Outdoor Rec after work, hopped on a bus and headed to Cape Maeda.

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Underwater Selfie Attempt #6

The last time I went snorkeling, I won’t lie, it was all kinds of a struggle. I’m pretty sure I looked like a drowned fish to the other beachgoers in Hanauma Bay. This second go round, however, was much more fun, mostly because I had gotten a lot better at swimming in open water and I wasn’t flailing around by myself.

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After paddling down the coast, we docked our kayaks at a nearby cove and after a quick tutorial on how to put on our fins in the water, we snorkeled towards the Blue Cave.

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Underwater Selfie Success!

I get mildly claustrophobic, which is why I’m not keen on scuba diving, but I can deal with a snorkel mask. It’s the fin smacking, arm bumping, running into the swimmer ahead of you, I have trouble with.

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Entrance to the Blue Cave

As soon as we made it into the cave, two by two, it was pitch black. Which doesn’t really help since I’m scared of the dark (Yes, I know, be quiet). Although we couldn’t see the blue in the Blue Cave above the surface, but underwater, it certainly lived up to the name. Blue is my favorite color and it was a definite treat to see the almost otherworldly shades of blue.

Once everyone had a turn in the cave, we swam and snorkeled for a bit. Several selfies later, we hopped back into our kayaks and paddled back to shore.

After everyone dried off, we went to a nearby market to find lunch. Being the rebel I am, Haley and I split dessert, a giant bowl of shaved ice with ice cream, azuki beans, sweet potato and palm brown sugar topped with condensed milk, then I had a hot dog (Dessert first please and thank you).

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Dessert first!

We headed back to Kadena, drove home, stumbled towards my bed and fell dead asleep. I reluctantly got up a few hours later to get ready for work, but all in all a day well spent with gorgeous weather and awesome company. The next adventure is snorkeling with Whale Sharks! I’m praying the weather will hold out and it’ll be another beautiful day for an adventure.

Day 57

Day 57: BR 31


Would you believe me if I said this came from a Baskin-Robbins? And that it was delicious as well as insanely adorable? 

Yeah, not sure if I’d believe me either.


I find it fascinating that the Japanese are able to take franchises that we Americans might be slightly skeptical of in terms of quality (And let’s be honest, cleanliness/likelihood of food poisoning) like 7-Eleven or Baskin Robbins, otherwise known as 7 & I and BR-31, and turn them into reputable businesses. Seriously, I could walk into a 7-Eleven, pick up a bento box, and eat it on the go for a quick lunch without a second thought. Compared to the 7-Elevens in the US, I’d see the hot dogs and and keep on walking.

 There’s an incredibly high emphasis on customer service and quality that just isn’t seen consistently throughout the US. It’s oddly refreshing to see employees take pride in doing a good job for even the most menial of tasks whether manning the cashier or scooping ice cream. I’m definitely not looking forward to the harsher reality of “customer service” back stateside.

Day 58

Day 58: Noodles&Company


I’ve been able to give up rice for the most part, but me and noodles, forever&eva son.

This particular bowl contains yakisoba, which is stir fried noodles with veggies and sometimes meat. I picked it up from my local grocery and it’s all kinds of delicious and slurp-worthy goodness. My grocery doesn’t always make fresh yakisoba but when they do, I snatch one up real quick.