Anyways, without further delay, here they are:
10. The proximity of our house to the ocean. You see, we live exactly 2.7 kilometers away from the ocean. The funny thing is that you could travel 2.7 kilometers west and hit the East China Sea or you could travel 2.7 kilometers east and hit the Pacific Ocean. I also like having to travel east to go the Pacific Ocean.
9. Sushi. The sushi here is ten times better than the sushi in Hawaii, which is ten times better than the sushi in the states. Therefore, the sushi here is 100 times better than the sushi in the states. I'm not exaggerating.
8. Orion beer. What's Orion (pronounced O-ree-an) beer you ask? It's one of the two beers brewed locally on the island. (The other one is Helios, which I haven't tried yet.) Orion tastes like American beer without the bitter aftertaste that most American beers leave behind. If you're a Bud Light fan, come have a Orion with me...you'll change your mind.
7. Golf. The island is only 67 miles long and there are four military golf courses on the island. There are two 18 hole championship layouts and two nine hole executive courses. Banyan Tree (Air Force) and Awase Meadows (Marines) are the two 18 hole courses. Awase is where Lee Trevino got his start golfing as a young corporal in the Marine Corps. Awase Meadows is also closing next year, but the Marine Corps is building a brand new, 6,900 yard resort style course on the north end of the island which will open when Awase closes.
6. McDonald's. Eating at McDonald's in Japan is a completely different experience than going to McDonald's back in the U.S. First of all, the restaurants are immaculate, inside and out. Secondly, the employees are polite, nicely dressed, literate, and well spoken. Third, the employees greet you and bow when you enter the restaurant. Fourth, the portions are appropriately sized and the food looks just like it does in the picture. And lastly, there's a McDonald's right behind our house. I limit myself to eating there only once a week and always get Coke Zero vice regular Coca-Cola, so I'm actually losing weight out here.
5. Snorkeling. The water is as clear here as it is on the Kohala-Kona Coast. There's also as many tropical fish in the water. Andrea and I are planning on getting our PADI SCUBA open water certifications soon, so get yours as well before you come visit.
4. Living on base. While I'm pretty sure we'll still elect to live out in town once we return to the states, living on base out here has been great so far. We moved into our house exactly one week after we arrived on island, which is so good it's almost unheard of. We also were able to move into a three bedroom single family home with a huge yard in a nice neighborhood. Of course, all my neighbors are lieutenant colonels, one of whom will be my commanding officer come January, but their all pretty cool so that's ok.
3. Furniture. There's this furniture store in Okinawa called Yellow Box. They buy Ashley Furniture in bulk and sell it at prices well below retail. We bought an entertainment center and a coffee table and can't wait for it to be delivered. We also bought an awesome Japanese-style bar from another store and we plan on eventually purchasing a Japanese wedding chest. If you want any furniture, come visit to pick it out and we'll figure out how to get it back to the states for you.
2. My working hours. When I was at TOPGUN I probably worked an average of 70 to 80 hours a week. Here, I work between 50 to 60 hours a week. We still work hard, but I no longer have to leave for work when my wife's asleep and get home from work when my wife's asleep. Of course, at this command I will deploy, but that's what I joined the Marine Corps to do.
1. The experience of living in a foreign country. I've never done it before, and I'll probably never do it again (unless we get stationed in Europe next), but living in a country where its citizens don't speak English as a first language, drive on the left side of the road, and celebrate their culture and heritage in a way completely different than we do in America is quite an experience.
So there you have it. I could go on and on. Okinawa, Japan is a wonderful place. If you come visit, I promise you won't be disappointed. I hope you enjoyed my post. I'm off to eat some ahi sashimi and drink an Orion while I enjoy the tropical sun. Sayonara!