Sunday, August 31, 2008

Top Ten Reasons Why We Love Okinawa

Hey everyone, it's John here with the top ten reason why Andrea and I love living on Okinawa. My real intent is to use this post to entice everyone to come and visit, so after you read this be sure to book your plane tickets right away...just also be sure to check with us on the dates of your trip so you come visit when I'm not deployed (unless you only want to see Andrea, then come on over whenever you want).

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'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!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

By popular damand...

Well, there hasn't been much going on, so out of boredom, I decided to post a blog with pictures of our house. A few of you have been asking to see pictures of it (Deanna this is for you!) I have been slacking on it because we don't have our furniture yet, so I don't want anyone thinking I own this hideous government loaner furniture! Hopefully by the middle of September we will have the rest of our stuff. I can't wait to get our bed! We bought a king size bed (courtesy of John's brother, Patrick) a few months before we left, then we had to part with it : ( The largest size bed they have (for some weird reason) is a full sized bed! So imagine going from a roomy king to a full! That is a whole lot of togetherness! But I guess it is ok considering we only have to use it for 2 months. So here we go, here's the rest of the house (pardon my camera, for some reason the quality isn't too great today) The first picture you see is of the beautiful plumeria tree we have on the side of our house.

So here is the living room/dining area. Its basically one big room that we have to make two. I have to show off our new tv! We have never had a tv larger than 32", so we decided to splurge on a plasma.

Our ridiculously long hallway

This is where our bedroom will be once we get our furniture. Its bigger than it looks. For some reason, they put the bed we borrowed in the smaller room.

So the weirdest part of this house is what we call "the bowling alley". It is hard to describe, even with pictures. As you saw above, we have a regular hallway where all 3 of the rooms are in a line on the left side. We have two bathrooms on the right side. Anyway, each bedroom has 2 doors; one regular looking door to the hallway, then the two smaller bedrooms have sliding glass doors that connect to this bowling alley area on the other side. The master bedroom has wooden doors that are not see thru. Its so weird. We're not quite sure of the purpose of that room is. We're kind of making it the dogs' bedroom. I guess if you had kids you could make it a play room. Its all very strange.

We are quite fortunate to have a large backyard. The dogs absolutely love it! We just have to get a fence. Around here, you are only allowed to have a chain link fence and you have to remove it before you leave. Such a pain, but I guess its worth it for 3 years of not having to yell at dogs to make sure they don't run around the house when they are supposed to be going to the bathroom!

So there you have it! Our home in Japan!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Swimin' with the fishes...wait...not what you think!

Saturday we went to Maeda point to try some snorkeling. It was wonderful! The water was as clear as it can be. There was a creepy cave you could swim into. There were tons of people in there, so it made it a little less scary!

On the way into the cave (pictures are from above the water, and what we saw below)

The fish could have cared less that we were there! I couldn't believe how many there were!!!

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beach day!

So, we finally made it to the beach! There are so many beautiful beaches here, we didn't know where to start, so we chose one close by, called Tropical Beach. After weaving and winding through ridiculously small streets, we found it! It was so pretty, yet, I hear it isn't one of nicer ones here on the island, so we were really excited about that. We didn't spend a whole lot of time there because it was crazy hot! I was still excited to lay out on the sand and get in the water. It was amazingly clear and warm!

I also had the pleasure of going into the bathrooms to change. Luckily I didn't have to go because this stall is what I was faced with. Yes folks, your eyes are not deceiving you; that toilet is in the ground. No thanks, I'll use the ocean, nature's restroom, as John would say, if really necessary. By the way, there was no toilet paper.

That evening, we went to our new favorite sushi restaurant, Yoshiachi sushi. It was fabulous as usual. You can't really tell from the picture, but we're sitting on the floor. Lucky for John, there's a little place underneath the table where you can cheat and hang your legs down as if you were sitting on a ledge, so you don't have to sit Indian style!

Saturday, August 2, 2008

A little piece of history

My grandfather (dad's dad) retired many years ago after serving serving 28 years or so in the US Air Force. During his time in the service my dad and his family lived here on Okinawa! I got their old address from my grandmother and my friend Sara and I went on a hunt for their old house today! It turns out it is one street over from her house! Crazy!

It was so cool to see the house my dad lived in when he was a little boy around 40 years ago! The house is still standing and in good condition (from what I can tell). Someone lives in it, so I would assume it is still in working order! Anyway,

I just thought it was amazing to know that they once lived there and now I live on this beautiful island as well! (Yes I know, it looks alot like my house, but they all look the same on a military base!)

Sara and I also went to breakfast this morning then on a little walk to the ocean while our husbands played golf! This was the first time I have had a chance to go to the water since we've been here! We went along what they call the "sea wall". There isn't beach there, but you can certainly see the beautiful, clear ocean!

A few people learning to scuba dive