Monday, September 27, 2010

Peace Memorial Park

This Saturday we had yet ANOTHER all-day power outage. They are building a new hospital on the base where we live and this summer we have had several power outages while they work on the electricity for the hospital. It is quite frustrating, but hopefully this was the last one. We haven't traveled to the southern part of this island yet, so John and I decided to head down there since we did not want to be stuck in a house without power all day.
We went to the Peace Memorial Park, a memorial for those who lost their lives in the battle of Okinawa.
The Battle of Okinawa was the largest amphibious assault in the Pacific War and lasted from early April until mid-June in 1945.
Monuments were constructed to honor more than 240,000 people who lost their lives during that battle. Sadly, more civilians were killed in this battle than military members.
Both Japanese and foreigners names (Americans included) are written on the monuments and they all face the "Cornerstone of Peace" with a spectacular view and a water sculpture.
There is a museum on the grounds with an observation tower. Amazing view, huh?
The war ended on August 15, 1945 and in 1982 the Japanese government designated August 15 as a national day of mourning for those who lost their lives and a day to pray for peace.
The purpose of the museum is to encourage everyone to learn a lesson from the past in hopes for a better future.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Eisa Festival

I'm sorry I rarely post things anymore that are "Japanese". After two years, you kind of get used to things and forget to take pictures!
This past weekend we went to the Eisa Festival with our friends Matt and Laura.
This festival is a competition between all the local cities on Okinawa. Each city has Eisa performers to represent them. The team usually dresses in bright, traditional Okinawan costumes. They are judged on their talent, creativity of the routine and enthusiasm.
The types of drums that are used in the festival are the shimedaiko and the paaranku. The shimedaiko is a medium sized drum and the paaranku is a smaller hand drum. One of the other instrument used is the sanshin which is a three string instrument that is made of snake skin and looks like a banjo. Thank you to Wikipedia for helping me explain it all! Ha ha!
Laura and I kept sneaking up on each group to get a picture while they were having professional ones done!
I couldn't help myself, I had to get a picture with this guy and his funky outfit! He even made me put on the scarf he was wearing!
While we were watching the dancers, a Japanese man actually stopped us to ask if he could interview us. He post videos on youtube in an effort to inform the world of Okinawan customs and traditions. His editing skills aren't the greatest, and I am certainly not cut out for a career in broadcast journalism, but it is always fun to see yourself on video!
We are "on" at minute 1:30. Check it out at:

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

What a week!

Last week was quite the whirlwind! Now that we are stepping into Fall, all of the things we are involved with are starting up and John's unit has been hard at work with all sorts of exercises going on.
With all of these things going on the last thing we needed interrupted our busy schedules. Enter Typhoon Kompasu! Tuesday we experienced our first typhoon. As most of you know, our home is made of concrete. These houses were made to withstand earthquakes and typhoons and any other natural disaster that comes with living on a small island. John and all of the other Marines here got the day off to "prepare" for the storm. It was nice to finally have a lazy day together. It hit us during that evening and fortunately we only experienced very heavy winds and rain. As you can see in this satellite image, the center of the storm passed directly over the island of Okinawa.
The north part of the island suffered a lot of damage, so were very fortunate that we had only a few tree branches that fell.
While we were stuck inside I decided we should have a crab boil. I have never done this before, but I got the idea from my aunt's food blog and it was a success! It is rare that we can get fresh crab legs here, but I will definitely do this again the next time I come across them!
At the end of the week my boss' daughter got married. I had the pleasure of doing the makeup for the bride and bridesmaids. I certainly miss the old makeup artist days!
Finally we ended our long holiday weekend with a trip to a place called Round One with some of our friends. Basically it is like Dave and Busters, but bigger! You pay one fee and can play any of the games, sports, etc on all FIVE floors!
They had archery
Golf and batting cages
and our favorite, a mini bike race around the roller skating rink!
It was a fun way to end a very rainy weekend even if John and I lost the race to two little kids!