Saturday, May 31, 2008

Found my camera cord

We have a drawer with about 23 different white Apple cords.  My camera cord has been hiding in there.  So now you get to see photos!

A tasty meal at Thai in the Sky

As if eating the shrimp wasn't mockery enough, John has to give it the bunny ears.

The lovebirds at sunset.

A view of our neighborhood from a penthouse bar.

Booster enjoying a girlie drink inside the bar

Tropical flowers at every turn

A garden path at Shuri Castle

John, once again mocking the wildlife.

Absurdly large coy fish, turtles and talapia (yum!)

I'm king of the rock!

Shuri Castle, where the king of Okinawa lived.

The king's throne

The king's crown.  Excellent beadwork.

A photo of the gang of 9 at the G8 summit, held in Okinawa a few years ago.  Look closely and you can see Tony Blair and Bill Clinton

A view from Shuri Castle

Watch for wild boars.  I feel like I live in an episode of Lost.

Me and Aviva, my walking buddy.

Our local ferris wheel at night

A roadside ice cream stand on Highway 58...cause why not?

Saturday is protest day.

The nice Okinawan ladies who had no idea where the train station was.

Thursday, May 29, 2008



so the jewelry samples c'est fini. They are sitting in a little row, waiting to be stuffed into a fed ex package off to China by way of Santa Barbara, where Chinese factories will stamp out millions of them and I can get back to blogging.

So much has been happening in the past two weeks, and then, really nothing out of the ordinary. We've gone on 2 foiled yet totally hilarious road trips with friends. The key to those kind of adventures is the right mix of easygoing driver (hubby dearest) a good sense of humor, breathing exercises for temper control, zesty beverages, and fun friends.

I will indulge you in one particularly telling moment of the road trip, for you to get a taste of the past two weeks...

So there are 5 of us heading up to Hiji falls, what I understand to be a beautiful waterfall area lush with jungle foliage about 1.5 hours to the north. We are about 100 yards from the entrance to the park, and yours truly makes the executive decision that we should use the bathroom facilities at the small store at the bottom of the hill, for god only knows what the penalty for public urination is in a sacred Japanese waterfall/jungle site.

About 5 minutes later, we are at the entrance to the park, only to be told that we are 6 minutes late, and although the park closes at 6pm (it is now 4:06), we cannot be trusted to enter, as we might not make it back in TWO HOURS. John suggests we just run for it, as the little man working the gate really didn't look like too much of a challenge for 5 burly Americans. We decide against that plan. Defeated, we opt to play a loud game of freesbie in the parking lot, because if there's one thing the waterfall and jungle gods do not appreciate, it's loud Americans who do not appreciate their park hours.

Then, I suggest we go on another hike in an open mountain somewhere around...and does anyone know of any? So John pulls out the map and leads us to a park he once hiked, about 10 miles away.

Cartography in Japan, we are soon to realize, is not something to be taken seriously. If you have a pen and a paper, and can spell (sort of), YOU CAN DRAW A MAP! And PUBLISH it! Don't worry if it's totally inaccurate. Don't be bothered to mark it with actual highway numbers. Just make sure the East China Sea is on the left, and the Pacific Ocean is on the right. The rest of the map is not that important! Besides, the more the Americans get lost, the more they will have to stop to buy sustinence on the side of the road. Vending machine business will skyrocket!!!

But I digress.

So we're winding up in this mountainous terrain, around a lake, nothing but fields and local farmers, far away from civilization. We pressure John into asking for directions to the Park from two little old Okinawan Women. My Johnny - he's no rube, he busts out the Japanese to these ladies and they are tickled pink that a 4Runner full of giggling Americans can ask for directions in their native tongue.

"Excuse me, we are lost, can you tell us the Such-and-Such Park is?" The ladies look confused.... "The Dam?" they ask? And we're thinking, no we just passed the dam, the dam is obviously visible from the road.

John repeats, in Japanese "No, we're looking for the park."

The women indicate that there is no park, which is funny because on the cartographer's rendition of the map, there is clearly a hiking park about 300 yards away. I start to think that these women have lived here, probably their whole lives, and had no idea that there is a park so close? They really need to get out more. See the world.

They shrug their shoulders, indicate that there is no park, and do we want to see the dam?

John, seeing where this is going, and not wanting to be rude, says, "Ok, yes, we'd love to see the dam" and the woman point us to the quite obvious dam that we just passed.

So, we start to head home. Then about ten minutes down the road, John blurts out "Doh! That is not the word for Park, that is the word for train station. I was asking them where the train station is."

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

bad blogger

so sorry for not posting. I will update soon.... I'm chained to my jewelry bench to get out next season's samples. Action packed adventures to report. I'll blog soon.


Thursday, May 15, 2008

Saturday Night Fever

On Sat., we went to a party at the Metroplex, a penthouse apartment inhabited by some F-15 pilots. Unfortunately, it was too dark to get any good shots of the view. The costumes cast plenty of light, though...

I am the disco girl with the blue hair. I've always wanted blue hair, and relish the opportunity to embarrass John at my monthly JAG wives meetings. Crazy hippie that I am. Just to my right is Sadie, who is my Extreme Fitness Challenge trainer. I told her I was only drinking gatorade in that cup. Due to my dance moves later in the evening, I don't think she believed me. My pink haired doppelganger on the far left is Cortney, John's coworker, and frequent cohort.

This bat is the squadrons' mascot. He was caught 25 years ago by elder members of the squadron, and they tote him to parties in this cozy jar of formaldehyde. I woke up and he was on my kitchen counter - John had decided in his jello-shot-induced stupor that it would be a funny idea if the lawyers kidnapped him and sent a ransom note. We told him that no one likes lawyers and he should probably not mess with F-15 pilots and their pets. The bat was promptly returned the next morning.

This imposter on the right was not part of our costume fact I think she followed us to the only costume store on the island and then bought the exact outfit we bought so she could hang with us.

Booster decided not to come in costume, but oddly, fit right in anyway.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


Finally, a photo of us in the water. Thanks to Cortney and her digital camera for risking a watery destruction, just to get a shot of John and me kayaking to share with our families and friends.

Tonight, we're headed to a 70's party at the penthouse apartment of 2 of our friends. I will try to get a photo from their seaside balcony. It might very well be the best view on the island.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Can't we all just get along?

Pay no attention to that music widget on the sidebar. Those are not in fact my picks, but I am trying to figure out how to upload my own favorite music - have thus far been unsuccessful.

The Okinawans like to protest. Now, I like a good protest. At Dartmouth, there was a big brouhaha about the administration interfering with extra-curricular activities by limiting alcohol consumption, and boy did we get organized fast. Moved by the unwarranted restrictions to their underage freedoms, hundreds of students lit candles, donned their greek letters, and marched arm in arm to the president's front lawn, singing the alma mater (or in my case, mouthed wa-ter-mel-lon to the tune). So committed were we to the cause that we cut of our own noses to spite our face by canceling our own Homecoming Carnival. That'll show em! Even the writer of Animal House (a Dartmouth grad) showed up with news teams to cover the injustice.

No doubt there are more important things to protest these days, both in the US and abroad. Okinawans, are up in arms (and by arms, I mean cardboard signs and bullhorns) about Americans in Okinawa. There is the American noise, a lot of noise. Our planes our incredibly loud - to the point where John and I cannot hear each other in the same room when they fly overhead. Then there is a the dog poop. There is a turf war happening in our neighborhood, and the dogs are winning. The Okinawans blame the Americans (every American here has a dog) and the Americans blame the Okinawans because they let their dogs out to walk themselves. Whose ever fault it is, the results dictate that I have to run with my head down.

Additionally, there is the chaos that ensued with the alleged rape of a 14 year old local girl by a marine. I understand that the charges have been dropped by the Japanese government, because of a lack of evidence. But the sting of that world news event has not dissipated. We (Americans) are no longer forbidden to walk outside (that lasted about 3 weeks) and we can now drink alcohol off base, but we have a curfew of midnight. If you are caught walking to your neighbors' house, you will be prosecuted and it has happened. I think this will stay in effect for a while. This only applies to John, and not to me, but still.

So, the other day, I was biking down the hill (on the wrong side of the road because it was raining and there were less puddles) and I come up to a 5-man protest. There are 5, symetrically distributed individuals holding signs (totally in Japanese). The center figure was holding a microphone attached to a speaker box and the MICROPHONE IS A PLASTIC ICE CREAM CONE. So very Japanese. I'm fearing that they are protesting American presence on their soil, and here I am, a behemoth American woman, barreling down the wrong side of the road. I never quite figured out what they were protesting, but each and everyone bowed as I rode by. The Japanese are nothing if not polite.

A shot of our seawall.

Monday, May 5, 2008

What will they think of next?

Take a close look at these roses. These are REAL roses, and each petal is a different color. We've all seen blue just stick the stem in some blue food coloring, and bam, blue roses. But I have no idea how they do this.

Yesterday was about as close to perfect as you can get. We packed a picnic lunch and 7 of us went to the beach to kayak and snorkel. Once we got there, there were some serious model airplane enthusiasts flying these 4 foot long planes and helicopters. They were out there like an auto show, lining them up, shining them up, tuning the innards. I think I rode on one of these babies into Bozeman, MT. More fun to watch from the ground.

The Kayaking was even better this week because we brought our snorkel gear. I'm really going to have to get an underwater camera, because words doesn't do the experience justice. We saw 2 blowfish, although they were not fully blown up. Apparently you can try to get them worked up so that they blow, but I try not to make small strange animals mad at me. (speaking of which - this weekend, I've seen several bats, a pack of roving prairie dogs, and a pet mongoose.) We saw a few black and white striped sea snakes. Apparently these are poisonous, but the don't bite? So I supposed they are poisonous for ME to eat THEM, but there was no way that was going to happen. Also there were Angel fish, which are bright yellow black and white striped. And these glorious little cerulian blue fish - the brightest blue color I've ever seen - oh! and purple star fish. Bright purple starfish everywhere. John rowed the kayak and I hung on the tail with my head underwater, it was like an amazing underwater roller coaster.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Didn't have a camera

"I'm writing you to catch you up on places I've been
And you have this letter, probably got excited, but there's nothing inside it
Didn't have a camera by my side this time
Hopin' i would see the world through both my eyes
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I'm in the mood to lose my way with words....
Today I finally overcame
Tryin' to fit the world inside a picture frame
Maybe I will tell you all about it when I m in the mood to lose my way
But let me say you should have seen that sunrise
With your own eyes

Brought me back to life."
-3x5 by John Mayer

This song was playing in my head several times this week. The first time was on a glorious kayaking trip that John and I took with our friend Cortney. We couldn't bring the camera because we were sopping wet the whole time. The East China Sea is getting bluer every day.

Then, I was running the 3 mile run which my whole fitness group has been dreading for three weeks. You must understand, I don't think I've EVER run 3 miles without stopping. I did it in 30 minutes, so I'm pretty proud of myself. We ran on a half mile course surrounded by grass and trees, and overlooking the ocean. This beautiful song comes over my iPod. And I'm wishing I could snapshot myself and take that photo to my poor, unhealthy, pathetic self 4 years ago, working in a sad, over-airconditioned office, and frustrated because I didn't have time to do my schoolwork. I wish I could have said "keep slugging away because the view only gets better from here." You can never imagine what that view is, but it does always get better.