Saturday, January 30, 2010

Sakura Festival 2010- Who said playgrounds are for kids only

Today, we got the opportunity to go to the Cherry Blossom festival with some friends and some of our friends children. Even though we saw Cherry blossoms in DC last year, we were so excited to see them. We had heard there was less of a crazy crowd and the ceremony was good to be at.

Unfortunately, the Cherry Blossoms were not fully bloomed. We did however take full advantage of being there and make the best of it still.

When we first arrived, the ceremony was starting. They had a bunch of men dressed up in bright shirts and some women who were supposed to be the Cherry Blossom princesses (at least that's what the Mr. called them!). We weren't really sure what was going on for awhile because they were speaking in Japanese. We did understand the ribbon cutting ceremony, however.

After the Ribbon cutting ceremony there was some kind of ceremony where they took a huge hammer and smashed a wood cover on a big container. Afterwards, people got to drink whatever was in the bin. We later found out that they were drinking rice wine in celebration. I wish I had tried some!!
Then, we ventured up the hill! There were 500 stairs, which was not easy with children! Luckily, at stair 200, there was a break where people were taking photos near the cherry blossoms with a pretty view in the back. Here is a picture of me and the hubby, and a pretty cherry blossom.

Then, we found a walkway for the parents and kids to go up. As for us childless ones, we ventured on up the stairs. I needed to work my butt out anyway!

We met up with the rest of our crew and continued to walk. We heard there was a bridge we would want to walk across up more. On our way up, we found one of Japan's famous vending machines on the side of the trail. Only in Japan can you be in the middle of nowhere and find a vending machine!!

We then arrived at the bridge... how pretty it was! The view was spectacular as you can see from these photos!

Then we found the coolest part of the whole trip, the playground. This was one of the coolest playgrounds I have ever seen. For one, there was a huge roller slide that we got to go down. We also got to go down zip lines. We all had a lot of fun, and we felt like kids again! I for one was so excited and happy to be able to play with some kids!

We then made our way back down the Mountain. On our way back across the bridge, Trenton and I found this cool spider.

We must have went a different way down the hill, because at the bottom, we found this pretty Japanese waterfall. There were quite a bit of people near it taking pictures and enjoying the sunny day. We love how everyone stays outdoors here so often. Very different from the U.S.

We then ventured over to get some much needed food! Our friend Jennifer bought something that looked tasty, but wasn't sure what was in it. I agreed to take a bite of it with her. I think it was squid wrapped in a crab cake. It was pretty tasty, but not to die for. Dima got some chicken thing on a stick in a Japanese sweet sauce and an Orion beer. I got some random thing that looked like an omlette with sauce. Which i think is exactly what it was. I learned that you should just grab what looks good and not ask what is in it! Both of our foods were fantastic.

We then walked around the festival for awhile. There were lots of games to play for prizes, and lots of junk food. They had some of the biggest cotton candy I have ever seen! We got to see some of the Japanese kids dancing, however I didn't get to get any photos. At the end of the festival, we saw the Marine Corps band playing.

We made it further and found this... the cooest car alive. The japanese sure do love their cartoons!!

We then went back to the car to drive back to base. It was an enjoyable trip, and Harrison and Codey even fell asleep in the car. Only in Okinawa can a bunch of adults have so much fun at a kid centered festival.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

An interesting day in Okinawa...

Today Neko had his first puppy play date. Our neighbor, Sarah, has an Oki mix dog named Kobe and she had planned a play date for him and another dog at her house through Okinawa Hai Society. She asked me to tag along, and I was so excited to get Neko out of my hair for a little bit! Caitlin brought her puppy, Gus (who she also got at puppy luv). Gus was a Golden Retriever who was about 4 months and so adorable! Him and Neko LOVED each other. Here is a photo of the two playing together.

Tonight was our second theme night dinner at home. We are sticking to the Japanese theme this week, so we decided to make Japanese Curry, miso soup, and japanese salad. We had a lot of trouble making the Miso at first because the directions were all in japanese, but it ended up being super easy and I will be making it again soon (I just love Miso!). Here are some pictures of what we did and didn't make tonight... you be the judge of what we actually cooked up!

Later tonight, after we were stuffed silly from all the wonderful food we had, Dima called me downstairs to see something. I came down to find a kitten on our chair playing with Neko! No joke! There was someone else's cat sitting on my living room chair playing with my puppy. After they played with each other for awhile, the kitten (Obi, the neighbor's cat) seemed to be going outside... nope... he walked straight up our stairs! I found him in our bedroom sniffing around, about to jump into our bed! He walked into our study and jumped on the window for awhile and watched as Neko tried to get up. I then carried him downstairs, only for him to sprawl out on my couch upside down and play with Neko again. Seriously, only in Okinawa can something so random happen in your home! This is the second random pet that has stopped into our house! We have only been here for 3 weeks and have already had 3 visits by two separate critters!

It was an interesting day here in Okinawa for both Neko and mommy! We both will be falling asleep very easily tonight!