Monday, August 30, 2010

Today we got to celebrate thanksgiving in August. Dima will be deployed for the actual thanksgiving, so I took it upon myself to create thanksgiving early this year. We were excited for our first thanksgiving alone (we are usually with family) and i was a bit nervous of making the whole thing on my own once again. All went well though. I made mashed potatoes, green bean casserole, stuffing, and of course turkey. I tried an apple rosemary turkey where i stuffed the bird with cut up apples and rosemary sprigs, then stuffed the skin with rosemary and sage. It was basted every half hour in an apple juice/butter blend and came out very fragrant and yummy. I was terrified I would overcook the turkey, but it actually came out perfect. I have to say it was the best turkey I ever had. No offense to my mom and dad!

Here I am preparing dinner. I am 17 weeks pregnant in this photo which is the akward stage where I look like i'm just gaining weight.
Here's the turkey. Man did it look great! I am very proud of myself!
Dima finally got to carve the turkey. That was always his dad's job, so now that he's a dad to be he got to do the honors.
Poor dima tourtured Neko with the food.
After the dinner, Neko passed out. The turkey must have gotten to him! He could barely keep his eyes open.
Then Dima came over and played with him. Here they are looking very silly playing together.
We had a great thanksgiving. I doesn't make it any better that dima will be away for the real one, but it is good that we got to celebrate the holiday together. I look forward to many more thanksgiving dinners in the future.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

No sushi for preggers...

This morning, Dima had to go into work for a meeting at 6am. When he finally returned around 10:45, i was in the mood to go out for lunch. I was really in the mood for this one place we have gone to many times now. It is a sushi restaurant that sells a bunch of great meal sets for only 980 yen a person at lunch. It's a beautiful place, but for some reason they have had this one sign about their "grand open" for awhile now. Since 2002 from what I heard! Not to mention they have some pretty views of some pretty Okinawa scenery right around the corner! (we really do live in paradise!)

We both ordered a meal set which includes a drink, soup, salad, tempura, an appetizer, a meal, rice, and a dessert.

The place is really nice inside. They have a really pretty sushi bar and we always sit at the tables that are in the ground so you sit on the floor with your legs under the table.

I would have loved to have some sushi, but of course, can't eat all the good stuff since i'm pregnant. Dima ordered the sushi plate which looks like this.
Man that salmon looked good!

I ordered chicken terriaki, which was ok I suppose. It tasted more fried then I like i guess. It was still good though. I was able to snag the shrimp sushi off dima's plate since it's cooked and that made me happy enough!

All in all, it was a good lunch. Like i said, we love this place and go all the time.

Friday, August 20, 2010


Today was Dima's 25th birthday. I stayed up until midnight to wish him happy birthday as soon as it was officially his birthday. He was half awake so he didn't really sound too enthused I suppose. In the morning, I surprised him by having presents on his night stand for him. Apparently in his family, they would wake up to presents on their side table in the morning. My family always exchanged in the evening after dinner and cake. He was happy I remembered that and was excited to open them. I got him a very funny mad lib type card where you made your own story with the stickers included. It was a really cool card! He also received a digital camera so he can take photos on the MEU while he's away. It's no special camera, just a simple point and shoot camera, but to be honest I think that's all he needs. Not to mention the 2 year accidental damage warranty was a good investment! He was pretty happy with his new toy and can't wait to use it!

After I left there, I made dima's cake balls for his birthday. Cake balls were something I heard of online and decided to try to make. You basically make a cake, crumble it up, add icing, form balls, and dip them into chocolate. I did Dima's with funfetti cake and icing, his favorites. I did learn that next time, I will have to WAIT to add the sprinkles until it is all mixed. My balls came out kinda purple because the blue and red sprinkles mixed together. No pun intended there!

Dima came home early today, at 5 (wow!) so that we could swing around to the hospital with our neighbor to see the baby on the ultrasound. We made our way down there (after hours, so sneaky!) and got the machine out. We saw the baby, who is getting even bigger, and were even able to make out the bones. We saw the entire spine and legs and arms very clearly. He told us that the baby was looking great and everything was looking to be going well. He then tried to find out the gender of the baby. It took awhile, because the baby kept moving around and put it's hands between the legs to not let us see! FINALLY after pushing against my belly enough, we were able to get a shot of the top of the head, two spread apart legs, and a............................................

Yep! It's a boy! We couldn't be more excited about our little man. Dima was really crossing his fingers that it was a boy, I didn't really care one way or the other. So this made us both very happy, and was without a doubt the best birthday gift Dima could have asked for! Looks like we both guessed the gender right... now we need to wait for the day the baby is born to see who won our baby guessing game! For now, we will sit back and enjoy the happiness this has brought us!

After our very successful trip, we made our way to the seawall for some Greek Gyros! Dima LOVES Gyros so he picked this place for his dinner. We ordered some pita bread and hummus to start off with, which I wouldn't get again because it came with so little hummus it wasn't worth it. Dima got a beef Gyro, and I got a chicken Gyro. This was my first time having one, and it was pretty darn good. It came with fries that we both ended up throwing away though, they just had too much salt on them!

After Dinner we came home to sit in the front of the neighbor's house and enjoy the nice night. We ate cake balls (which were amazing thank you very much!) and hung around. Dima enjoyed a celebratory whisky and coke, and it was a very low key night, just what Dima likes.
All in all, I would like to say that Dima's 25th Birthday was a very successful one on both of our parts. It makes me excited that we will get to celebrate our birthday with our little one this time next year!

Monday, August 2, 2010

10,000 Eisa dancers, fish markets, and yummy food!

The Eisa dance is one of the many examples of the many cultural differences between Okinawa and the rest of Japan. Eisa is a dance with a long history in Okinawa. It comes from a folk song that was sung years ago. The dance style was passed down by groups of young people who paid respect to ancestors by marching through their neighborhoods and playing the taiko drum. The rhythms and movements are accompanied by the beating of the drum and a beautiful dance. Today, many shows are held where people gather to watch the Eisa. One of the largest of these shows is the 10,000 Eisa Dance Parade in Naha.

Today was an absolutely beautiful Okinawian day, so we decided to celebrate by making our way down to Naha to go to the 10,000 Eisa dancer festival. We went down with the Coats and Jones families to watch this beautiful celebration. On the way down, we crammed the Coats car with the two of us, their family of 5, and a friend of theirs. I played a few games of old maid (with little mermaid cards) with Cannon and London (I one one round). After our games were over, Emmy (the youngest of the Coats children) decided she wanted my engagement ring. She put it on and I can swear it almost fit her! She then refused to give it back until we got the the festival. I think she liked wearing it because it was from Dima. She seems to have a thing for my husband. Here she is showing off "her" rock.

When we arrived to Kokasai street, it was packed with lots of people, which is never great when it's over 100 degrees out, humid, and you're pregnant. But I sucked it up and went on to enjoy our time. We got to stand by one of the famous beniimo stores (they are these famous sweet potatoes that are purple. They are very popular here and are made into all kinds of things from cookies, to ice cream flavors, to being cooked in your meals) that had samples inside for us to eat in between dances. The festival was very organized. They had a bunch of groups of dancers come one group at a time to a big X marked in the street to perform. The shows started every 5 minutes or so. It was pretty cool because you could watch one show, go inside to cool down, and then come back out to watch another just a minute or so later. I mostly took videos that I will include in this post, but I did take a few photos as well. Here are some of my favorite photos compiles from my camera.

I have come to realize that I have taken for granted how unique it is to live in Japan. I see things everyday that I have grown accustomed to here in Okinawa, that were very odd when I first arrived. For one, I suppose I have grown used to their beer drinking habits. This guy was creative enough to strap a backpack of beer onto his back and sell it for 5o0 yet a beer! How cool is that?! I wish I could have had one! A nice cold Orion would have been nice on a hot Okinawian day! Oh well... guess i'll have to wait until February for one of those!After seeing a few of the dancers, we decided we were bored and wanted to walk a little. We made our way down to this one side street where we explored some of the shops and made our way into a really neat fish market. It looked so yummy and I really wish i couldve gotten the freshest sushi ever (they literally filleted, and cut up the fish in front of you and gave you yummy sashimi.) We saw some really cool stuff at the market.

Here is Louise ordering our dinner! This is what Louise ended up ordering for our dinner... Parrot fish! Yumm!
This is a yummy looking red snapper! Maybe next time I will order some and grill it out back!
This is a stone fish... they are so ugly, but apparently yummy to eat. A woman was ordering one and the nice lady who worked there let us all stand around and take photos.
Pork is a huge thing in Okinawa. It is cooked into most Okinawian dishes (soba for example) and a bunch of other famous Okinawian foods. When walking around Kokasai street, you can see just how much they love to kill and eat pork. Here is Porky the Pig himself... (the last thing he said was "That's all folks!")

After we left the festival, we went back home and were invited to have dinner with the Coats family. We first stopped at the store to pick up some of our own Japanese food to share, since they were sharing their yummy parrot fish and lots of other food. We picked up some of the traditional yummy Tepayaki, which is pork or chicken on a stick with some yummy Japanese sauce. Louise made some amazing Miso soup and sticky rice for us to use to make our own sushi. She cut up avocado, cucumbers, and had some sashimi out for us to use to make our sushi. Of course I couldn't have any of the raw fish (grr!) but I made do with some veggie sushi. We had a great meal with some great company, we are so lucky to have such great friends and neighbors! It makes living overseas so much better!