Friday, December 30, 2011

Okinawa Aquarium

Without a doubt one of my favorite things to do in Okinawa is visit the Aquarium.  It is the most beautiful aquarium I have ever seen.  Sure, there isn't as much of a variety of sea creatures to see like in the states, but man that big tank with the whale sharks and manta rays steals the thunder of any aquarium I have ever seen.  And so, all 5 of us packed into the mom-bilio on our way to see the fish.
The last time Zach saw an aquarium was when he was 6 months old and we were visiting CT.  He enjoyed it, but I was looking forward to him seeing the aquarium here at home.  And boy did he enjoy it.  He was amazed at the fish and held his hands up in the air as if to try and grab them. I look forward to visiting more aquariums when he gets older.
Looking at the big fish with Daddy
love this shot


playing with the water fountain with daddy

can't get enough

oh hey

big manta rays

With his uncle Sasha

We stopped for a quick bite to eat and relaxed a bit for awhile before adventuring more about this aquarium


love the sea turtles!

um, what's going on here?

After we finished seeing the aquarium, we walked around the village a bit.  We stumbled upon a little show where we were able to participate in some tea, brown sugar, and sanchen playing!

She was singing here, not yelling at me!

Katya learning

After our trip to the aquarium, we headed over to pineapple park on our way home.  Pineapple park is a huge tourist trap.  They lure you in with a pineapple cart ride and you end up going through a huge gift shop at the end.  They have samples of most foods throughout, and we always leave stuffed.  The main reason we go is for the fresh pineapple they cut right there!  yum! 
 On our pineapple cart doing the oki sign!
With our buddy- Pine-apple
And the gift shop begins- with pineapple wine!
We tasted some yummy wine, cookies, cakes, chocolates, and fresh pineapple.  We ended up leaving with quite a bit of goodies for ourselves and our family!

Oki world

Living in Okinawa, I rarely take the chance to visit the "touristy" locations.  We spend our "free" time working out, or going for walks to the beach most days.  In the summertime we spend it at the beach.  But when family come to visit, we tend to head to head to the little visited places of Okinawa.  Today was one of those days in which we acted as a tourist too and visited Okinawa World.
Though this place is a bit cheesy, and is def. a tourist trap in which they want you to buy something, we did enjoy our trip.  We started out by attending a habu show where we got to watch a woman interact with a few snakes, including a habu.
The Habu going after the balloon.  
This would never be legal in the US!
Zach and Dima watching the show!

After the show we walked around a bit and checked the habu museum out.  Pretty neat, but scary considering these deadly things live in our backyard!
I really want this mask to hang on my wall!
Zach being attacked by a killer habu!

Sleepy snakes

Not quite sure what the turtles have to do with a habu museum...

After the habu show, it was time to eat lunch.  We had awhile to kill before seeing a show (which we never made it to until later).  We found a neat buffet upstairs which was perfect.  Sasha and Katya got to try lots of Okinawian dishes, and we all got to relax.  And the best part?  they had a kids play area for Zach to play in!  He discovered the ball pit here, and I discovered that I need to buy him one very soon!
Such a happy boy!

After our bellies were full, we headed over to my favorite part of this place, the cave.  I've been to bigger caves, but it is always pretty cool to visit another!  It's a 30 minute walk, but it took us more like 45-60 minutes.  Enough time for Zach to fall asleep and wake back up!

Dima and Zach, right after Zach woke up

Pretty pool

more stalactites 

The cave ends in the plethora of gift shops that Okinawa World has to offer.  This is what I mean when I say that this place is a definite tourist trap!  We had to rush through them all in order to get to the show (which we finally made it to) but returned later.  
Shishas at the pottery store

pretty dragon at the glass store

This girl was making an ash tray.... can you tell they smoke a lot here?

Had to take a photo of some oki fashion!

Z and Dada watching the show

Some eisa dancers practicing

I'm getting the look of death here!  


I thought this was beautiful.  I wish it were for sale!

beautiful flower

mama and Zach walking to dada

After a very exhausting day, we ventured back at around 6pm.  Zach was exhausted because it was far past his bed time by the time we got home, but all in all, he had a great time.  

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

American Village and the seawall

Last year Okinawa prepared for the very first visit from my brother in law, Sasha.  It was an exciting experience, and Okinawa was ready for another go this year.  This time, Sasha brought his wonderful fiancee, Katya.  We were very excited about this trip, as Sasha is Zach's godfather and Zach was dying to spend lots of time with him.
They started their trip out by visiting Tokyo and Kyoto and then flying here so we figured day 1 would be a low key day so they could catch up on some Z's.  We eventually ventured out to American Village for some sushi go round.  I love having family here so i have an excise to have sushi!
Sushi go round
 choices, choices
you can bet we were full!

After sushi go round, we walked around a bit in American Village.  We don't really make it out to American village too often I suppose, so it was nice to walk around a bit.
Funny sign.  Gotta love Japanese translations
 habu sake!


love my little tropical island!

The ferris wheel was broken

My boy and I at partyland (previously yogurtland)

After awhile we went down to the seawall to hang out for a bit.  It is so beautiful there.  I sometimes wish I lived down there so I could go for a run every morning!
the hubby and the boy

Sleepy boy!

Sasha and Katya had a lot of fun

Wait, we're in Okinawa right?!

We ended the day by coming back home and relaxing a bit. I told Katya about our beautiful sunsets here on the hill.  She was excited to see one.  So we started setting up to take some photos, but unfortunately didn't have a great sunset to photograph.
Zach in the sunlight as we set up
Zach's uncle Sasha

Our lester heights view.  Pretty, but we usually see better!