Sunday, September 13, 2009

Attention all shoppers!!

Two posts ago, I was talking about how I am going to miss the shopping in California. I know, I've only experienced a sample of the Japanese shopping, but from what I've seen, I don't think I have to worry! They have SO many cool things here, and yesterday was the first day we spent exploring this wonderful new world of shopping!

Because we live on an American base, we have an Exchange, which every base has. This is where we are able to get a lot of American products that we are used to having. They are at discount prices and don't charge us tax. The one here on Okinawa, though, is really different - cool different! It is more like a marketplace, and it goes indoors as

well as outdoors. They have an American store that is HUGE, and it is like a high end department store, a Walmart, a Best Buy, a Home Depot, and a Babies R Us all in one. They have everything from paper towels to Coach bags, and the women's and men's clothing departments boast clothing lines that are normally sold at Macys for discounted prices:) Outside of this large department store are the marketplace booths that include a lot of Japanese products for sale - shells, kimonos, swords, fans, jewelry, pearls, dishes, furniture, you name it!

They even have a Harley Davidson store here, which apparently only Okinawan's with a lot of money ride. You can purchase a Harley if you are in the military and have it shipped back to the US as well. This is also where the local barber shop and cell phone stores are, and all of these take American dollars. Places out in town only take Yen.

My new Iphone case

Japanese toy/gumball machines - they call them "Capsule Stations"

After spending the morning on base, we decided to go explore out in town a bit. We had a taxi drop us near the local beach, and we took a long walk down the streets of Okinawa. We stopped into a fun clothing store that sold Ed Hardy clothing as well as a bunch of cute dresses, hats and of course, Japanese hair extensions!

We ended up ducking in and out of different shops just to get in some air conditioning - did I mention how HOT and HUMID it is here? Well, in case you didn't get that - It's HOT and HUMID here! Our sponsor says that the coldest it gets here in the winter is 78 or 80...hmmm... Right now it is about 90 every day with 260% humidity. Okay, I just made that number up, but it really is crazy. After being outside for 30 seconds, you are drenched in sweat - I know, its really glamourous! Anyway, another store we stopped into to get some air was what seemed to be a CVS type store - we couldn't read the name:) We got a few snacks from there to take on our walk. What is fun about living in a foreign country is that you really don't know what your are purchasing as far as food and drinks. Whenever we purchase something, we are taking a gamble at liking it or not, but its all part of the experience!

For instance, the cheese fries things I'm eating above were pretty tasty! However, Matt spit that gummy thing he's eating out 5 seconds after that picture was taken! Another fun thing we've found in Okinawa are the outdoor, public vending machines that are on almost every street corner. This is us (below) with our friends Jason and Andrea, trying to figure out which cold drink to purchase...the one we chose happened to be unsweetened tea, which seems to be big here - a lot of drinks don't have as much sugar as American drinks. That must be why they are all so thin!

We ended up at our local "mall" called Jusco, which will blow your mind if you are used to American malls where all the stores are separate! It is, again, like an open marketplace, where all of the stores on each floor just merge together. Jusco is a 3-level mall, and each level is enormous, containing women's and men's clothing stores, electronics stores, music stores, sewing stores, shoes and accessory stores, kid's toy stores, jewelry stores, and it even turns into a grocery store at one point. I thought I wouldn't like the clothing here, but I was completely wrong! Such cute clothes! The local produce at this mall (weird statement) is better and more abundant here than at our American grocery store on base, although a little more expensive. They have NO American products here. We saw a bag of Cheetos that almost looked American, but after purchasing it, we realized these "cheetos" looked and tasted very different. On the second or third floor (I can't remember which) is a food court that has authentic Japanese food. We got a bunch of tempura here for dinner, which was really good! I like the Japanese food culture - everything is "Happy" - its like their motto. "Happy Donut", "Happy Ice Cream", Happy - this, and Happy - that... :) Love it!

Click on this link and check out this video of Jusco Mall I took:



  1. How "happy" you made me when I logged on and found your new blog! So many 'happy pics' and 'happy info'. Did you have any 'happy ice cream'? I'm so 'happy' for your new experiences. Praying you are a 'happy couple' and Matt has a 'happy job' with 'happy marines'! Hugs!

  2. You're sooo cute. I love the video & pics. So great to hear how everything's going!!!


  3. Huge mall is opening in kadena AB on oct 2 09. Off base has huge 100 yen store too .