Monday, October 5, 2009

Naha City

About a week and a half ago, Matt and I decided to venture out to the one and only actual city we have here on the island - Naha. It's not too far, especially if you know where you're going and don't have to turn around twenty times. After finding the main "strip" in the city, Kokusai Street, we wandered around until we found an underground parking garage that just happened to come out right in front of where we wanted to go. Kokusai Street is a bustling area with colorful treats in each store. You never know what you are going to find, and a lot of the time, you feel like you are just guessing at what things are.

One thing Okinawan's are crazy about are these purple sweet potato pastry things... I know this is a poor description, but that's because I really still don't understand what they are exactly. We see them everywhere, and, sure enough, the first store we went into was a pastry/candy store that actually had a picture of one of these purple potato pastries on their store logo. The store sold them, sampled them, and even had a window in the back where you could see them on a conveyor belt being made! Matt and I got to sample them, and they aren't as sweet as they look. It tasted like I was eating a gooey, half-baked pastry cup filled with frosting that was only about 1/4 sweet as actual frosting! Not exactly sure why everyone's so crazy about these! Anyway, the store had a lot of other cookies and treats to try and buy as well. One thing I learned from walking around Naha is that the people here are big into samples. Each store had samples of food products in little tuperware containers. The containers had lids, but not always a sales person monitoring. We tried a few.

Naha City is also where we discovered the Japanese obsession with pork, and not in the way that American's are obsessed with good steak. No, these people wear shirts that say I LOVE PORK, they have keychains and hats that say PORK on them, and oddest of all, they have pig heads in most of their stores. The weird thing to me is that they aren't just saying they like pork, but they seem to not be ashamed of associating the pork with dead pigs and advertising it everywhere!

One of the craziest things we've been seeing lately is something called "Doctor Fish", which I mentioned in my last post. Doctor Fish is, essentially, a beauty treatment. You dangle your feet into a tank full of little fresh water bottom feeder fish called Garra Rufa, and instantly, a swarm of them will start feeding off your feet, eating away your dead skin cells. That is, if you can handle the tickeling sensation that comes along with them! We had first seen Doctor Fish at American Village, but we decided to actually give it a try when we saw it here in Naha City. It was only $5 for 10 minutes, so Matt and our friend Andrea tried it out. Andrea didn't mind it. Matt didn't have as much success, but I shouldn't talk, because I couldn't even keep my hand in there for more than 10 seconds! I think it's the idea of them feeding off of you that grosses me out, plus the tickeling!

Check out this video of Matt trying Doctor Fish:

Here are some other photos and videos from our day spent in Naha City:

Matt and Jason with their Japanese beer. The sales man told us they were aloud to drink it on the street, but we're not sure he even understood the question.

Frog purses made from real frogs - grossss

Matt with Krissy

Indoor marketplace

A bakery in the marketplace. We bought a donut, I think.

Matt sampling some Dragon Fruit
Check out this video of the indoor marketplace:

No, this isn't a parade, it's just Japan.
Japanese schoolgirls that we see literally everywhere!

The Naha Happy Bus!

Check out this video of a street dancer - I could've sat and watched him all day! Note the Japanese Rastafarians on the drums:)

A GIANT hermit crab - giant like larger than my head!
Me at a little ice cream cafe - FYI - one Japanese scoop=about a half an American scoop

Matt got an ice cream taco with bananas in it and strawberry sauce on top??

Inside a Pachinko place - they are crazy about Pachinko here, and these places are like Vegas Casinos!

Night time on Kokusai Street

Nearing the end of the evening, we wanted to get dinner, but couldn't decipher any of the menu items in most of the restaurant windows. A guy on the street, who obviously worked for a restaurant, came up to us with a menu that offered English translation. It looked good, so we decided to eat there, but where was it? The guy motioned for us to follow him, so we did - down an alley, into an office-type building, down some stairs, and into the basement! I half-thought he might be leading us to our deaths, but followed anyway, and we were glad we did! The hidden, underground restaurant was called The Hub, and we got to sit in the cozy dining area that had low, traditional, sunken tables, which I love! I forgot the rule about taking off your shoes, and walked right in there with mine on, but quickly realized what I was supposed to do and turned around. The food was good, and we tried a few things that we had never tried before. Sushi with a ton of wasabi wrapped right into the roll, horse meat, and quail eggs wrapped in bacon. Okay, well mostly Matt tried those things, but I did get a mouthful of wasabi when I tried the sushi!

Our menu had this cute saying on the front of it:)

More adventures to come! Thanks for following - we miss you all:)



  1. i don't think i could do that doctor fish thing either!!

  2. Nor could I allow fish to dine on me either! Yuk! I enjoyed the video, as did Grandma Sherry and Kenny. They enjoyed your blog and said to say hi! The frog purses make me sooo sad. That's for real? That hermit crab-really the size of your head? Gee! Wondering why the happy bus was coming down the street but you all seemed to be standing in the street? Glad your restaurant was legitimate! Thanks for enlightening us once again! I am surprised by the height of the buildings. I expected 1 story or ??? Love you! xo

  3. Hi guys. I really enjoy reading your blog I feel like I've been there. I cant wait to feed the fish. Dad.

  4. The video of Matt with Doctor Fish was hilarious. That would be fun to try at least. I can't believe the frog purse thing. Ewwww

  5. Matt and I can't wait to have vistors and get to show them all the cool things we've experienced here so far! It really is a neat place - everything is so different than in the US:)