Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Ski for Two

We finally did it - NO, not jet-skiing - we've been doing that all along! We finally brought our camera along this time in order to let our friends and family experience a little of the Okinawan waters with us! We've been meaning to bring our camera out in the waterproof case for awhile now, but I guess we just always forget or something. Anyway, a couple weekends ago, we finally remembered to bring the camera, wrapped it in a towel, and took it along with us on our jet-skis for a day of fun in the sun (with sunscreen). Ever since getting burned to a crisp on our last day out on the water, I've been all about the SPF - the higher, the better!

Most days that we take our jet-skis out for a ride, we simply put them in the water right at the marina where they live. However, this day, we decided to take them for a little road trip to the East side of the island to a place called X-Power, and put them in the water there. X-Power charges a small fee for putting the jet-ski's in and taking them out of the water, but the great thing about X-Power is that they are incredibly nice, helpful and also have a Yamaha repair shop right on location - this has come in handy a couple times already! I also like riding on the East side of the island better in general, because there are so many more things to see and little islands and beaches to stop at.

This particular day was gorgeous - sunny, warm, and the water was crystal clear turquoise. We even got to play "Jet-Ski Heroes" when we helped out another guy who we found - his jet-ski had died out in the ocean, and he was attempting to SWIM it back to shore! And possibly my favorite part of the whole day - the Flying Fish! As we were riding, these fish were "flying" on top of the water right alongside of us - SO COOL!! All in all, we ended up staying out for about 5 hours and jet-skiing over 30 miles!
Me on one of the Jet-ski's
The gorgeous Pacific Ocean

Check out this video clip of us on the water:


Check out this video clip of Matt playing around:

There were huge waves out there, but they all broke at the reef, so we had smooth water inside where we were riding

We stopped at this island for lunch

Check out this video clip of us going through a channel:

If you know Matt and I, you know that we can't let a good weekend of activities go without a dinner out to a new place here on Okinawa - there are just too many to try! Enter: Arashi (aka: The Ticket Restaurant to us foreigners). It is definitely a unique dining experience, and the food was so much better than I had expected. Supposedly, Arashi is some sort of "famous" restaurant that celebrities like to eat at when they visit the island... now, I'm not so sure I'm going to see Brad and Angie eating in here anytime soon, but there must be some truth behind this one... The concept is as follows: there is a large machine at the entrance of the restaurant. It looks like some sort of vending machine, but with prices and pictures of food instead of actual food items. You enter your money into the machine, push the buttons of the items you would like to order, and a ticket is dispensed for you to take. You get to choose your own table, your waitress comes and takes your tickets, and about 15 minutes later, your food arrives at the table like magic! I'm not sure why I waited so long to try this restaurant - maybe I thought the quality of food would suffer because of the ticket system?? In any case, I'm glad we tried it - we've been having cravings for the fried rice ever since;)

Matt and his soup

Yummy pork & veggie goyza

Our fried rice - they serve it here with the egg fried in the pan with the rice and you get to mix them together

Till next time;)


Monday, April 12, 2010

Round 1

For the longest time now, I thought Round 1 was a bowling alley. It isn't. It's a bowling alley plus SO MUCH MORE, and right down the street from our base in Ginowan City. Its a mega sport and game complex that is perfect for one of the many rainy or way-too-hot Okinawan days. Do you feel like hitting a few at the batting cages, having a round of mini-golf, playing some arcade games, or rollerskating? How about riding a mechanical bull? Or a mini-bike? Or maybe some slot pachinko, darts, pool, or karaoke in your own private room? How about just relaxing in a massage chair?? I think you get the point...

A couple weekends ago, Matt and I decided to meet a couple of our friends up at Round 1, because it was kind of a rainy Saturday. The building is huge and the 7 floors are hard to miss. An added bonus is that it is located right beside the Ginowan Marina on the East China Sea, so you get some really nice views of the ocean from the inside looking out. Besides the fact that I was sore all over for days and could barely walk without looking like I was disabled, I had a great time! The only thing I didn't get to really try was the rollerskating or mini-bikes, but we bought membership cards, so I'm sure we will be back again soon. Did I mention they have archery? Oh, and did I mention that I beat Matt at it?? ;)

I still don't really understand what Spo-Cha means, but that's what they call this type of game/sports place I think

The exterior

View of the Ginowan Marina

Inside one of the floors

Check out this video clip of the skating rink: And yes, those ARE full-grown men on mini-bikes, and there IS a Japanese person dressed up as a life-sized bowling pin.

Me playing the boxing game and practicing my numbers... Ich, Ni, San, Chi, Go!

Drink and soup machine on the Relaxation floor

Me in the relaxation room trying to figure out how to work the massage chair since the remote was all in kanji symbols

The open-air top floor that has mini-golf, archery, basketball, tennis and batting cages

There was a whole section of private rooms, although we weren't sure exactly what they were for or if they were free or not... this one was a "massage room"

A "stage room"

A "love room"???

The Pachinko and slot machine floor

Matt trying to win a stuffed animal in the claw game

Hello Kitty w/ a bunny on her head...

A claw game where you win ice cream as a prize!


Matt attempting to understand the point to their coin games

Check out this video clip of a crazy Japanese guy playing one of the games:

Thanks for following!


Saturday, April 3, 2010

A Walk in the Park

I guess a more appropriate title for this week's blog would be "A Ride in the Park", because we did much more bike riding than actual walking the other weekend at the park. However, let me start at the beginning of our day - pancakes! Jakkepoes, which is apparently Dutch for I have no idea what, is an amazingly adorable little (and I DO mean little!) pancake house in Yomitan, which is a town just north of us. It is owned and operated by two Japanese women who make you feel right at home - this may be in part due to the building and decor as well, but I definitely felt as if I was going over to a friend's house to have breakfast. You feel like you are in their dining room, and they are in the kitchen, which is visible through a pass-through sort of counter. I had heard about this restaurant's amazing pancakes, which they serve all-day long by the way, and Matt and I ventured out once again to find this tiny restaurant with vague directions (all directions to anything in Okinawa are incredibly vague!). We drove north, turned onto Rte. 6, turned left at the 4th light past the Torii Station gate, turned right when we saw little brown and white signs low to the ground that said "pancakes" on them, and ended up at Jakkepoes. The "parking spaces" were so tiny, we barely fit our Pajero in one of them. Hahahaa... I'm not kidding:)

Our Pajero in front of the tiny restaurant

You don't have to tell us your spaces are small - we know!

I think it had some sort of underlying cat theme

Gum Syrup

Me and my DELICIOUS mango juice!

Matt and his boring orange juice

They have Tic-Tac-Toe games for you to play at the table

My Berry Pancakes - SO GOOD!

Matt's Banana Nut Pancakes - awesome as well, and I don't even really like bananas!

As you've probably guessed based on earlier comments, we followed up our pancakes with a bike ride through a new park (well, new to us) called Comprehensive Park. The name is strange, but we think it may be a literal Japanese translation - the park IS very "comprehensive" in that it includes many different things. Inside, you can find multiple parks, beautifully lanscaped ponds, bridges, boat rentals, a waterpark, biking trails that come out along the ocean, running tracks, baseball, soccer and other sports fields, a banked bicycle track, and we even got to watch a rugby game in progress!

A map of the park - it was huge

Me on my bike

Matt and his bike

The CRAZY aggressive fish in all the ponds

Check out this video clip of Matt feeding these fish:

A random Japanese girl blowing bubbles

"Please do not feed stray dogs and cats. If you feed them, their population will increase which will lead to dog and cat bites." - We didn't see one stray dog or cat the whole time! But I do love the illustration of the crazy cat lady:)

Matt feeding more fish

One of the playgrounds within Comprehensive Park is awesome (maybe it was meant for children, but there's no way they were keeping us off!) Beside the fact that I have a strange obsession with zip-lines and they just so happened to have one, they also had an enormous rope jungle-gym thing that you can climb up! I don't think its "safe" enough to be in an American park, but the Japanese seem to be slightly less safety-conscious when it comes to playgrounds. I know my description of this thing isn't the best, so continue on for some visuals...

Me getting ready to "zip-line"

Check out this video clip of Matt riding the "zip-line":

The crazy awesome jungle-gym thing!

Me at the top of it

Me looking down from the top

Matt on the jungle-gym - kids actually requested that he stop jumping!

So, we ended up braving the raininess (I know its not a real word!) to have a fun bike ride. I also may have slipped, fallen off my bike and scraped up my hands while surrounded by onlooking Japanese people pointing at me (okay, maybe I imagined that last part), but that's beside the point. Despite the rain here and there, the park was really fun to explore and ride through. Combined with some yummy pancakes, this was an awesome day!

Thank you to all of our friends and family for following! We love you and wish everyone a happy and meaningful Easter!