Monday, July 19, 2010

Independence Week

Independence Week was a good one for us this year - and yes, it is pretty much a week-long string of events! After all, just about every American we come in contact with here in Okinawa is someone affiliated with the US military, so these are the guys that not only enjoy the freedom America has to offer (like the rest of us), but they are also the ones fighting for that freedom! I can truly say that July 4th has really taken on a more important and real meaning for me since becoming a part of the military community. I thought celebrating America's birthday in Japan would be weird, but it wasn't that bad. There are so many celebrations going on because of the large American presence here that it didn't seem all that different from celebrations past.

Because we did so much this week, I'm just going to touch on a few of the highlights. The celebration pretty much started with the Torii Station Jazz Fest, where we met up with some friends, ate some Japanese food being made in a tent, drank some sangria, and listened to some live Jazz. I thought I'd mention that they also had a Japanese lady named Miss Kitty on the stage singing "Hello Dolly"... just saying... good times:)

They also had fireworks

Matt won this little guy for me by throwing darts at balloons (don't ask me what she is - possibly a raindrop with arms, legs & wings?)

Don't worry - its just root beer

The day before the 4th, we went on our first group dive with 2 other couples from our church that we're friends with. We wanted an easy morning dive, so we went to Sunabe Seawall which is usually calm. It was a little rough that day and we had some difficulties getting in and out, but it was really a lot of fun to go with a group like that! We ended up seeing some neat things, including a few large sea snakes. I almost swam right toward one, but one of our friends pointed it out to me before I got too close... another reason it's good to go in groups!

After getting cleaned up and dried off, we went over to our friends' house for a BBQ and then back to Torii Beach for some more fireworks over the ocean. It was incredibly windy, and there were rumors that the show may not even go on. Fortunately, they were just rumors, and we were able to enjoy our second firework show of the week. I'm not sure if many of you know this, but fireworks always hold something special to us, because Matt and I went to see them on our first date back in 2003... just some extra info there!

How adorable are these two?? (Matt & our friend Nick)

Torii Beach

Amanda & I braving the wind for a photo

The actual 4th of July was a scorching hot day (I'm not exaggerating when I say that the tops of my thighs were beet red for about 2 weeks after this day!). Matt and I (along with some of our friends and other jet-ski buddies) set up tents on a beach on the east side of the island, BBQ'd, and went jet-skiing and tubing. Yes, that's right - after months and months of begging from Matt, we are now the proud owners of a "tube" to pull from our jet-skis. It actually worked out really well and was a ton of fun! I DID slather on SPF 70, but I think it kept getting rinsed off with all the falling off the tube that was going on.

Matt pulling Nick on the tube for the first time

Amanda and I

Our friends Andrea & Jason

Matt and Nick also borrowed our friend Steve's wake board

Matt surprised me at how good he was!

Just because the 4th has passed, you didn't think the celebrating was over did you? We went out the following night to the Seawall, got to enjoy a really pretty sunset, and then we met up with Nick & Amanda again for some dinner & games...

Local Japanese man playing his Okinawan instrument on the seawall

Arcade time (our personal favorite is airhockey boys vs girls)

Amanda and I playing some strange drum game

I hope everyone had a fun and safe holiday & God Bless America!!

Talk to you soon!



  1. YEA! God Bless America! So glad to know you had a grand celebration! (Fireworks and all!) Sure looks like you guys are living it up! Matt was good at wakeboarding! Your hair is getting so long Cortnie - very pretty. Can't wait to see your sites! xo

  2. Beautiful photography! Looks like a great Fourth! xo