Saturday, August 21, 2010

And Then There Were Four: Don & Leanne's Visit to Okinawa (Days 1-3)

I don't think I'm going to be able to describe exactly how excited Matt and I were to have our very first visitors here in Oki! We've been planning the trip for months and looking forward to getting to show our family what has become our home over the past almost-year. Matt and I literally sat down and made up a list of EVERY awesome thing we've done, seen or eaten here and created an itinerary that would allow us to fit it all into a 9-day trip! Because most things in Okinawa are outdoor, pretty much all of our activities were weather-dependent. I think Matt and I were both starting to worry when the first two days showed beginning signs of a Typhoon (literally - there was a tropical storm passing the island on its way to mainland Japan!). It was more windy and poured harder than I think I've ever seen here so far. I'm NOT exaggerating when I say there was a point where I wasn't even able to walk outside, because the wind was too strong for me to move forward! I should also mention that Don actually got scuba certified back in Chicago to come out here and dive with us (I mean, we DO have some of the best diving in the world - unless there's a Typhoon of course!). So, the horrible weather at the beginning of their trip kind of had Matt and I worried that a lot of our planned activities wouldn't be happening (including the 4 dives we had planned).

I am happy to report, however, that the weather did a COMPLETE 180 and was extremely hot and sunny the rest of the trip. In fact, the sea went from raging waves to the smoothest water I've seen since being here... I mean, it was smoother than most lakes! Anyway, there was just too much to show in one post, so I'm going to be writing about the things we got to experience for a second time with Don & Leanne (as well as a few new experiences for us as well!) in a couple different posts... so stay tuned!

Some highlights from Days 1-3:

Matt and I blasting Don & Leanne with Japanese culture right after getting off the plane - Kokusai Dori

First meal in Japan - Teppanyaki

Welcome Wagon

Matt playing dress-up with his parents

Gas-masking it up

Tea canisters lining the window sills @ The Rose Garden

Pineapple Park in Nago (We managed to get an outdoor shot where it wasn't pouring!)

Remember everyone - Pineapple means 'pine' and 'apples'


This guy collects coins in his mouth

Dance party on the bridge

Samples, samples and more samples


This guy played R2D2 sounds for us

I want her job!

Churaumi Aquarium in Nago

It was feeding time in the main tank

Whale Sharks (our newest dive buddies - post to follow)

Matt and I being all Japanese with our peace-signs

You can't come to the Aquarium and not try the Gargle Fountain

Leanne trying the Gargle Fountain - I guess it was some sort of mouth wash?

Pizza in the Sky (even though the sky was cloudy)

A wonderful Thumper souvenir shirt for the kiddies - no, wait, that's Thumper shooting himself up with heroine

Ice cream from a vending machine - this one tasted like a blue slushy

HUGE Banana Spiders

Matt and Don ready for some adventure with their flashlights

Don comforting Leanne about the spiders

Red Bridge to Ikei Island

Shuri-jo Castle Park

Leanne practicing her bowing

Matt and I inside the castle

Don & his fan

Sunset made a gorgeous sky that night

Don & Leanne's first taste of Japanese Sushi at the Sushi-go-Round (Ichibantei)

We were hungry

Matt & his giraffe

Representing with USA Shisa Dogs!

Don & Leanne get to experience our impeccable Japanese to English translations

And again...

Their FIRST taste of Yogurtland - we ended up going 4 times in 8 nights

American Village from the top of the Ferris Wheel

Many more adventures to come!



  1. How fun to be part of your blog! To think we were in Okinawa just 4 days ago! You did an incredible job of showing us the sights! Memories for a lifetime! (Yes, 'pine + apples' too funny!) We can never thank you enough. Something tells me that as you made lists of things to do, Cortnie, you played a bit larger role! Thank you! It was a shame to arrive at the 'Butterfly Garden' just to learn closed due to rain. We certainly were blessed with incredible weather for the rest of the trip. Can't wait to read on! Love you both! Hugs <3

  2. Yes, the butterfly garden was the ONLY thing that was on our list that you & Don didn't get to experience - sad, but that's pretty good considering the bad weather at the beginning of the trip!

  3. You're not kidding! God is Great! Thanks so much! xo