Okinawa Sunsets

This never gets old.

Yomitan Pottery Village 

If you’re looking for a fun day of exploring Okinawa you should definitely give this place,Yomitan Pottery Village, a few hours of your time.  Cole had a day off last week, so I thought I’d share a few pictures from this fun find.  You may want to wait until the weather cools off a bit, there’s said to be around 45 artists working in the village, so plan to do some walking.The Pottery Village was simple to find with google maps.

Yomitan Pottery Village

2653 Zakimi, Yomitan-son, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa-ken 904-0301

https://goo.gl/maps/KgqyjXCWMRG2

Hope you enjoyed the pictures from our day out and about, and add this place to you list of things to do before leaving the island, you won’t be disappointed.

Have a great weekend and thank-you for stopping by my blog!

Jessica

Spring Break In Tokyo

Hello, friends and family, I hope you are all well and enjoying this lovely spring weather, though it already seems like summer here in Okinawa.   This post is from the first few days of our trip to Tokyo, over spring break.  It was our first time visiting and we were excited to check it out.  Hope you enjoy the pictures, I will share the rest of the trip with you in another post.  image

The Tsukiji Fish Market was our first destination.  It’s said to be the largest fish market in the world. The market opens at around 4 AM, if you get there early enough they give out tickets to the first hundred who want to watch the tuna auctions.  These fish can go for the price of small car, we didn’t make it that early.  It was still a site to see all the different vendors selling any and everything related to seafood and the preparation.

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The freshest of sushi prepared in front of you.

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A happy customer.

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I saw this gentleman on Pinterest when I was researching our trip.  He was so cute and had to be approaching his 90’s, he appears to be leaning over the stove, but he had severe kyphosis.  There was a nice crowd around his kitchen, I’m sure his ramen was delicious.

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This soup looked and smelled amazing, and from the look of the long line waiting I’m sure it was.

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These are large rice rolls usually mixed with a type of meat, often Spam, and then wrapped in seaweed.

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Ava and I tried these, they looked and smelled so yummy.

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Seaweed and Seasonings

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imageCrowded side streets near the fish market.

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Chocolate teeth and all, makes for perfect ending to a fun day at Tsukiji Fish Market.  Definitely worth a trip, if you’re in town for a few days check it out.

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These trees were loaded with blooms, when the wind blew it looked like snow.

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The park had groups of businessmen and women taking their lunch break.  We had a picnic and soaked in the view.

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These ladies were taking care of the gardens at the park, all decked out in their aprons and hats.

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Beautiful pink dogwoods reminded me of home.

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The azaleas were also in bloom.

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Burning some energy after our picnic.

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Daddy’s girl!

We were fortunate to experience the cherry trees in full bloom, they were so beautiful. Hope enjoyed the pictures, more coming soon, just too many to post at once.  Enjoy the rest of your week.

Take Care,

Jessica

Sydney

Hello friends and family, I hope you all are well and enjoying this beautiful weather.  Today’s post is from our trip to Sydney in January for New Year’s and Cole’s Birthday.  This trip was our first trip off the island for the kids and I since moving to Okinawa.  It was nice to get out and see some new scenery.  In January it’s summer and the peak of tourist season in Australia.  The weather was sunny and warm, just right for shorts and t-shirts, much like Okinawa.  The locals were friendly, the country was clean, and there’s so much to do, I highly recommend adding Australia to your bucket list.

IMG_5672Day one we hit Sydney’s famous Bondi Beach and walked the cliff-top trail to Bronte Beach, about a 30 minute walk.  Known for its dangerous rips and amazing surf, it was beautiful.

IMG_5680Bondi Beach

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IMG_5725Watching the surfers.

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IMG_5742Bondi Seafood Market

imageBeautiful fresh fruits.

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imageI couldn’t resist snapping a picture of these lovelies.

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Ava found her happy place.

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imageMeat market in the center court of the mall.

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imageThis was our first trip to McDonald’s in over a year, this cool gadget sure beats standing in the long lines.

IMG_5745Amazing mosaics on the benches at Bondi Beach.

IMG_5756St.Mary’s Cathedral

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imageA close up of the Opera House tiles.

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IMG_5848Bamboo trees in the botanical gardens.

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imageThe family on a sidewalk between the Sydney Harbour Bridge and Opera House. This was our camping spot for six hours with thousands of others, waiting patiently for the fireworks to begin.

imageThere were seven barges in the harbor and along with the Sydney Harbour Bridge all loaded with fireworks, it was magical and the kids loved it.

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The crazy crowds leaving the harbor.image

imageFeatherdale Wildlife Park

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imageFun times feeding the wallabies.

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Sydney was amazing, I would definitely go back, maybe try their winter season next time around.  Next stop, Cairns to check out the Great Barrier Reef. Hope you enjoyed the pictures.  Take care and have a wonderful weekend.

Jessica

Ryukyu Lantern Festival

Happy New Year to all my friends and family, I hope you had a wonderful holiday season with loved ones.  We had a nice, quiet Christmas on the island this year and headed to Australia to ring in the new year and Cole’s birthday.

This past weekend we decided to hit the first Yomitan Lantern Festival at Murasaki Mura Theme Park.  It’s about a twenty-minute drive from the base and took us about an hour to cover the grounds.  It was a perfect cool night to stroll through and check out the colorful lanterns.  The kids really enjoyed it and they food and crafts for everyone to enjoy.  The festival will last through February 21st, lanterns are lit from 18:00-22:00.  Admission is 6 yen for adults, 5 yen for junior and high school students, and 4 yen for elementary children.

For more information and directions click the link below.

http://www.japanupdate.com/2015/12/ryukyu-lantern-festival-2015-adds-to-charms-of-murasaki-mura/

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Yomitan is also known for its amazing pottery and they have pieces available for purchase.

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Thanks for stopping by and checking out my blog.  Next up I hope to share pictures from our travels to Australia.  Have a great week!

Jessica

Out and About Okinawa

Hello friends and family, I hope you all are well.  It’s been a while since my last post, the kids have kept me busy this summer and away from the blog.  The kids started back to school this week and I must say I’m so glad to get back to our normal routine. Today’s post is from a little camping trip we took a few weeks ago to White Beach.  I wanted to capture some of the locals and the beautiful scenes along the way.  White Beach is on the east side of the island, about a thirty minute drive from our home.   It’s a great place to snorkel with the kids, they have campers and rooms available on base, we have really enjoyed visiting here over the summer and will definitely be back.

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IMG_5308Little cars and low power lines, common site when traveling the road.

IMG_5411Family tombs are found sprinkled all over the island.

IMG_4959Rice Fields

IMG_5303Okinawa’s version of a pick-up truck.

IMG_5321Little local walking to the market.

IMG_5405Sugar Cane Fields

IMG_5398A beautiful spot for the locals to fish.

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IMG_5341You don’t see many grassy lawns, most commonly, it’s potted plants on small balconies and along the sidewalks.

IMG_5344Locals tending to their small pieces of property.

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This little guy created the entrance to his property with cans, quite unique.

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IMG_5293A local walking his bull along the road, I guess shoes are optional.  Bull fights are common in Okinawa, it’s  on our to-do list while stationed here, I’ll share pictures when we go.

IMG_5347Tiny grocery store, with parallel parking for two or three cars.  Most people walk to the markets.  Drink machines are on every corner.

IMG_5345Cigarette Machines

IMG_5458Drink machines serve hot and cold beverages.  Cole and I like to try the different types of coffee, prices are about the same as stateside, approximately one dollar.

IMG_5444Spam is a hot item in Okinawa.  You can find spam rolls and dishes made with spam in restaurants.

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IMG_5451Locals enjoying the beautiful day.

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IMG_5456Can’t stop without grabbing ice cream.  I had to lovingly force them to sit beside each other for this picture.

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We made it to our destination!  The water is always a comfortable temperature and crystal blue.  I love seeing the Navy ships come in, makes for an amazing sunset!

Thank-you for checking out this post, I hope you enjoyed a little taste of everyday Okinawa.

Take care and have a safe Labor Day Weekend!

Jessica

Local Farmer’s Market

Hello friends and family, thank-you for checking out today’s blog post.  I haven’t posted in a while, it’s been full blast since the kiddos got out of school and the hubs has been out-of-town!  Thankfully we got Cole home this week and are looking forward to celebrating Independence Day with friends this year on the island.

This post is about our travels around the island of Okinawa.  Since moving to the island we’ve had the chance to visit many of the local produce markets and experience many new foods.  I’ve been meaning to share this post for a while now because this has been one of my favorite things to do since arriving.  Each little market is unique in its own way, which makes it exciting because you never know what you may bring home with you. Many locals visit the produce markets daily to purchase fresh produce for their meals. You can get anything from fresh-cut orchids to fresh lobster at these local markets.  The colors and smells are amazing and you get a little taste of how the locals cook their meals.
imageI wanted you to see the standard shopping cart, notice how small it is, the size of an American shopping basket.  imageAny type of green you can imagine.
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The three pictures above are of a local market near our house (JA), the one I visit most often.

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imageThis market is in Naha, two levels, upstairs was the meat market.  You can find any possible animal part to freshly caught lobster, and it’s so much fun exploring.
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imageFresh Baked BreadimageFresh LobsterIMG_0601

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imageBeautiful Dragon Fruitimage

imageBean SproutsimageWatermelon for 1980 Yen or approx. $15.00.image

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imageWide selection of rice.
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Can’t forget the flowers when you hit the market, because they are beautiful and very affordable.  Any assortment will run you around five to ten dollars.
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The next few pictures are a type of dessert or candy that I see in many of the markets and I’m not sure what it’s made of.  It looks like fudge, but it’s actually much softer.  Ava of course wanted the pink one, we tried a bite each.  It’s not sweet, really didn’t have much flavor at all, but it sure looks yummy.image

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imageSoda’s that will fit in the palm of your hand, the perfect serving size.

I hope you enjoyed touring a few of our favorite market spots and got a little taste of Okinawa.

Have a wonderful and safe fourth with family and friends!

Till next time, konnichiwa!

Jessica

 

Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium

Hello friends and family, I hope you are all well and have enjoyed your weekend.  A couple of weeks ago Cole took the week off so we could explore the island.  The kids had wanted to visit the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium, so we made a day of it and had a wonderful time.  I thought I’d share with you a few pictures from our trip.

The main attraction at the aquarium is the Kuroshio Sea Tank, this tank holds three whale sharks and manta rays, along with countless other beautiful sea creatures.   This is the view from the cafe, the tank is 10 m deep, 35 m wide, and 27 m long.  Not a bad view for a coffee and ice cream with the kiddos.

aquarium1via www.oki-churaumi.jp

IMG_4511I finally got these two to stand by each other without fussing.

imageThe touch pool was a hit with the kiddos.

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They have an arboretum, beautiful emerald beaches, and a playground, which are free on the park grounds.  If you are on the island and haven’t been, with or without kids it is definitely worth the trip.  Check out the aquarium’s website for park hours and fees, www.oki-churaumi.jp.

Have a wonderful day!

 

 

 

Camp Foster’s Spring Bazaar

This weekend there’s a spring bazaar at Camp Foster, with over fifty concessionaires to enjoy.  Many of the booths are military spouses selling there pieces and there are also locals selling furniture, artwork, and antiques.  It’s a great place to shop for one of a kind gifts for family and friends.  You can find anything from fishing poles to hair bows and tutus.  Today there was a live auction with beautiful pottery and artwork to bid on.  I would have to say the hand painted antiques are definitely my favorite, the blue pieces are on my wish list before heading back to the states.

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Glass balls, used as floats by the fishermen.

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Framed Japanese Calligraphy Brushes

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Hand Woven Rugs

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Hand Painted Antiques

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Tansu Step Chest

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Hope you enjoyed a few of my pictures from today.  Tomorrow is the last day of the bazaar, so check it out, if you haven’t already.  Get started on your holiday shopping and show your support.  It’s all indoors, so no worries if it rains tomorrow.  The bazaar is inside the gym, which is behind the furniture store on Camp Foster.

Chikyu Zakka Warehouse

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imageHi friends, I hope you all are doing well.  We’re happy in the Johnson household, Cole got home over the weekend after a TDY to Guam this month.  His first day back we visited an awesome warehouse that a friend told me about, thank-you Michael.  This warehouse is packed full of gems, I could have spent hours looking through all the goodies. The kiddos were about to pull their hair out, but I must say they had something for everyone.  It’s a great place for gifts, they have everything from large outdoor furniture and statues, to silk pajamas, jewelry, just about anything you can think of.  The staff was very friendly and spoke great English.  For all of you stationed on the island, this place is a must.  I was told the selection changes with each shipment, so there’s always something new to see.  It’s just a few miles from Torii Station in Yomitan.

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These are hand carved chairs from one solid piece of wood, adult and kid sizes.  Prices were about $100-150

image They have garden statues of all shapes and sizes.

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They have indoor decor, below are just a few of my favorites.

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Beautiful screens that can be used as a headboard, behind your television as a focal point, as a room divider, options are endless.

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Carved doors and stools.

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Endless amounts of teak furniture and carved pieces.

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Unique trays and baskets.

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IMG_0104Love these chairs and baby beds.

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IMG_0057Directions: Chikyu Zakka is about a 15-20 minute drive from Kadena Gates 1 or 3 and only about 5 minutes from Torii’s main gate. To get there, take 58 going North and turn left on 6 toward Torii Station. You will pass the main gate to Torii on the left. A few lights down you’ll come to a Max Value on the right. Two lights past the Max Value, you will turn left. There will also be a blue sign to Yomitan Care Center at this light. After turning left, drive down a few blocks and you will see Chikyu Zakka on the left.  Plenty of parking is available.

Hope you have a great rest of your week!  Happy decorating!

Jessica

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