Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Churaumi Aquarium and Okinawa Beer Garden

Yesterday we were able to enjoy the day off with Chris by heading up north to Ocean Expo Park.

Beware - inoshishi!
Our original destination was just the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium but we were pleasantly surprised by how big Ocean Expo Park is.  In fact, we could have spend the entire day on free activities and still had a blast!

Ocean Expo Park's Fountain Plaza
After playing in the fountains, we headed down towards the aquarium.  The boys loved watching the turtles and the manatees in the outside pools.

Then we headed into the Main Rest House, a small museum underneath the aquarium.  (We later figured out that we were going backwards and we should have started with the aquarium and ended with the museum and outdoor exhibits - oops!)

Lion fish (with toddler finger)

Watching the garden eels

The aquarium's main attraction - the giant whale shark
After the aquarium, we headed back towards the parking lot and stopped at the Kids' Adventure Land.  This playground had several areas for kids of all ages.

Owen climbing on the nets

Isaac in the baby play area
After spending all afternoon, we still had plenty left to do - the Tropical Dream Center, the Banko Forest garden, swimming at Emerald beach, the dolphins shows and exhibit, and the Native Okinawan Village.  And the only entrance fee we paid all day was for the main aquarium.  Ocean Expo Park is definitely going on our list of things to do when we're short on cash but have plenty of time.

After we left, we decided to have dinner at the Okinawa Beer Garden.  Nice but disappointing.  

Yakiniku at the Okinawa Beer Garden
I had heard about their All-you-can-drink beer special and thought this would be a nice treat for Chris.  Once we ordered, we figured out that there's only two beers - an Orion draft and a "black" beer - and only the draft is available in the bottomless glass.  I know we're spoiled coming from Portland, aka beervana, but I had higher hopes for a restaurant with beer in the title.  (Although there was a sampler tray on the menu, it's basically varying degrees of a "black and tan".)

One highlight: the family area was wonderful!  We were able to let the boys go play while we finished eating.  And there was a nice room provided just for nursing - a big plus!

All total, we spent about $125 on dinner.  For that kind of money, we could have gotten a sitter and gone to one of the local yakiniku/shabu-shabu restaurants.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Habu Trail

Sorry for the lack of posts.  Chris has been extra busy, which means I've been extra busy.   But finally - a relaxing weekend!

Today we set out to tackle the fabled Habu Trail on Kadena.  Although I've heard about this running path through several running groups and websites, I haven't seen more than just general directions and references (for example, from about :45 to 1:30 of this video is on the Habu Trail but no indication about how to actually get on the path).  So we decided to mix up our training and do a little exploring.

We started off at Risner gym doing the Alternate #2 5k route.  After turning down Vincent Ave, we spotted the unmarked trail head near McKennon Ave.

One of the entrances to Kadena's Habu Trail,
just off the intersection of Vincent and McKennon

The path followed the perimeter of Kadena near highway 23 and 58.  It was very hilly in sections (definitely made me wish the BOB had a hand break!) and I'm glad the weather was slightly overcast because there wasn't much shade.  Every half mile (and in some places every quarter mile) was marked.  Starting from McKennon, we followed the trail for just over 1.5 miles, turned around near the base pass center at Gate 1, and then finished up the rest of the 5k route.

A section of the Habu Trail

Another trail entrance in Arnold Terrace base housing

Directions to Habu Trail:  The closest public parking lot I know of is at the Olympic Mall.  From Gate 3, turn left onto McKennon Ave after Risner gym and the baseball fields.  There is a Popeye's, Dunkin Donuts and a shopette near the Olympic Mall building.  After parking, follow McKennon past the Wakaba CDC.  McKennon will end in a T-intersection at Vincent Ave, the entrance to Habu Trail is just ahead on the right.  (The trail entrance is near the water station marked on this map.)

Next running adventure, we'll figure out Futenma's Habu Trail...

Sunday, May 13, 2012

No run, no love

No zombie run for me.  Sad face.

Chris was busy at work and I wasn't able to find a sitter (most of the other wives had Jane Wayne day.  Almost 10 years in the Marine Corps and I've still never had a chance to do a Jane Wayne day - boo!)  Very disappointed to miss both Friday's Running Dead 5k (heard it was a blast!) and Saturday's 80's themed Run-o-Rama on Kadena.  But that's life.

Yesterday, I was able to sleep in until almost 10am.  Then I napped until almost 1:30pm.  And then I went to bed around 10pm.  It was awesome!  I felt like crap warmed over on our Sunday long run.  Today I woke up and actually felt energetic and happy to run - something I haven't felt in a while!

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Do What Daddy Does day

Friday was "Do What Daddy Does" day up at Camp Schwab.  Chris had duty, so he wasn't able to join us at the beach, but I suppose that's a truer picture of what Daddy does.

In Daddy's office

The rest of the fun was set up at Oura Wan beach.  The boys were too young for most of the displays, like the zodiac boat rides.  Owen was able to get his face painted camo-style and enjoyed seeing all the big rigs.  Isaac was just happy to put rocks in his mouth.

Zodiac boats in the bay - maybe next year
Checking out the trucks

Isaac taking a break from eating sand

Storming the beach
Of course, I remembered to put sunscreen on the boys (twice) and totally forgot about myself.  Now I'm a lovely shade of lobster.  At least I got my dosage of Vitamin D!

Monday, May 7, 2012


Been in a funk over my running (or the lack thereof).  Been trying to meet my training schedule, but most days I feel utterly compelled to meld my ass with the couch.  Not sure if there's something physically going on with me (chronic lack of sleep, poor diet, low vitamin D, anemia??) or if my problem is mental (bored, depressed).

I know I'm getting stronger.  When I actually put some effort into running, my times are much better than those from two months ago.  But in general, I barely slug through my runs - if I even make it out the front door to start with.

Hoping this is all just breastfeeding/hormone related and will improve over the coming months as I wean and Isaac starts truly sleeping through the night.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Koi over Tengan River

This is a fun little Golden Week festival near Camp Courtney.  

Owen enjoying kakigori (shaved ice) 

Starting at the intersection of 224 and 75, the koinobori are hung over the Tengan River for about a quarter mile.  This afternoon, some ladies had a little snack stand set up with donuts and shaved ice.  Looks like this weekend will be the main matsuri (here's the flyer - sorry I couldn't find one in English.  But the main jist is this Saturday and Sunday from 2-5pm there'll be children's karate display, shishi dancing and some sort of singing show (not exactly sure what 尼謡 means).)