Monday, July 30, 2012

Okinawa Zoo

Our quick trip to the Okinawa Zoo (we came near closing time and I forgot our good camera):

Front gates

Map and museum

Riding with Dad

First horse ride

Turtle power!

Owen was having so much fun with the different rides - go karts, a train, horse back - and feeding the animals at the petting zoo.  I had heard from several different people that the zoo was sad, but I thought they all must be crazy, this place is great!

Then we got to the animals.


Yeah, that's pretty sad.


Hippos in a little pond

We'll probably go back to see the museum and water area, but I'm definitively skipping the animals next time.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

My Japanese bathroom - part 2

Because Owen woke up with a high fever this morning, we didn't try for the flight to Elmendorf, Alaska (I think it ended up being canceled, so maybe I saved us a trip).

Although I'm waiting to see how he feels this afternoon, I'm thinking our plans for today are doomed too (there's a festival in Kin Town with fireworks tonight).  Since we're staying home, I'll do the domestic thing and finally finish the second half of the bathroom post.

As I posted before in part 1, the typical Japanese house has separate rooms for the bath and the toilet.  In America, this would be counted as a half bath, but here it's bigger than some of the closet-sized water closets I've used.

Sink for hand washing
Our sink is a full sized sink and used primarily for hand washing.  Our tooth brushes and other toiletry items aren't stored or used in this room.  I've seen some sinks that are attached to the top of the toilet (the grey water is used for the next flush).  

And the best part of our bathroom: the amazing toilet!

The remote control
It has a heated seat, the lid automatically opens and closes, plus a bidet and washlet (with some sort of massage feature, not quite sure what the リズム (rhythm?) button does).  I was scared to use the water jets at first, now I'm in love with getting a mini-shower for that not so fresh feeling.  Definitely wished I had one of these when I was pregnant (could have avoided those awkward post-labor peri-bottles).

Another common feature that our toilet doesn't have is a handle with a big and little (大 and 小) flush feature to conserve water.

Slightly related, one of my favorite features about Japanese public toilets: the child seat!  I've seen several different styles, the one below is from the Okinawa Zoo.  Absolutely love not having to do the balance the baby while trying to pull up my pants dance routine.  

Baby seat in a bathroom stall

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Kurashiki Dam - 倉敷ダム

No flights today (well, there actually was one, but Kadena's AMC lied and said it was just going to Yokota when it was really headed to Yokota then Anchorage.  No real loss because they wouldn't have had enough open seats for we lowly cat 4's).  No flights means relaxation!

We started off with the plan of going to the water park this morning.  By the time I got everyone ready and out the door it was already 11:30 and I still needed to withdraw more yen.  Then I remembered the water park has a break from 12-12:30, I didn't have any extra swim diapers for Owen, and since we were near Kadena, I figured we'd just explore Kurashiki Dam instead.

Owen at the falls

The creek and picnic area
We didn't stay too long.  I forgot to bring the boys' water socks and the rocks were a little too slippery for them.  They had a great time and I'll definitely pack a picnic lunch when we go back.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Days 25-ish through 28

Okay, I can't read good and stuff.  My last post screwed the photo challenge up big time (skipped 20 and 21, mixed up 25, and 26 is HOT not HAT).  Anyways....

20: Soft (I love the clouds here on Oki!)
#25: Blogs I love
Fuck Yeah Dementia (do tumblrs count as blogs??)
Daily of the Day
Je te Vuex. N'arrete pas.
Fuck Yeah Grunge
Slate (I think this is more "digital magazine" than blog, oh well)

21: Music (Chris rockin the Rock Band a few years ago)
#26: An old photo

My mom in Paris, 1976

25: Long Exposure

#27: Favorite recipe

Chicken with creamy goat cheese sauce - this seems so fancy but it's pretty simple.  You can even tell people it's a seared chicken breast with a wine and chevre pan sauce topped with fresh herbs like a boss.

The new recipe below is a spin on a cosmopolitan.  The commissary had a new cranberry-blackberry juice blend, so I decided to use it in a cosmo recipe.  I think lemon juice tastes better than the usual lime with the blackberry juice, but here's my basic cosmo cocktail:

1 part vodka
1 part triple sec
1 part cran juice
1/2 part fresh lime juice

26: Hot (a sweaty Isaac napping in the car)
#28: I'm looking forward to...
Our trip!!  Although I'm really hoping we get to see Anchorage, however we get off this rock will be fine by me.  Put my ass on a plane - let's do this!

My 33rd birthday. My third Hood to Coast with my sister-in-law.  My brother is getting married - over the moon happy for them!  I keep saying this, but seriously, with every wedding and every new baby my family keeps getting more and more perfect.  On the way back to Oki, we're taking a vacation in Maui.

27: New Recipe (see above)

#29 Where I've traveled:
My grandfather passed down his wanderlust to us.  Growing up, he and my family were always going camping, hiking, fishing, and general exploring on his infamous "wild goose chases".  Obsidian flows - why not?  Devil's Punch Bowl - you bet!  I missed the entire OJ Simpson white Bronco chase because we were in the woods near Zion Canyon.  It wasn't unusual for us to skip the first or last two weeks of school because my family had a trip planned and wanted to avoid the summer rush.

So, where have I been?  All over Oregon - Crater Lake, Mt Hood, the coast from Astoria to Bandon, Hoodoo, Bend, Ontario, the Willamette Valley from Portland to Ashland, and just about everywhere in between.  Chris and I have also driven cross country three times - Oregon to NC, NC to Oregon and (with a 6 month old Owen) Oregon to Virginia.

Mt Rainer, Boise, Yellowstone, Seattle, Olympia, Mt St Helens, Vancouver BC, Grand Canyon, Las Vegas, Disneyland, San Francisco, Redwoods, Los Angeles, San Diego, Salt Lake City, St Louis, celebrated my 25th birthday in a small town called Whitesville in Kentucky, Smoky Mountains, Raleigh, Wilmington, Orlando, Disney World, Virginia Beach, Washington DC, Bullrun, Baltimore, Paris, Okinawa.

And maybe adding Fairbanks to that list on Sunday....

28:  Generations (My dad, Chris, and Owen)

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Days 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24 (sorta)

We started our space a adventure last weekend and it's already been hectic.  The last minute packing and cleaning, rushing off to make roll call, hauling two kids and a fair amount of luggage to the terminal - just to wait around for two hours and be told to go home.

So, getting caught up:

#19: I collect...
Race t-shirts.  I'm not one of those people who are into collecting tchotchkes.  We have shot glass from here and there, I pick up sea glass when we're at the beach.  For a while in Virginia, I kept the corks from wine bottles.  I never thought of something interesting to do with them, so they got chucked when we moved.  But other than that, collecting spoons or keychains or whatever just doesn't interest me.

19: From a distance (our neighborhood)

#20: A Difficult Time
After Owen was born, I struggled with postpartum anxiety.  I didn't fit the stereotype of feeling sad and crying all the time of postpartum depression, so I didn't think anything was wrong besides the expected new mom jitters.

The panicked feelings and obsessive thoughts grew worse and worse.  When Owen was about 9 months old, I felt like I was living in a horror movie.  I constantly imagined all the ways we could die at any given moment (the bridge we were driving on collapsing, a plane crashing into the house, a random attack).  Every time we got into the car I thought we were going to be in a major car accident (not that outlandish driving on I95 in Virginia).  It felt like there was evil in the house (silly things like ghosts and demons, but bad people like murders and rapists too).

I finally went back on antidepressants when Owen was about a year old.

22: High key*

#21: Favorite Foods

  1. Mac+cheese
  2. Diet Coke
  3. Sourdough bread (Corvallis's Big River Breads is delish!)
  4. Cheese (Alsea Acre goat cheese is one of my top picks)
  5. A perfectly cooked steak
  6. Vodka (especially in lemon drops)
  7. Starbuck's white chocolate peppermint mocha
  8. Kastudon 
  9. Bubble gum ice cream
  10. McMenamin's tator tots with ranch

23:  Favorite food

#22: Best Thing This Year!
Isaac turning one and walking

24: High angle

#23: Dream Job
Professional triathlete

25: Hat

#24: Favorite Childhood Book
Ice Cream Cone Coot (this page isn't in English, but there's several examples of the funky 70's illustrations in the book)

* I mixed up a couple of days, so 20 and 21 of the photo challenge will be up soon

Monday, July 23, 2012

McT Pool

The boys and I have been loving the local pool on Camp McTureous.  

I've heard of some jelly fish stings at the beach, even in the netted swimming area of Uken Beach.  So I've opted to keep the boys out of the ocean for now.

The pool is just big enough for Owen and Isaac to have fun while still being small enough for me to watch both of them at the same time.  If the weather stays nice this week (and we don't make a space a flight), Comprehensive Water Park is on our summer fun to-do list.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Days 15, 16, 17, 18

Fear: Recycled from this post

#16: Top Of My Bucket List
Finish an Ironman

Flowers: Recycled from this post

#17: My Proudest Moment
Finishing my first marathon.

The idea of running a marathon wasn't for my family or my husband or because someone told me to, it was something I wanted to do for myself.  I worked double and triple shifts to pay for the trip and race fees.  No one trained with me, no one went with me to Disney World (Chris was deployed to Iraq, my family couldn't afford the trip from Oregon, none of my friends wanted to go), and no one ran with me that day.

Bridge: Traveling from Okinawa World to Kokusai Street (on 329, I believe)

#18: My Blog Name
いきましょう (ikimasho) means let's go - our general attitude of exploring, trying new things and (trying to be) active while enjoying island life.  (The "oki-ok" part of the url was just me getting tired of trying to think of clever names that Blogger would accept.  Now I think it sounds like Okinawa-Oklahoma, but it's too late to think of something more catchy.)


Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Day 11 (finally!) My favorite things

1. Nike Tempo Shorts
I've been wearing these shorts since I started taking running seriously in about 2005.  I wish they had a zippered pocket for gu, but otherwise super comfy, really durable (I still have my original pair), and there's always new colors coming out.  And of course gotta support Nike because...

2. My Oregon Ducks
Pre lives!

3. Liquid liner
One of the top things I wish I could go back and tell my 20 year old self: use liquid eye liner.  It took me a couple weeks of practice to get the hang of it, but it looks and wears so much better than those crappy, smudgy pencils.

4. Cocktails
Again, 20 year old self, quit thinking the only thing you can mix at home is vodka and Squirt.  Get a lemon juicer (nothing like the fresh stuff - that's why McMenamin's drinks are always so good!), get a shaker, and FFS, simple sugar really is simple!

5. McMenamin's
Especially the Bagdad Theater - nothing like watching a movie with a slice of pizza, an adult beverage, and cheap public transit to take me home!

6. Grunge
I have my Pandora station set up to listen to awesome 90's music.  I can't tell if that makes me groovy like my parents when they'd break out the record player and put on Pink Floyd, The Doors, Led Zeppelin ect.  Or if I'm terminally uncool like those square parents who'd only allowed the Oldies radio station and complained about how Elvis was real music not like this rap crap you kids listen to these days.

7. Compression socks
They look goofy, but my pair from 2XU definitely help with recovery.  I'm thinking of splurging on a running pair for Hood to Coast

8.  My necklace from Aden Creations
I worked with the seller to create a custom necklace with little pearls and peridot crystals (the boys' birthstones).  It's so pretty and is the perfect "mom bling" without looking like that tacky Mother's Day crap from Walmart.

9. Starbucks

10. Target

11. Mac+cheese
Cracker Barrel's is one of my favorites, especially with strawberry on biscuits and a glass of Coke.  I don't know how I worked there and not weighed 400lb

12. Converse 
All-Stars, low top in navy

13. Paris
Our vacation was better than I ever imagined.  Can't wait to go back again.

14. Playing MarioKart

15. BOB jogging strollers

Monday, July 16, 2012

Bastille Day

We had a little family fun day last Friday for Bastille Day.  People celebrate St Patrick's as an excuse to drink Guinness and people celebrate Cinco de Mayo for the tequila, so why not Bastille Day for the champagne?  

I moved our Bastille Day bash to Friday the 13th because I thought we'd be at Emerald Beach for the big Ocean Day fireworks show (大会) on the 14th.  But we were just too busy cleaning and packing on Saturday to spend all day at a festival.  (And from what I heard from other families on Facebook, if you weren't at Ocean Expo Park by noon, traffic and parking were very ugly.)

After going all out for Isaac's birthday party, I wanted to keep everything as easy as possible.  I ordered a beret, an Eiffle Tower centerpiece and some fake mustaches when I bought Isaac's party supplies from Shindigz.  I only put up a few decorations, mainly just some streamers and a bunting I spent about 5 minutes printing and gluing to a string.

We started our party by making some art and looking at some paintings.  (I should have saved boxes to build a wall and have the boys storm it.  An idea for next year.)

Painting with the boys

For dinner, I baked a chicken, tried out a Dauphinois potatoes recipe, and set out some cheeses from the commissary.  The boys had sparking grape juice and we had some bubbly.  (Next year, I'll try some stores off base for better champagne and maybe a bakery, like this one or this one, for some real croissants.)  Dessert was a quick mille feuille (frozen fruit, store bought puff pastry and whip cream).

Dinner time

An Okinawan party crasher
We had fun being French and silly for the day

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Days 11, 12, 13

11: Veggie (goya (bitter melon) growing in a field near our house)
12: Color (Owen playing with some 4th of July decorations)
#12: Inside my fridge:
We have a small Japanese fridge (well, small by American standards, large by Japanese standards).  We can't do a lot of "stock up" shopping and since we're getting ready for a vacation, there really isn't much in there at the moment.  

btw, I never realized that storing eggs in the fridge is mostly an American thing.  The eggs here in Japan aren't put in the case by the milk and cheese, the cartons are stacked on a regular shelf.  I've heard refrigerating eggs (and cheese) is simply a cultural difference (plus Americans have big kitchens so we can afford to store eggs in the fridge), that American farmers wash some sort of protective coating from the eggs, and that Americans choose not to vaccinate hens against salmonella.  But whatever the reason for eggs in Japan being kept at room temperature, it must be working out: Japanese cuisine has no qualms about putting raw eggs in dishes.

13: Thirteen things (my finisher medals - technically 15 things)
#13: Earliest memory:
Visiting my baby brother in the hospital in March 1982 (I was about 2.5 years old).  I remember my uncle taking me and looking through a window to see my mom holding my brother (I'm guessing they were in a nursery). A nurse told me I wasn't allowed to go see my brother because kids have germs.  I was angry because adults have germs too but they get to visit!

14: Typography
#14: If I won the lottery:
First, I'd have a lawyer collect so that we'd remain anonymous (don't want a bunch of moochers and beggers to suddenly appear).  Then pay off our current debts (mostly our student loans), set up savings funds for the boys, set aside enough for a tummy tuck, and put the rest in some sort of retirement fund.  Maybe splurge on a vacation for our extended families (complete with babysitters!), maybe buy a new wedding ring.  But mainly just try to keep life as normal as possible.  We're comfortable, so no need to go apecrazy buying sharks with laser beams attached to their heads or anything like that.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Daily posts: 8, 9, 10

These are silly questions, so here they are in a bunch:

Photo Challenge 8: Close up (Kewpie Mayo bottle)

#8: What's in your handbag?
I generally don't use a purse.  I'm constantly losing things, so the less I have to get lost the better.  My diaper bag/purse is a backpack, much easier to grab and go.  I've got the usual wallet, cell phone, and keys, and usually some yen and dollars, iPod, a sweaty gym towel, diapers, wipes, breastfeeding cover, toddler snacks, sunscreen, and camera.

Photo Challenge 9: What I wore today

#9: My worst habit
Personally, I think I'm an annoying know-it-all (it physically bothers me to know something and not share (or more usually, see a mistake and just let the person go uncorrected)).  

I can also be a kaelling (as Cracked defined it: Their calls are unmistakable, from "Get your asses in this house" to "Clean up your fucking mess").

Photo Challenge 10: Technology (the toilet remote)

#10: My best physical feature:
Oddly, I had Isaac's OB compliment me on Owen's c-section scar.  He was seriously impressed by my first OB's technique and how I had healed, then said he was going to step up to the challenge (makes me wonder what he would have done if he thought the first scar was ugly or the other OB was sloppy?)

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Tanabata and yukata

While out running errands yesterday, we stopped off at Sun City, the outdoor mall on the corner of Gate 2 Street and 330, to do a little exploring.

Tanabata festival decorations

Wishes written by children

Most of the shops were older and we didn't find a place that looked good for lunch, but I spotted a rack of cheap yukata sets and decided to buy one.  The kimono shop was really cute.  I'll have to go back this fall to see if they have something for Owen's Shichi-Go-San.

Although I'm not sure when I'll get a chance to wear it, I'm still enjoying the practice.  Unfortunately, we'll miss most of the festivals by going back to Oregon this summer.  I also need more supplies (I didn't realize how much went into even the informal yukata, like the himo belts that keep the yukata in place under the obi).

At least my post-baby belly is good for something - I don't need to pad with extra towels to get the traditional silhouette.  Yatta!

Picture challenge: shoes I wore today

Day 7 of the blog challenge: pet peeves.  I'm a misanthrope who worked for years in retail, tech support and food service, then drove frequently in Virginia - I have too many to enumerate.  I'll let Indiocracy sum it up for me: "You think Einstein walked around thinkin' everyone was a bunch of dumb shits? Now you know why he built that bomb."

Friday, July 6, 2012

Okinawa World and Baku Craft Beer House

Last weekend we escaped the house and headed down to Naha.  Chris has been dying for something other than Orion beer.  I had heard of a small brewery in Okinawa World and good beer bar.  Finally, the weather and Chris's schedule aligned - AND the boys weren't sick or teething!  

Okinawa World entrance
Waterfall in the cave

Sampling Nanto Brewery's "dark"

For what it's worth, Chris thought the Nanto beers (the light, dark, and black) were a bit sweet, like a brown ale, and lacked hops.

Owen enjoying a drink made from sugar canes

Wishes written on paper for the tanabata festival

After Okinawa World, we had dinner at Baku Craft Beer House in Naha.  Baku is located just off Kokusai Street (the map on Baku's blog is a little small and confusing, but the bar is pretty easy to find.  We took 58 to the 42 and found a public parking garage on the intersection of the 42 and Kokusai Street (the 39).  The walk to Baku was just a few blocks)

Behind this gift shop...

Baku is on the second floor.

Although the pub was small, we practically had the place to ourselves.  The beer and food menus were in English (but a little katakana would be enough to figure out the tap board).  Chris was really happy with his beers (I can't remember what he ordered) and the food was delicious!  We especially loved the chicken basket - the fries were amazing and something in the batter reminded me of my grandmother's fried pork chops.  Definitely looking forward to going back soon.

Beers on tap
Baku also offered the Nanto beers on draft.

Some kegs from Oregon's Rogue brewery