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December 2017 | Issue 238

contents December 2017

24 Marines + Families 43 Holiday Cheer To help alleviate holiday stress and chase away yuletide blues, MCCS Okinawa will once again be offering many activities to make Okinawa “Your Home for the Holidays.”

47 Thank you! MCCS Education Centers and Marine and Family Programs-Resources would like to thank you for your support. To demonstrate their gratitude, they’ll be hosting their annual Home for the Holidays Customer Appreciation Week!

8 Features

Fitness + Fun

Out + About: Sapporo Snow Festival Experience a true winter wonderland in Japan on the Sapporo Snow & Ice Festival Tour.

Calling all Ballers Make your Martin Luther King Jr. holiday weekend an exciting one by competing in the largest and fiercest basketball tournament in the Pacific.


24 Season’s Greetings…from Okinawa! Although many stationed on island are far from home, snowy hillsides and familiar surroundings, Okinawa is a great place to spend the holidays just the same.



Dining + Entertainment

Restaurant Review: Istanbul Istanbul’s authentic Turkish menu offers several enticing options, even for vegetarians and vegans.



Oshôgatsu: Celebrating the New Year on Okinawa The dawn of the New Year is definitely a time for celebration. However, for many on Okinawa and in Japan, New Year’s is a time for quiet reflection and subdued celebration with the family.

Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Sale Looking for a present for a golfer or someone who's thinking of taking up the game?

35 Celebrate the Season… MCCS will be spreading some extra holiday cheer this year at the 24th Annual Courtney Christmas & Holiday Festival.

39 Deck the Halls Get ready to get jolly and enjoy a healthy dose of holiday cheer at Christmas celebrations in MCCS Clubs featuring contests, prize giveaways, food, music and more!

Kids + Parents 51 Brunch with Santa It’s the favorite time of the year for many kids— time to hear the hearty and joyous echoes of “ho-ho-ho!”

Services 55 A Gift…for Your Ride Tired of only having one FM option while stuck in rush hour traffic? Give yourself the gift of a new sound system for your ride!

Extras 5 Mensore

7 Feedback & Show Us!

69 Living on Okinawa

70 Marketplace Guide

72 MCCS News

DECEMBER 2017 | ISSUE 238 COMMANDING GENERAL MCIPAC Brigadier General Paul J. Rock Jr. ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF, MCCS, MCIPAC Edward S. Hutsell DEPUTY ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF BUSINESS & SUPPORT Michael S. Gieseck DEPUTY ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF MARINE & FAMILY Herbert F. Corn CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Jim Kassebaum EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mike Daley MCCS ART DIRECTOR Henry C. Ortega OKINAWA LIVING ART DIRECTOR Margie Shimabukuro GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Lisa Miyagi, Hector Nieves, Catherine Newquist, Jongeun Spencer EDITORIAL Amanda Carrasquillo DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Thomas Alan Smilie SOCIAL MEDIA Shelbie Thilmony PHOTOGRAPHER Roderica Mathis CULTURAL RESEARCH SPECIALIST Ayako Kawamitsu ADVERTISING SALES & SPONSORSHIP MANAGER Roy Forster ADVERTISING SALES & SPONSORSHIP Yoshihiro Shinzato, Yoriko Yamashiro, Angela Neal, Athena Garcia MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH MANAGER Andrew Menges MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH Ashley Herring, Kristen Wong, Secoya Holmes, Ashley Snipes, Allison Dixon DISTRIBUTION Kelli Kreider, Desiree Adams BROADCAST Kathlene Millette, Gabriel Archer, Emi Komiya

We welcome your comments. Please send letters to For advertising | 広告掲載のお問い合わせ (日本語可) 098-970-2245 (phone) | 098-970-0975 (fax) (e-mail)

mensôre “Welcome” to Okinawa Living

I resolve to… As the final month of 2017 winds down, a few of us may still be wrestling with New Year’s resolutions made the first day of this year. The vast majority of us have probably forgotten what they were in the first place. Most New Year’s resolutions are about improving oneself…many timeworn cliché resolutions often include quitting smoking, losing ten pounds of fat (or gaining ten pounds of muscle), getting out of debt, drinking less and spending more time with family. Others may include resolving to be a nicer person—holding the door open for strangers, smiling more often or increasing an annual CFC donation. While these resolutions are all worthwhile (especially the latter), why not be a bit more creative this year and resolve to do something meaningful AND fun? Being on a beautiful island, there are plenty of possibilities. How about resolving to overcome your fear of water and get scuba certified? The waters off the shores of Okinawa offer a spectacular world of wonderment. Resolving to get in shape and possibly lose some weight? Rent a sea kayak or SUP and explore the island’s magnificent waters from above while burning calories and having a blast racing with a friend. Looking for something a bit less strenuous, but just as worthwhile? How about resolving to learn enough Japanese to say “hello” and “thank you” to the nice old Okinawan lady that rakes the leaves and cleans up the trash in the local park your children play in every afternoon? Okinawa offers plenty of opportunity to enrich and improve ourselves both inside and out. Be it climbing a small mountain, visiting all four populated Kerama Islands or even sampling every flavor available at Blue Seal Ice Cream (although it would be a stretch trying to justify this as a viable resolution). All jokes aside, this year I resolve to “stop and smell the roses” more—to use each moment of the coming year wisely and savor each of them like a heaping spoonful of the aforementioned Blue Seal Ice Cream…preferably Strawberry Cheesecake. As always, we thank you for picking up this issue of Okinawa Living Magazine, now time to turn the page and let your journey begin! 

See our advertising rates at MCCS MARKETING BRANCH MCB Camp S.D. Butler. Unit 35023, FPO AP 96378-5023

Mike Daley Editor-In-Chief


Okinawa Living is published by MCCS Marketing. Its purpose is to inform the military and civilian community about events and programs offered by MCCS or available in the local market. Dates and times may change. Copyright ©2017 by MCCS. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transferred in any form, by any means, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without written permission of the copyright owner. No federal or Marine Corps endorsement of advertisers and sponsors. MCCS is not responsible for editing content of non-MCCS ads. Okinawa Living Magazine is printed with

Take us on the road Enjoy Okinawa Living Magazine on your favorite mobile device! Visit for the latest issue. Also, visit to see back issues of the magazine as well as Okinawa Spotlight.



from the ICE Program and Facebook

Michael [Johnson] at Courtney Typhoon Motors helped me pick out and install a new stereo for my car. He knew all about the features and abilities of each item, and I was able to make a good choice! Having a stereo that syncs with my phone is helpful and I didn't even know what that was before! He also was able to get it installed the same day! Thank you for employing such great staff! –via ICE Love the Liberty app. Is it possible to add alarms for TCCOR changes? Something the user can toggle on or off in settings? –via Liberty App Feedback

#okilivingmag Show Us!


The Chinese poet Li Bai toasting to the moon at Fukushuen Gardens. #fukushuengarden #okinawa #picoftheday #instatravel #instagramjapan #travelgram #instagramokinawa #gardens #okilivingmag #okibucketlist

This is a great idea and others have requested similar features. I’ll be sure to add this to our ongoing list of feature addition requests. Thank you again for your feedback. We value your thoughts on the app and we hope you continue using it and providing feedback. Also, please tell others and help spread the word. The more people we have using the app, the more great ideas and feedback like yours we’ll receive, enabling us to continue to make the app better.


The typhoon has passed! It was pretty exciting for these California girls, who have never seen real weather before, but we’re happy to be able to get back outside and explore our new island home. #almostfearless #adventurewithkids #familyadventures #okilivingmag #littlefierceones #militaryfamily #growingtogether #shootandexplore

My husband and I enjoyed Okinapa. I feel the quality of the food was the best I'd had at Butler, and we go there for many holidays and special events. My only suggestion was issues with space. It was very crowded and loud. I know finding space is an issue on Okinawa for an event of that size, but it was often hard to get wine and we had to eat standing up due to lack of table space. Small complaint compared to the many positives though! I really appreciate the efforts of the staff of MCCS and all the great events for military personnel throughout the year. –via Okinapa event survey I'm trying to set up a financial literacy class for E-5s and below during Command Indoctrination and was wondering if that's something I can schedule. Will I have to wait for a class to be scheduled by MCCS and have them sign up for it when it becomes available? –via ASK MCCS Our Marine and Family Programs-Resources program offers a wide variety of courses under the umbrella of Personal Financial Management (PFM). We recommend contacting your campspecific office to inquire and arrange for the type of class you would like your Marines to receive. For a general listing of upcoming classes, go to the PFM homepage at There are many tabs with further external resources for you to browse so you can assess what you think would benefit your Marines most in a class provided by an MCCS personal finance employee.


Sunset and the crescent moon over the American Village. We were out exploring the area, and I was struck by the Ferris wheel in the distance. Something so familiar in a place full of novelty. It was my first glimpse of the American Village. #learnliveadventure #newexperiences #okinawajapan #americanvillage #sunsets #okilivingmag

Give MCCS Feedback—ICE Program & Facebook Let us know how we can better serve you or thank us for a job well-done. Go to and click on the ICE link at the bottom of the homepage or find us on Facebook to share feedback. Comments on this page may be edited for clarity or length.




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Calling All Ballers MLK Pacific-Wide Basketball Tournament men’s team and Okinawa Storm women’s team—on as a spectator, this tournament is not to be missed. The tournament will kick off January 10 at the Camp Foster Fieldhouse and will continue through January 15. Games begin at 6 p.m. January 10–12 and at 9 a.m. January 13–15. The tournament format will be a single round robin followed by double elimination with awards for first, second and third place teams. Awards will also be given to the All-Tournament Team, AllTournament Coaches and MVPs. A 3-point shootout, skills challenge and dunk contest

will feature individual talents. Great prizes will include overnight stays for two with breakfast at Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo-Hotel and Okinawa Grand Mer Resort, sporting equipment courtesy of BSN Sports and much more. The tournament is open to participants Pacific-wide. Register by 1 p.m. on January 2 at any MCCS Fitness Center for $275 per team. For more information on the 2018 Martin Luther King Jr. Pacific-wide Basketball Tournament, contact MCCS Semper Fit Athletics at 645-3521 or visit 


Make your Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday weekend an exciting one by competing in the largest and fiercest basketball tournament in the Pacific. This Pacific-wide tournament, which has been hosted by Camp Foster for over 20 years, will bring out the best female and male basketball teams and some of the most talented players from Okinawa, mainland Japan and beyond. Whether you’re tossing nolook alley-oop passes, showing off your patented ankle-breaker crossover, racking up double-digit rebounds or cheering last year’s winners—Kadena’s Shake n’ Bake


Tip from Taiyo

Scrambling for Ham… …at Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Ham Scramble

Like golf? Feeling like a ham? Then enter the Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Ham Scramble on December 9! The entry fee is $30 per player and participants must register by December 6. This event will be a four-person scramble played with 10 percent of the team’s combined handicap. What is a four-person scramble you ask? Team players will hit from the tee and the best shot will be selected. The players will then play the next shot from the position of the selected ball, placing each ball within 12 inches of where the selected ball lies (no closer to the pin). This procedure is continued until the completion of each hole. Make sense? Winning teams will win great prizes, which of course will include a ham! The Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Ham Scramble will be a tee time event. Green and cart fees are not included in the entry fee. For more information on the event, call 622-2004 (098-954-2004) or visit Taiyo Golf Club online at 

Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Sale


Tidings of Joy from Taiyo G.C. Looking for a present for a golfer or someone who’s thinking of taking up the game? How about picking up a new driver, putter or golf bag from the Taiyo Golf Club Pro Shop? Everything in the store will be on sale until December 25. In addition, all items in the store will be at least 10% off with selected items up to 40% off! For more information on the Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Sale, call 622-2004. Visit the Taiyo Golf Club at 

Brought to you by Todd Toohey, PGA Professional and Taiyo Golf Club Manager “Many golfers have a much better practice swing than the one they use to play actual shots. Usually, this is because during the practice swing they swing smoothly, using the ‘feel mode’ since there is no ball to look at. But when they address the ball, they lock-on to the ball, mentally switch to ‘visual mode’ and everything changes. Better players are able to stay in the ‘feel mode,’ even during their actual shots on the course. The next time that you’re practicing, check which mode you’re in by closing your eyes and playing a shot. This drill can be a real eye-opener!” 



Dare Ya! Distance Dare Relay Think you and your friends are the strongest and fastest in the pool? Prove it at MCCS Aquatics’ Distance Dare Relays on December 9 at the Schwab 50M Pool and December 16 at the Hansen 50M Pool. Both events are from 7:15 to 10:15 a.m. Sign up your four-person swim team and compete in these exciting, exhilarating and (best of all) FREE two-hour relay races. Each teammate will swim 400 meters at a time in a predetermined order until the two hours are up. The team that swims the longest distance wins! Awards will be given to the top three finishing teams. For the Schwab event, registration will be accepted until December 7 at the Schwab 50M Pool. Walk-in registrations will be accepted until 7:45 a.m. the day of the event (December 9) if openings are still available. For the Hansen event, registration will be accepted until December 14 at the Hansen 50M Pool. Walk-in registrations will be accepted until 7:45 a.m. the day of the event (December 16) if openings are still available. Registration is limited to the first 16 teams. For details on the Schwab Distance Dare Relay, call 625-2024. For more information on the Hansen event, call 623-4944. Visit MCCS Aquatics online at 

Saturday Swim Meets


Swimming into the Holidays Got the pre-holiday doldrums from shopping and party planning? What better way to temper holiday season stress than competing in a swimming competition? A swim meet will be held at the Foster 50M Pool Saturday, December 16 starting at 6 a.m. There will be a variety of events, such as the 400M Freestyle, 100M Individual Medley and many more. Awards will be given to the top eight finishers in each age group by gender in individual events. Age groups include: 8 and under, 9–10, 11–12, 13–14, 15–18, 19–29, 30–39, 40–49, 50–59 and 60 and over. Participants can enter up to three individual events. The best thing? It’s FREE! The entry deadline is December 3. Register by sending an e-mail to For more information, visit 



Number One HITT! Home for the Holidays HITT Challenge From December 1 to the 31st, beginning at 11:30 a.m. on select camps, you’ll be given the opportunity to be the (one) HITT Wonder of your camp by competing for the title of MCCS Semper Fit Holiday HITT Champion! Prizes and bragging rights will be awarded to first, second and third place winners. Interested in competing? Contact your camp’s MCCS Semper Fit Health Promotion Fitness Coordinator to sign up and a complete schedule. For more information, please contact MCCS Health Promotion at 645-3910. Visit them online at mccsokinawa. com/healthpromotion. 

De-Stress in December


Ahhh…what a Relief! It’s easy to feel stressed over the holiday season, but don’t let it get to you this year. Find the relief you need in exercise, one of the most effective stress-busters. Need some motivation? Challenge yourself and work out better than you ever have in a group fitness class. MCCS Health Promotion offers several different options at staffed MCCS Fitness Centers, so you can find what works best for you! Also, December 1 through 29, an entry ticket for a chance to win in a weekly drawing will be given to those who attend a group fitness class. For more information, call 645-3910 or visit healthpromotion. 

Yule Log

12 Days of Christmas Food Log Challenge

This holiday season doesn’t have to include a few extra pounds. In fact, something as simple as logging what you eat and drink can keep you from gaining weight. It can help you lose weight too! Not sure where to start? Join MCCS Health Promotion’s 12 Days of Christmas Food Log Challenge! Participants will receive a log to record food and beverage intake, sleep and exercise for 12 days. The log will also include 12 goals. Simply completing the log will give you one

entry into a prize giveaway! For every goal achieved, you’ll receive an extra entry! When the 12 days are over, you must submit your log to Health Promotion. This challenge can be done using your own preferred tracker or one provided to you. The challenge begins on December 1 and ends December 12. For more information, please contact MCCS Health Promotion at 645-3910 or visit mccsokinawa. com/healthpromotion. 



Scuba Holiday Extravaganza


Find the Perfect Gift for the Diver or Snorkeler in your Life ‘Tis the season for shopping and gift-giving, and Tsunami Scuba is going to help you save some hardearned bucks this year while doing so. Chances are you have a friend, coworker or family member who’s either already an avid diver or snorkeler, or aspires to be one on this gorgeous island. Perhaps you fit into this category and should start dropping some hints about the underwater toys you hope to see under the tree this year. Either way, you better get them during Tsunami Scuba’s phenomenal Holiday Extravaganza December 1–4, 8–11 and 15–18 in stores island-wide. Everything will be at least 10% off. From regulators, underwater cameras, masks, fins, dive computers and much more—you’ll probably buy a few things for yourself as a reward for being such a great Claus. For more details, call 645-4206 or visit tsunamiscuba or 



“It’s the most wonderful time of the year…”


So goes the classic holiday song by Andy Williams. Although the song is quite old, for many these lyrics still ring true. The holiday season brings tidings of joy to many hearts—especially those that are young or young-at-heart. Even though many stationed on island are far from home, snowy hillsides and familiar surroundings, Okinawa is a great place to spend the holidays just the same. Twinkling lights and Christmas carols are not uncommon on Okinawa; they can be seen and heard at many local department stores and shopping areas just like in the U.S. And, just like back home, most of the decorations are meant more for putting consumers in a festive (and more importantly buying) mood. However, the people of Okinawa and Japan love a festival, and Christmas coincides with many gift-giving end-of-the-year events that many here traditionally celebrate anyway.


Christmas Lights Today, many in Japan spend (in some cases inordinate amounts of) money on their own holiday décor—putting up lights and decorating trees in competition with neighbors. Even more engage in gift-giving, especially families with children. On Okinawa, holiday illumination displays are especially exorbitant events. The U.S. military community that has long resided on Okinawa has exerted a heavy influence on this phenomenon. These displays can range from impossibly long strings of blinking bulbs wrapped around department stores and palm trees to displays of literally over a million lights decorating a whole resort hotel or theme park. During the holiday season (and in some cases far beyond it), several areas and resorts on Okinawa have become well known for their light displays—making them perfect places to get into the holiday mood with family or friends. Okinawa Denryoku (The Okinawa Electric Power Company) even sponsors a holiday illumination contest that grows larger and larger each year. However, even though some of these displays can almost turn night into day, they pale in comparison to holiday light displays held in places such as American Village in Mihama, Southeast Botanical Gardens in Okinawa City, Itoman City’s Peaceful Illumination (featuring 1.4 million lights), several resort hotels (e.g., Kanucha Resort, Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort and ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort), as well as many restaurants and department stores.

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Christmas… Japanese-Style A Bit of History Spanish and Portuguese missionaries first introduced Christmas to Japan during the 16th century. At the time, celebrations were restricted to private secular schools and churches and these events remained religious in nature. It wasn’t until 1875, when Japanese children were introduced to Santa Claus, that the nature of the celebrations changed. Santakurosu, a book about Santa Claus that was published in 1898, then presented a popular bribe that’s still used by parents around the world today. In the book, “Father Christmas” would give presents to children who were well behaved and did well in school. During the early 20th century, Japan began to adopt some of the more modern and commercial holiday activities that are now commonplace. During the Taisho period (1912–1926), many holiday decorations and toys were made in Japanese factories. During these days, countless artificial Christmas trees were emblazoned with a tag saying “Made in Japan.” After WWII, occupied Japan became a major source of commercial Christmas items and toys; a real-life Santa’s workshop until Hong Kong and Taiwan became prolific at exporting such goods.


Although many a child awakens joyously Christmas morning to shred the wrapping paper off their gift in Japan, several festivities happen before December 25. In mainland Japan, many throng to theme parks such as Universal Studios Japan, Disneyland or Disney Sea to celebrate the holiday with their favorite character. Also, “eve-no-yoru,” or Christmas Eve, is still considered a romantic holiday for couples in Japan. During the 1990s, Christmas was made into something similar to Valentine’s Day— mostly due to hugely popular television dramas. Christmas became a time when the unmarried expressed their intentions, gave flowers and other small gifts—or otherwise bemoaned the fact they didn’t have a date for Christmas Eve. Fancy restaurants and romantic getaway hotels were often booked to the gills at that time of year. This still holds true today. Japanese Christmas cuisine is also a bit unique. Although turkey and ham are popular yuletide menu items in the West, Christmas cakes are a favorite holiday tradition in Japan. Bakeries nationwide feature all sorts of confections—ranging from round cakes sporting edible Santa figurines and confections created to resemble the traditional yule logs to elaborately decorated ice cream cakes and more. It's believed that this tradition began during post-WWII occupation, when many of the more “well-to-do” purchased buttercream sponge cakes from Western-style restaurants and bakeries for the holidays. Cooking a whole turkey is highly unusual in Japan, since few Japanese homes have a fullsize oven. Fried chicken is the popular alternative and Christmas Eve brings booming business to Kentucky Fried Chicken in Japan. Teriyaki chicken, pizza and hamburgers are other popular alternatives. As the time to trim the tree, deck the halls, send Christmas cards and start baking cookies approaches, remember that the festive spirit is shared by many on Okinawa and in Japan. Make your holiday extra-special by sharing beloved traditions with new friends. 



Celebrate the Season…


…at the Courtney Christmas & Holiday Festival MCCS will be spreading some extra holiday cheer this year as they present the 24th Annual Courtney Christmas & Holiday Festival. This FREE event is geared to all ages and will provide plenty of merriment for everyone this holiday season. This year’s festival is scheduled for December 9 and 10 from 1 to 9 p.m. both days on Camp Courtney near the Commissary/Exchange complex. This year’s fest will offer many favorite attractions—including Fun Land, FREE live entertainment and game booths. Also, there will be delicious cultural foods and American favorites, such as Bulldogs Burgers, pizza and Hickory House All-American BBQ. Refreshing adult beverages will be served by Kanpai Lounge. In Santa’s House, kids can meet with the jolly one, have their picture taken, share

their gift wishes and receive a present. This year’s entertainment will include a FREE live performance by American alternative rock sensation Third Eye Blind on Saturday, December 9 at 7 p.m. Third Eye Blind is known worldwide for chart-toppers such as “Semi-Charmed Life,” “Jumper” and “How’s it Going to Be.” Their self-titled album, Third Eye Blind, sold 6 million copies in the United States alone. Additionally, a holiday-themed laser light show will take place on Sunday at 8:10 p.m. Many lucky festival-goers will leave the fest with an early Christmas gift! There will be many prizes available for lucky winners— including toys and more from event sponsors Mattel, Red Lobster, Nago Pineapple Park, BAE Systems, GEICO and Sheraton

Okinawa Sunmarina Resort. Make your holidays holly and jolly this year at Courtney Christmas & Holiday Festival. Admission to the festival is FREE and open to all SOFA ID card holders and Japanese. Please be prepared to show a photo ID at the gate. No one will be admitted with pets, bottles, outside alcohol or coolers. Please be responsible; don’t drink and drive. Both taxi and daiko services will be available. All patrons must park in the designated parking area and walk to the festival grounds via the main Exchange/Commissary gate (Gate 12). For more information, call 645-5828 or visit MCCS Festivals & Special Events online at or mccsokinawa.diningandentertainment. 



A Festive Holiday Spread…to Go!


Let the MCCS Chefs do the Yuletide Cooking for You Ah, Christmas dinner…a delightful traditional spread of turkey, ham and all the trimmings. Don’t you wish you could fastforward through all the tedious preparation and go straight to the eating part? Well, that delicious and seemingly too-good-to-be-true proposition is possible with Holiday MealsTo-Go from an MCCS Club or Restaurant. Patrons can order just a turkey or ham, complete packages for a full meal or just a few extra side dishes to add to the rest of a meal. Available traditional packages include Classic 18-20 lb. Turkey Package (serves 15-20) for $125, Deluxe 9 lb. Ham Package (serves 10-14) for $100 and the Holiday Feast Combination Package for $215 (serves

28-30 and comes with both a 9 lb. ham and 18-20 lb. turkey). All packages come with holiday sides, which include traditional herbseasoned bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, seasoned green beans, turkey gravy and a choice of pumpkin, pecan or apple pie. All items are, of course, available a la carte. This year, you can also enjoy a Hickory Holiday in the form of smoked beef brisket ($150 for a large serving that feeds 10–12 and $125 for a small serving for 8–10 people), as well as smoked boneless pork butt (serves 8–10) for only $120. These packages come with coleslaw, BBQ sauce, baked macaroni and cheese au gratin and a choice of

pumpkin, pecan or apple pie. Holiday Meals-To-Go orders can be placed 5 days prior to the desired pick-up date and paid in full 2 business days prior to pick-up. Order times are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. All arrangements must be made with the club where the packages will be picked up. Participating clubs include Surfside on Camp Kinser (637-3137), Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster (645-3666), Tengan Castle on Camp Courtney (622-9413) and The Palms on Camp Hansen (623-4375). For more information, visit 



Deck the Halls Celebrate the Holidays at an MCCS Club Get ready to get jolly and enjoy a healthy dose of holiday cheer at Christmas celebrations in MCCS Clubs featuring contests, prize giveaways, food, music and more! The BeachHead on Camp Schwab and The Palms on Camp Hansen will be having pre-Christmas parties December 23. BeachHead’s party starts at 8 p.m. and runs until 1 a.m. and The Palms Pre-Christmas Bash goes from 6 p.m. to 2 a.m. On Camp Courtney, the festivities begin early with Winter Wonderland at Legends

Officers’ Club December 15 from 6 p.m. to midnight. Hashmarks SNCO Club will throw a “Deck the Halls’” Party December 22 from 6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m. and the Bayview Enlisted Club will hold a Holiday Celebration December 23 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. On Camp Foster, the Globe & Anchor Enlisted Club, located inside Ocean Breeze, will have an Ugly Sweater Contest December 23 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. Chesty’s SNCO Lounge, also located in Ocean Breeze, will have a Holiday Celebration December 23

from 8 p.m. to 1 a.m. Down south on Camp Kinser, the Surfside will be having Christmas Eve Celebrations in both the Enlisted (9 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and SNCO (5 p.m. to midnight) Lounges. On Christmas Day, the Enlisted Lounge will throw a Christmas Day Celebration. For more information on any of these events, call the nearest participating facility or visit 

New Year’s at the Clubs


Ring in the New Year! Countdown to 2018 with MCCS Clubs on December 31 and start the New Year with a bang! There are several great options for an unforgettable New Year’s Eve. Some choices include complimentary hors d’oeuvres, music played by a DJ, prizes and a champagne toast at midnight. One of these exciting selections is the perfect place to bring your friends and make a grand ending to a new beginning! The Landing Zone at BeachHead is your New Year’s Eve party headquarters for Camp Schwab. The Landing Zone will be open from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. Bayview on Camp Courtney will be celebrating from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. as well. On Camp Courtney, there will be a party (6 p.m. to 12:30 a.m.) in the SNCO Lounge in Hashmarks too. Both the SNCO Lounge and Enlisted Lounge in The Palms on Camp Hansen will be open and ready to party from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. Camp Foster will have three places for you to ring in the New Year. Both Globe & Anchor (9 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and Chesty’s (8 p.m. to 2 a.m.) at Ocean Breeze will be open. Butler Officers’ Club will be partying from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. On MCAS Futenma, there will be two choices. One is the Enlisted Lounge in Thirsty’s (7 p.m. to 2 a.m.) and the other is the SNCO Lounge in Habu Pit (6 p.m. to 1 a.m.). On Camp Kinser, the Harbor Lounge at Surfside will be open from 8 p.m. to 2 a.m. The hardest decision of 2017 may be which club to go to. Even so, now’s the time to decide! Get ready for 2018 with a night you’ll never forget! Enjoy the celebrations responsibly. For more information, call the nearest participating club or visit  DECEMBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 39


Istanbul True Turkish Delights By Amanda Carrasquillo, Photography by Roderica Mathis Hours of Operation 11 a.m.–9 p.m. Closed Thursdays. Phone Number 098-936-1218 Payment ¥, $, Debit Card Directions: Exit Kadena Gate 1 and turn left onto Route 58. Turn right at the very first stoplight. Take another right at the third stoplight. Head straight and you’ll see Istanbul Kebab House on your left.

Enter Istanbul Kebab House, located in the Miyagi district of Chatan near Sunabe Seawall, and you’ll feel like you’re stepping into a friendly neighbor’s home. The various knick-knacks that decorate the royal blue and white walls, as well as a few shelves, make you feel as though you’ve been welcomed into someone’s dining room. The tables are covered with red paisley tablecloths and matched with inviting wooden chairs that are accented by a charming pillow. Adorable little baskets add to the hominess and hold silverware on each table. Vibrantly colored hookahs align the windowsills and, if you go for lunch, make a nice touch to the daylight peeking through the white curtains. Istanbul’s authentic Turkish menu offers several enticing options, even for vegetarians and vegans. Many of the selections are a variation of kebab. In fact, the döner kebab is the most popular dish. It can be made from beef, lamb or chicken and is served with rice, fries and a small salad. The meal is a complex combination of 15 ingredients, seven of which are spices. Once you try the intricate blend of flavors, you’ll understand why it’s such a crowd-pleaser. Try it with a dinner set (¥1,500), which includes a kebab entrée, soup and

either a soft drink or delicious Turkish tea! Another beloved dish is the köfte (Turkish meatballs made out of lamb). Order this and you’ll receive a generous plate of thick, cylinder-shaped patties accompanied by rice and fries. The meat is juicy and seasoned to a distinct and scrumptious taste. It’s a great choice if you’re looking to gorge. For you vegetarians and vegans, some delectable menu items are the hummus (chickpea paste), falafel (fried chickpea paste), yaprak sarama (stuffed grape leaves), lentil soup and coban salad. Said items are 100 percent vegan and they all come with bread. It’s definitely recommended to try the babagnus (eggplant paste) as well, but make sure to ask for the vegan version if you need to (it’s vegetarian). Also, the staff is more than willing to alter any menu items that usually include animal products. How awesome is that? After all, it’s quite a struggle to find a good place to eat in a country where plant-based diets are relatively uncommon. Istanbul Kebab House is sure to become one of your favorite restaurants. It’s the ideal spot if you’re looking to relax and have a good meal. Also, the food will have you craving it every time your stomach growls!  DECEMBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 41


Holiday Cheer Your Home for the Holidays 2017 The winter holidays, as merry as they can be, can also mean busy schedules, party planning (and execution), shopping, tension, financial uncertainty and a fair amount of stress. In addition, unfamiliar surroundings only compound it. Traditionally, the holidays are about sharing good times and festive meals with loved ones. However, for someone living a thousand miles away from family and friends, as well as familiar sights and sounds of home, the holidays can seem to be tinged a very different shade. Holiday blues, the feelings of loss or sadness that some experience during the holiday season, most often strike when people are away from those that they love. Finances can be another source of stress. Overspending during the holidays can increase tensions as people try to make ends meet while ensuring that everyone on their gift list is “happy.” Physical demands, such as the strain of actual shopping and wrapping, attending social gatherings and preparing holiday meals can wipe people out. Feeling exhausted increases stress, creating a vicious cycle.

To help ease the strain of the holidays and chase away those blues, MCCS Okinawa will once again be offering many activities to make Okinawa “Your Home for the Holidays.” Events include activities promoting healthy stress-free living, FREE athletic tournaments for Marines and Sailors, FREE events and food at SMP centers throughout the holiday season and much, much more. Many family-friendly events will also be featured, such as Christmas-themed Family Fun Nights with Santa and the 24th Annual Courtney Christmas & Holiday Festival at Camp Courtney’s Commissary/Exchange Complex Dec 9-10 from 1 to 9 p.m. both days. This year’s festival will feature a FREE live performance by American alternative rockers Third Eye Blind and a holiday-themed laser light show. Check out for a full listing of 2017 Your Home for the Holidays offerings island-wide and take advantage of these FREE events, entertainment and more to make your holiday season on Okinawa a merry one.  DECEMBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 43


Go Federal! Federal Government Employment Workshop The federal government is the largest single employer in the United States. Even so, applying for federal employment can be a daunting task. This is because the federal application process requires different techniques and rules than the private sector. Many let the differences create an illusion that the process is way more complicated than it actually is. However, all you need is a little guidance to realize that there’s no need to get discouraged and that there’s plenty of opportunities. Marine and Family Programs-Resources is ready to help demystify the process of applying for federal employment. Attend a Federal Government Employment Workshop and you’ll gain an edge in the hiring process. Experts will navigate you through the application process, resume formats and required documents. They’ll also teach you how to align your skills with the job qualifications. For more information, such as class times and locations, visit 

Money, Money, Money!


Money Management Imagine not having that anxious feeling when checking your bank balance. With the right education, you can learn how to beat financial anxiety! Marine and Family Programs-Resources is providing the training you need to get on top of your finances and find confidence in your choices with their Money Management Workshop. This handson workshop will enable you to prepare a financial statement, develop a budget, establish a savings plan and build/rebuild a good credit record. Don’t wait to get started on improving your finances. This is an opportunity that can vastly improve your life! It’s never too late or too early to learn! Plus, what could go wrong with getting rid of financial anxiety and taking control of your finances? Attendees must bring bank/investment statements, statements of debt/obligation and a current LES to class. For more information or to register, call your nearest MFP-R center or visit 

The Power of Tea Attend a Green Tea Seminar In Japan, the power of green tea is strongly believed in. Thus, it’s often the drink of choice and has been for centuries. However, in Japan green tea is more than just a beverage. It’s a custom that’s intertwined into the fabric of Japanese life. Think of the tea ceremony, for example, where green tea is the central element to an important ritual. Aside from tradition, green tea is valued for its health benefits. It’s loaded with Vitamin C and other

antioxidants, so it’s understandable why it’s such a go-to drink. Green tea is often favored first thing in the morning, when catching a cold, to serve guests and more. Thus, it’s a drink that you should consider including into your everyday life. Learn more about the history, benefits and how to prepare Japanese green tea at the Green Tea Seminar offered by Marine and Family Programs-Resources. For more information, visit  DECEMBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 45


Thank You! Customer Appreciation Week MCCS Education Centers and Marine and Family Programs-Resources would like to thank you for your support. They wouldn’t be successful without you! To demonstrate their gratitude, they’ll be hosting their annual Home for the Holidays Customer Appreciation Week! Make sure to stop by and have some Christmas-themed fun! Enjoy hot cocoa and take a picture in a large holiday frame at any MCCS Education Center December 18 through 22 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. There will also be a chance to win a prize if you play Poke-A-Christmas Tree! On December 22, there will be FREE cookies and a prize giveaway of a $25 MCCS gift certificate! Additionally, light refreshments will be provided from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Personal & Professional Development-Resources offices on December 7 (Camp Foster), 8 (Camps Courtney and Hansen) and 15 (Camps Kinser and Schwab). For more information, visit or call 645-7160/3486. 

New PCS Flowcharts


Available to Assist in the Relocation Process to Okinawa! Relocating to any new duty station is inherently stressful, complex and often times enormously frustrating. During a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move, Marines and their family members are often bombarded with seemingly endless items that need to be completed before, during and after the move. Well, things have just gotten easier! Marine and Family Programs-Resources has developed accompanied and unaccompanied PCS Flowcharts. The flowcharts break down each of the major processes involved in relocating and so ease the stress on Marines, Sailors and their families coming to Okinawa. The flowcharts are divided into different timeframes, starting from greater than six months to arrival. The specific processes are listed for each timeframe. The flowcharts are set up in an easy step-by-step diagram, which includes all the

links and resources needed to successfully complete each of the mandated processes. The major processes covered are the medical overseas screening, area clearance, pet importation, financial planning worksheets, housing and several others. PCS Flowcharts provide valuable sponsorship resource tools that enable the sponsor to better assist incoming Marines and Sailors. Also, the flowcharts assist incoming Marines and Sailors with completing the major relocation processes needed for a successful relocation to Okinawa. The flowcharts can be downloaded from the electronic MCCS Welcome Aboard Package at When on the site, go under the “PCS Checklist” tab or request to have it sent by sending an e-mail to  DECEMBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 47



‘Tis the Season…to Explore Okinawa! Enjoy the holiday season on Okinawa with a tour to stroll among Christmas lights, take delight in a Polynesian dinner show and go to the circus. On December 2, give yourself a welcome relief from shopping and wrapping presents and dine on something exotic. Enjoy flavorful Pan Pacific foods and World Dinner Buffet at the opulent Renaissance Okinawa Resort’s Sailfish Café while watching the dancers showcase unique Polynesian cultural dances. The Polynesian Dinner Show Tour runs from 4:30 to 8:30 p.m. Admission for adults is $73, $40 for children (6–11), $28 for children (3–5) and FREE for children under 2. Beginning December 16, join Tours+ as they experience Japan’s oldest and most famous circus—the Kinoshita Circus! Marvel over the “Miracle Wild White Lions,” “Artistic Spectacle of the Double Flying Trapeze,” the “Sliding Tightrope,” the “Russian Aerial Acro-

batic Trapeze,” the “Death Defying Motorcycle Globe,” wacky clowns and much more! Tour dates are December 16 (9 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), December 23 (8 a.m. to 1:30 p.m.) and December 29 (1:30 to 7 p.m.). Tour prices are $45 for adults, $28 for children (3–14) and FREE for kids under 3 (no seat). On December 22 from 4:30 to 9:30 p.m., have an unforgettable meal at Taiyo Steakhouse followed by a stroll through a sea of lights that are sure to take your breath away on the Southeast Botanical Garden Illumination and Dinner Tour. The price for adults is $72. Prices for children are $69 (15–17), $57 (12–14), $29 (6–11), $24 (4–5) and FREE for children under 3 (no meal). Bring yen for spending. For more information on any of these tours, call 646-3502. For a complete listing of December tours, visit



Brunch with Santa


Have Brunch with the Jolly One! Countless people have precious memories of seeing Santa Claus embedded in their hearts. As Christmas draws closer and closer, adults often reminisce about the restlessness that would intertwine with their holiday spirit as they approached the jolly old man with the white beard and red suit. For many, it was the most nerve-racking moment of the year. The cheery “ho-ho-ho” always seemed to echo as everyone fidgeted with nervousness. However, despite having to fight with anxiousness during the wait, it was always worth it. Sitting on Santa’s lap and hearing his hearty laugh are often some of

the happiest times of one’s life. Tengan Castle on Camp Courtney and Butler Officers’ Club on Camp Foster are providing the opportunity to not only meet with Santa, but have brunch! Yes, that’s right! Good ol’ Saint Nick will be taking time out of his busy schedule to invite you and your family to a magical meal! Also, everyone will have the opportunity to take pictures! Santa will be at Tengan Castle on December 17 from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In addition to photos, everyone will have a chance to win a prize! Adults are $17, children (5–11) are $8.50 and children under 5 are FREE. It’s

strongly recommended that you make a reservation, which is available until December 15. After December 15, seating is available on a first-come, first-served basis. To make a reservation, call 622-9413. For more information, visit BOC will be hosting Brunch with Santa on December 17 and 24 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults are $19, children (5–11) are $9.50 and children under 5 are FREE. It’s strongly recommended that you make a reservation, which is already underway. To make a reservation, please call 645-7530. For more information, visit 



Christmas Family Nights with Santa


Spend Some Quality Time What makes Christmas so special is the quality time spent with family. It’s the little moments with loved ones, such as baking cookies or decorating a tree, that make the holiday as exceptional as it is. No other holiday can bring family together and lift your spirits like Christmas can. After all, the holiday is a time to step away from all the stress that life can throw at you and remind yourself what living is really all about—thankfulness, graciousness and spreading love. This is what brings the joy out of everyone. This season, let MCCS Clubs help you disconnect from the craziness of everyday life and reconnect with what truly matters. Bring your family to a Christmas Family Fun Night and get in the holiday spirit together! Every Christmas Family Fun Night will have a special guest. The guest is a lively old fellow dressed in a red suit with a weakness for cookies. You guessed it! There will be an opportunity to meet

Santa Claus at all of these events! The Veranda (inside Ocean Breeze) on Camp Foster will be holding a Christmas Family Fun Night on December 20 from 5 to 9 p.m. Those who attend will enjoy holiday fare, a coloring contest and prize giveaways. Tengan Castle on Camp Courtney will be hosting a special night with a traditional holiday menu, arts and crafts, games and music on December 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. In Surfside on Camp Kinser, there will be a family-friendly traditional holiday menu, game, prizes and karaoke on December 21 from 5 to 9 p.m. Spend quality time with family and create memories that you’ll hold on to forever. Adults are $7.95, children are $3.95 and children under 5 are FREE. For more information, call the nearest participating club or visit 



A Gift… for Your Ride Kenwood Christmas Sale & FREE Stall Rentals Many drivers have original factory speakers in their cars because they just don’t realize the potential sound quality improvements they could be getting with some easy, affordable upgrades. New car speakers and head units aren’t just for people wanting to send their bass rumbling down the street. A few simple upgrades to your current audio system can lead to significant improvements in sound clarity, quality and power. Give your car a gift that will make it happily thump! From December 1 through 16, Typhoon Motors island-wide will be cutting their prices on Kenwood automotive audio equipment with savings of up to 20% off on select products. Typhoon Motors will also be offering FREE stall rentals for active duty Marines and Sailors from December 26 to 31. For more information on the Kenwood Sale and FREE stall rentals, call your nearest Typhoon Motors or visit them online at 

Servicing and Replacing Brakes THINKSTOCK/RASTUDIO, INGIMAGE.COM

Because Brakes…Are Kind of Important Do you ever hear your car squeal when you press the brakes? That sound is a cry for help from your rotors as worn brake pads smash against it. Leaving your brakes untended will carve grooves, called “scores,” into your rotors. This will lead to the rotor needing to be replaced. Another consequence of neglecting your brakes is a biggie—your car won’t stop. Maintaining the brakes on your automobile is one of the most important and basic

things everyone should do. Typhoon Motors’ Car Care Workshop: Servicing and Replacing Brakes is a class open to anyone who wants to learn from the pros at Typhoon Motors. The class will take place on December 20 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Camp Foster Typhoon Motors (Bldg. 5971). Space is limited. For more information and to reserve a spot, call 645-7169. Visit for details.  DECEMBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 55


Sales for the Crafty… …and the Craft-Lovers Foster Framing and Fine Arts, as well as the Foster Custom Shop, will be featuring sales for the crafty (and craft-lovers) on island. Enjoy 25% off all materials featuring the color black at Framing and Fine Arts and the Custom Shop during their Black Friday Sale on November 24. Foster Framing and Fine Arts and the Custom Shop will also be having a Holiday Sale November 28–December 2 with 15% off all materials. For more information on these sales, contact Foster Framing and Fine Arts at 645-3674. Visit them online at 

MCCS Gift Cards


The Gift That Keeps on Giving Show them how much you care with a MCCS Gift Card for that special occasion. What can they use it for? How about to rent camping gear from MCCS Outdoor Recreation? Why not a relaxing massage or performance-enhancing dietary supplement from Semper Fit? They could even get a customized bowling ball from the Camp Foster Bowling Pro Shop, a framed photo from Foster Framing, a tour from Tours+ or an art class at Foster Framing & Fine Arts. The MCCS Gift Card is the most versatile gift, made for everyone. Use it to buy balls at the Taiyo Golf Club Pro Shop, an oil change from Typhoon Motors, a mask and snorkel from Tsunami Scuba—the list is endless. MCCS Gift Cards are available at MCCS retail facilities island-wide. For more information, call 645-5835 or visit 


Celebrating the New Year on Okinawa

ot… Should old acquaintance be forg and never brought to mind? —Auld Lang Syne, Robert Burns


Text by Mike Daley Layout by Hector Nieves



ew Year’s traditions for many visitors to Japan may involve many familiar sights and sounds—party poppers popping, bubbly liquid flowing, watching the big ball descending in Times Square on cable like an electric-neon moonset and the ribald often off-key sounds of Auld Lang Syne mixing with the echoes of the final countdown of the year still lingering in the cool air… The dawn of the New Year is definitely a time for celebration. However, for many on Okinawa and in Japan, New Year’s is a time for quiet reflection and subdued celebration with the family. New Year observances are probably one of the most important (and undeniably the most elaborate) of Japan’s holidays. And while local celebratory customs can differ—sometimes radically—from prefecture to prefecture, most families throughout Japan ring in the New Year with gatherings, visits to shrines or temples and with formal calls on relatives and friends bearing gifts. While Okinawa and Japan are now on board with blinking Christmas decorations draped over everything that doesn’t move, New Year’s is the traditional time for decorating the house for the holiday in Japan. During the days preceding New Year’s, doorways throughout Japan are festooned with shimenawa (the New Year’s decoration consisting of a sacred rope of straw decorated with tangerines), konbu (dried kelp) and shide (dangling white strips). Shimenawa are hung over the front door of homes to mark the temporary abode of the toshi-gami (“god” of the New Year) and to help prevent malevolent spirits from entering the house. Smaller versions of these charms can be seen on the grills of automobiles to ward against traffic accidents. Not all New Year’s ornamentation will be hanging on the wall. During Oshôgatsu, it's customary to place kadomatsu (an arrangement of pine tree sprigs) beside the entranceways of homes, apartments and other buildings. Additionally, kagami-mochi (flat, round, rice cakes that are stacked three-high), sake (rice wine), persimmons and other foods are placed on a ceremonial pedestal called doshidana (literally, “year shelf ”) to honor the toshi-gami. One New Year tradition that many enjoy is the nengajyo. Nengajyo are basically greeting cards sent by individuals to virtually every relative, friend and acquaintance. Businesses also send cards to all of their customers thanking them for their patronage. This card fulfills many of the same

functions as the Western Christmas card—basically wishing others happy holidays and good wishes for the coming year. However, the typical Japanese person usually sends out these cards in much greater quantities—an average family mailing is usually over a hundred cards in a short timeframe. Many families design their own postcards on specialized software and have them printed, complete with the requisite family portrait. The cards are then posted between the 15th and 25th of December and held by post offices to be delivered all at once January 1.



The expression “ringing in the New Year” happens to apply literally in many places in Japan. Jôya-no-Kane, the ritual ringing of bells, is an ancient Buddhist practice believed to dispel the evil of the past year. At the stroke of midnight on New Year’s Day, Tsuri-Gane (great hanging bell) located in temples throughout Japan toll 108 times. According to Buddhist belief, every human carries 108 fundamental sins and can be cleansed of these offenses by hearing the bells toll. Jôya-no-Kane, along with many other Oshôgatsu (or New Year’s customs), is very significant to many in Japan. Regardless, various other customs can be enjoyable by many and even profitable to some. Several Japanese and Okinawans customarily eat toshi-koshi-soba (literally “yearcrossing-noodles”) in the hope that their family’s lives and good fortune will last long like the noodles that they slurp. On Okinawa, virtually all Okinawa soba and ramen noodle shops are “standing room only.” Some of the older residents of Okinawa who celebrate Kyû-Shôgatsu, or Uchinâ-Sogwachi (Lunar New Year or Chinese New Year, as it's

known in the west), supplement their soba with a myriad of traditional dishes including fish cakes, daikon (white radish), tempura, carrots and pork. These holiday dishes are usually served at grandparents’ homes on Chinese New Year’s Day throughout Okinawa. Many countries in Asia celebrate Kyû-Shôgatsu, as well as the baby New Year measured by the Gregorian calendar. For many of the older generation, New Year’s is a happy time—filled with the happy cries of grandchildren.


Children have a very special reason to be happy during Oshôgatsu. This reason is receiving their Otoshidama, or New Year’s present. Otoshidama literally translates into “gem of the year.” It's a gift (usually cash) given to children by parents, grandparents, close relatives and sometimes neighbors. Unlike Oseibô, which are gifts given from family to family, Otoshidama is given to individual children by more than one person—so it's not uncommon for children of large families to receive as much as $1,000 during a three-day period. Oshôgatsu lasts three days, from January 1st to the 3rd. The first day of the year, or Ganjitsu, is almost always spent with members of the family. People also


throng to Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines for Hatsumôde, or the “first shrine or temple visit of the year.” It was customary in the past to visit the shrine or temple located in the direction from one’s home considered the most auspicious that year (i.e. north, east, south or west). However, today it has become more common to visit well-known shrines or temples, or ones that are close by. These visits, which begin at midnight on New Year’s Eve, are made annually by extremely large numbers of Japanese people. Tokyo’s Meiji Shrine, Kamakura’s Tsurugaoka Hachiman Shrine and Kyoto’s Yasaka Shrine are three of the largest and most well-known venues in mainland Japan, each receiving several mil million visitors over the first three days of January.


Hatsumôde is also a time for some to buy good luck charms and to check one’s fortune for the coming year, as well as to make pledges and wishes (the Western equivalent would be New Year’s resolutions). Temples and shrines sell all sorts of charms, many corresponding specifically to the totem animal of one’s birth year. There are also good luck charms for luck in specific endeavors, such as success in your job, love


life, school tests and probably the most popular among newlyweds—anzan (a charm believed to enhance the chances of a successful childbirth). For those interested, according to the Chinese Animal Zodiac, the year 2018 is Inu-Doshi (the Year of the Dog). Whether your New Year’s holiday is spent with family or friends, at home or abroad, and whether you were born in the year of the ram, rooster, dog or that rascally rabbit, we at Okinawa Living Magazine hope that your holiday is filled with peace, hope and the promise of success this year and in the years to come. 




(steamed egg custard) This delicious, silky custard is usually served as a component or course in a traditional Japanese meal. However, it can be enjoyed on its own as well. Ingredients: 4 eggs 2 cups dashi (a broth made from dried bonito flakes) 3/4 tbsp. salt 1 tbsp. soy sauce 1 tsp. sake (rice wine) 1 1/4 tbsp. mirin (sweet cooking rice wine) 3 oz. fresh spinach leaves (parboiled) 4 small uncooked shrimp, shelled and de-veined 4 shiitake mushrooms (stemmed and quartered) 8 snow peas (parboiled) Method of Preparation: 1. Break the eggs into a bowl. Add the dashi, salt, soy sauce, and mirin. Beat well. 2. Allow the mixture to stand for a few minutes, then strain to remove all air bubbles and lumps from the mixture. 3. Divide the shrimp, snow peas and the shiitake mushrooms between four individual heat-proof custard cups with lids (or heat resistant coffee cups with saucers or foil for lids). 4. Pour the egg mixture into each cup until two-thirds full and cover with the lid. Place the cups in a preheated steamer and steam over high heat. When the surface of the custard turns white (about three minutes), reduce the heat to low and steam for an additional 15 minutes. 5. Once you are able to stick a bamboo skewer into the custard and have the liquid flowing from the puncture run clear, it’s ready to serve. 5. Carefully slice the cylinder with a sharp knife in two-inch segments (be careful not to smash).

Kagami-biraki Although many people in Japan enjoy eating rice cakes called mochi throughout the year, the beginning of January is the time when this cake is consumed the most. During New Year’s, many Japanese prominently display kagami-mochi (“mirror- rice cake”) in their homes. This traditional decoration is made with two different sized rice cakes stacked one on top of the other (sort of like a snowman) with an orange on top. The reason why this decoration is called “mirror” mochi is because the rice cakes that are used are shaped like an oldfashioned metal mirror many Japanese used back in the old days. The original motivation for using an orange to top this decoration is in the fruit’s name. In Japanese, the color orange is pronounced “dai-dai” which also means “from generation to generation” and symbolizes prosperity. Every year on January 11, during the days of the samurai, kagami-mochi were broken and eaten in a ritual called “kagami biraki”—which literally means “mirror opening”—to usher in a prosperous new year. The pieces of mochi were then eaten, often in a red bean soup. Nowadays, kagami-mochi are often vinyl coated facsimiles, because real mochi easily molds and cracks. However, the casings still usually contain individually wrapped mochi, and the rice cakes remain an important Japanese New Year’s tradition. 


Uchinâguchi Corner English







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Omoide: Memories of Okinawa The Best of Okinawa Living—a substantial and comprehensive compilation of everything Okinawa covering the island’s history, picturesque locales, cuisine, art and artists, festivals and much more— now has a new companion. MCCS Okinawa’s newest publication Omoide: Memories of Okinawa is a collection of images that will elicit fond memories of the island for years to come. Everyone who’s visited Okinawa has a favorite spot; the perfect place to watch the sunset, a beach that the family visited every summer, the steps to Nago Castle lined with sakura trees blooming brilliantly pink or even a stretch of beautiful coastline that was so breathtaking that you had to stop the car to take a photo. Omoide: Memories of Okinawa captures these moments on Okinawa; preserving them to provide precious memories of time spent here for you and to show family and friends back home how wonderful and beautiful your home-away-from-home is. Broken down into north, central and south, this full-color tome contains images from Hedo Point on the northern tip of the island to Chinen

Cape—the southern-most point of Okinawa. Not only a perfect going-away gift or present for mom and dad back in the states, Omoide: Memories of Okinawa can also serve as a bucket list of places to visit for those new to Okinawa. Alongside The Best of Okinawa Living for $37.95, Omoide: Memories of Okinawa is available for $28 island-wide at Exchange retail facilities selling books as well as the Fleet Gift Shop, Marine Gift Shop, Taiyo GC Pro Shop and the Westpac Lodge on Camp Foster. Meet photographer Roderica Mathis and Lisa Miyagi, Art Director of Omoide: Memories of Okinawa, and get your copy personalized with their autographs December 15 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Foster Exchange and December 17 from noon to 1 p.m. at the Kadena AB Exchange. A special drawing will be held at both events for an overnight stay for two at Kafuu Resort Fuchaku CONDO/HOTEL. Must be present to win. For more information on Omoide: Memories of Okinawa and The Best of Okinawa Living visit 

Okinawa Living Magazine  

December 2017

Okinawa Living Magazine  

December 2017