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MARCH 2018 | Issue 241


contents March 2018

10 26


58 features 10


Out + About: Spring Tours Spring fever is in the air; get out and about and explore Okinawa and beyond with Tours+!

Restaurant Review: Rider’s Garage Café & Diner Sometimes all you need is to throw care to the wind and relax with friends while enjoying some pure comfort food—Rider’s Garage Café & Diner is the perfect place to do so.



On the cover Although mom always used to say “eat your veggies because they’re good for you,” many adults eat them just because they taste so good!

Pathways to Heaven on Earth If you’re a hardcore runner looking for a new trail or route, or thinking about starting a regular weekend walk as an activity to get the whole family into shape, Okinawa features many locales that appeal to all skill levels.

58 Vegging Out Whether you’re a veritable rabbit-human or looking to work more vegetables into your diet, Okinawa is the perfect place to just…veg out.

contents March 2018

marines + families 43 Stop Being Broke If you’re comfortable living the broke life, that’s on you. But if you want to get it together (as you should), it’s an easy fix.

45 Ace the Interview The interview is the most vital phase of the hiring process. It’s an opportunity to make a positive impression on the employer.

47 Anger Management 101 Has anyone ever mentioned you get wrapped around the axle easily? Or does your spouse refrain from telling you things because they don’t want to upset you?

kids + parents 49 Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow Moving duty stations can be daunting. No matter how many times you may have done it, it’s never an easy task to pack up your life and move— especially from overseas.

services 57



fitness + fun

dining + entertainment




Lord of Tengan Fun Run Are you looking to run your very first race? How about your 100th? Put your training to the test at the Lord of Tengan Run on Camp Courtney!

Schwab Festival This annual festival welcomes all service members, their families and Japanese citizens to Okinawa’s northernmost Marine camp to partake in a weekend of festival food and fun with attractions for all ages!


23 Camp Schwab Warrior Challenge 5K Although the distance covered is only five kilometers, this event will require participants to go into full “warrior mode” to even finish the race. RODERICA MATHIS

The Spirit of Okinawa First printed in 2003, The Spirit of Okinawa—the beautiful and timeless pictorial book by Shokyu Otsuka—is in its final printing. This may be your last chance to get your copy!

25 It’s Back! Give it Your Best Shot at the 2018 Tsunami Scuba Underwater Photo Contest!

39 Hop on Over! The day of the bunny is almost upon us; time to hop on over to a MCCS Club or Restaurant for a filling and fulfilling Easter breakfast or brunch!


Feedback + Show Us!

69 Living on Okinawa

70 Marketplace Guide

MARCH 2018 | ISSUE 241 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 DIRECTORS Margie Shimabukuro Jongeun Spencer GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Lisa Miyagi, Hector Nieves, Catherine Newquist EDITORIAL Amanda Carrasquillo, Ashley Sablan 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, Erin Hotson DISTRIBUTION Kelli Kreider, Desiree Adams BROADCAST Kathlene Millette, Gabriel Archer, Emi Komiya

mensôre “Welcome” to Okinawa Living

Head Outside! Although spring starts a bit earlier here on Okinawa than in mainland Japan, March is still traditionally considered the beginning of spring—a season synonymous with rebirth, renewal, revitalization and resurrection. It’s a time when barren branches sprout leaves and bare fields become covered with colorful springtime flowers. Time to head outside and celebrate the end of a dreary and cold winter! In March, flower festivals abound throughout the island with sunflowers, azalea and more, brilliantly complementing the deep azure of Okinawa’s springtime skies. Spring training will be winding down for the several Japanese professional baseball teams camped on the islands as they gear up for another season. Okinawa offers many things to do, places to go and events to enjoy during the month of March—ranging from events celebrating the birthday of the ever-effusive writer and illustrator Theodor Seuss Geisel (a.k.a. Dr. Seuss) to green St. Patrick’s Day celebrations in MCCS' Clubs and Restaurants to Camp Schwab’s annual festival AND their Warrior Challenge 5K Run. Cool weather and blue skies make March a perfect time for hiking, catching a glimpse of baby whales off of Okinawa’s coasts before they leave on their long journeys northward with their families, or even just rolling all the way to the bottom of a grassy hill cushioned with clovers. Go ahead, you know you want to. 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! 

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) (email) See our advertising rates at


MCCS MARKETING BRANCH MCB Camp S.D. Butler. Unit 35023, FPO AP 96378-5023

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 ©2018 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

Mike Daley Editor-In-Chief

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 The Habu Pit (on MCAS Futenma) does it again... exceeds our expectations. In the last 3+ years, my husband and I have hosted a number of events at the Habu Pit. Although some of the management has changed over the years, it is great to have the consistency, professionalism and care that Ted Gonzales always provides. And the club looked beautiful last night and everything went just as we had hoped thanks to Sabrina Terrell’s hard work. Thank you Ted, Sabrina, Jennifer, Yusuke, Rei, Maiko and the entire Habu Pit staff. —via ICE

#okilivingmag Tag us on Instagram and follow us @okilivingmag!


Sakura, Japanese cherry blossoms are in bloom. #okilivingmag

I once saw that MCCS was selling some old property to the public at one of the MCCS warehouse on Camp Foster. Where can I find information on MCCS property sales? Is there a listing of what is on sale from week to week? —via Ask MCCS Every Wednesday at Warehouse 5601 on Camp Foster (located behind the Commissary), MCCS holds a NAF Supply Sale, if property is available for sale. From 8 to 11:30 a.m., DoD ID card holders are welcome to shop, and then from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. it is open to the general public. Unfortunately, there is no advance list of sales items, which can vary from computers to furniture to fitness equipment. For more information, call 645-3636 or 098-970-3636.


it is during our darkest moment that we must focus to see the light. #okilivingmag

Why can’t we work out in “boots and utes” at MCCS Fitness Centers on Okinawa? —via CSI survey Per MCCS directive, military boots and other non-athletic type footwear are not allowed inside for sanitary reasons. Utility shirts/trousers are prohibited because these items have zippers, pockets, buttons and belt buckles that can easily get snagged on a piece of equipment or tear up upholstery. We appreciate your cooperation by adhering to this policy. I was wondering how I can volunteer for the Futenma Single Marine Program? —via Facebook Thanks for your interest in volunteering! You can call the Futenma SMP Center at 636-1015 or visit the MCCS Okinawa website for more information about SMP Centers island-wide including hours, building locations, etc., at MCCS: You deserve a big hug for listening to the families and making it possible for younger fans to attend the Lecrae concert on Jan. 19 at the Ocean Breeze with an adult chaperone! — via Facebook


Spent the day exploring the mountains around Haneji Dam. It was gorgeous!!! #okilivingmag

Domo arigatou gozaimashita and thank you for your posts! We can’t wait to see what else you love about Okinawa! —The Okinawa Living Staff

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.


cer text by Mike Daley • layout by Jongeun Spen


The weather on


is warming and the

sun is shining


Get out

and about


and explore Okinawa and beyond with Tours+!





Whales! March marks the end of whale watching season on Okinawa…but even though the numbers do thin as the gigantic cetaceans begin their long journey back to the seas of the Aleutians, it’s also the best part of the season to go on a whale watching tour! Why do you ask? The first reason is the weather, of course; March brings warmer breezes and calmer seas making the experience much more pleasant than in February. The second reason to take a whale watching tour in March is the baby whales! Whales oftentimes bear calves in the warm (for them, at least), safe waters surrounding Okinawa. Mother whales with their calves stay near the surface and are easily spotted—and are an adorable delight to behold. Tours+ will be offering whale watching tours March 3 and 18 with the final tour of the season on March 24 (these dates are subject to change). The tours run from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. and are $51 for adults and $35 for children 4–11.





Expo Park

Diving into the waters around Okinawa in March still requires a wetsuit for most, but you can enjoy the wonders of the ocean in your street clothes at Ocean Expo Park and the Churaumi Aquarium. This expansive park has a little bit of everything for everyone—from the subtropical flowers of the Omoro Arboretum and a traditional Okinawan Village to massive tanks full of the aquatic and even amphibious creatures who also call Okinawa home in the aquarium and surrounding facilities. Take a full day to experience the vibrant colors and delicate scent of orchids in the Tropical Dream Center, learn the fascinating history of sea travel in the Oceanic Cultural Museum (which also houses a planetarium) and dine at the onsite restaurants. Check with Tours+ for discounted tickets or trips to the Ocean Expo Park and Churaumi Aquarium. Even though parking is plentiful and free around the park, it can be quite a drive. Let MCCS Tour+ do the driving for you and take the hassle out of traffic on the way and back. Your local Tours+ office will have all the details, so call them today and book the next trip!



Hiking and Mountain



Springtime is the best time for hiking, trekking and climbing on Okinawa. Tours+ offers regular hiking excursions in the form of their Sekirinzan, Hedo Point & Okuma Tour. The highlight of the tour is, of course, hiking in one of the most fascinating places on Okinawa. Known to hikers as “Dai” (which means “great”) Sekirinzan, this wondrous locale offers several hiking courses with breathtaking views of Hedo Point from above. Dai Sekirinzan also offers different trails that wind through fascinating limestone formations estimated to be hundreds of millions of years old and sprawling banyan trees believed to contain magical powers. The Sekirinzan, Hedo Point & Okuma Tour runs from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. The tour price for adults is $31, $21 for children 4–15 and FREE for children under 3. One added bonus to this tour—it’s a great place to train to climb a REAL mountain. Tours+ offers Climb Mount Fuji tours in July and August and there’s no better time than the present to start training in rugged locales. For more information on these tours and more, visit MCCS Tours+. 



Get Bowled Over…


…at the Schwab Bowling Center Bowling is the popular pastime of rolling a weighted ball down an oiled lane to strike and knock over as many (preferably all) of the ten pins at the other end with a crescendo of sound followed by ecstatic high-fives. Sound like a blast? Gather your family or friends (or both) and head over to the Schwab Bowling Center this month for a 9-Pin No-Tap Tournament on March 7. For neophytes—9-pin-no-tap means that knocking down 9 pins with your first throw is declared a strike. This tournament, which begins at 6 p.m., will consist of three games of 9-pin-no-tap for cash prizes! The entry fee is $20. As exciting as winning a tournament

can be, did you know that bowling can be even more electrifying in the dark? Picture this: laser lights, black light-lit glowing lanes and fluorescent balls, and loud, pounding music—it’s called glow bowling! Sound like the ultimate evening? On March 14, from 7 to 8:30 p.m. go glow bowling at the Schwab Bowling Center. It’s extreme. The local bowling center is a great place to gather with your friends or family, regardless of the occasion. How about making your next celebration a memorable one? Celebrate your child’s birthday, your spouse’s promotion or gather your co-workers and challenge each other to a private team-building tournament. In

addition to a state-of-the-art scoring system with amusing animations, most MCCS Bowling Centers offer dedicated birthdaythemed environments and games designed to make the celebration come to life! In addition, you’re more than welcome to bring a cake or cookies, but why not check with the facility for catering options so you don’t have to stress about anything for the big day! For more information on tournaments, glow bowling and other offerings at the Schwab Bowling Center or any of our other MCCS Bowling Centers island-wide, call 6257205 or visit 



Group Fitness Classes


St. Patrick’s Day Giveaway When it comes to fitness, there’s no such thing as luck, and leprechauns make lousy personal trainers. You have to put in the work to reap the rewards. However, it’s hard to get into a good routine, especially since the best place to exercise (the gym) is intimidating to most newcomers and irregular goers. Simply walking through the doors and into the sea of fitness gurus, machines, free weights and cardio equipment is enough to send a lot of people right back out the door. Then, if a beginner gets past that obstacle, there’s usually a few strong months before he or she loses momentum and slowly makes his or her way back to the couch. But it doesn’t have to be this way, as the

gym can be really fun actually. Consider activities that would surround you with motivation and support. How about group fitness? Going to a group fitness class is a great way for newbies to get started or for bored gym-goers to change things up. You’ll feel empowered by an encouraging instructor, as well as by those alongside you. Plus, you don’t have to deal with the crowd or the equipment hogs. It takes the stress out of planning workouts too, and there’s so many different classes you can take. Staffed MCCS Fitness Centers offer a vast variety of classes. Try Body Tone (strength training that utilizes barbells to tone the entire body), Circuit Training (high-intensity

training that helps improve cardiovascular fitness, as well as your muscle strength and endurance), Cycle (indoor cycling class), Yoga (there’s even a class specifically for beginners) and much, much more! Need just one more push to go to a class? In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, and thanks to sponsors Shell Blue and Super Sports Xebio, MCCS Health Promotion is giving you a chance to win an awesome prize! Attend a group fitness class and receive a raffle ticket. The winner will be announced on March 17. Best of luck! For more information, call 645-3910 or visit 



Lord of Tengan Run


Put Your Training to the Test

The best thing about long distance running is no one is a natural. No one can throw on a pair of running shoes and be good. It takes determination, time and practice. It’s a good thing then that runners are the most encouraging athletes. At a race, it’s not uncommon for someone to cross the finish line and immediately join the audience to cheer on strangers. This is partly why it’s easy to get hooked on racing. Whether you’re looking to run your very first race or your 100th, put your training to the test at the Lord of Tengan Run on Camp Courtney! The event will begin at 8:30 a.m. on March 11, will have both a 5K and 10K race and welcomes participants island-wide. Contenders can register at any staffed MCCS Fitness Center for $30. The deadline is 1 p.m. on March 1 for non-SOFA runners and 1 p.m. on March 5 for SOFA runners. Same-day registration will be available from 6:30 to 7:30 a.m. at Camp Courtney Ironworks Fitness Center for $35. A mandatory brief will be held at 7:45 a.m. Awards will be given to the overall male and female winner, as well as to the first, second and third place finishers in each division. The schedule will be emailed on March 6. For more information, call 622-7297 or email adultsports@okinawa. 

Camp Schwab Warrior Challenge 5k Unleash Your Inner Warrior! This is NOT just another 5K fun run. The Schwab Warrior Challenge 5K, which will take place March 24, is a little different. Although the distance covered is only five kilometers, this event will require participants to go into full “warrior mode” to even finish the race. The Warrior Challenge will include several challenging obstacles. The starting line will be at the Camp Schwab Aquatics Center and the race begins at 10 a.m., with a mandatory safety brief at

9:45 a.m. Register now at any staffed MCCS Fitness Center by March 19 for $30 per person or $75 per team of three. Late registration will be taken at the Camp Schwab Power Dome Fitness Center on March 23 until 4 p.m. or onsite from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Participants must be 15 or older (teens ages 15 to 17 must produce a signed waiver). For more information, call 645-3521 or visit 



It’s Back! The Tsunami Scuba Underwater Photo Contest Give it Your Best Shot at the 2018 Tsunami Scuba Underwater Photo Contest! The categories for this year’s contest include Macro (i.e. your favorite Nemo/anemone close up), Wide Angle (panoramic images of reefs, vast schools of tuna, etc.) and Portrait (best shot of your buddy, if they’re photogenic, that is). Entries will be accepted until May 11 at 4:30 p.m. Prizes will be awarded to first, second and third place in each category. Only one (1) prize per contestant will be awarded. For more information, email contest@okinawa. For more information on the 2018 Tsunami Scuba Underwater Photo Contest, visit mccsokinawa. com/tsunamiscuba or mccsokinawa.scuba. 

Catch the Fever! Tsunami Scuba March Madness Bracket Challenge

Master Scuba Diver Trainer


Prep Course It’s time to take the next step, one that will really make you stand out, especially to employers. Become a Master Scuba Diver Trainer (MSDT) and you’ll increase your earning potential, job satisfaction, personal development and much more. You’ll really enjoy your job because you’ll not only help other divers continue their training, but you’ll be able to teach a wide range of specialty courses. A MSDT is an Open Water Scuba Instructor who has certified 25 students and has at least five PADI Specialty Instructor certifications (this does not have to be done before taking a prep course). This rating is a prerequisite for anyone looking to go into technical or professional training. Tsunami Scuba on Camp Foster will be offering a Master Scuba Diver Trainer Prep course on March 13 from 6 to 10 p.m. Registration is available at any Tsunami Scuba location. For more information, visit 

It’s March Madness at Tsunami Scuba! Win a prize discount of up to 50% off your scuba gear this collegiate basketball season by trying your luck in Tsunami Scuba’s March Madness bracket challenge. To participate, simply stop by any store location and submit your bracket. Win a prize discount of 5% off if your bracket survives the first week. Discounts will then increase by an additional 5% each week your streak continues. If ever your bracket breaks, turn it in by that week’s due date to claim your discount. The due dates are March 15 (week 1), March 22 (week 2), March 29 (week 3) and April 9 (week 4). Overall winners will receive either 20% off their entire Tsunami Scuba purchase or 50% off one item, no matter the size! Customers wishing to opt in after the first week closes may do so, but will not qualify for the final discount. For more information, visit tsunamiscuba.  MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 25

Pathways to


EARTH Five Epic Okinawan Trails Leaves rustling as a gentle breeze makes them sway to the same rhythm of your stride. It’s as though they’re rallying you on. The whizzing chirr of insects surround you and the subtle insect orchestra blends perfectly with the lively chirps of nearby birds. It sounds like a cheer. Emerald blades of grass clap along while the divine fragrance of fresh air guides you and lifts your spirits to the clouds. Your worries are forced out through your pores and disintegrate to the cool, cleansing atmosphere. Stress-free, you take a moment to realize that you’ve found heaven on earth. Nature is fuel for the soul. It enhances one's wellbeing and boosts mental health and vitality. But setting aside time to spend outdoors is not only beneficial psychologically, it’s also good for the body. You’ll be too absorbed in what Mother Earth has to offer to even notice the exercise it takes to stroll through trails, up hills or along the coast. Runners who choose open air over treadmills know this all too well. Miles fly by with a view. It's March. The weather's perfect—not too hot and not too cold. Humidity's on its way, but you still have a little while to enjoy the outdoors with ease. Explore Okinawa’s scenic beauty at your own pace, whether you’re a walker and talker, lone power walker or runner. The following are five routes that’ll lead you to vistas sure to take your breath away.

Amanda Carrasquillo Roderica Mathis Layout by Hector Nieves

Text by

Photos by


Manko Park & Onoyama Athletic Park Located in Naha, Manko Park is one of the most popular places for running and walking in southern Okinawa. There's both a dirt and asphalt path that runs along wetlands and serves as a home for many migratory birds. Clusters of assorted flowers and tall grass tufts harmonize as they accompany the sides of the trails—bringing a rich variety of vibrant hues. The jogging path is about 1.5K (a little over half a mile) and is flat. Enjoy a few laps, or keep your pace going to Onoyama Park (it’s about 1.2K away). You can follow the Yui Rail across Naha Bridge to reach Onoyama Park, which was the first athletic park in Okinawa and is the start/finish line for the Naha Marathon. On your way there, you’ll see banyan trees, mangroves and richlycolored flowers. Onoyama Park has a padded running path that’s about half a mile in length, but there’s also numerous asphalt paths throughout the park and a track. Take a stroll here and pay a visit to the Yomochi Shrine, Okinawa Prefecture Gokoku Shrine and Okigu Shrine. Manko Park: 3 Chome-23-1 Kohagura, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 900-0024 Onoyama Park: 52 Onoyamacho, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 900-0026

Cheaper than Therapy Warrant Officer Darryl E. Peterson, an ultra-endurance runner with over ten years of experience and ambassador for Altra running shoes, says that his passion for running provides him with a means of coping with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) from combat deployments in Afghanistan and Iraq. “For the longest time I couldn’t pinpoint where my desire and passion to run derived from," Peterson said. There was something unknown and powerful about running that I found calmed me and at the same time challenged me and enabled me to learn more about myself—allowing me to become mentally, physically and spiritually stronger.” Peterson’s goal with running is to be influential and to broaden his advocacy and ambassadorship for health and fitness. “I want to be a real-life example of one’s ability to overcome adversity through running. I also want to aid others in the exploration and benefits of using running to cope with life’s circumstances—whatever they may be—and assist them in achieving what they may have once thought impossible.”

Kurashiki Dam One of the largest of Okinawa’s reservoirs, Kurashiki is an area with beautifully groomed grassy fields, paved walkways and multiple viewing spots. Find clarity in the gorgeous luster of an artificial pond loaded with fish, frogs and lily pads. Cross the dam on a sidewalk of stones that align a road that’s picturesque on both sides. Discover dirt paths, decorated with a variety of subtropical plants, curving around the water. Let the sound of small waterfalls drizzling onto rocks help you tune out the heavy breaths that come with exercise. Here, you’ll find so many trails, paths and walkways that you’ll need an entire afternoon to walk and explore. Runners will get lost in the heavenly scenery and feel as though they can go on forever. The course has several twists and turns, steady slopes and relatively steep stairs, but includes enough flat areas for you to catch your breath and give your legs a break.

879-1 Ishikawa Sonan, Uruma, Okinawa Prefecture 904-1112


Okinawa Comprehensive Athletic Park Comprehensive Park in Okinawa City is absolutely humongous and gives plenty of opportunity to do just about any outdoor activity. It's the home to six different athletic facilities, as well as trails, pools, a cycling road, pond, camping area, observatory and more. The park has numerous cushiony, wide paths that include clearly-marked routes of 3K (1.9 miles), 4K (2.5 miles) and 5K (3.1 miles). The course is flat and takes you along the Pacific coastline to behold the rippling ocean, beneath an abundance of trees eager to supply you with shade, along a pleasant pond filled with fish, past flamboyant flowers and so much more. There's also a track waiting for mile repeats, stride work or those who simply want to take a few laps. If you're itching for some killer cardio, use the bleachers. It'll help teach your body how to recover quickly. Comprehensive Park is a favorite for both walkers and runners. Many bring their families to saunter and enjoy a nice day outdoors. The paved trails are a godsend for those with strollers. Marathoners are probably familiar with this park, since it's the start/finish of the Okinawa Marathon.

5 Chome-3-1 Hiyagon, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture 904-2173


Cape Maeda A popular seaside destination known for its panoramic views of royal blue paradise and enormous reef rocks, Cape Maeda holds paved trails that are often overlooked as divers rush to the water. Moss-covered trees and subtropical flowers align the tortuous paths as stairs and hills lead upland to several openings that reveal magnificent sights of the rolling waves of the East China Sea. The trails and stairs are finely built and are just as worthy of attention as the translucent water. Take a stroll through the dense jungle and listen to the soothing sound of the nearby surf. The wilderness will embrace you and shut out the troublesome world. The many slopes will be a challenge for runners, but will help those who desire to improve their speed and endurance. There's also several trails that'll give your mileage adventure; if you go deep enough, you'll even find some unpaved paths to explore.

469-1 Maeda, Onna, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0417


Toguchi Beach Run or leisurely hike along the flax-golden shore of Toguchi Beach as the sun disappears into the horizon. The beach, located within Hakujou Park and near Torii Station, is famous for watching the sunset. It's also known for shallow water, rugged caves and towering cliffs. Here, there's an assortment of winding paved, stone and dirt paths that'll take you to diverse landscapes. Observe large arch-like rock formations, the East China Sea, the Hija River and Yomitan Village. Follow footways underneath and through boulders while searching for shrines. The trails here are mostly flat, with some small hills and a few stairs.  228 Toguchi, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0315



Saturday, 7 p.m.

Schwab Festival


Head up north for a rousing good time! This year’s Camp Schwab Festival will take place Saturday, March 24 and Sunday, March 25 from 1 to 9 p.m. both days on Camp Schwab adjacent to the BeachHead. This annual festival welcomes all service members, their families and Japanese citizens to Okinawa’s northernmost Marine camp to partake in a weekend of festival food and fun with attractions for all ages including Fun Land’s rides and bouncers, game booths, Oculus Rift virtual reality and delicious food offerings from MCCS. Hungry festival-going revelers can enjoy USA staples such as sizzling burgers from Bulldogs, succulent BBQ beef brisket and juicy chicken from Hickory House

All-American BBQ, pizza, wings and MCCS’ brand-new offering—305 Latin Bistro. This new and exciting festival food offering will feature cuisine with a Miami twist. The menu will comprise of a special steak sandwich flavored with chimichurri sauce, baconwrapped chicken-on-a-stick and Spanish flan with caramel. Adults can enjoy refreshing beverages from Kanpai Lounge. A great entertainment lineup will be on tap throughout the weekend, including a FREE performance by metalcore band Asking Alexandria on Saturday at 7 p.m. Asking Alexandria, originally from England, are heavily influenced by American rock— such as Metallica, Mötley Crüe, Skid Row,

Slipknot and Avenged Sevenfold. Admission to the Camp Schwab Festival is FREE and open to all SOFA status and Japanese citizens island-wide. Kindly leave all pets, outside alcohol, glass bottles and coolers at home. Free shuttle buses will provide transportation to and from designated parking lots on the base. As always, MCCS encourages everyone to drink responsibly and to not drink and drive. Daiko and taxi services will be available. For more information, call 098-970-5828, visit or facebook. com/mccsokinawa.diningandentertainment. 



Hop on Over!


Easter Sunday Brunch at the Clubs On Sunday, April 1, after the kids have hunted down every last dip-dyed egg and eaten their weight in marshmallow Peeps and chocolate bunnies, load up your family and head on over to your nearest MCCS Club for a delightful Easter Sunday brunch! Taiyo Steakhouse will be offering an à la carte brunch menu from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Springtime is upon us, so seating will be available on the balcony where you can enjoy your meal in the beautiful Okinawa outdoors (weather permitting, of course). Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 622-2020. Butler Officers’ Club will be hosting a scrumptious Easter brunch from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults can enjoy a delicious meal for $19. Children 5–11 are $9.50 and children under 5 eat FREE. Reservations for this event are also highly recommended and can be made by calling 645-7530. At The Veranda inside Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster, pile your plate high at their Easter Sunday buffet. Surfside on Camp Kinser and Tengan Castle on Camp Courtney will also be serving up an Easter feast. These buffets are all open from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., and cost $17 for adults, $8.50 for children 5–11 and FREE for children under 5. Reservations for Tengan Castle are highly recommended and can be made by calling 622-9413. Last but not least, the Habu Pit on MCAS Futenma will be hosting their breakfast buffet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults are $9.95, children 5–11 are $4.95 and children under 5 are FREE. The Easter scene is guaranteed to be hoppin’ this year, so don’t miss out! Even the Easter Bunny will be dropping in on the party with a meet and greet for the children (and youngat-heart) at every location. Gather your family and friends, and start your Easter Sunday on a joyous note with brunch at an MCCS Club! For more information, call a participating club or visit 



Rider’s Garage Exercise? I thought you said “extra fries” Text by Mike Daley, Photography by Roderica Mathis How To Get There Take a right onto Hwy 330 out of the Legion Gate and follow 330 as it turns left at the Futenma Shrine Intersection. Turn left at the first light onto Route 35 and a right up a small side street after 150 meters (look for the Rider’s Garage Café & Diner sign). Hours of Operation Open Daily (Except Wednesdays) Breakfast: 7–11 a.m. Lunch: 11 a.m.–5 p.m. Dinner: 5–9 p.m. (Open until 11 p.m. Fridays & Saturdays) Contact 098-943-8802 RidersGarageFutenma Payment $, ¥, CC

It was the sign that caught our eyes when we first entered the eclectic garage café diner located off a quiet side street in Futenma. And, while humorous, the sign also captured the contagiously cheerful happy-go-lucky atmosphere and live-life-to-the-fullest attitude of the owners and staff. Rider’s Garage is exactly that—a garage with a café dinner located inside. Regardless of which entrance you use, you’re greeted by Ford Model T’s. Yes, as in the car that’s said to have made automobiles affordable to common middleclass Americans at the turn of the last century. One of the most unique (and convenient if you ride) aspects of Rider’s Garage is the ability to park your motorcycle inside. This enables riders to grab a table and dine on delicious cuisine and refreshing beverages WITH their bikes and swap two-wheeled tall tales with friends. All conversation, however, will probably stop the moment the food arrives—as conversationalists will be dedicating time exclusively to devouring. For the review, we sampled (okay, devoured) several selections, beginning with the Spicy Beef Grilled Cheese Sandwich (¥980). This all-time favorite was simultaneously crispy and creamy with the spicy beef adding a hint of heat. Rider’s grilled cheese sandwiches are also available plain, with marinated salmon and onion, thick grilled bacon, grilled chicken and teriyaki chicken. Sandwiches come with thick wedge-cut fries and pickled vegetables. The next plate was the Corque-Monsieur—a grilled cheese sandwich smothered in rich, creamy white sauce augmented with ample chunks of thick-sliced bacon (¥1,380) and accompanied by a mini-deli and small garden salad. The Croque-Monsieur is available with the same options of fillings as the grilled cheese sandwiches. Both are available for breakfast (7–11 a.m.) and come

with a steaming bowl of soup and drink (only drink if purchased to-go). Next up were two items available for both lunch (served 11 a.m.–5 p.m.) and dinner (served 5–9 p.m.)—the Chicken Over Rice (¥850) and Green Curry (¥900). The Chicken Over Rice is a simple masterpiece consisting of shredded and grilled chicken over a bed of saffron richly accented with a combination of two sauces: one spicy and the other mild and slightly tangy. The Green Curry, which came with chicken and an assortment of vegetables such as eggplant and yellow pimento, offered a good blend of coconut spices. It also packed quite a spicy punch. The final selection, available for dinner only, was the Spaghetti alla Pescatora (¥1,100). A seafood lover’s delight, the spaghetti was topped with shrimp, crab, squid and mussels. Rider’s Garage Café & Diner’s menu is a true adventure with seafood gumbo alongside offerings such as quesadillas and Wagyu ( Japanese beef) tail soup. All selections have a common denominator though—they’re all delicious and made from scratch using the freshest ingredients (there’s currently an indoor garden planted on the premises that will be supplying fresh herbs and spices more conveniently). Convenience and family-friendliness are very important at Rider’s—with free wi-fi and numerous outlets available for charging mobile devices and even mini-bikes for little tykes to ride around on. If you’re looking for a relaxing morning, afternoon or evening with friends or family (+20 bonus points if any are “gearheads”), good tasty food and a unique and friendly atmosphere, definitely visit Rider’s Garage Café & Diner. Trust us, you’ll be back for more.  MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 41


Stop Being Broke


Financial Savings Classes Let’s be real, budgeting is like the slow drip of water torture. Most would rather step on a million LEGOS or struggle with an allergy to toilet paper than figure out how to manage their money. It’s easier to spend impulsively and become a master of the ramen noodle culinary arts. Plus, people say to have a truly fulfilling life, one must “live on the edge.” Surely they don’t mean the edge of financial ruin, but hey… who’s to tell you how to live your life? Praying your card doesn’t get declined for a taco that costs $1.29 at Taco Bell is quite the adventure. It will be even more fun when you have a family to feed or when you’re old and mumbling about how you “shoulda, woulda, coulda.” If you’re comfortable living the broke life, that’s on you. But if you want to get it together (as you should), it’s an easy fix. It just takes

some time and patience. That’s right, the same things you already use to spend an entire weekend binge-watching a TV series. Step away from Netflix (for just a little bit) and get the education and training you need to take control of your finances. The Personal Financial Management (PFM) Program is ready to give you the help you need. PFM offers several classes such as saving and investing, money management, Thrift Savings Plan (TSP) and more. For more information, call 645-2104 (098-970-2104) or visit 



Ace the Interview Make Your First Impression Count

The interview is the most vital phase of the hiring process. It’s an opportunity to make a positive impression on the employer. Here are some guidelines on good interview practices: Know the company, position and interviewers. Know the position description so you can align your past experience and skills with the current opening. Professional appearance shows respect. Never make the mistake of being underdressed. Arrive 15 minutes early. Maintain eye contact and give a firm handshake. When answering questions, be clear and brief. After the interview, send a personalized note to the

people involved in the interview process to thank them. For more assistance on interviewing, MCCS’ Transition Readiness Program (TRP) offers interview workshops to enhance your knowledge and skills. Upcoming classes will be held March 1, 8:30–11:30 a.m. (Schwab Education Center), March 13, 1–4 p.m. (Foster Education Center), March 14, 1–4 p.m. (Kinser MFP-R Center), March 19, 1–4 p.m. (Hansen MFP-R Center) and March 21, 1–4 p.m. (Courtney MFP-R Center) For details on these classes, call 645-3151 or visit 

Sponsorship Training


Good Sponsor=Smooth Transition Have you been assigned as a sponsor for an incoming service member and their family, but aren’t sure where to start or what you need to do to make their transition to Okinawa a smooth and seamless relocation? MCCS Marine & Family Programs-Resources’ (MFP-R) Sponsorship Training provides prospective sponsors with information, tools and resources to enable them to successfully fulfill this very important role. Sponsorship Training provides the most up-to-date information on regulations and policies pertinent to a Permanent Change of Station (PCS) move to Okinawa, including full explanations of a sponsor’s roles and responsibilities, resources available to the sponsor and info for the incoming service member on subjects such as lodging, housing, pet importation, allowances, entitlements and more! This class can also be requested to be facilitated at the unit’s location. For more information, visit or call 645-2104 or 645-8395.  MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 45


Married and Loving it! Relationships are a Delicate Balancing Act Two-way, mutually respectful communication is the foundation of a strong relationship. Oftentimes, problems arise out of nowhere simply because of poor communication. The simplest bad habits can turn into big obstacles in the long run, so it’s important to learn how to communicate effectively in order to nip any problems in the bud. At the Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program’s Married and Loving It! class, couples will learn how to enjoy a more satisfying relationship. Topics covered in these two-part (1–4:30 p.m. each session) classes include communication skills, The 5 Love Languages, finances and conflict resolution. The next workshop will be March 2 and 9 at Bldg. 445 on Camp Foster. For more information or to register, contact fapprevention@okinawa. 

Anger Management 101


Don’t Let It Control You The constant dodging, dipping, ducking and diving that military members and their families are accustomed to can take its toll on how we respond to regular situations in daily life. Has anyone ever mentioned you get wrapped around the axle easily? Or does your spouse refrain from telling you things because they don’t want to upset you? If you or someone you know has these types of issues, now’s the time to embrace the new you with help from the Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program. Participants in the Anger Management Workshop will learn valuable strategies to effectively manage anger and build conflict resolution skills by identifying triggers and learning effective coping skills. This is a four-consecutive-week class held Wednesdays at Bldg. 439 on Camp Foster and Thursdays at Bldg. 2631 on Camp Hansen. Classes run from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. Behavioral Health Family Advocacy offers many other classes and resources for service members and their spouses. View their upcoming events at behavioralhealth or call 645-2915 for more information. 



Parting is Such Sweet Sorrow EFMP Presents “Sayonara Okinawa” PCS Workshop Moving duty stations can be daunting. No matter how many times you may have done it, it’s never an easy task to pack up your life and move—especially from overseas. But have no fear, the MCCS Exceptional Family Member Program (EFMP) is here to help! Through their “Sayonara Okinawa” workshop, you can ease the PCS process and reduce the risk of any potential mishaps and missteps along the way. The workshop will be held on March 9 from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Camp Foster Education Center. Drop in to learn all about what needs to be done to ensure a smooth move for you and your family. Covered will be everything from organizational tips to available resources and transitional supports. The course will also delve into PCS issues unique to families with special needs. Each move is unique and poses its own endless whats, whens and hows. “What do I do?” “When do I start?” “How do I do it?” Let EFMP help you answer these questions and live out your last few months on Okinawa worry free! To register or for more information, visit 

EFMP Special Needs Forum


A Resource for Families with a Loved One with Special Needs For many families who have a loved one with special needs, life can sometimes be a challenge. In a lot of cases, reassurance and resources are not always readily accessible, particularly while living overseas in a foreign country. However, loaded with the proper knowledge about the different types of support that are, in fact, at your disposal, you can feel more secure about your family’s future both in the military and here on Okinawa. If you or somebody in your family has special needs, the EFMP Special Needs Forum can provide you with a safe, supportive place for learning and discussion. Hear directly from care providers, unit commanders and other program managers who will share with you new trends and new information pertaining to special needs. At the same time, be heard. Speakers will be all ears to try to guide you, as well as to learn how they may better accommodate your unique requirements. The forum will be held on March 22 from 11 a.m. to 12:45 p.m. at the Camp Courtney Marine and Family Programs-Resources Building. For more information, call 645-9237 or visit  MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 49


Everyone Loves Pi(e)!


The National Pi Day Scholarship Spectacular If you love pi and pie…and you happen to need a bit of help paying for your higher education, you’ll want to attend MCCS Education Centers’ National Pi Day Scholarship Spectacular on March 14. Everyone knows that pi (π) is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, right? The ratio starts as 3.14 (hence the date March 14) and continues on forever from what mathematicians can tell (it’s been measured out to over 2 trillion digits). Not only that, pi never, ever settles into a permanent repeating pattern! The term “pizza” was first recorded during the 10th century (AD) in southern Italy when it was still part of the Byzantine Empire. However, foods resembling pizza pie predate even that—with ancient Greeks supplementing their breads with oils, herbs and cheese and Persian soldiers baking flatbreads topped with dates and cheese atop their battle shields in the 6th century (BC). It’s popularly stated that the forbearer of the modern pizza pie we know today—the Margherita—was invented in 1889 when the Royal Palace of Capodimonte commissioned a pizza maker to

create a pie in honor of a visiting queen by the name of (yup, you guessed it) Margherita. Pizza was subsequently brought to the United States by immigrants from Italy during the 19th century, where it became loved and cherished by millions not only in the U.S. but throughout the world. Pi is a magical number and pizza is a magical pie—and both deserve a magical day dedicated to them both. Held at MCCS Education Centers island-wide, the National Pi Day Scholarship Spectacular combines the brilliance of pie puns with the mathematical magnificence of pi. Learn about how you can apply for and receive scholarships to help you pay for your education. Has there ever been a greater excuse to eat pie for the sake of academia? All MCCS Education Centers will serve a slice of pizza between 11 a.m. and 1 p.m. on March 14 for FREE (while supplies last). Visit or or call 645-7660 for more information.  MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 51


Eat the Rainbow!


Nutrition Activity Everyone has probably heard “eat your greens!” But what about reds, oranges, yellows, purples and blues? Eating a variety of fruits and vegetables is vital because (depending on plant family and color) they differ in nutrients. That’s why that old phrase is being tossed out for a newer, better “eat the rainbow!” Food preferences are formed in early childhood and affect an individual’s eating habits for life. Therefore, parents must teach their children good eating habits so that they have the best chance to live healthy and successful lives. Since March is National Nutrition Month, Semper Fit Health Promotion and MCCS Libraries will be

offering a fantastic activity for children to learn about the importance of healthy eating. The library on Camp Courtney invites you and your children to learn about eating a rainbow of foods and participate in a fun craft on March 6 from 5 to 6 p.m. On March 7, the Camp Kinser library will be hosting Eat the Rainbow from 5 to 6 p.m. Join the Camp Foster library on March 8 from 6 to 7 p.m. This event is geared for ages 5 to 10, but anyone is welcome. For more information, call 645-6453 or visit mccsokinawa. com/libraries.  MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 53


Typhoon Motors JCI


Making “JCI’ing” Your Car a Breeze Japanese Compulsory Insurance, better known as JCI, is auto insurance mandated by the Government of Japan (GOJ) that provides third-party coverage of up to 30 million yen for death, 1.2 million yen for injuries and up to 40 million yen for residual injuries. A full car inspection for possible safety hazards is an integral (and sometimes time-consuming) part of renewing your JCI. The process—which covers a car from bumper to bumper—is collectively known as “JCI’ing” your car and can take hours and sometimes even days. However, the pain of going through the JCI process is nothing compared to the consequences of letting it expire. Driving

with an out-of-date JCI can result in a suspended license for 30 days, a ¥500,000 ($4,500) fine and up to a year of prison. Sound daunting? It doesn’t have to be. On March 17, Typhoon Motors on Camp Kinser will be offering a Car Care Workshop covering JCI preparation and tips. A trained technician will assist you as you ready your vehicle for JCI. The $20/hour session covers work stall rental and all tools needed to complete any repairs—including a lathe machine to work on brake rotors. This is a steal, considering the amount of labor fees you would pay a mechanic to do the same thing. Call 637-2191 to RSVP—space is limited. Once you’re ready, head over to any

Typhoon Motors island-wide as they will be offering 20% off vehicle inspections throughout the month of March. The pros at Typhoon Motors will check your vehicle from head to toe to ensure that it’s up to JCI snuff. Vehicle inspections are also great for those who are either planning to or are in the process of buying or selling a vehicle. For more details on these offerings and more, contact your nearest Typhoon Motors. They have locations on Camps Foster (645-7169), Kinser (637-2191), Courtney (622-9546) and Hansen (623-7743). Visit Typhoon Motors online at mccsokinawa. com/typhoonmotors. 



Loan Locker Where a Pot Can Make Your Day


Are you new to the island and awaiting your shipment of household goods? Trying to cook a real meal in temporary lodging weeks after your household goods have been sent to your next duty station and finding that it’s nearly impossible to make pasta without a pot? Visit the Marine and Family ProgramsResources (MFP-R) Branch loan locker on Camp Foster in Building 445. Families who have recently PCSed in, as well as those who are getting ready to say “sayonara” to Okinawa, are both eligible to rent household necessities from the loan locker for up to 60 days. You’ll receive a bin of items such as cutlery, pans, plates, pots, baking dishes and more to help you make it until either your shipment arrives or your family departs. You can even check out car seats and strollers! To pick up items from the loan locker, call the Camp Foster Relocation Office at 645-8395/2104 and bring a copy of your orders. Visit for more information. 

“The Spirit of Okinawa—the beautiful and timeless pictorial book by Shokyu Otsuka—is in its final printing.”

The Spirit of Okinawa It’s your last chance! After working for many years in Osaka as a photographer in the public relations department of a large company, Shokyu Otsuka finally moved to Okinawa, the land of his dreams. “I am often asked by friends, relatives and acquaintances, why? But rather than answer with words, I would quietly take out one of my many Okinawan photo collections and let them speak for me.” Otsuka-san first came to Okinawa in the summer of 1972, the year of Okinawa’s reversion to mainland Japanese control. Okinawa’s characteristics—the brilliant summertime sun, oceans filled with colorful coral and sealife, towering cumulonimbus clouds so tall that they seemed to stretch into outer space and the look of the streets around U.S. military bases—made it feel like a different country. “As a photographer, I found myself captivated more and more by these picturesque scenes.” First printed in 2003, The Spirit of Okinawa—the beautiful and timeless pictorial book by Shokyu Otsuka—is in its final printing. This may be your last chance to get your copy! The Spirit of Okinawa is available at select Exchange and Express locations island-wide for $28. For more information, call 645-3193. 


Japan’s agricultural sector is shrinking, but Okinawa is, and always has been, different from its mainland counterparts. Cultivated from the island’s fertile earth and subtropical climate is a local food culture that’s drawing the focus back to self-sufficiency, well-being and plants. Whether you already have an affinity for plant-based meals or are looking to work more of them into your diet, Okinawa is the perfect place to just… veg out.





9 A.M.–7 P.M. | OPEN DAILY


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The Onna Station Nakayukui Market is an experience in and of itself. Small, but lively—this is another great place for newcomers to discover the abundance of fresh produce Okinawa has to offer. Planted along Hwy 58 across from the Onna Village coastline, this marketplace is located closest to northern Camps Hansen and Schwab. If you just so happen to be passing through the area, make a pit stop! If not for the fresh fruits and vegetables inside, pull over to check out the various food stands that surround the entrance of the market. Prices are friendly, picnic tables are aplenty and everything is made fresh daily with ingredients that can be found right inside the market. You can get vegetable tempura, yam and banana doughnuts, freshly-squeezed juice and tons more. Whether you want to grab something to cook for lunch or want to eat lunch at that very moment, the Onna farmer’s market has your back as it serves up food and fun for the whole family. If you can manage to fight off the urge to buy a snack before completing your shopping mission then kudos to you! Make your way past the picnic tables and inside through the glass sliding doors. To your left lies the magic. Shopping here feels as if you stepped into a vast and vibrant veggie wonderland. At first glance it may not look like much, but if you actually take time to sift through all the food products they have to offer and really compare their prices to that of the commissary or the other local grocery stores, you’ll see why this market made the list. The produce here is beautiful, fresh and, for the most part, locally-grown. Feast your eyes on gigantic leeks, yellow carrots, purple potatoes, seasonal squash, rosy beets and tons of tropical fruits. C H AY O




10 A.M.–7 P.M. | OPEN DAILY


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This farmer’s market looks admittedly small from the outside, but as we all should have learned by now, it’s what’s on the inside that counts. The Minami Farmer’s Market is like Mary Poppins’ magic carpetbag—full of surprises. Located near the Futenma Shrine, this market is closest to Camp Foster (Legion Gate) and Camp Kinser. With perhaps the best prices of the three markets featured, this place is seemingly frequented mostly by locals looking for great deals on items that are typically a tad pricier elsewhere. A bag of potatoes for ¥200, a bag of (roughly twelve heads of) garlic for ¥480, a box of tomatoes for ¥780—prices like these are hard to beat. Many of the products are locally grown while some are imported from mainland Japan and China. The fact that they carry imported produce makes this market an awesome place to buy vegetables during their off-seasons. Overall, the Minami Farmer’s Market is highly recommended. This place is about options, which are always nice to have especially when you’re on a small island like Okinawa. There are plenty to mull over, all of various qualities and origins. They stock several types of carrots, several types of tomatoes, several types of cabbage, several types of onions… the list goes on. They also carry produce native to Asia and the Pacific, offering you the chance to try something new and exciting! Like most places in Japan, this market only accepts yen. That’s okay, however, because a little yakitori (skewered chicken) stand sits nearby on the corner of the market parking lot, and all that shopping coupled with the savory scents of barbecue will make you hungry.






8 A.M.–8 P.M. | OPEN DAILY









Now we know not everybody likes to cook. That’s okay! Now, As previously stated, Okinawa has tons of eateries focused on using natural ingredients at which you can dine. Rockers Café is one of those places. Located in Mihama American Village, this restaurant serves up an eclectic mix of vegetable-heavy meat dishes and plant-based vegan dishes with a Jamaican twist, and somehow it just works. If you’re up for it, try their burrito made purely from plant products. Wrapped tightly in a tortilla is tomato rice, red cabbage, lettuce, pickled carrots and a seasonal vegetable, served with a side of fries and their homemade ketchup. Right now, squash is in season. You’re probably thinking, “Squash in a burrito?” But again, somehow it just works. In addition, lending to the heartiness of the meal, minced seasoned soybeans are used in place of meat. Simply phenomenal. If you do prefer a bit of meat with your veggies, try Rockers’ butter chicken curry. The chicken is cooked to perfection, and the curry is creamy, flavorful and loaded with vegetables prepared every which way. A dollop of mashed sweet potatoes, pickled carrots, fresh red onions, tempura fried green beans, fresh cilantro, deep fried taro, eggplant, squash and vinegared broccoli makes this concoction perhaps the most visually appealing plate of curry to ever exist. They also make a mean jerk pork sandwich served with a crisp, clean salad and beet vinaigrette dressing. This sandwich is packed with pickled carrots, lettuce, red cabbage, tomatoes and, of course, two large pork filets. At this little gem, there truly is something for everybody to enjoy. If not for the wonderful food, go for the quirky and carefully curated interior, the outdoor ocean view terrace or the sweet rhythms of reggae and ska. Getting your daily dose of vegetables has never been this easy.

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Eating plant-based doesn’t necessarily mean you can’t treat yourself every now and then. Discreetly tucked away in a seaside neighborhood in Yomitan Village, this holein-the-wall restaurant completely redefines what (most people believe) it means to eat vegan. If you’re looking to lose weight, you’ve come to the wrong place. At GubGub’s Vegan Kitchen, the food isn’t about health or dietary restrictions. Rather, it’s about the well-being of your soul and the respectable idea that all beings are created equally. If you stop by GubGub’s, you’ll definitely want to try one of their famous “fake cheeseburgers.” Absolutely mouthwatering, the patty is made from a mashup of Okinawan tofu, several kinds of mushrooms, garlic, onions, rice and vegetable stock. It’s then topped with a slice of “cheese” made mainly from soy and seasonings; red onions, a slice of juicy tomato, a special egg-free/dairy-free mayo-tomato sauce, and finally, a crisp leaf of iceberg lettuce. Everything is made in-house daily, including the freshly-baked burger buns, as currently, no bakeries on island sell vegan bread. The burger is so big and juicy that they insist on giving you a paper sleeve to hold it all together. Naturally, it's served with potato wedges, but instead of ketchup, you’ll find

yourself scraping clean the edges of a small saucer that was once full of succulent homemade gravy made from carrots, garlic, mushrooms and vegetable stock. They also have on their menu other comfort foods such as taco rice, pizzas, loco mocos (dripping in the aforementioned gravy) and various hearty meatless sandwiches. The entire concept is extremely innovative, using vegetables in a creative, non-conventional way. Make no mistake, however; it doesn’t taste like meat nor does it try to. The main goal, after all, is to promote the enjoyable flavors of a plant-based diet and change the way the world views vegan food. It’s not all “rabbit food.” It can be fun and it can be indulgent. GubGub’s “fake cheeseburger” is a non-living testament to this. As restaurant owner, Nishi-san, puts it, “All it takes is a little bit of creativity and handiwork to be fair with other beings, so why not?” ADDRESS






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Just off bustling Kokusai Street in Naha City sits a 60-year-old house and garden. Today, this property is known as Ukishima Garden, a restaurant inspired by the traditional Japanese diet that heavily emphasizes grains, vegetables and fresh, unprocessed foods. Although the traditional Japanese diet does encourage a little bit of meat, the owner at Ukishima Garden made the executive decision to factor it out completely and, to be honest, it’s done so well that you don’t even miss it. Some dishes are vegan and some dishes are vegetarian, but everything is based heavily on macrobiotics, which the restaurant refers to as shima yasai (island vegetable) cuisine. They’ve also included on their menu gluten-free, soy-free and nut-free options, as well as halal and kosher friendly meals. Highly recommended is their Okinawan taco rice. Ukishima makes theirs with taco tofu-meat and organic lettuce, carrots, almonds, cilantro and tomatoes served on a bed of (you guessed it) organic rice. In fact, when asked if all of the produce was organic and locally grown, Ukishima’s talented chef replied, “Of course.” Other specialties include their burgers, all served with deep fried vegetables instead of fries. This time around, the vegetables were fried squash, carrots, bell peppers and broccoli, but in accordance with shima yasai, that changes with the seasons. Their “beef-like” slider patty is made of tofu, Okinawan soba beans and takakigi, which is a type of millet (gluten-free grain). The patty holds really well— almost like a “normal” burger, but the taste is incredible and all its own. They also make “fish-like” sliders served with plant-based tartar sauce. The filet is made of tofu and hie, which is another type of millet, and could be easily mistaken for fish with its soft and flaky texture. The tartar sauce is 100% vegan made from blended tofu, cashews, onions and capers. Overall, Ukishima Garden is unique in that it does the most to capitalize purely off nature and selfsufficiency. Such is echoed throughout the establishment. The earthy interior is paneled in wood and

adorned in organic fibers, and dried grains hang from the ceilings and lighting fixtures. Soak in this charm while sipping on one of their organic wines at the bar or enjoy the privacy of one of their tatami rooms upstairs. You can also make your way to the garden, decked out with roses, cherry blossoms and an old-school water pump, and take in all the sights, sounds and tastes of nature smack dab in the middle of the city.  ADDRESS



11:30 A.M.–3 P.M. (LUNCH) & 6–10 P.M. (DINNER) | OPEN DAILY


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Katsudon Serves two Ingredients 2 lean pork loin cutlets 4 medium-sized eggs 1/2 cup flour 1 cup panko (bread crumbs) 1 cup dashi (Japanese soup stock) 4 Tbsp. mirin (Japanese cooking wine) 4 Tbsp. soy sauce 1/2 onion, thinly sliced 1/4 cup chopped Japanese leeks Preparation 1. Season pork loin cutlets with salt, pepper and garlic powder. Dredge cutlets in flour and dip them in beaten eggs (two eggs worth). Dip pork in panko and fry in oil until golden brown. Set aside. 2. In a sauce pan, combine 1/2 cup dashi* and1 1/2 to 2 Tbsp. each of soy sauce and mirin. Bring to a boil and add sliced onions. When the onions are cooked, stir in one egg (slightly beaten) and chopped leeks. 3. To serve, place steamed white rice in a bowl, top with sliced pork cutlet, and pour the sauce mixture over the pork. Panko are available in Japanese supermarkets. The Japanese-style bread crumbs are coarser in texture than those typically found in American supermarkets, making them optimal as a coating for fried foods. *To make dashi: boil water, then add katsuobushi. After one minute, strain the liquid.

Hina Matsuri


In Japan, the third day of the third month is celebrated as Hina Matsuri, or “Girls’ Day.” Although this festival isn’t acknowledged as a national holiday, during Hina Matsuri families with daughters pray for their health and happiness. Hina Matsuri is observed with a ritual display of dolls (called Hina ningyo) and gatherings of young girls clad in kimono enjoying special Hina Matsuri fare, including chirashizushi (sashimi, seaweed, shredded, scrambled eggs and other delicacies strewn over sushi rice), hishi-mochi (diamond-shaped rice cakes colored pink, white and green) and more. Children also offer tea and refreshments to their dolls and sing “Ureshî Hina Matsuri”—a traditional Japanese folk song about the festival. Traditionally, a complete set of Hina ningyo consists of at least 15 dolls set upon a tiered structure covered in vermilion cloth called a hinadan. Although modern versions include dolls modeled after different cartoon

characters, such as Hello Kitty, many families prefer traditional dolls. They’re usually dressed in full Heian-era court regalia—usually consisting of intricately brocaded kimono. The uppermost tier is occupied by O-Dairi-sama and O-Hina-sama—the emperor and empress, which are usually the most elaborately dressed and are often the most expensive. The upper-most tier also holds various exquisitelyconstructed miniature household articles— the most important of which is bonbori, or paper-covered lamps, that light the top level. Two ministers usually occupy the second tier, accompanied by three ladies in waiting (called kanjo), caricatures of tea ceremony sets and food offerings including miniature hishi-mochi. Five court musicians wielding drums and flutes for the royal couple’s pleasure occupy the next level and the lowest level is reserved for three guards bearing weapons to protect the court. 

Uchinâguchi Corner English





Chichun MARCH 2018 | OKINAWA LIVING 69

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March 2018