MT. FUJI GOLDEN TIME
May 2017 | Issue 231
contents May 2017
8 24 CloCkwiSe from toP left: torSakarin /bigStoCk.Com, Sarah head, thomaS alan Smilie, Sarah head
Out + About: Mt. Fuji Travel to the mainland to conquer the most iconic peak in Japan with Tours+!
Restaurant Review: Waryu SUSHI Shuna Enjoy an all-you-can eat authentic sushi lunch at this eatery located inside the Okinawa Grand Mer Resort.
24 Salty Breeze & Sunny Seas Okinawa offers ample opportunities for beating the heat and humidity both on the water and underneath.
On the cover Stand Up Paddleboards, or SUPs, offer a refreshing and fun workout.
58 Golden Time: Celebrating Golden Week on Okinawa Golden Week means many great activities enjoyable by the whole family will be happening throughout the islandâ€”some of which may even warrant scheduling a day or two of vacation time to join with the festivities!
contents May 2017
47 Strength for Life Support Group If you are in need of a support community to cope with past or present domestic violence, Family Advocacy Program’s new support group is here for you.
51 L.I.N.K.S. for Spouses Some say it’s smart to learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t make them yourself, and what better way to do that than to share and connect with people who have walked in similar shoes.
Kids + Parents 53 Muffins with Mommy MCCS Libraries on Camps Courtney, Foster and Kinser will be celebrating Mother’s Day with a special gathering for children to hear stories, sing songs and make a gift for Mom!
Play ball! Register your child for youth baseball and softball; you can grow as a parent, your child can grow as a person and you can all have a blast while doing so!
Dining + Entertainment
Schwab Festival Enjoy rides, food, fun, Fun Land and a FREE performance by alternative metal band SEVENDUST.
Mother’s Day at the Clubs Give mom the morning off and take her to an MCCS Club or Restaurant for a hearty Mother’s Day Breakfast…it’s the least that you can do!
Mensore + Feedback
17 TriKids, MiniKids and Women’s Only Triathlon Running, biking and swimming are the holy trinity of athleticism. While competing in these activities individually requires stamina, there is no better way to test an athlete’s endurance than doing all three back-to-back.
Mother’s Day Custom Shop Special Give Mom something unique and special this Mother’s Day to show your appreciation for all that she does.
Fitness + Fun
Batter Up! It’s almost time for the softball tournament of all tournaments—the 2017 Pacific-wide Firecracker!
Red, White and Craft Brew Featuring craft brew masters from the Okinawa Craft Beer Association and the Okinawa Octoberfest Committee, this first-time-ever event will also feature excellent food pairings and LIVE entertainment.
Marines + Families 45 Innovation Experience The Camp Foster Library is in proud to present the Innovation Lab—a collaborative space where creativity meets technology.
7 69 Living on Okinawa
62 Marketplace Guide
MAy 2017 | ISSUE 231 COMMANDING GENERAL MCIPAC Major General Joaquin F. Malavet 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 EDITORIAL Ryan Anastoplus, Ashley Snipes, Shelbie Thilmony DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Thomas Alan Smilie PHOTOGRAPHER Sarah Head GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Lisa Miyagi, Hector Nieves, Catherine Newquist, Jongeun Spencer CULTURAL RESEARCH SPECIALIST Ayako Kawamitsu ADvERTISING SALES & SPONSORSHIP MANAGER Roy Forster ADvERTISING SALES & SPONSORSHIP Yoshihiro Shinzato, Yoriko Yamashiro, Aya Chilcote, Carina Fils-Julien MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH MANAGER Andrew Menges MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH Katherine Melrose, Marissa DeSmet, Ashley Herring, Kristen Wong, Allison Dixon DISTRIBUTION Kelli Kreider BROADCAST Kathlene Millette, Gabriel Archer, Emi Komiya vOLUNTEER/INTERN Chloé Stevens, Valeria Solorzano Okinawa Living, MCCS’s Award Winning Magazine 2003 • 2004 • 2005 • 2006 • 2007 • 2008 2009 • 2010 • 2011 • 2012 • 2013 We welcome your comments. Please send letters to firstname.lastname@example.org For advertising 098-970-2245 (phone) | 098-970-0975 (fax) email@example.com (e-mail) See our advertising rates at mccsokinawa.com MCCS Marketing Branch MCB Camp S.D. Butler. Unit 35023 FPO AP 96378-5023
広告掲載のお問い合わせは MCCSマーケティング営業部まで 098-970-2245 (日本語可)
Okinawa Living Magazine is printed with
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.
from the ICE Program and Facebook I’m extremely happy to see the new Innovation Lab that just opened at the Camp Foster Library. It is such a great idea. Thank you for bringing it to us. —via ICE The Innovation Lab is packed with state-of-the-art technology, such as a 3D printer, robots, drones and more. There’s also a Virtual Reality Lab that includes Oculus Rift and HoloLens. The best part is that these services are FREE for the community to use! The Foster Library encourages everyone to create, learn and innovate with them. —MCCS Consumer Relations Have you released the dates for the Firecracker Softball Tournament yet? —via Facebook The Firecracker Softball tournament will begin June 28 and run through July 4 this year. The tournament will be single round robin, followed by a double elimination tournament. Check out mccsokinawa. com/semperfit for more information and register your team by June 20 at any MCCS Fitness Center. —MCCS Consumer Relations We reserved the Butler Officers’ Club for my daughter’s Sweet 16 birthday party and the event could not have gone better. It was catered with food that both teenagers and adults enjoyed and the service was incredibly prompt; not one empty plate sat on a table for longer than two minutes. Gina Leidig (the club manager) is definitely the reason why the event was so amazing. She kept in contact with me and checked in on the event throughout the entire evening. She was simply amazing. I would highly recommend the event for anyone thinking of hosting an event. —via ICE I am very happy about and thankful for the Color Me Fun Run that took place on Saturday, April 1 on Camp Foster. Thank you for putting together such a fun event. My son is on the spectrum and I am happy that you bring so much awareness to autism with events like this. My family, especially my son, enjoyed the Color Me Fun Run. —via ICE
mensôre “Welcome” to Okinawa Living
Just Golden May 5 is Children’s Day in Japan—a holiday dedicated to every child in the nation. For centuries, holidays have been dedicated to the success and happiness of the nation’s children. In March, Hina Matsuri celebrates daughters, and before 1948, “Boy’s Day” was celebrated on the fifth day of the fifth month for families with sons. This day is now set aside for all children in Japan The May issue celebrates the string of Japanese national holidays known as Golden Week featuring several activities people of all ages can enjoy (especially children) and the most important person in every child’s life—their mom. Both Salty Breeze & Sunny Seas (beginning on p. 24), and Golden Time: Celebrating Golden Week on Okinawa (beginning on p. 58) cover a multitude of activities on Okinawa families and friends can enjoy not only during Golden Week, but throughout the month of May. MCCS Clubs & Restaurants throughout Okinawa will be honoring moms with delicious breakfasts and buffets and this month’s restaurant review featuring Waryu SUSHI Shuna inside Okinawa Grand Mer Resort offers another possible Mother’s Day gift—an all-she-can-eat sushi lunch with ice cream for dessert! All this and more in this month’s issue and, as always, we would like to thank you for picking Okinawa Living Magazine. Now, time to turn the page and let your journey begin!
Where can I find a schedule of the upcoming scuba classes? I need the beginner class. —via Facebook
thomaS alan Smilie
A schedule of Tsunami Scuba’s PADI certification classes, including the Open Water course, can be found at mccsokinawa.com/scuba. If you find a class that works for you, stop by one of their facilities to sign up! Tsunami Scuba staff will be happy to guide you through the process. —MCCS Consumer Relations
Mike Daley editor-in-Chief
Take us on the road enjoy Okinawa Living Magazine on your favorite mobile device! Visit mccsokinawa.com/ol for the latest issue. also, visit issuu.com/mccsokinawa to see back issues of the magazine as well as Okinawa Living Weekly.
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 mccsokinawa.com 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.
MAy 2017 | OkInAWA LIvInG 7
out + About
Text by RYAN ANASTOPLUS Layout by MARGIE SHIMABUKURO
MAY 2017 | okinAwA living 9
out + About
middle photo torsakarin/bigstock.com, bottom photos seanpavonephoto/bigstock.com , nsihasakprachum/bigstock.com
5:30 a.m. The tour starts at the Foster Education Center, where you will catch a bus to take you to Naha Airport. While you wait, do some stretches, take a few vitamins and start sketching a bronze statue of yourself because youâ€™re about to climb Mt. Fuji.
DAY 2 FREE DAY Shibuya is home to the worldâ€™s second most famous crosswalk rivaled only by Abbey Road. The Scramble is true to its name, the five-way crosswalk is a dizzying parade to be a part of, or just to watch from afar.
DAY 3 FREE DAY Shibuya train station is home to a bronze statue of Hachiko, known for showing up to the station every day for nine years awaiting his deceased owner.
MAY 2017 | okinAwA living 11
out + About
2:30 p.m. Meet at the New Sanno Hotel Lobby. Take a good look at yourself. The next time you see that face it will be the face of a mountaineer. 7 p.m. Start the climb at Station 5. Climb through the night and reach the peak by sunrise. The lengthy (roughly 12 hours in total) climb has great and unforgettable rewards.
top to bottom seanpavonephoto/bigstock.com , mccs photos
DAY 5 Time to head home. Hours ago, you stood at the top of the tallest peak in Japan. A bus will pick you up at the airport and take you back to the Foster Education Center, where only five days ago, a much-less celebrated version of you stood. î€€
Visit mccsokinawa.com/tours to book your adventure!
MAY 2017 | okinAwA living 13
fitness + fun
schwab Festival Head up north for a rousing good time! This year’s Camp Schwab Festival will take place Saturday, May 13 and Sunday, May 14 from 1 to 9 p.m. 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 cultural foods from Okinawa, as well as delectable offerings from MCCS. Hungry festival-going revelers can enjoy American staples such as sizzling burgers from Bulldogs, succulent BBQ beef brisket and juicy chicken
from Hickory House All-American BBQ, pizza and wings and more! Patrons 20 years of age and older can enjoy refreshing adult beverages from Kanpai Lounge. A great entertainment lineup will be on tap throughout the weekend, including a FREE performance by alternative metal band SEVENDUST on Saturday at 7 p.m., and local metal band Bodysonic performing Sunday at 3:45 p.m. Schwab Festival will also be featuring more laid-back sounds, including reggae and variety from Hawaiian native Shar Carillo, more island “melody ‘n riddim” from American Idol alumni Eli-Mac and Hawaiian reggae from Rebel Souljahz. All
three acts will be performing both days. Admission to the Camp Schwab Festival is FREE and open to all SOFA status and Japanese citizens island wide. No one will be admitted with pets, outside alcohol, glass bottles, coolers or backpacks. 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 mccsokinawa.com/festivals or visit MCCS Special Events on Facebook at facebook.com/mccsokinawa.specialevents.
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fitness + fun
TriKids, MiniKids and Women’s Only Triathlon
kinser triathlon Are you up for it?
An extravaganza of athleticism Running, biking and swimming are the holy trinity of athleticism. While competing in these activities individually requires stamina, there is no better way to test an athlete’s endurance than doing all three back-to-back. Regardless of whether they are experienced triathletes, or are training for the first one, the TriKids, MiniKids and Women’s Only Triathlon is sure to be a fun and challenging extravaganza of athleticism. The TriKids, MiniKids and Women’s Only Triathlon will take place on May 27 on Camp Kinser and June 24 on Camp Foster. The women’s category is for females over the age of 13 and the Trikids category is for children ages 7-14. The Minikids race is for mini-athletes under the age of 10. Participants can register online no later than four days before the respective race. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/aquatics.
camp schwab Warrior challenge alistaircotton/bigstock.com, lzF/bigstock.com
Warriors only Another 5K fun run. You can do these in your sleep. It hardly breaks a sweat. You don’t even need your “good” playlist to zip through one of these. But the Warrior Challenge 5K is a little different. Even though it’s a 5K, it’ll require the endurance of a 15K at least. You will find yourself going through obstacles throughout this ruthless stroll including sand pits, hurdles, walking planks, tires and more. The Warrior Challenge will start at the Camp Schwab Aquatics Center at 10 a.m. with a mandatory safety brief at 9:45 a.m. Register now at any MCCS Fitness Center by May 8 for $30 per person or $75 per team of three. Late registration will be accepted at the Camp Schwab Power Dome Fitness Center on May 12 until 4 p.m., or on-site from 8:30 to 9:30 a.m. Must be 15 or older (participants aged 15 to 17 must produce a signed waver). For more information, call 645-3521 or visit mccsokinawa.com/semperfit.
Get ready to make your heart pound! The Kinser Open Triathlon is right around the corner and, if you think your mind and body can handle the challenge, MCCS Semper Fit wants to know how fast you can go. This sprint triathlon consists of a 400-meter swim, a 25-kilometer bike ride and a 5-kilometer run. This event will be held at the Camp Kinser Fitness Center and pool on May 21. Participants must register by May 15 at any MCCS Fitness Center for $30. This event is open to participants islandwide. Awards will be given to first, second and third place winners in each division as well as overall male and female winners. T-shirts will be given to the first 100 participants. A mandatory participants’ brief will be held the day of the event at 7:45 a.m. at the Kinser Pool. For more information, contact the Camp Kinser Fitness Center at 637-1869.
MAY 2017 | okinAwA living 17
out + About fitness + fun
Batter Up! Firecracker Pacific-Wide Softball Tournament It’s almost time for the softball tournament of all tournaments—the 2017 Pacific-wide Firecracker! Whether you are a fan or a player, this action-packed Fourth of July weekend event cannot not be missed. Semper Fit will be hosting the tournament at the Camp Foster softball fields from June 29 to July 4. The toughest teams in the Pacific will gather on Okinawa to test their skills and endurance for this non-stop, fiveday event to prove who will reign supreme on the diamond. This tournament will be a single roundrobin followed by double elimination. Team and individual awards will be given to the top three teams in both male and female divisions. All tournament players, skills competition winners, male and female MVPs and coaches will also receive awards. Teams interested in taking part in the biggest softball competition in the Pacific must register by 1 p.m. on June 19 at any MCCS Fitness Center for $275 per team. So oil up your glove, grab your Big League Chew and get ready for your chance at softball glory. For details and information, visit mccsokinawa.com/semperfit or call 645-3521.
Far east bodybuilding competition
top to bottom thomas alan smilie, enterlinedesign/bigstock.com
Do you have a permit for those guns? On August 6 at the Camp Foster Theater, “Beasts of the East” returns. And we’re not talking about an Eastern remake of “Beauty and the Beast” (although this show will rival the movie in both beauty and beastliness). The best bodybuilders, physique and figure competitors in the Pacific will compete for the fitness event of the year—the Far East Bodybuilding Competition. Are you a member of this ultra-elite breed? Starting your contest preparation any later than now will be too late. What does it take to compete? Being a competitive bodybuilder has more to do with dedication, hard work and willpower than it does genetics or natural talent. Contest preparation is eating pre-portioned meals for months, which means a long hiatus from going out to lunch with buddies. It’s doing an hour on the Stairmaster when your calves and hamstrings are already tired and sore. It’s tough, but extremely rewarding to reach the best conditioning of your life. Although bodybuilders may not show their physical strength like powerlifters and strongmen do, it takes immense mental strength to prepare for the bodybuilding stage. Motivated? Start training now to have your moment on the stage. If you need assistance, visit MCCS Health Promotion online at mccsokinawa.com/healthpromotion or your nearest MCCS Fitness Center and ask about their personal trainers. Be on the lookout for upcoming information about the Far East Bodybuilding Competition from mccsokinawa.com/bodybuilding.
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fitness + fun
Fun dives Just show up and enjoy the dive
Memorial Day Expo Try out the latest and greatest in the world of diving This month check out the latest and greatest dive gear around at the 2017 Memorial Day Expo at the Camp Foster Tsunami Scuba Center. Featuring vendors from manufacturers such as Scubapro, Sealife, Aqua Lung, Suunto, Omer, DeepSea, XS Scuba and more will be on hand to answer questions about their wares. This diver’s extravaganza will happen Memorial Day weekend (May 26 to 29) from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Camp Foster. Sales will also take place from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. at other Tsunami Scuba locations throughout the island. On Camp Foster, FREE seminars will be held on subjects such as equipment and gear and patrons will also be able to try exciting new gear, brought by vendors at the 50 Meter Pool. For more information on the 2017 Tsunami Scuba Memorial Day Expo, call 645-4206. Visit Tsunami Scuba online at mccsokinawa. com/tsunamiscuba.
top to bottom sarah head, royster/bigstock.com
Diving is great, but it can be a hassle without your own gear and transportion to a remote beach. But what if somebody took care of everything for you and all you had to do was show up and enjoy the dive? Would you sign up? Sure you would! Throughout the month of May, Tsunami Scuba locations on Camps Hansen (May 20) and Schwab (May 21) will be hosting Fun Dives for Marines who want to dive Okinawa, but don’t feel like taking a bus or cab. For only $49, transportation, rental equipment and lunch are included for a day of fun, hassle-free diving. Tsunami Scuba also offers boat charters to world-class diving locations in the Kerama Islands, northern Okinawa and the Eastern coast. Dive charters leave from Camp Foster or Camp Hansen Tsunami Scuba and all tanks, weights and transportation are provided. Visit mccsokinawa.com/tsunamiscuba for more information on Tsunami Scuba’s fun dives and charters.
MAY 2017 | okinAwA living 21
fitness + fun
lifeguard review course
top to bottom bezik/bigstock.com, astropix/bigstock.com
If you are a lifeguard, it’s a good idea to keep your skills fresh The Lifeguarding Review Course is for lifeguards to refresh their knowledge and skills learned in the Lifeguarding Full Course. A current certification in Lifeguarding, First Aid and CPR/ AED is required for participation in this course. Completing this course will also give participants certifications in Lifeguarding/First Aid/CPR/AED, administering emergency oxygen as well as bloodborne pathogens training. To attend this class, students must be able to complete the following prerequisites: • Swim 300 meters while demonstrating breath control and rhythmic breathing. You may use front crawl, breaststroke or a combination of both. Swim goggles may be used. • Tread water for two minutes using only your legs • Swim 20 meters using front crawl or breaststroke, surface dive seven to 10 feet, retrieve a 10-pound object, swim 20 meters back to the starting point and exit the water without using a ladder or steps. Must be completed within 1 minute and 40 seconds. This class will held May 13 and 14 on Camp Foster at the 50 meter pool. Register online by 11 p.m. on May 10 at mccsokinawa.com/ lifeguard.
Spring Learn to Swim Sessions Do more than the doggy paddle MCCS Aquatics’ Spring Learn to Swim program will have participants swimming with confidence in no time. Sessions meet on weekdays for two weeks. The registration fee ($50 for parent/child lessons and $75 for regular lessons) includes eight classes at the Foster 50M Pool. Classes
are held between 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. Register online at mccsokinawa.com/learntoswim or in person for upcoming sessions: May 8 to 18 and May 22 to June 2. For registration dates and times, or more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/learntoswim.
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Breeze B reeze
SUNNY S UNNY
SEAS S EAS E AS Text RYAN ANASTOPLUS, SHELBIE THILMONY Photo SARAH HEAD Layout JONGEUN SPENCER
The weather is warming and the humidity is kicking into high gear. You may be lamenting the onset of Okinawan heat, but itâ€™s actually a good thing.
Why do you say that?
Because it means itâ€™s time to hit the water and cool off, of course! Okinawa offers ample opportunities for cooling off both above and beneath the water.
MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 25
ABOVE THE WATER
As someone who isn’t aquatically inclined but paradoxically loves the ocean, I’m always looking for ways to enjoy the beautiful waters surrounding Okinawa from the surface. Stand up paddleboarding, or SUP for short, is one of the fastest growing watersports in the world. SUP originated in Hawaii in the 1960s and is known in the Hawaiian language as hoe he’e nalu.. Paddleboards are generally 8 to 18 feet long and are either inflatable or made of fiberglass. Riders stand on the board and paddle with straight arms rather than bent arms, like you would while kayaking. I was apprehensive to stand up on the board, but each board has a “sweet spot” where your weight is most balanced. I was guided to the sweet spot and used my paddle as a brace to stand. From there, it was actually pretty easy. The average person can get familiar with SUP in about one hour!
One of the best parts of paddle boarding, in my opinion, is that you are able to truly take in the wonder of the water and landscape around you. Standing on the paddleboard offers panoramic views of the sea and sand above the surface, but also a view of the marine life living below the crystal water. Paddleboards can be anchored as well, so you can paddle out to your favorite snorkel spot and get even closer to the vibrant life beneath the water. The fun doesnâ€™t stop there, eitherâ€”paddleboards can be taken on rapids, in warm or cold weather, and if your balance is better than mine is, you can even workout on the board! Salty SUP n Kayak is a local business that offers a variety of SUP classes, from sunset SUP tours to SUP yoga and SUP fitness classes. You can contact Salty SUP n Kayak at 080-6493-6135 or visit their website at saltysupnkayak.com.
MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 27
My idea of recreation has always been to do something that requires expending the least amount of energy possible, like taking a nap. If I could regenerate energy through recreation, that would be even better—perhaps by sitting in a cool room and quietly eating ice cream. But most activities people do for leisure require a lot of work and energy. It seems counterintuitive to the very concept of recreation. Things like beach volleyball, hiking, camping, jogging or kayaking don’t seem like relaxing activities initially. It seems like you can paddle forever into nothingness as you head onto the ocean on a yellow plastic sea kayak. You probably could, though it would be a poor choice. As the kayak presses through the water across the current as it laps against the sides of your yellow craft, the appeal becomes clearer to me. Kayaking requires more energy than the definition of recreation may allow, but maybe it’s because we have to travel to the solitude of the ocean to discover the unrest and anxiety we’ve become accustomed to living with each day. Kayaking is the type of recreation we need most—one which reenergizes the mind rather than the body. We’re not survivors. Our life isn’t a grind. Energy is plentiful in our society. What we do lack is silence. Some days you have to hop on a hollow plastic shell and paddle out into the ocean to get the recreation you need. Kayaks are available for rent at Tsunami Scuba. More details are available at mccsokinawa.com/tsunamiscuba. MCCS Tours+ also offers regular tours to kayak in the mangrove-lined rivers of Gesashi in northern Okinawa. Call 646-3502 for more details.
MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 29
BELOW THE WATER BELOW THE WATER
When I was younger, I had an aquarium. I picked out the coolest looking fish to populate the underwater world I created. There were shiny silver ones, some neon ones, discshaped ones, those ones that stick to the glass and even some catfish. I used to dream about zapping myself with a shrink ray so I was small enough to swim with my underwater friends in the aquarium. Although I snorkeled sporadically, getting certified to scuba dive was the fulfillment of that childhood fantasy. It was like being a kid again, except that aquarium was now an actual natural underwater ecosystem filled with many wondrous life forms that no longer existed only in my imagination. And I was no longer on the outside looking in, I was a part of the underwater world. Want to dive into a whole new world filled with adventure? Okinawa is a great place to start! Many dive spots around Okinawa and surrounding islands offer world-class diving—there’s even a WWII-era underwater ship wreck to explore if you have the requisite certification. Where to start? Head over to your nearest Tsunami Scuba Center and talk to the experts about getting your PADI Open Water diving certification. There’s also more info and a calendar of upcoming classes at mccsokinawa.com/tsunamiscuba mccsokinawa.com/tsunamiscuba. MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 31
SNORKELING Snorkeling is great—all you need is the right gear: a mask, snorkel, fins and a life vest (which are available for FREE at Tsunami Scuba with rental of snorkeling gear). Okinawa has some of the clearest waters in the world, and its beauty is not lost on the snorkeler. Snorkeling is the easiest way to witness the wonders of the sea life that surround us. When snorkeling at a young age, I saw a sea turtle larger than I was, and no one believed me. Another time as a child, I nearly drowned under a rip tide but a pod of narwhals saved me. No one believed that either. One thing you can count on to be true no matter who you ask is the Keramas are just a boat ride away. The subtropical paradise has remained pristine partly because only four of its 22 islands are inhabited. This gift of nature is lush with vibrant sea life including over 250 species of coral and a stunning variety of fish. Its calm, clear waters, with visibility up to 60 feet are inviting to even the least experienced of snorkelers. Temperatures never drop below 60°F, and the summers are even warmer. So, if you’ve yet to experience the seascape, there is never a bad time to take advantage of the island life by enjoying a fish-eye view of the ocean. Before heading out to explore the seas, get the latest gear at Tsunami Scuba. Check out your nearest Tsunami Scuba location or visit mccsokinawa.com/ tsunamiscuba for details. During warmer months, Tours+ offers snorkeling tours to the Kerama Islands as well—visit mccsokinawa.com/tours for details.
MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 33
Dining + entertainMent
Mother’s Day at the Clubs
It’s the least you can do Your mom is your rock, your foundation, your strength and your greatest champion. She stayed up nights with you when you were sick, helped you with homework and put a bandage on your “owies.” She brought you into this world, and she may have mentioned on occasion she can also take you out of it. In honor of mom, we celebrate her beauty, grace and sacrifice each year in May as a special token of gratitude for all that she does for us. Give mom the morning off and take her to an MCCS Club or Restaurant for a hearty Mother’s Day Breakfast…it’s the least that you can do! On May 14, Taiyo Steakhouse will be
offering an a la carte brunch menu from 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. Seating will be available on the balcony so mom can enjoy her meal in the beautiful Okinawa outdoors (weather permitting). Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 622-2020. The Butler Officers’ Club (645-7530) will be hosting a scrumptious Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Adults can enjoy an exquisite meal for $17. Children ages 5 through 11 are $8.50 and children 4 and under are FREE. Reservations are highly recommended for this holiday treat. Kinser Surfside (637-3137) is also hosting a Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet
from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. with the same pricing. Treat mom to a delicious Mother’s Day Breakfast Buffet at the Veranda inside the Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Habu Pit on MCAS Futenma will also be hosting a special buffet for Mother’s Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. At all buffets, adults are $9.95, children ages 5 through 11 are $4.95, and children 4 and under are FREE. For more information on Mother’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Buffets at MCCS Clubs and Restaurants visit mccsokinawa. com/clubs.
May 2017 | okinawa living 35
Dining + entertainMent
Laughter and Relief
The Steve Byrne Comedy Show The USO presents Steve Byrne! Gather your friends and laugh with Byrne, a Pennsylvania native who got his start in the comedy world in late 1997. He persisted through the grueling life of a standup comic in New York City, working seven nights a week to climb the ranks in the comedy world. He won TBS’ television competition, the “Standup or Sit-down Comedy Challenge” in 2006, and Comedy Central aired Byrne’s first special later that year. His humility and work ethic have established him as a well-respected comedian in the industry. Byrne was featured on Comedy Central over the next several years, was a guest
on The Tonight Show and made appearances on other big-name programs such as Chappelle’s Show, Good Morning America and Jimmy Kimmel Live! In addition to several tours and comedy club headliners, Byrne has opened for various musical acts, such as Kanye West, Mariah Carey, Modest Mouse, Kings of Leon and others. His success extends to the cinema as well—he filmed an hour-long special in New York City called “Champion,” which is currently available for streaming on Netflix. Byrne’s first USO comedy tour in 2008 brought laughter and relief to troops deployed to Afghanistan. In 2009, he visited troops in Japan and Guam and returned to
Afghanistan in 2010. He continued his support for the U.S. military on yet another USO tour in 2013. He credits his support for the military to the service of his father and brother, both veterans of the United States Army. Byrne will be performing at Camp Kinser Surfside on Sunday, May 21 at 7 p.m. Adult audiences only; laugh-seekers should be prepared for explicit, adultoriented language that may be considered offensive. For more information, call 6455821. Visit MCCS Entertainment online at mccsokinawa.com/entertainment or facebook.com/mccsokinawa.entertainment.
May 2017 | okinawa living 37
Dining + entertainMent
Red, White and Craft Brew Calling all craft beer connoisseurs!
iss_5757_02062 /ingimage.com, sveta_zarzamora/bigstock.com
MCCS cordially invites adult SOFA ID card holders and their authorized guests to the Red, White and Craft Brew event on Saturday, May 27 from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Butler Officer’s Club. Featuring craft brew masters from the Okinawa Craft Beer Association and the Okinawa Octoberfest Committee, this first-time-ever event will also feature excellent food pairings and LIVE entertainment provided by “Manila Pop.”
Tickets are $40 and will be available for purchase beginning May 1 at the Butler Officers’ Club, Kinser Surfside, Tengan Castle on Camp Courtney, Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster and online at mccsokinawa. com/craftbrew. Included in the ticket price, attendees will receive 20 drink vouchers— each equivalent to $1—and these can be used for tasting pours from vendors, or a full-on purchase of any craft beer offering. More
beverage tickets will be available for purchase for those wishing to indulge in the many offerings from local craft brewers. In order to “Protect What You’ve Earned,” bus transportation will be available. This is a limited-entrance invite and tickets will be selling quickly. Must be 20 years or older to attend. For more information, call the Butler Officers’ Club at 645-7530, or visit them mccsokinawa.com/boc.
cinco de mayo Family Fun night Great food and prizes for the whole family On Wednesday May 3, grab your sombrero and head to the Cinco de Mayo Family Fun Night at the Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster from 5 to 9 p.m. Families can enjoy Mexican-themed food, activities for kids and a raffle while celebrating Mexican-American Heritage. One of our generous sponsors has provided some great prizes for the kids. Enter the raffle for your chance to win a Hot Wheels BMW 100th Anniversary Car, “Despicable Me” Mega Bloks kits, or a limited edition Barbie Fashion Model Doll. Adult meal pricing will be $7.95, children 5 through 11 will be $3.95 and taquitos under 5 are FREE. For more information, contact the Ocean Breeze at 645-3666. You can also look them up at mccsokinawa.com/oceanbreeze.
May 2017 | okinawa living 39
Waryu SUSHI Shuna
The art of sushi at its finest Photography by Sarah Head Translation by Aya Chilcote
How to get there From the Camp Foster Legion Gate, turn left onto Route 330. Turn right at the Rycom intersection onto Route 22. Pass through three traffic lights and turn right at the end of the road. Go straight and turn right after passing Hotel Hawaii on your left. The Okinawa Grand Mer Resort will be on your right after a few minutes on this road. Hours of operation Daily Lunch Special 11:30 a.m.–3 p.m. (L.O. 1:30 p.m.) Phone number 098-931-1585 Payment ¥, $, credit card
Japan is known for its arts—as beautiful as they are austere. And the artistry isn’t limited to the world of ink and brushes…it also extends into the world of cuisine. The art of sushi can be considered as purely “Nipponese” as the ancient blades used by samurai in ages past. For purists, enjoying a sliver of delicate maguro (tuna) on a lightlyvinegared morsel of rice is considered an experience that transcends the realm of cuisine, and enters the dominion of art on the palate. Although it’s much easier to find an “authentic” sushi experience while living in Japan, it can still be a challenge to find high quality sushi at a reasonable price–and we’re not talking about conveyer belt sushi here. Waryu SUSHI Shuna inside the Okinawa Grand Mer Resort offers the answer to that dilemma. Its name is Waryu SUSHI Shuna’s “Zeitaku Sushi Zanmai.” This delectable platter comes with a dozen pieces of nigirizushi (hand-pressed sushi rice with a slice of seafood on top) for ¥1,980. The seafood used at Waryu SUSHI Shuna is carefully selected by sushi chef Kazuhiro Takahashi daily; the menu varies depending on what’s in season and what’s best at the local fish markets. Zeitaku Sushi Zanmai not only comes with a dozen beautifully-crafted morsels of sushi, it is also served with a seasonal vegetable appetizer, akadashi miso soup and chawan mushi (steamed egg custard) to complete the authentic sushi dining experience.
In true sushi-style, Takahashi-san serves sushi from behind the counter straight to plate of the ten lucky patrons seated at the coveted counter seat. And, after diners finish the dozen pieces, they can continue to request more until they are absolutely stuffed. That’s right. All you can eat fresh sushi for 90 minutes! Just don’t forget to leave room for ice cream dessert at the end. Just because patrons aren’t sitting at the counter doesn’t mean they are left out though; due to overwhelming requests, Shuna now offers table seats for their fabulous all-you-can order sushi lunch. However, if patrons would like bragging rights, they should definitely make reservations far in advance. Only middle school aged children and older are allowed to sit at the counter. Waryu SUSHI Shuna does offer a children’s sushi platter for ¥980. This platter comes with 6 pieces of nigirizushi with udon noodles. Waryu Sushi Shuna is located inside the Okinawa Grand Mer Resort in the Yogi district of Okinawa City and is a short ride from Camp Foster or Kadena Air Base. Not only does the restaurant offer outstanding food, but it also boasts a beautiful panoramic view. Authentic Japanese cuisine at an unbeatable price with a spectacular view—the trifecta of dining has been attained.
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Marines + FaMilies
What is Golden Week? bigSToCk.Com/jAnimy
Learn more about the local culture with Marine & Family Programs-Resources
Did you know Golden Week is a string of Japanese holidays that run from April 29 through May 5—a period when it seems like almost everyone in the whole country has gone on holiday? Want to learn more about the Okinawan and Japanese cultures? Whether you’re an island-neophyte or weathered veteran, it is important to learn more about Okinawa and Japan to better understand the local etiquette, culture and traditions to make us better ambassadors and guests on
this tropical paradise. MCCS Marine and Family Programs-Resources (MFP-R) offers many classes to enhance communicating with our hosts such as Survival Japanese, as well as many culturally enriching (and fun) offerings such as obi-making, and ikebana ( Japanese flower arranging) and even field trips to demystify local shopping. For more information, please visit mccsokinawa.com/culturalawareness or call your nearest MFP-R Center.
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Marines + FaMilies
Unleash your inner-innovator at the MCCS Camp Foster Library Libraries have always provided community access to enriching resources—and not just books. The MCCS Library on Camp Foster is home to one such resource—the Innovation Lab, a collaborative space where creativity meets technology. The Innovation Lab gives you FREE access to 3D printing, robotics assembly, virtual reality goggles and HoloLenses, die cutting, GoPro cameras, 3D drawing, computer-aided design and more. One of the most valuable assets of the Innovation Lab is that it’s a community space; according to MCCS Supervisory Librarian Devin Farmer, “The Innovation Lab is kind of unprecedented—people will be able to turn their hobbies into careers, develop new skills, and share their knowledge with others in the community…each person can be a student, but also a teacher to someone else.” Inside all of us lies a creative genius— with the right tools and education, we are all capable of exploring the potential of our innovative self. All MCCS Libraries feature a variety of creative and innovative resources to support a STEAM (science, technology, arts, engineering and mathematics) curriculum, including several new text additions in the technology genre. You don’t need a technical or design background to try out the stateof-the-art equipment at the Innovation Lab. It’s designed to be an educational and explorative maker space for all ages to delve into new interests. The Innovation Lab can empower Marines as well. “For Marines, the Innovation Lab offers the ability to learn and develop skills that can be invaluable in an active duty setting, but it also acts as a springboard for a career in engineering, mechanics, design, robotics and more outside of the Marine Corps” says Farmer. For more information about the MCCS Libraries, please visit mccsokinawa. com/libraries. For more information about the Innovation Lab, visit the MCCS Camp Foster Library or call 645-7178. May 2017 | okinawa living 45
Marines + FaMilies
Strength for Life Support group
Here for you when you need help the most If you are in need of a support community to cope with past or present domestic violence, Family Advocacy Program’s new support group is here for you. Strength for Life establishes a safe place for women to share their stories and gain strength and healing from others going through similar experiences. Each week, the support group focuses on building essential skills in communication, money management, healthy coping, parenting, goal setting, resume-building and stress management. Strength for Life meets every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Camp Foster Behavioral Health Bldg. 439 on the second floor. By meeting in a shared, confidential and safe space, this women’s support group breaks down the social isolation and information barriers associated with domestic violence. Please make arrangements for childcare prior to attendance. Attending all sessions is not required. However, arrangements for childcare are required prior to attendance of the group sessions. For more information, please call the Family Advocacy Program at 645-2915.
Meet your VA Benefits Advisor Your personal guide to VA benefits and resources
Post-service veteran benefits are one of the biggest sources of confusion for transitioning service members. Fortunately, Veterans Affairs Benefits Advisors are here to help! Your VA Benefits Advisor is your personal guide to VA benefits and resources to help you plan for a successful transition and thrive in life after your military career. Advisors offer one-on-one assistance to guide you through eligibility requirements, the application process and more. Many benefits advisors have personally experienced the transition out of military service so they can directly relate to the challenges you might face in adjusting to civilian life which allows them to better serve and support you. The VA wants every transitioning service member to have a smooth and successful transition to veteran status. Don’t wait until your separation date to take advantage of your VA Benefits Advisor’s expertise. Appointments are strongly recommended, so please call 645-4027 to make an appointment with a Benefits Advisor at Camp Foster. To make an appointment with a Benefits Advisor on Kadena Air Base, call 634-3366.
Spring into Action from ToP To boTTom: bigSToCk.Com/iminy, bigSToCk.Com/bPHoToS
Take charge of your education and career Military spouses are all too familiar with the constant challenges of restarting their education and career plans due to PCS moves and deployments and on Okinawa, those challenges can be heightened. MCCS Education Centers are here to help you stay on track! Attend the Spring into Action: Spouses Education & Career Exploration Seminar at the Camp Foster Education Center on May 11 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and at the Camp Kinser Education Center on May 12 from noon to 1 p.m. The seminar is tailored to spousal employment and education opportunities, highlighting programs such as the MyCAA scholarship, Spouse Education & Career Opportunities (SECO), scholarship application, high school completion and financing college education. Network with education professionals, other spouses, and take charge of your career. For more information about the seminar, or to access education and career resources, visit mccsokinawa.com/educationandcareerservices or call 645-7160/3486. May 2017 | okinawa living 47
Marines + FaMilies
May Featured Classes & Events For a full list of classes available and their dates and times, check out the Marine & Family ProgramsResources Center (MFP-R) calendar at mccsokinawa.com or pick up a schedule at your local MFP-R Center. thrift savings Plan (tsP) This class will provide a general overview of TSP and discuss how to allocate your contributions and avoid redundancy. May 23, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Camp Hansen MFP-R, Bldg. 2339 May 25, 11 a.m.–1 p.m. MCAS Futenma Education Center, Bldg. 407 Credit report & Credit score analysis Learn how to cope with a credit crisis and establish an action plan for building, rebuilding and maintaining your credit rating. May 5, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Camp Courtney MFP-R, Bldg. 4425 May 17, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Camp Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 Career assessment This workshop will help you discover your work interests, career values, and motivations in the workplace. May 16, 8:30–11:30 a.m. Camp Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 May 23, 8:30–11:30 a.m. Camp Hansen MFP-R, Bldg. 2339 survival Japanese writing Learn how to write basic Japanese used on everyday signs and items. May 4, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Camp Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 Field trip off Base Join us as we visit a local grocery store, a craft store and a fish market. Please bring your own transportation. May 26, noon–2 p.m. Camp Kinser MFP-R, Bldg. 1220
THomAS ALAn SmiLiE
ace the interview Join us as we provide information on how to ace your next interview. You will learn how to answer tough questions, how to dress appropriately and how to negotiate salary. May 18, 8:30–11:30 a.m. Camp Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 May 23, 1–4 p.m. Camp Kinser MFP-R, Bldg. 1220
L.I.N.K.S. for Spouses Share and connect
Some say it’s smart to learn from the mistakes of others so you don’t make them yourself, and what better way to do that than to share and connect with people who have walked in similar shoes. Living in a military community presents its own unique challenges for spouses, L.I.N.K.S. (Lifestyle, Insights, Networking, Knowledge and Skills) is a program taught by veteran spouses who volunteer to foster a support system for Marines, spouses, teens and kids. Being a military spouse is different than life in the civilian world. The military lifestyle can be difficult to adjust to for most people. Many spouses new to the military feel uncertain and a bit nervous about what they’re getting into. Marine Corps Family Team Building (MCFTB) is a program that provides educational resources and services to foster personal growth and enhance the readiness of Marine Corps families. L.I.N.K.S. for Spouses welcomes new and veteran spouses to network and gain insight about available services, moving tips, enduring deployments and more. L.I.N.K.S. for Spouses will take place May 18 from 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. For more information, call MCFTB at 645-3689 or visit them at mccsokinawa.com/mcftb. May 2017 | okinawa living 51
kids + Parents
muffins with mommy The two best things that start with M
from ToP To boTTom: bigSToCk.Com/rEmyPHoToS, bigSToCk.Com/normAng
Clear your playdate schedule for Muffins with Mommy on May 6 from 10 to 11 a.m. MCCS Libraries on Camps Courtney, Foster and Kinser will be celebrating Mother’s Day with a special gathering for children to hear stories, sing songs and make a small tote bag for Mom! Everyone will also get some yummy muffins to take home. While at the library, make sure you check out the plethora of programs available for all ages. They have everything from lap-time and story time for the littles, to adult book club kits, craft activities and online learning programs for adults. There are even specific teen reading programs and an entire collection of graphic novels to keep your tweenager occupied this summer. And while you’re at the Camp Foster Library, check out the Innovation Lab and schedule some time to use the 3D printer. For more information about this and other events at your local MCCS library, go to mccsokinawa.com/libraries, or follow them on Facebook at facebook.com/ mccsokinawa.educationandlibraries.
Youth Baseball & Softball Registration Play ball!
Participating in sports at a young age is proven to have a healthy developmental impact on children. Not only do sports promote cooperative play, teamwork and sportsmanship, but it also helps to improve motor skills and boost self-esteem. According to the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry, parents also play a big role in raising a child who knows how to be a good sport by attending games, talking to their children about their experiences and providing positive feedback afterwards. Register now for youth baseball and softball at mccsokinawa.com/youthsports or at any MCCS Fitness Center between May 1 and June 30. You can grow as a parent, your child can grow as a person and you can all have a blast while doing so! MCCS Youth Sports is also looking for volunteer coaches for the upcoming baseball and softball season. Coaching is a great way to meet new people and share your skills with children who also share a passion for sports and an active lifestyle. For details about becoming a volunteer coach, please call 645-3533/3534 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org. May 2017 | okinawa living 53
kids + Parents
TriKids TriCamp “Tri” this sport for all ages
from ToP To boTTom: bigSToCk.Com/monkEyimAgES, bigSToCk.Com/vErAnA
The MCCS Aquatics TriKids Youth Triathlon Training Camp offers triathletes 9 to 13 years old the opportunity to learn about the basics of a triathlon, including swimming, cycling, running, transition practice and other related activities. On the first day, kids will tryout by swimming 200 meters and running 1 kilometer. They will then go on to condition their bodies for the final triathlon held at the end of camp. The camp is taking place May 22 through 25 from 3 to 4:30 p.m. at the Camp Foster 50M Pool. Each day, every athlete will need a bike, properly-fitting helmet, running shoes and socks, swimwear, bike wear, running wear, swimming goggles, a towel (or two), water bottle, snacks (peanut butter sandwich, fruit, etc.), sunscreen, sunglasses, a hat, smiles and ambition! Registration for TriCamp is $75 per person (limited to 30 participants). For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/aquatics.
Summer Pool bashes Start summer with a splash
The unofficial summer has already made its way to Okinawa. Finding a way to keep cool can be a challenge, but don’t sweat it—MCCS Aquatics has got you covered. Throughout the summer, you can enjoy a day in the water at one of the many Summer Pool Bash events. Each bash will have FREE food and music by the pool. The pool party season kicks off on May 29 with a Memorial Day pool bash at pools on Camps Foster 50M, McTureous 25M, Hansen 50M and MCAS Futenma 25M. On July 4, celebrate Independence Day at Kinser 50M, Schwab 50M and Plaza Housing 25M Pools. All bashes will be from noon to 3 p.m. For details, please visit mccsokinawa.com/aquatics. May 2017 | okinawa living 55
radiator flush & Coolant System maintenance Your car needs to chill Your vehicle’s cooling system ensures the engine doesn’t overheat and helps it run efficiently. Over time, rust and scale build up in the radiator, along with other contaminants from old coolant fluid. Flushing these fluids out prolongs the life of the radiator, lubricates the water pump, and protects against continued rust and buildup. It is generally recommended to flush the cooling system every other year to keep your vehicle running well. Typhoon Motors island-wide are offering a special on radiator flush services throughout the month of May. Have your radiator fluid changed at Typhoon Motors and get a FREE gallon of radiator antifreeze per vehicle. Bring your vehicle to Typhoon Motors and let the professionals give your vehicle the refreshment it needs before the hot summer season. For more information, visit mccsokinawa. com/typhoonmotors. Typhoon Motors is located on Camps Hansen, Courtney, Foster and Kinser.
Mother’s Day Custom Shop Special Thanks, Mom
Give Mom something unique and special this Mother’s Day to show your appreciation for all that she does. Does she have a ton of great family photos on her phone from all your island adventures? Or, maybe this is her first Mother’s Day and you want to give her something to commemorate the occasion? Foster Framing & Fine Arts and the Custom Shop are your one-stop shops for a special gift this Mother’s Day. In recognition of Mom, the Custom Shop is offering 15 percent off material costs for custom frames, plaques and trophies May 2 through the 6th. So print off that awesome photo from her phone or select a beautiful matte for your first sonogram photo and take it to the experts at the Foster Framing & Fine Arts. For more information, call 645-3674 or visit them online at mccsokinawa.com/framingandfinearts.
overall maintenance from ToP To boTTom: THomAS ALAn SmiLiE, bigSToCk.Com/wHAb
Keep your car healthy
According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, the average American drives 13,476 miles (or 21,687 kilometers) every single year. That’s a lot of wear and tear on your vehicle! Regular maintenance will keep it running and ensure you have a safe way to get from point A to B. Can you think of anything worse than your car breaking down in the heat of an Okinawan summer, leaving you stranded without air conditioning or transportation to the beautiful beaches? If a car breakdown isn’t on your summer bucket list, bring your vehicle to your nearest Typhoon Motors for the Overall Preventative Maintenance Car Care Workshop. The professional team will walk you through a maintenance check step-by-step to make sure you’re good to go on your summer adventures. The workshop is on May 17 at Typhoon Motors on Camp Foster from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. Visit mccsokinawa.com/typhoonmotors for more information or call 645-7169 to RSVP. May 2017 | okinawa living 57
students and members of the workforce breathe a sigh of relief and take a “golden” break from their routines in Japan. Collectively known as Golden Week, a series of national holidays that spans from April 29 to May 5, this period is one of the most highly-anticipated weeks by many in Japan. The break begins on April 29 with Shôwa-noHi, which commemorates the birthday of the late Emperor Shôwa (Hirohito). May 3 is Kenpô Kinen-Bi (Constitution Day), which marks the anniversary of the establishment of the postwar constitution and May 4 is Greenery Day
(a day set aside for communing with nature and be thankful for its blessings). Kodomo-no-Hi (Children’s Day) takes place May 5, marking the end of Golden Week. A great many in Japan also take off on May 1 & 2 for an unbroken string of leisure and a trip. As this is a Japanese holiday, many may be wondering how this applies to them. Golden Week means many great activities that can be enjoyed by the whole family will be happening throughout the island (as well as the rest of the country)—some of which may even warrant scheduling a day or two of vacation time to join with the festivities!
MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 59
Kodomo-no-Hi was known as Tango-no-Sekku or “Boy’s Day” until 1948. It always falls on the fifth day of the fifth month in Japan, and was originally only a holiday for parents with sons. Parents with daughters would celebrate Hina Matsuri on the third day of the third month. Tango-no-Sekku, which was also known as Shobu-no-Sekku (The Iris Festival) during ancient times, had close ties to the warrior class. And as time passed, it is thought that this holiday was combined with parents’ wishes for all of their children to grow up strong and successful—and eventually became the holiday known as Kodomo-no-Hi. To commemorate the holiday, families hoist carp streamers (koinobori) on tall flagpoles outside the home. Many places on Okinawa, including Okinawa Kodomo-no-Kuni (Okinawa Zoo & Kid’s Museum), Okinawa Ocean Expo Park (home of Churaumi Aquarium), Okinawa World (home of Gyokusendo cave) and many others will feature special events and immense schools of koinobori swimming in springtime skies. For more information on upcoming events, visit kodomo.city. okinawa.okinawa.jp (Okinawa Kodomo-no-Kuni), oki-park.jp/ kaiyohaku/en (Okinawa Ocean Expo Park) or gyokusendo.co.jp/ okinawaworld/en (Okinawa World).
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
Dragon boat races are annual events held in various fishing communities throughout Okinawa beginning in the late spring and lasting into the late summer months. The largest of these festivals is the Naha Hârî, which is held during Golden Week. The Naha dragon boat races pit multi-colored boats against each other in breathless sprints. These vessels are decorated with ferociouslooking dragon heads, scaled arms with sharp talons, and elaborate tails and each is powered by a 32-rower team. Teams range from Tomari, Kume, and other Naha district residents, rowers comprised of company employees; as well as teams representing different nations (including contingents from U.S. military installations such as Torii Station, Kadena AB, the MCCS Semper Fit Single Marine Program team and others). The three day Naha Hârî Festival often draws hundreds of thousands of spectators to Tomari Port and incorporates food booths, live band performances, and nightly firework displays. MCCS Tours+ will be offering a tour to experience this event. Call 646-3502 for more information.
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Although July is the traditional time for beaches and beach activities the warm temperatures in early May enable Okinawa’s resorts to offer hours of watery fun during Golden Week.
One of the more iconic resorts on the island, ANA Intercontinental Manza Beach Resort is located on a cape near one of Okinawa’s most-recognized landmarks— Manzamo. Manza Beach Resort is, of course, equipped with pools. One is for guests only and another outdoor pool is free for use (all you have to do is pay for parking). However, this resort features H20-related fun on a scale that is a few full digits higher than is possible in an enclosed body of water. Imagine if you can a vast inflatable playground in the shallow pristine waters anchored right off a beautiful sandy beach. The Manza Beach Resort features an ocean park with over 20 floating mini-islands of delight bobbing atop the waters off one of its beautiful beaches. From mock-rock climbing and tower scaling to mini slides and jungle gyms, children will be in a watery state of nirvana for the whole day. For more information, visit ihg.com/ intercontinental/hotels/gb/en. Photographs courtesy of ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 63
Hotel Moon Beach is the first resort hotel built on Okinawa and it has been serving locals, tourists and military service members for many decades. Moon Beach is one of a few natural beaches left on Okinawa (many resorts import sand to enlarge their beaches) and it’s perfect for enjoying a relaxing or exhilarating day, of water activities including snorkeling, SUPs and more. Moon Beach is also home to Okinawa’s first aquatic Hoverboard along with its Iron Man-esque Flyboard. Although the Flyboard may be a familiar sight for many by now, Hoverboards are a more recent and exhilarating development. A cross between surfing and flying, Hoverboards are capable of “flying” as high as 5m above water and speeds of up to 25 km/h. Moon Beach has also recently opened a lagoon “infinity pool” that overlooks the crescent-shaped bay and natural beach. Both the pool, as well as Hoverboard and Flyboard usage are available for a fee for hotel visitors. For more information, visit moonhotelsandresorts.com/ hotel-moon-beach.
Photographs courtesy of Hotel Moon Beach
The Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa is located in Nago City overlooking the pristine waters of the East China Sea. The hotel sits atop a small hill, and when viewed from a distance, this 15-floor, 361-guest room edifice seems ready to set sail on a voyage into the sea—mostly because the shape of the building resembles the bow of an impossibly large oceangoing vessel. And, while this is only an illusion of design one thing is true—the Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa features a veritable boatload of Golden Week enjoyment. Start off with a 47.5 meter-long orange Godzilla-of-a-waterslide that’s a rush for adults and kids alike. Next enjoy Marriott’s Garden Pool—it’s the largest on Okinawa! Giant Inflatable toys as well as kiddie paddle boats are available (for a fee) for racing with friends. Marriott’s Garden Pool is broken into a total of seven sections (if you include the splashdown area of the waterslide) with depths ranging from 60 cm to 2.5m. For more information on prices and reservations visit marriott.com/ hotels/travel/okamc-okinawa-marriott-resort-and-spa. Photographs courtesy of Okinawa Marriott Resort & Spa MAY 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 65
LIVING ON OKINAWA
Gôyâ Champurû (for gôyâ neophytes) Four servings Ingredients 1 Tsp. extra virgin olive oil 1 large gôyâ cut to 1/16” slices 2 garlic cloves, minced 1/2 onion, minced 3/4 cup Okinawan shima tofu, cut into bitesized chunks 1/2 block of Spam, cut to 1/16” slices 3 medium-sized eggs, beaten Dash of soy sauce to flavor Dash of black pepper Dash of tabasco 1 Tbsp. salt Method of Preparation: 1. To prepare gôyâ, slice length-wise and remove seeds, gently scraping the inside with a spoon to remove the entire core. 2. Chop thinly and place gôyâ into a bowl. 3. Add salt to the chopped gôyâ and gently massage until thoroughly coated (this will temper the bitterness) 4. Add cold water and let sit for 15-30 minutes. 5. After soaking, rinse salt completely and set gôyâ aside. Using high heat, sauté oil, garlic and onions with tofu, cook until garlic and onions become semitranslucent then add Spam. Add gôyâ next, and cook until tender, then infuse with soy sauce and pepper until it reaches the desired flavor. Add eggs and toss mixture until thoroughly coated—remembering not to overcook. Eat with steamed rice.
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Gôyâ Day The gôyâ, or bitter melon is a local favorite here on island. So loved, this gourd was given its own day to honor it. Why May 8? In Japanese, May is Gogatsu and the numeral eight is known as yattsu when counting. Go+ya=gôyâ of course. The gôyâ, which is known as nigauri in mainland Japan or as the Chinese bitter gourd or melon in the West, often falls victim to prejudice. The Okinawan gôyâ’s skin is a brilliant green, textured with multitudes of lumps and knobs when fully ripe—almost like the vegetable version of alligator skin. Many find the gôyâ quite ugly or grotesque and harshly bitter. But it is a dietary mainstay for many Okinawans. On Okinawa, the flesh and skin portion of
the gôyâ is used for a myriad of dishes and beverages. Some Okinawans will attest that while gôyâ is extremely bitter, it is also quite addictive—even though it can definitely be considered an acquired taste to a first-time eater. But every serious gôyâ-addict will attest that the more they eat, the more they crave (especially during really hot summers). Neophytes should always beware: Although its flavor can vary in intensity depending on the method of preparation, it’s called bitter melon for a reason. During Gôyâ Day, look for specials in local eateries and supermarkets featuring this eminently healthy and delicious (an acquired taste) vegetable.
Uchinâguchi corner May
MAy 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 69
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