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KYOTO Passing Of a LegacY June 2017 | Issue 232

contents June 2017



8 24 CLoCkwise fRom Top LefT: ToRsakaRin /bigsToCk.Com, mike daLey, saRah head


On the cover “Tsuikin” is one of the most popular methods of decorating Ryukyu Lacquerware.



Out + About: Kyoto Visit Kyoto—the ancient capital, and one of the most “Japanese places” in Japan.

Restaurant Review: Baccara Enjoy authentic Thai cuisine in this new, posh restaurant located in the heart of Okinawa City.



Passing of a Legacy: Giving an Ancient Art New Life Mieko Taira, daughter-in-law of National Living Treasure Toshiko Taira, is breathing new life into the ancient Okinawan art of bashô-fu textiles.

Urushi Shikki: The Art of Ryukyu Lacquerware Asian lacquerware is well-known worldwide for its beauty and durability. Its creation is the product of some of the finest and most painstaking craftsmanship techniques in the world.

contents June 2017

43 Career Focus Education Planning Career Focus Education Planning is a lifelong process of exploring career and educational goals that are compatible with your interests, values, talents, experience, personality and aspirations.

45 Anger Management 101 Participants in the Anger Management Class will learn valuable strategies to effectively manage anger and build conflict resolution skills.

Kids + Parents 49 CYP Benefits and Events MCCS Youth and Teen Centers, run by the Children & Youth Program are the place to be for kids during the summer.

53 Junior Golf Clinic at Taiyo This summer, don’t let your kids get too comfortable on the couch. Sign them up for one of Taiyo Golf Club’s Junior Golf Clinics.

53 Fitness + Fun

Dining + Entertainment



Summer Pool Bashes So, where’s the nearest—and more importantly —best pool bash? MCCS Aquatics has got you covered!

Father’s Day Brunch In honor of dad and his strength, courage and love, MCCS Clubs and Restaurants cordially invite you and him to a hearty Father’s Day Breakfast or Brunch Buffet.

19 Be a Lifeguard Are you interested in the business of saving lives? Who wouldn’t be?

23 Father’s Day Bowling Special Show dad a knock-down good time this Father’s Day at the MCCS Hansen Bowling Center.

35 Sister Soul Sister Soul, an energetic and electrifying group from Manila in the Philippines, will be performing LIVE at a club near you in June and July.

59 We Want YOU! MCCS offers a variety of challenging, careerbuilding opportunities with the priority on hiring qualified family members of active duty military and civilian employees stationed on Okinawa.

Extras 7 Mensore + Feedback

61 Living on Okinawa

70 Marketplace Guide

72 Island Icons

Marines + Families 41



Reading by Design Get ready, this year’s MCCS Libraries’ Summer Reading Program with the theme “Reading by Design” will be kicking off soon at a library near you.

JUNE 2017 | ISSUE 232 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 MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCh MANAGER Andrew Menges MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCh Katherine Melrose, Marissa DeSmet, Ashley Herring, Kristen Wong, Allison Dixon DISTRIBUTION Kelli Kreider, Desiree Adams BROADCAST Kathlene Millette, Gabriel Archer, Emi Komiya

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 For advertising 098-970-2245 (phone) | 098-970-0975 (fax) (e-mail) See our advertising rates at 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)

saRah head

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 My wife and I are dual military and, periodically, we receive notifications at the last minute that we both have to be in earlier than normal. In our years here, the Camp Foster School Age Care team has always been flexible and accommodating to our needs. The entire staff is courteous and helpful. We are very appreciative and happy with the care and services that have been provided to our family. —via Facebook When do summer swimming lessons start? —via Facebook The summer sessions for the MCCS Aquatics Learn to Swim program begin June 19. With four 8-day, weekday sessions throughout the summer, you’re sure to find one that will fit your schedule. For more information about registration, payment, available classes, and more, please visit —MCCS Consumer Relations I attended an education brief at Kinser Education Center last month. Amy Duclos (Personal & Professional Development Advisor) gave the class. She was so professional and passionate about the material she shared. She is by far the best presenter I have ever had in my 15 years in the Marine Corps, a true professional. Thank you for hiring the correct person for that position. —via ICE Where can I get information, such as available dates and facilities, about setting up a catered event at one of the MCCS Clubs? —via Facebook From promotions,farewells, weddings, dining-ins, birthdays, conferences, and more, MCCS Clubs and Restaurants will take care of all the work so you can enjoy your event. Just give your preferred club a call and ask to speak to a manager. Visit for a listing of all our clubs and phone numbers.—MCCS Consumer Relations

iRis phoTo/bigsToCk.Com

I really appreciated the Westpac Lodge van service during my stay there last month. I was able to see places a few miles away without having to pay taxi fees. Drew Pearson (Motor Vehicle Operator) was super friendly and made sure I was happy. I am thankful for the opportunity to get out and see places on and off base.—via ICE

mensôre “Welcome” to Okinawa Living

Festival Time! Summertime on Okinawa is all about heat soaring into the 90s, the delightful sensation of sand between your toes, snorkeling and diving in waters the color of emerald fading to sapphire and the rolling, booming sounds of taiko drums and festival fireworks filling the evening skies. June marks the beginning of the season of celebration on Okinawa with matsuri, or festivals, held seemingly every weekend. Every summer, hundreds of thousands of people flock to matsuri venues to party, play festival games, eat matsuri foods, listen to live bands and to watch hanabi taikai, or fireworks displays. There is absolutely no question, Uchinânchu, or the people of Okinawa, love their festivals—so much so that they are known by many throughout Japan as matsurizoku or “festival people.” And, as a fellow resident of Okinawa—temporary or not—you’re considered an honorary Uchinânchu and it’s time to get into the matsurizoku spirit! There are several opportunities to enjoy festivals on the island during the summer months and beyond. Virtually all of the larger cities, many of the smaller municipalities, even down to small villages and communities hold their own matsuri—each with a flavor, and a life, of its own. There’s no better opportunity to make new friends among the local community. 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! 

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 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 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.




layout by Lisa Miyagi


text by Ryan Anastoplus

name/ Patryk kosmider/

Out + AbOut

june 2017 | OkinAwA living 9

Out + AbOut

初 日 clockwise from toP to bottom: voyata/, kiennews/, seanPavonePhoto/, Pumidol/

dAy one

Kinkakuji Temple, or as it’s better known, the Golden Pavilion (pictured above), is a world-class monument and a UNESCO World Heritage site. The top two stories of this building are wrapped in pure gold leaf. The grounds of the temple were built to the specifications of the Western Paradise of the Buddha Amida, illustrating the harmony between heaven and earth.

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Out + AbOut

二 日 from toP to bottom: seanPavonePhoto/, Panom/, Jim kassebaum

dAy two

If you’ve ever looked at the back of a 10 yen coin or a 10,000 yen bill, you are familiar with the above photo, Byodo-in. This Buddhist temple was built in the late Heian period and houses a number of national treasures, including a statue of the Buddha of “infinite light,” Amida-Nyorai.

三 日

dAy thRee

Enjoy your free days by taking in exploring the full experience of Kyoto—the most purely “Japanese” place in Japan. With its combed pebble Zen gardens, towering pagodas in the sunset, vermillion torii gates, geisha walking beneath a swirl of cherry blossoms, and autumn leaves on the fringe of a bamboo forest, the only way Kyoto can be more Japanese is if it was the home of Nintendo. Oh wait, it is.

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clockwise from toP to bottom: seanPavonePhoto/, seanPavonePhoto/, torsakarin/, blanscaPe/

Out + AbOut

四 日 dAy fouR

If you wanted to impress your girlfriend or wanted a wish granted in the Heian period, you would jump off the stage of Kiyomizudera. The 40-foot drop had an 84% survival rate, and a slightly lower rate of wooing women. Although the practice is, of course, prohibited today, the temple is no less impressive. No nails were used in the construction of this UNESCO World Heritage site, which was a finalist for the New 7 Wonders of the World. 

MCCS tours+ will travel to Kyoto in time for the fall foliage in november. Visit for dates and to book your next adventure!

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fitness + fun

Summer Pool Bashes It’s official—summer has arrived on okinawa


With incessant sledgehammer rays emanating from the sun, it’s hot to say the least. Fiery hot…burning, sunny and swelteringly hot. What’s one do for relief from the heat? While some may stay inside during this season, only braving the high temperatures during mad dashes from the blessed ecstasy of climate-controlled rooms to their super-heated vehicles, spraying expletives until their car A/C finally provides gusts of cooling relief, there actually is a plus side to Okinawa’s heat. Number two, of course, is ice cream. Nothing makes a triple scoop taste better (or get eaten faster due to the melt factor) than summer temperatures. So, what’s number one? How about something that is wet, cool, FREE and fun to boot? That’s right; we’re talking about a summer pool bash! Where’s the nearest—and more importantly—best pool bash? MCCS Aquatics has got you covered. On July 4 from noon to 3 p.m., the Camp Kinser 50M, Schwab 50M and Plaza Housing 25M Pools will host Summer Pool Bashes featuring FREE food and music by the pool. For more information, please visit 

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fitness + fun

be a lifeguard Save Lives, Look Good

Summer Aquathlon Series


Run, Swim and Run your way to greatness! If you find yourself in a summer rut from too much lazing at the beach or the summer heat is cramping your style, perhaps you should shake things up a bit by working toward your fitness goals and staying cool at the same time. Well, you’re in luck this summer—MCCS Aquatics and the Okinawa Dolphins Swim Team are hosting Monday Night Aquathlons! What’s an aquathlon you ask? Aquathlons are run-swim-run events; basically a triathlon without the biking leg. MCCS Monday Night Aquathlons are non-competitive events open to everyone from veteran athletes working on

improving their race time to beginners getting their first taste of amphibious fitness. The events will be from 4:30 to 7 p.m. on June 19, July 10 and July 31. Each event will consist of two races: a 420M run, 100M swim and another 420M run for the first race. The second race will consist of a 1.8 to 3.6KM run, 200 to 400M swim and an 1.8KM run. Interested? Register for these FREE events on race day at the Camp Foster 50M Pool from 4:30 to 5 p.m. Aquathlons are open to participants island-wide. For more information, visit 

Are you interested in the business of saving lives? Who wouldn’t be? What about looking good? Surely, everyone is interested in that. Imagine a job where you could save lives and look amazing doing it. It’s called being a lifeguard. It’s called being fit, sunglasses on the job and being CPR/ AED certified. If you want to live the dream, sign up now for a Lifeguard Certification Course! Registration is open for classes starting on June 15, July 13 and August 17. In the Lifeguarding Full Course, participants will learn the knowledge and skills to prevent, recognize and respond to aquatic emergencies, how to provide professional-level care for breathing and cardiac emergencies, as well as caring for injuries and sudden illnesses until emergency medical services (EMS) personnel take over. Visit lifeguard for more details and to register.  june 2017 | OkinAwA living 19

Out + AbOut fitness + fun

begin your Passion for diving


Start your journey now Feel that it’s time to “go pro” and introduce others to the wonderful underwater world of diving? On July 5, MCCS Tsunami Scuba will offer the Professional Association of Diving Instructors (PADI) Instructor Development Course at their Camp Foster location (Bldg. 1010). Participants must be over 18 and be a certified diver for at least six months, be a PADI Divemaster or have a leadership-level certification. Applicants must also have 100 or more logged dives that include navigation, deep and night diving. This course will prepare Divemasters to teach the PADI system. Before taking the two-day Instructor Examination, potential instructors must submit a medical statement signed by a physician within the last 12 months stating that they are physically fit to dive. In the last 24 months, you are required to have completed CPR and First Aid Training as well as be a certified Emergency First Response instructor. Once you complete the Instructor Development Course and meet all the requirements, you must pass the instructor exam administered by an

authorized PADI representative before becoming an instructor. If this sounds appealing but you are not a certified diver yet, Tsunami Scuba offers the PADI Open Water Diver course on all camps. If you are a scuba diver and want to expand upon your underwater skills, sign up for the PADI Advanced Open Water Diver course. After becoming an advanced open water diver, you can choose from a number of PADI specialty courses or pursue a Divemaster professional rating through Tsunami Scuba. Want to map-out your entire path to becoming a Divemaster? Pick up a PADI Master Scuba Diver Passport and save up to $85 in class fees! For more information or to sign up for the Instructor Development Course please call 645-9500. Tsunami Scuba has locations on Camps Foster, Kinser, Courtney, Hansen and Schwab. Stop in today to learn more about one of the many great courses that Tsunami Scuba has to offer. Also, visit to learn about training, maintenance rentals, dive sites and more.  june 2017 | OkinAwA living 21

fitness + fun

9 Pin no-tap bowling


More winnings for less In bowling, a strike occurs when the bowler hurls a weighted ball down a glossy lane to knock down all 10 pins. As fun as that sounds, bowling actually is a game of disappointments and failures. Not only do you have to keep the ball in the lane and out of the gutter, you have to hit the pins precisely in order to cause a collision involving all 10 pins. What if there was a way to get max points while only knocking 9 pins over? There is! On Sunday, June 11, the MCCS Hansen Bowling Center is hosting a 9 Pin No-Tap Tournament. Sign up starts at 11 a.m. and the tournament starts at 1 p.m. For $20, everyone is invited to bowl in the tournament for a chance at finishing in the top three for cash prizes. Contact your local MCCS Bowling Center for more information, or check them out on the web at 

Father’s Day Bowling Special Strike out with dad on June 18 Father’s Day is very special for our military community. It is a day to appreciate our dads and all they do for our families while also showering them with gifts carefully made by loving little hands. Whether dad is a first-timer or the family fire-team leader, show him a knock-down good time this Father’s Day at the MCCS Hansen Bowling Center. On June 18, dads with a valid DoD ID card will receive one FREE game and FREE shoe rentals. After dad has devoured his chocolate chip pancakes in bed and tried on that snazzy new tie you knew he needed, throw him the car keys and head over to the lanes. Lane rentals are $8 per hour during the day, and $10 per hour after 5 p.m. Rent a pair of snazzy bowling shoes for $1 for adults and $.75 for children. Contact your local MCCS Bowling Center for more information, or visit  june 2017 | OkinAwA living 23


LEGACY Giving an Ancient Art New Life

Text by Mike Daley | Photos by Sarah Head Layout by Hector Nieves

The Ryukyu Archipelago is well known throughout the east (and in recent years, the world) for its unique artwork—including dance, music, pottery, lacquerware and some of the finest hand-dyed and woven textiles in Asia. Although making clothing is more popularly thought of as a craft, the textiles of the Ryukyus have long passed from the realm of the artisan to the world of true art.

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LEGACY Giving an Ancient Art New Life


vidence of Ryukyu textiles can be traced back to the Ming Dynasty when the three kingdoms of Ryukyu established a trade relationship with China via tribute payments to the Ming Emperor. Among the items offered from the islands were bolts of invaluable bashô-fu fabric woven from banana fibers and ramie cloth, both made from plants indigenous to the Ryukyu Islands. During the 15th century, the three existing kingdoms on mainland Okinawa–Hokuzan to the north, Nanzan to the south and Chûzan (which originally initiated the tributary relations) based in Shuri–consolidated, forming the Ryukyu Kingdom. Relations with China improved greatly during this period. Robust trade bolstered the region’s economy, and delegations were sent back and forth from court to court, which also enhanced many cultural aspects of the kingdom. During this period, which has since been labeled the “Age of Great Trade,” weaving and dyeing methods evolved and techniques were cultivated and perfected. And, word of the beauty, value, and desirability of Ryukyu textiles spread throughout Asia. Unfortunately this prosperity didn’t last. In 1609, when the Shimazu Clan of Satsuma invaded and subjugated the relatively peaceful Ryukyu Kingdom, the new rulers imposed heavy poll taxes on the surrounding area under the guise of the Shuri monarchy. A puppet government was left in place to conceal Satsuma’s controlling presence from China to benefit from the established and profitable trading atmosphere. During this dark period, people living in the outlying islands of Yaeyama, Miyako and Kume were required to meet a tax demand with the production of textiles, mostly woven ramie cloth. This method of taxation survived for 250 years, finally repealed after the establishment of the Okinawa Prefecture. Although these taxes were the cause of adversity and suffering, the hardship of centuries of forced textile production on Okinawa and the surrounding isles elicited some benefit; it forced weaving styles to be honed and sharpened even more. And, like diamonds being born of tremendous pressures, so too were textiles that surpassed craftwork and could now be called real works of art—fit for kings, queens, emperors, and empresses.

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The Bashô-fu of Kijoka & Living Treasure Toshiko Taira

Toshiko Taira, now 96 years old, was named a National Living Treasure by the Government of Japan in the year 2000 for mastery of bashô-fu. This abaca textile is woven from the banana-like ito-bashô plant and is considered one of the finest of all the fabrics produced on Okinawa. Bashô-fu was prevalent throughout the island during the 13th and 14th centuries; however, the number of weavers who mastered the complicated process of creating bashô-fu steadily diminished until World War II brought production to a complete stop. The resurgence of bashô-fu weaving began in Kijoka, a quiet hamlet in Ogimi Village located in northern Okinawa. And, Toshiko Taira is largely responsible for the textile’s revival. Thanks to her efforts, the number of weavers involved in the various stages of bashô-fu production in a shop surrounded by mountains and itobashô plants has swelled immensely. This light-as-air, seemingly simple banana fiber cloth adorned with sublime patterns is still highly coveted on the island for kimono and obi. It is a cloth made with infinite patience that begins with the cultivation of the ito-bashô plants—a process that takes three years in itself.

June 2017 | okinawa living 29

The first step involves tearing off long strips from the trunk of the fibrous ito-bashô plant. After the strips are softened in a boiling wood-ash-and-water solution, cleaned, dried and split, then they are twisted into thread on a spinning wheel. Bashô threads are then woven using a splash-pattern technique known as kasuri. Before weaving, the threads are measured out according to the design, and some of the skeins of thread to be used in one bolt of cloth are tied tightly with strings at designated areas. These are then dyed—the bound sections remaining uncolored after the skeins have been dried and untied. Next, these tie-dyed threads are woven into the cloth one by one, creating patterns that shade delicately into the background with a sublime diffused effect. Over the centuries, Okinawan weavers have developed 200300 complicated kasuri patterns symbolizing birds, flowers, streams, and even tortoise shells. “We add one pattern each year after much discussion,” says Mieko Taira, director of the Kijoka Bashô-fu Cooperative Association and daughter-in-law of Toshiko Taira. Mieko-san has been weaving bashô-fu under the tutelage of her mother-in-law for over 30 years. Due to the value and scarcity of bashô-fu, it probably

“We add one pattern each year after much discussion”. surprised many when teddy bears made with the valuable textile showed up in an exhibition of Okinawan products held in New York City. Why teddy bears? The answer is tied to passing the legacy onto the next generation so that it isn’t lost. “Teddy bears are loved throughout the world as they are cute…I thought they would be an ideal way to introduce the world to our art” says Mieko-san. Although they were not inexpensive by any standards, three were sold during the short exhibition. “My greatest challenge remaining is to ensure that my family’s legacy continues; I’m currently teaching my daughter everything that was passed down to me” she continues. “I’m still learning every day as well, as that is an unending process”. 

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Dining + entertainment

Father’s Day Brunch


Fete Your Father with a Feast for a King Your dad is your protector, provider and peacekeeper. He referees living room brawls and fixes broken toys. He is there to teach you how to throw a ball, how to ride a bike and how to hide purchases from mom. He will forever be proud of all your accomplishments, though he may not say it too often, and is always there to offer advice, even if you have to use Skype or Messenger to get a hold of him while he is TAD… again. In honor of dad and his strength, courage and love, MCCS Clubs and Restaurants cordially invite you to a hearty Father’s Day Breakfast or Brunch Buffet. On June 18, Taiyo Steakhouse is offering an a la carte brunch menu from 7 a.m. to 3

p.m. Seating will be available on the balcony so you can enjoy your meal in the beautiful Okinawa outdoors, weather permitting. Reservations are highly recommended and can be made by calling 622-2020. The Butler Officers’ Club is hosting a scrumptious Father’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. Call 645-7530. Tengan Castle on Camp Courtney is also hosting a Father’s Day Brunch Buffet with the same pricing. Please call 622-9413 for more information and reservations.

Treat dad to a delicious Father’s Day breakfast buffet at the Veranda at Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The Habu Pit on MCAS Futenma is also hosting a special buffet for Father’s Day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Kinser Surfside will be open from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. for their Father’s Day breakfast buffet. At all breakfast buffets, adults eat for $9.95, children ages 5 through 11 are $4.95, and children 4 and under eat for FREE. For more information about MCCS Father’s Day Breakfast and Brunch Buffets, visit 

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Dining + entertainment

Sister Soul

Energizing and electrifying Sister Soul, also known as “The New Soul Republiq,” is an energetic and electrifying group from Manila in the Philippines. Specializing in soul, dance and pop tunes and citing influences such as Tower Of Power, Blood Sweat & Tears, Chicago, Kool & the Gang, The Temptations, Aretha Franklin and the Commodores, Sister Soul is sure to fill dance floors with gyrating crowds.


Sister Soul will be playing at The Palms on Camp Hansen, the Bayview on Camp Courtney, the Surfside on Camp Kinser, the BeachHead on Camp Schwab and the Globe & Anchor on Camp Foster from June 13 through August 2. The band is comprised of a trio of vocalists Rowena “Weng” Lozano, Wency Dimagiba and Sugar Balbuena. This dynamic trio is supported by keyboardist Bien Esquillo, guitarist Bryan Pabustan, bassist James Villagracia, drummer Nonie Papasin and a versatile two-person horn section consisting of Ronald Santos and Boyet Gonzales playing alto and tenor saxophone, flute, trumpet and flugelhorn. Sister Soul will be playing at The Palms on Camp Hansen, the Bayview on Camp Courtney, the Surfside on Camp Kinser, the BeachHead on Camp Schwab and the Globe & Anchor on Camp Foster from June 13 through August 2. All performances are FREE. For specific times and dates of these performances call 645-5821, visit or 

laugh campaign Come unwind with us! Everyone knows that laughter is the best medicine and MCCS will be prescribing a healthy dosage this summer with the Laugh Campaign featuring stateside comedians Robyn Schall and Gibran Saleem. The fun begins Thursday, June 29 at the Bayview on Camp Courtney. On Friday, June 30 the comedians will bring the show to the Surfside on Camp Kinser. On Saturday, July 1 the fun continues at The Palms on Camp Hansen with the final curtain call happening on Sunday, July 2 at the Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster. All shows run from 9 to 10:30 p.m., are FREE, and open to all ranks, but adult audiences only as shows may contain explicit, adult-oriented language that may be offensive. For more information, call 645-5821 or visit MCCS Entertainment online at or 

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Dining + entertainment

LifeJuice Café Welcome back to life The name says it all. Our juices and smoothies will bring you back to the world of the living. The offerings are great as pre or post-workout fuel-ups or just an anytimetreat. Race cars rely on high-quality fuel to run as efficiently as possible, and your body mechanisms are no different. You may have never given much thought to what keeps

your body running smoothly during and after your workout, but LifeJuice has. These smoothies can give you the extra oomph you need to go faster and longer during your workouts. And let’s not forget that smoothies and juices also taste great. You don’t need to work up a sweat to enjoy freshly squeezed and blended drinks. Camps

Schwab, Hansen, Courtney, Foster and Kinser as well as MCAS Futenma each have LifeJuice Cafés conveniently located inside their Semper Fit facilities. For more details, hours of operation and a full menu, go to 

mccs catering thomas alaN smiliE, Fs-stock/

Let us do the work Arranging and preparing food for events can be quite the hassle. Have you considered catering? Rather than stress out yourself and your family trying to create the perfect promotion or birthday party, let your local club or restaurant wow your guests with their savory selections. There are endless possibilities with MCCS catering whether it’s a group of hundreds of hungry people or an intimate party of ten. Menus can accommodate any time of day and any occasion, from breakfast to dinner, with appetizers, soups and salads too! Maybe you are thinking a breakfast buffet for your next social party. Or maybe you’d like to have a semi-formal military event, complete with a five-course meal. Let our experts turn any event a few notches up in class, enjoyment and poise. Contact your nearest club for more details or visit 

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restaurant review


A hidden exotic gem in the heart of Okinawa City text by ashley snipes Photography by mike Daley

How to get there Turn left out of the Legion Gate onto Rt. 330. Once in Okinawa City, turn right at the intersection with the sign for the Okinawa Zoo & Museum (right in front of Hotel New Century). Take the first left and then the first right. Baccara is located around 50 meters down this road on the right. Parking is available in front of the restaurant; more parking is available another 50 meters on the right. Phone number 098-989-3343 Payment ¥, credit card


Nestled in a charming neighborhood close to Kadena Gate 2 is a hot new restaurant you need to visit now before everyone else catches on. Baccara Thai Food Club opened in April, and is fast on its way to becoming one of the best Thai restaurants on Okinawa, thanks chiefly to its culinary team of Panuma Khaosuwansri, Natcha Jone and Sawang Srinet, pictured left to right above. Owner Sakura Adaniya wanted to bring her love for Thailand and Thai food to Okinawa, while also giving customers a place to relax and lounge with friends. Whether it is an American-style brunch, a gals gathering for lunch or a casual meeting with co-workers in the evening, Baccara has the perfect setting to complement your group, even if it’s just you. Chef Khaosuwansri provided our taste buds with a sampling of his specialty: intricate sauces. The Spicy Seafood Salad includes a bevy of seafood fare with huge chunks of fresh vegetables, but the sauce capitalizes on the ability of the prawns, mussels, scallops and squid to absorb the flavor; each bite ends with a little kick of heat most expect from Thai food. And make sure to try the Fried Fish with Chili Sauce. Chef lightly fries the white fish, plates it on a bed of cabbage, and serves a sizeable portion of red chili sauce on the side so you can add as little or as much as you want. We recommend loading up your helping with the flavorful sauce. On its own, the fish is delightful, but

Chef ’s original chili sauce takes the experience from “yum” to “give me all the fish and chili sauce you have in the kitchen.” The charming and cozy atmosphere of Baccara includes beautiful Thai-inspired fabrics on the pillows, as well as little touches of Thailand the owner has collected over the years. The bottom floor of the restaurant (which is on the second floor of the building) has a refreshing great room feel of an American home with vibrant colors and upholstery warming the mood. The second floor has two formal dining rooms for larger parties, and a spacious lounge area for your more casual dining experience. The owners styled the restaurant and the food around the desire for their guests to relax, share a meal and leave happy. Baccara has a full menu of Thai fare to include a large noodle dish selection, curries and rice dishes. Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Brunch is served Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and dinner is 5 to 10 p.m. every night of the week. Reservations are highly recommended, as seating is limited, and the owners want guests to relax and leisurely dine on “Aroid” Thai (delicious Thai.) 

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Marines + FaMilies

Did you know? Post 9/11 GI Bill benefits can be used to study abroad. Your school and specific course of study must be approved by the Veterans Administration. Please contact your local MCCS Education Center for details or visit

Reading by Design

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MCCS Libraries’ Summer Reading Program Get ready, MCCS Libraries’ Summer Reading Program running from June 18 to August 5 is a celebration of creativity and all those who live to create with the theme Reading by Design. This interactive program will provide opportunities for both children and adults to read and receive great incentives. Reading by Design has six age categories: all babies ages 0 to 23 months will have a special Lapsit Program and will be exposed to language development, rhymes, songs, stories and playful activities in a positive and supportive atmosphere. Energetic and curious ones ages 24 to 48 months are welcome to join the Tales for Tots Program where they will be read stories, play games and sing songs while meeting new friends. Preschool Storytime provides a half-hour

program of stories, songs, finger plays and a craft project specially designed to prepare 4 to 6 year olds for school life. And, an hour-long School Age Storytime will be offered each week for those ages 6 to 11 years old. These themed programs feature stories, games and craft activities. The teen program, targeting kids ages 12 to 17 years old, rewards readers with small incentive prizes. Teen readers can accumulate points by any combination of reading, completing quizzes and attending library events. MCCS Libraries’ children’s programs are only located at family camps (Courtney, Foster and Kinser) but all MCCS Libraries offer an Adult Program for patrons 18 years and older. Adults also receive small incentives prizes and accumulate points through

reading, completing quizzes and participating in weekly adult programs. Programs include, but are not limited to, crafts, language classes, book clubs and more. Please keep in mind that each camp will have programs on different days, so check with your local library for times and details. Registration for MCCS Libraries’ Summer Reading Program begins June 19 and runs continuously for all libraries until July 30. The end-of-program celebrations will be held at each family camp library on August 6. For more information about Reading by Design this summer, contact your local library or visit Please note that all prizes are available while supplies last. 

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Marines + FaMilies

upcoming tours kerama snorkeling June 4, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. Battle sites Tour June 10, 9 a.m.–5 p.m. ocean Park & lunch at ana interContinental Manza Beach Hotel June 17, 9 a.m.–4 p.m. Yanbaru kayaking June 17, 8 a.m.–3:30 p.m. Father’s Day Bullfighting Tour June 18, noon–5 p.m. kerama snorkeling June 24, 8 a.m.–5 p.m.

career Focus education Planning

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What is the best path for you? Career Focus Education Planning is a lifelong process of exploring career and educational goals that are compatible with your interests, values, talents, experience, personality and aspirations. It is important to consider how your education will affect future career opportunities. This brief introduces assessment tools that identify careers and majors based on the evaluation of an individual’s interests, values and personality. Participants will learn how to develop a plan to enter their desired career fields utilizing their military experience, certifications and higher education. Come, learn more about yourself, and explore occupations compatible with your attributes. The best way for you to make a positive impact on the world is to love what you do. The brief will be from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at the Camp Hansen Education Center (623-4376) on June 15 and the Camp Foster Education Center (645-7160) on June 29. For more information on these classes, call a participating location. Visit MCCS Education Centers online at 

Father’s Day Bullfights Give Dad an unforgettable gift Among the many gifts dad receives in celebration of him every year, a bullfight might just top the list. Though you may have a lot to live up to in the years that follow this one, the cultural spectacle known as ushiorase, or Okinawan bullfighting, is one unforgettable experience that dad will not soon forget. Matadors need not apply for this event, not any Okinawan bullfight for that matter, because these bouts pit the bulls against the only other living thing that can take them on in a fair fight—another bull. Though it’s different than traditional Spanish bullfighting, the Okinawan

bullfights still ignite the crowd and get your heart pumping. In order to be sure he has a great day, treat your dad to an afternoon of thundering hooves and flashing horns this Father’s Day; it’ll surely out-do the necktie you got him last year. Join MCCS Tours+ on Sunday, June 18 from noon to 5 p.m. for this event. Ticket prices for adults are $35, children 12 to 18 are $24, 3 to 12 are $10 and children under 3 are FREE. For more information, call MCCS Tours+ at 646-3502 or visit 

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Marines + FaMilies

The Clothesline Project Tell your story In preparation for Domestic Violence Awareness Month, the MCCS Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program will be gathering t-shirts that represent someone who is, has been, or knows someone in a Domestic Violence relationship. While 58,000 American soldiers died in the Vietnam War, 51,000 women died during the same period from domestic abuse. These statistics lead to the creation of The Clothesline Project, a way for women to speak up and educate others about domestic abuse. Carol A. Chichetto, chair of the project’s steering committee says “doing the laundry has always been considered women’s work,

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MCCS Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program will be gathering t-shirts that represent someone who is, has been, or knows someone in a Domestic Violence relationship. and in the days of close-knit neighborhoods, women often exchanged information over backyard fences while hanging their clothes out to dry.” The idea for The Clothesline Project is simple, Chichetto says. “Let each woman tell her own story, in her own unique way, and hang it out for all to see. It was and is a way of airing society’s dirty laundry.” To participate, visit Camp Foster Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program in Bldg. 439 now until October 13. For more information, visit or 

anger Management 101 Don’t let it control you The constant dodging, dipping, ducking and diving 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 axel 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 is the time to embrace the new you with help from the Behavioral Health Family Advocacy Program. Participants in the Anger Management Class will learn valuable strategies to effectively manage anger and build conflict resolution skills. This is a four-consecutiveweek class held Wednesdays from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Camp Foster. Behavioral Health-Family Advocacy offer many other classes and services for service members and their spouses. View their upcoming events at behavioralhealth or call 645-2915 for more information.  june 2017 | okinawa living 45

Marines + FaMilies

Fourth of July sale The Custom Shop has America covered Show your patriotic spirit with something unique and special this Independence Day. Do you have some Americana art that needs a professional touch? Or maybe your spouse’s awards and military gifts are still in a box in the corner because you haven’t had time to select the right display for them? Foster Framing & Fine Arts and the Custom Shop are your one-stop shops for materials for patriotic displays, and in recognition of USA’s independence, the Custom Shop is offering 20 percent off red, white and blue material costs July 5 through the 8 . So dust off the awards, or print off the super cute photo of your kids wearing your service members’ uniform cover, and take it to the experts at the Custom Shop. For more information, call 645-3674 or visit them online at framingandfinearts. 

courtney arts & crafts ceramic Painting Parties



Learn the ancient art Who hasn’t sailed paper airplanes across a classroom during a boring lecture? But the Japanese take paper folding to a different level—art of origami is no child’s play. In fact it was originally meant for adults. Origami originated in China, where paper was first created in the first or second century, with the art of folding following shortly after. The word “origami” comes from oru meaning “to fold” and kami meaning “paper.” The tiny paper sculptures were used in both religious rites and in gift giving. Serrated strips of paper marked sacred objects in shrines. One of the oldest forms of origami is the katashiro, a symbolic representation of a deity made with jingū yōshi, a special shrine paper.

Today, most Japanese schools include basic origami designs as part of their curriculum, the most complex being the tsuru, or paper crane. According to Japanese legend, if you make 1,000 paper cranes, you will be granted a wish. If your wish is to learn origami, you don’t need to craft 1,000 cranes first. Learn the basics by visiting Camp Courtney Marine & Family Programs-Resources (Bldg. 4425) on June 22 at 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. or Camp Kinser Marine & Family Programs-Resources (Bldg. 1220) on June 23 at 9 to 11 a.m. For more information, visit 

Something different, fun and creative Party planning in a foreign country can be a bit challenging. Either you can’t find a location large enough to accommodate your guests, or the fluctuation in the yen rate means your budget has to be as fluid as the punch. Why not let MCCS help you plan your next event? Turn your next social gathering into a fun, artistic outlet for you and your guests. Gather your friends at Courtney Arts & Crafts to paint your own ceramics. With so many ceramics to choose from, you’ll find something you or your kids would love to paint. Prices vary depending on size of ceramics. Reserve studio time for birthday parties, spouses groups, private org events, Girl and Boy Scouts, holiday parties, ladies nights and more! For more information, or to book your party today, call 622-7492/098-954-7492 or visit  june 2017 | okinawa living 47

kiDs + ParenTs

cYP benefits and events


Something for everyone!

Summer break is here and your local MCCS Youth and Teen Centers are the place to be for kids as the heat dials up to eleven. Each day, centers on Camps Courtney, Foster and Kinser have activities and events planned to make the best of your summer. Anyone between the ages of 10 and 18 is invited to hang out with their friends and watch movies, play video games, challenge each other in board games, and more (even study)! Along with various activities to do, each center hosts a variety of clubs and classes for youth and teens to engage in. Passport to Manhood and SMART Girls are classes designed to address age and gender specific issues youth and teens encounter as they grow up. There is also Torch Club, a character and

leadership development group to help adolescents build their personality traits through volunteer activities. Each center also offers unique classes such as Book Club, Art Club, Cooking Club and more. Throughout the month, the Youth and Teen Centers schedule crafts, sports, membership appreciation parties and themed events for members to enjoy. And don’t forget the Lock-In events, where members are invited to stay the night at the facility and play games, watch movies and eat yummy snacks. Sound interesting? Here’s what you need to do to join: go to and download the Youth and Teen Registration Packet. The simple questionnaire needs to be filled out by your parents, as their permission

is required. Then, submit the info to your local club. Camp Courtney’s Youth and Teen Center is in bldg. 4446 and is located near the Chura Warabi Child Development Center. Call them at 622-9702 for more information. The Camp Foster Kishaba Youth Center is located next to Zukeran Elementary School. Call them at 645-8015 for more information. Camp Foster’s Teen Center is located inside The Spot. Call them at 645-1004 for more information. Camp Kinser’s Youth Center is located down the street from Kinser Elementary School. Call them at 637-2248 for more information. The Camp Kinser Teen Center is located in the Kinser Bowling Center. Call them at 637-1755 for more information.  june 2017 | okinawa living 49

kiDs + ParenTs

Camp Adventure Summer Program Make the most of your summer Calling all adventure seekers! Camps McTureous, Foster and Kinser School Age Care Programs are looking for summer-breakers who want to get away from their houses and explore the island. The Camp Adventure Summer Program is back with the University of Iowa student camp counselors. From June 19 through August 18, military children are invited to participate in theme-based activities and field

trips around the island. In addition, “Camp A Presents” will showcase everything the kids did for that week on Fridays. The cost for each child to attend will be determined by total family income and will be calculated at registration. For additional information, or to register for the summer camp, feel free to contact the Resource and Referral Department at 645-4117, or go to 

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kinser Youth lock-in All night long If you are looking for a night away from your parents to spend with friends, but are kind of over the whole slumber party thing, mark your calendar for the End of School Lock-In at the Kinser Youth Center. From 7 p.m. on June 17, to 7 a.m. on June 18, members and non-members ages 10 through 12 are invited for a fun night of board games, music, movies and sports. Bonus: snacks are provided! Staff will be with attendees at all times, and the regular rules for the Youth Center apply during the Lock-In. For more information, call the Kinser Youth Center at 637-2248, or the Child and Youth Program main office at 645-4117. For more information about all Youth and Teen Center events, go to  june 2017 | okinawa living 51

kiDs + ParenTs

Junior golf clinics at taiyo’s It’s never too early Is your kid an aspiring golfer? Taiyo Golf Club is offering four-day Junior Golf Clinics throughout the summer. The clinics will provide young golfers with tips and advice about the game of golf. Topics to be covered this year include fine-tuning one’s golf swing, putting and chipping, actual on course instruction and course etiquette. Children involved in sports are typically more confident than kids not participating in extracurricular activities; sports teach kids discipline, and the game of golf is full of life lessons. As a bonus, golf can be as competitive as you like, or a leisurely sport for the entire family to enjoy together for years to come. Sign your kids up for one of Taiyo’s four clinics which run two hours each day. The first clinic will run June 22-23, with the second clinic from July 25-28. The third clinic takes place August 1-4. Clinics are $25 per child and open to all skill levels, but the groups are broken into 5 to 9 year olds, and 10 to 18 year olds. Each clinic day will begin at 8 a.m. and conclude around 1 p.m. For more information or to sign up, call Taiyo Golf Club at 622-2004/2006 or visit 

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It’s an essential skill

Perhaps one of the best perks of swimming on Okinawa is the recreational fun it provides for individuals and families. From pool parties to snorkeling trips, water activities abound on island. Whether you’d like to splash around the pool or venture out into the ocean, learning the fundamentals of swimming is a must. MCCS Semper Fit Aquatics’ Learn to Swim program will more than help you get your feet wet. Swimming is a lifetime activity that offers numerous benefits. Swimming works practically every muscle in your body, building strength and increasing endurance. It also provides a low impact cardiovascular workout to keep your heart and joints happy and healthy.

To make sure you or your children aren’t left out of the watery fun, sign up for swimming lessons today. Sessions meet on weekdays for two weeks. The registration fee ($50 for parent/child lessons and $75 for regular lessons) includes eight classes. Classes are between the times of 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. or 4 to 7:30 p.m. MCCS Aquatics offers lessons to a variety of skill levels. Summer lessons start on June 19 at the pools on Camps Foster, Kinser and McTureous. Register online or in person; check for lesson and registration details. 

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Doughnuts with Dad All dads love doughnuts Put in a special liberty request at work for Doughnuts with Dad on June 11 from 10 to 11 a.m. Camps Courtney, Foster and Kinser Libraries are celebrating Father’s Day with a special gathering for children to hear poems and stories, sing songs and decorate a coffee mug for that special dad or father-like figure in their lives. Everyone will also enjoy some yummy doughnuts during the activities. While at the library, make sure you check out the Summer Reading Program (more information on page 41). Your local MCCS Library also has daily classes for smaller children, specific teen reading programs and an entire collection of graphic novels to keep your tweenager occupied this summer. What’s more, the libraries host weekly classes for adults covering a variety of locally themed crafts and topics. For more information about this and other events at your local MCCS Library, go to, or follow them on Facebook at educationandlibraries. 

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box car Drive-in Movie Vroom! Vroom! Is your kid into cars? Are you? Gather the family and head over to the Kinser Surfside every Sunday in June from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. and build a box car! Kids can customize their cardboard box in any way they choose—be it a Ford Raptor pick-up, Nissan GT-R, Chevy Impala lowrider complete with 100-spoke Daytons—whatever their heart’s desire. Once their ride is complete, they can “drive” it over to the Drive-In Movie Buffet on June 29 for a movie and special buffet. The best and most creative box car will receive a trophy, second and third place will receive ribbons, and all kids who made a box car will eat for FREE. Buffet prices for everyone else is $7.95 for adults, $4.95 for children 5 to 11 and FREE for kids under 5. For more information about this event, call the Kinser Surfside at 637-3137. Visit them online at  june 2017 | okinawa living 55



Stay Cool for Less Is your vehicle ready for the summer? Driving on Okinawa in the summertime can either be heaven or the alternative—with the performance of your air conditioner providing the defining difference between cruising along a seaside road in cool comfort or sweaty discomposure. During the month of June, head over to your nearest MCCS Typhoon Motors to top off the freon in your vehicle’s air conditioning system for 20 percent off regular

prices and ensure that your summer driving is cool and comfortable. For more information, call your nearest Typhoon Motors located on Camps Foster (645-7169), Kinser (637-2191), Courtney (6229546) and Hansen (623-7743). Visit Typhoon Motors online at 

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md-Radiator Flush ccW Your vehicle’s cooling system ensures the engine runs efficiently and doesn’t overheat. Over time, rust and scale build up in the radiator, along with other contaminants from old coolant fluid. Flushing these fluids 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. Learn how to flush like a pro at Camp Foster Typhoon Motors’ Radiator Flush and Coolant System Maintenance Car Care Workshop June 21 from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m. For more information and to RSVP, call 645-7169. Visit Typhoon Motors online at  june 2017 | okinawa living 57


Careers With MCCS

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We Want YOU! MCCS offers a variety of challenging, career-building opportunities with the priority on hiring qualified family members of active duty military and civilian employees stationed in foreign areas. Jobs are available in entertainment, sports, accounting, marketing, wellness, child development, maintenance, IT, counseling and more. Prospective employees can check current vacancies and submit applications online at Visit and like the MCCS Okinawa Jobs Facebook page for “Hot Jobs” listings and NAF HRO updates. Applicants without an internet connection can visit the MCCS NAF Human Resources Office located

on the second floor of Bldg. 5966 on Camp Foster. MCCS offers a generous benefits package including a Tuition Assistance Program for all full and part-time employees (up to $10,000 a year is available with direct billing set up with the University of Maryland University College Asia), a NAF Retirement Pension that’s transferrable between civil service and non-appropriated positions with other agencies, and a Fidelity 401(k) Retirement Plan with up to a 5% company matching contribution. AETNA International Medical Insurance, convenient and accessible medical care through military and local treatment facilities for employees and families, is

available, in addition to a life insurance policy that offers affordable coverage to employees and family members up to three times annual salary. MCCS employees also receive shortterm disability insurance—up to 60% of salary for three months while qualified, short-term disabilities take them out of work. Employees also earn vacation and sick leave and are authorized to utilize the Family Friendly Leave Act, Family Medical Leave and Leave Donation Program when qualified. For more information about becoming an MCCS employee, call MCCS NAF HRO at 645-3052. 

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mikesan’s japan

漆 漆 器 The Art of Ryukyu Lacquerware Text Mike Daley Photo SaRaH HeaD Layout JONGeUN SPeNCeR

Asian lacquerware is well-known worldwide for its beauty and durability. Its creation is the product of some of the finest and most painstaking craftsmanship techniques in the world.

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The art of lacquering

was originally not an art at all, it was an ordinary means of strengthening and waterproofing items for daily and ceremonial use with a special type of tree sap. Originally Chinese in origin, the process of lacquering wares such as bowls, plates, chopsticks and ceremonial trays and vessels was quite commonplace. And, before the invention of ink in China, lacquer had been used for writing as long ago as 475 BC. Lacquered objects are moisture-proof, resistant to heat, acid and alkali, and their color and luster are highly durable, adding beauty to practical use. Lacquer comes from the sap of the tree species Rhus Verniciflua, which is commonly known as the lacquer tree in China and as urushu in Japan and on Okinawa. Although this tree can be found throughout China and Japan, it is said to have originated in Central Asia, and is a member of the Anacardiaceae family—a distant relative of the cashew, mango and pistachio tree. While harvesting lacquer from the urushu is relatively simple, it can be quite exhaustive. Although techniques vary depending on region, generally small horizontal cuts are made in the tree’s trunk and the sap is scraped and collected as it oozes out. However, because the sap quickly hardens upon contact with cool, dry air, sap was usually harvested during the hot and humid summer months. In China, the earliest examples of lacquerware were actually thought to be pottery—a cup and a pot which had been painted with lacquer after being fired. These pieces, which are thought to have been created during the Neolithic age (8,000 to 5,000 BC), are the oldest lacquered pieces yet discovered in China. They are now kept at the Museum of Nanjing.  As the processes of lacquering grew into an art in China, several distinct styles began to develop, centering on various areas where the lacquer tree flourished. Eventually lacquerware crossed China’s borders and evolved into divergent strains in the skillful hands of artisans in countries and kingdoms neighboring the vast empire.

mikesan’s japan

Chinese lacquering practices involving the priming of objects as well as polishing techniques were introduced into Japan during the 5th and 6th centuries. Japanese craftsmen incorporated processes such as using several hundreds of layers of lacquer and inlaying intricate patterns with gold and mother of pearl into their works. They also improved many lacquering techniques and broadened the saps uses.   One of the most important techniques developed by Japanese artisans in the field of decorative lacquerware was the art of makie. This decorating method involved the use of finely-ground silver and gold powders in the design stage, and was highly sought by nobility. Many Japanese pieces created with makie designs can be found in museums throughout the world—still as stunningly beautiful as the day they were created hundreds of years ago.  During the days of the samurai, lacquering also became very important to the warrior class. The traditional armor of the samurai, called yoroi, was made of rows upon rows of extremely strong and light lacquered plates laced together with silk or leather. Sheaths for warriors’ swords were also lacquered, as well as saddles and stirrups used for battle livery.  Over time, lacquering objects became very important to the people of Japan, and this fact was noted by visitors from western nations. Even today, the Oxford Dictionary lists the definition of the lowercase word “japan” as “a black, glossy varnish of a type originating in Japan.” 

Ryukyu lacqueRwaRe shop The Ryukyu Lacquerware Shop, located in Itoman City in southern Okinawa, was established over 100 years ago. At this shop visitors can experience an art form that was introduced to Okinawa from China during the 14th and 15th centuries. Some of the techniques include chinkin, raden, and the relief appliqué technique unique to Okinawa known as tsuikin. Visitors can also try their hand at creating their own piece of Ryukyu art. For more information, call 098-997-3775.

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mikesan’s japan

While Ryukyu Island chain is better known for farming, fishing and other practices that don’t involve armor swords or saddles, the archipelago is nonetheless famous throughout Asia for its lacquerware. The art of Urushi Shikki or Ryukyu lacquerware was established in the islands during the late 14th century. And like many Okinawan art forms, Urushi Shikki was heavily influenced by Chinese, and later by Japanese lacquering techniques.  Several natural factors including high temperatures, humidity, and intense ultraviolet light combined to make Okinawa an ideal locale for creating lacquerware. Because of Okinawa’s heat, humidity and plentiful sunshine, the sap of the urushu or urushi could be dried under natural conditions, which produced an exceptionally clear finish. In mainland Japan, oftentimes this process was done in the heat and humidity of a bathhouse, and excess water vapor and lack of ultraviolet light caused finishes to be either black or a brownish red. The wood of the local deigo tree, which was known for its light weight, durability and resistance to cracking and distortion, played a major role in the creation of Ryukyu lacquerware. Deigo wood is spongy and porous, and was used to make larger trays which appeared heavy at first glance, but were light as a feather when carried.   While climate, weather and readily available local components such as turban shells played a large part in setting Ryukyu lacquerware apart from its counterparts in the mainland, the greatest differences were in color and in methods of decoration. Many of these techniques found their inspiration from China—the original home of the art.

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mikesan’s japan

During early times on Okinawa, designs such as vivid flowers and exotic birds etched or inlaid onto vivid cinnabar-red pieces were popular. However, following the invasion of Okinawa by the Satsuma clan from southern mainland Japan (now Kyushu), primarily Chinese-style black lacquerware was produced for tribute to China and mainland Japan. During this period, designs portraying idyllic landscapes and religious themes were overwhelmingly popular. Following the establishment of Okinawa as a prefecture of Japan, uniquely Okinawan plants and birds became fashionable and after WWII, black lacquerware vases and trays decorated with red hibiscus flowers became popular souvenirs for visiting U.S. military service members. Following are a few of the uniquely Okinawan techniques developed for designing lacquerware.


Like their counterparts in neighboring China, many traditional tsuikin designs portrayed idyllic landscapes and flower-and-bird patterns. Taking cues from techniques developed in Beijing, basic tsuikin techniques involved coating pieces with tens to hundreds of layers of lacquer, engraving patterns, then molding threedimensional designs onto the works with partially-dry unrefined lacquer (which has a dough-like consistency). High temperatures and humidity are especially important to the creation of proper tsuikin.


Chinkin is quite similar to tsuikin. After coating the piece, designs are carved onto the polished lacquer surface and a different colored lacquer was placed into the resulting grooves. Oftentimes, gold leaf or dust was pressed into these grooves before the lacquer dried. The resulting combination of bright vermillion, deep, clear, lacquer, and gold made many chinkin design pieces extremely valuable.

hAkue And urushIe

Hakue and urushie were usually used in combination with each other or with other techniques. Hakue involved creating simple designs with black lacquer and gold leaf. Urushie consisted of painting freehand designs or pictures directly onto pieces with lacquer dyed with various pigments.


Ryukyu Raden is considered by many as one of the most prominent representatives of Okinawan lacquerware design. Traditional Ryukyu Raden design uses fragments of turban shells ground flat, cut into shape, and either inlaid or affixed onto pieces creating dizzyingly beautiful motifs of flowers, scenes of palace life, mythical creatures and more. Because turban shells display similar characteristics to mother of pearl, these patterns seem to move of their own accord in the right light. The throne of King Sho Shin, which was re-created by lacquerware master Koin Maeda, is decorated profusely with raden and chinkin designs of dragons and multi-colored clouds. It can be seen in the Seiden Hall of Shuri Castle. While raden is one of the most intricate, it is also the most difficult to learn. And, unfortunately the art is slowly dying. 

june 2017 | okinawa living 67


Oyako-Don (Chicken and Egg Rice Bowl) *Oyako means “parent and child” Four servings Ingredients 7.5 oz chicken (preferably dark meat) cut into bite-sized cubes 1 onion sliced into thin strips 4 beaten eggs 1 mitsuba (honewort) or watercress leaf per bowl Sauce 2 cups of dashi (made from bonito flakes) 5 tbsp. sugar 10 tbsp soy sauce 5 tbsp mirin (sweet Japanese cooking wine) Method of Preparation: 1. Bring all sauce ingredients to a rolling boil in a sauce pan. 2. Add chicken and sliced onions and heat for 2–3 minutes. 3. Add eggs while stirring slowly. 4. Add Mitsuba (or watercress) leaves, turn off heat, and cover until eggs have solidified to desired consistency. 5. Place rice in a deep bowl and cover the rice with mixture. 6. Serve

from Top To boTTom: oysy/, Thomas alan smilie

Irei no Hi On June 23, 1945, the war on Okinawa came to an end. This day is commemorated as a public holiday on Okinawa known as Irei no Hi, or Memorial Day—honoring and remembering all who died during the Battle of Okinawa as well as in other areas of the Pacific. The Battle of Okinawa is remembered as one of the bloodiest, most destructive Pacific battles of WW II. More than 29,000 Marines and Sailors were killed, missing, or wounded. U.S. Army casualties totaled close to 40,000. And, Japanese losses were enormous, with more than 107,500 killed and at least 23,700 sealed in caves. Irei no Hi is a time for people to pray for the spirits and souls of those who died. Thousands of people flock each year to memorial services at various war sites such as the Himeyuri Monument, where hundreds of high school girls

and teachers died while serving in the Japanese Army Himeyuri Nursing Corps. One of The most visited places during Irei no Hi is Peace Memorial Park in Chinen Village. Comprised of monuments such as the Cornerstone of Peace (an expansive wall inscribed with the names of those who lost their lives during the war) and the Okinawa Prefectural Peace Memorial Museum, Peace Memorial Park is a solemn tribute to the war victims and a somber reminder of the tragedy of war. To get to Peace Memorial Park, head south on Hwy 58 toward Naha airport. South of the airport, 58 is called Route 331. Stay on Route 331 through Itoman City and follow the signs to Peace Prayer Park. 

Uchinâguchi corner The Sun






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Honoring the Spirits On Okinawa preparations for Obon, a festival in late summer for venerating ancestors, are quite extensive. The home must be cleared and cleaned to welcome both living and deceased relatives, food must be prepared, and certain items must be purchased. Business at markets and shops is always brisk, and airports are often flooded with travelers during the week preceding the holiday. Obon is broken into three days. The first day is called Unke, or the welcoming day. On Unke, the doors of the home containing the butsudan, or family alter, are opened to welcome the spirits, and lanterns are lit to help spirits find their way. The butsudan is prepared with offerings of food and drink and family members stand at the door to welcome spirits as soon as darkness falls. Unke is followed by Nakanohi, or the middle day. Most people spend this day visiting the butsudan of their family, bringing gifts called ochûgen (which usually consist of daily staples such as rice, katsuobushi, or tea).

Ûkui, or the escorting day, is the final day of Obon. Lavish farewell dinners are prepared and placed in special boxes called jyûbako. Living family members light incense, pray for protection from bad luck, and often beg forgiveness for not visiting more often. Special meals are also prepared for the departing spirits. These meals, along with offerings including “spirit money” called uchikabi, are given to spirits during ceremonies held late at night to send the spirits back to their resting places.  This spirit money, called “joss (votive) money” throughout Asia, hasn’t changed on Okinawa in hundreds of years…until now.   What is uchikabi and its significance? Uchikabi is a gift that ancestors take back with them to the spirit world. In mainland Japan, uchikabi is often placed within the casket and cremated along with the body. On Okinawa, it’s burned on Ûkui [the third and last day of Obon] every year.

I understand that you have developed a new kind of uchikabi for Obon. What’re the biggest differences? One of the differences is safety.  During olden times on Okinawa, homes were more open air and it was safer to have an open flame near the butsudan [family alter]. Nowadays, homes are closed off and air conditioned. Open flames are dangerous and the smoke produced irritates the eyes of participants…especially kids. The biggest difference though is the denomination. Uchikabi is pressed with impressions that represent money denominations…the newer uchikabi uses the impressions representing larger denominations so you are giving your ancestor more to take back with them to the spirit world.   What gave you the idea to create a new kind of uchikabi? Ancestor worship is popular throughout Asia…and many countries such as China and Taiwan have advanced in the

different kinds of “joss” offerings. In some cases, if the person that passed had wanted a car before they died, a caricature of a car made of joss paper was burned in effigy for the deceased ancestor. Okinawan uchikabi had not changed in hundreds of years and I felt that this could be considered a disservice to ancestors. Also, many of the rituals and traditions of Obon seemed to be slowly dying, many because they were considered tedious or, in the case of burning uchikabi indoors, unpleasant. Nuclear families are dissolving and connections between relatives are weakening from generation to generation. I felt that something needed to be done to not only preserve traditions but to also communicate to the younger generation that respecting ancestors and those that have passed before them gives them a greater respect for life itself, and in turn, all the people around them. 

Mike Daley, ThoMas alan sMilie

Yotetsu Kanna

Okinawa Living Magazine  

June 2017

Okinawa Living Magazine  

June 2017