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Shishimai: The Dancing Lions of Okinawa AUTUMN ADVENTURES POSTCARDS FROM INDIA November 2016 | Issue 225 A Marine Corps Community Services Publication


contents November 2016

24

8 Out + About: Postcards from India

34

58 35 55 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: CAYLEE REID, THOMAS ALAN SMILIE , PRESSMASTER /BIGSTOCK, CAYLEE REID

features

On the cover Being “bitten” by a shishimai is considered to be good luck.

8

34

Out + About: Postcards from India Although it may seem light years away, India is much more accessible while you are here on Okinawa.

Restaurant Review: Sam’s Anchor Inn A veritable icon of Okinawa, Sam’s first restaurant features teppanyaki—an experience in itself.

24

Shishimai: The Dancing Lions of Okinawa Learn more about shishimai, and meet the original troupe—responsible for passing the art from generation to generation for hundreds of years.

Autumn Adventures Okinawa’s cooling fall breezes create an opportunity to commune with the great outdoors—whether it’s hiking, mountain climbing, river trekking or camping.

58


contents November 2016

MCCS HOLIDAY GIFT GUIDE 2016 Your guide for finding that special gift for that special someone!

47

fitness + fun 17

41

Black Friday Aerobathon Just because you enjoy some delicious holiday treats, doesn’t mean that you should quit exercising. Actually, it’s all the reason more!

Basic Mode Basic Mode, a dynamic and exciting band, will be thrilling audiences at MCCS Clubs in November and early December.

23 Battle Sites Tour Want to learn more about the battle known as the “Typhoon of Steel?” The Tours+ Battle Sites Tour will offer insights into the Battle of Okinawa available nowhere else.

Defeat the School Year Blues From tests and homework to social cliques and break-ups, the school year can be stressful for young kids..

services

19 What’s going on at your Bowling Center? MCCS Bowling Centers island wide will be holding tournaments—some with cash prizes— throughout the month of November!

55

marines + families 45 Accessing Higher Education With endless possibilities, higher education can be a daunting task. The MCCS Education Centers provide assistance to service members transitioning into being a student as a civilian.

57 Make it a Frame Foster Framing & Fine Arts carries over 300 custom frames and 130 mats, leading to an endless possibility of designs.

extras 7 Mensore + Feedback

dining + entertainment

kids + parents

61

35

53

67

Gobble…Gobble…Gobble This year, Celebrate Thanksgiving in maximum style with minimum toil at MCCS Clubs and Restaurants.

Journey through Pregnancy Becoming a new parent comes with fears, uncertainties and lots of questions. Sometimes you just need help.

Living on Okinawa

Island Icons: Hiro Magic

70 Marketplace Guide


NOVEMBER 2016 | ISSUE 225 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, Caylee Reid DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Thomas Alan Smilie GRAPHIC DESIGNERS Lisa Miyagi, Hector Nieves, Catherine Newquist CULTURAL RESEARCH SPECIALIST Ayako Kawamitsu ADVERTISING SALES & SPONSORSHIP MANAGER Roy Forster ADVERTISING SALES & SPONSORSHIP Yoshihiro Shinzato, Yoriko Yamashiro, Aya Chilcote, Carina Fils-Julien, Lisa Hicks, Tomoko Taylor MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH MANAGER Andrew Menges MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH Katherine Melrose, Jenessa Reutov, Marissa DeSmet, Ashley Herring, Kristen Wong, Allison Dixon DISTRIBUTION Gideon Juko, Kelli Kreider 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 editor@okinawa.usmc-mccs.org For advertising 098-970-2245 (phone) | 098-970-0975 (fax) sales@okinawa.usmc-mccs.org (e-mail) See our advertising rates at www.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)

THOMAS ALAN SMILIE

sales@okinawa.usmc-mccs.org

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 ©2016 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.


feedback

from the ICE Program and Facebook I really love the great breakfast options at Camp Schwab BeachHead. The staff is nice and the food tastes great. It’s a blessing for those of us that live up north! Thank you! —via ICE When is the next PADI Open Water dive course available on Camp Foster? —via Facebook Just drop by the store to sign up! Classes are always starting so we should be able to meet your scheduling needs. We also provide PADI Advanced Open Water classes and specialty certification courses such as Search and Recovery, Deep Diver, and more. Please visit our website at mccsokinawa.com/ tsunamiscuba for store locations, hours, and phone numbers, as well as dates of upcoming classes —Consumer Relations Kim Levasseur is one of the most passionate, knowledgeable and caring group fitness instructors I have ever met. She teaches at Camps Foster and Kinser and has devoted students who follow her to wherever she teaches. She is extremely approachable and students even seek her out for additional advice on fitness and diet. Her fun personality is always motivating, even on those days when it’s a struggle to get to class. Kim is such an asset to the current fitness schedule! —via ICE I am trying to find art classes for both my daughter and myself. Do you have anything available? —via ICE Courtney Arts & Crafts and Foster Framing & Fine Arts offer art classes for all ages. Classes range from building and decorating kimekomi dolls, sketching classes, Ikebana flower arranging classes, origami classes and many more! Please visit our website at mccsokinawa.com/framingandfinearts for class dates and times, prices, and class details. —Consumer Relations

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I want to thank Yumiko Soga at Behavioral Health Community Counseling for all of her help over the past few months. She is competent, compassionate, empathetic and a very kind counselor. When she says she is going to do something, she moves faster than the Japanese Bullet Train. She can connect with different people and explain things in a way that makes sense. MCCS is truly blessed to have her in the position she is serving and I was blessed to have her as a counselor. If MCCS has an award program she should get it. Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the sessions I have learned so much from and will be better for it. —via ICE

mensôre “Welcome” to Okinawa Living

Thanks! November traditionally marks the beginning of the holiday season. With the celebration of the 241st birthday of the United States Marine Corps, Veterans Day as well as Thanksgiving, it’s also a time for giving thanks—especially to those who have served and still serve today. In Japan, the month of November is also marked by two national holidays: Bunka-noHi (National Culture Day) on November 3 and another national holiday with ties to giving thanks called “Labor Thanksgiving Day” or Kinrô-Kansha-no-Hi on November 23. Originally a harvest festival, Kinrô-Kansha-no-Hi is also set aside for people in Japan to express gratitude to one another for work well done throughout the year. It honors those who serve in the country’s workforce and celebrates bountiful harvests at the same time— basically a cross between Labor Day and Thanksgiving in the U.S. MCCS Clubs and Restaurants will be serving bountiful celebratory feasts this month as well. Turn to page 37 to find the nearest offering Thanksgiving feasts. For those who wish to enjoy their turkey or ham at home, but aren’t overly attached to the thought of slaving for hours upon hours in the kitchen, then MCCS Holiday-Meals-to-Go—ready-made feasts prepared by MCCS’ talented chefs—may be just the ticket. Find out more on page 39. The November issue offers an eclectic mix of warmth and refreshing autumn cool. Autumn Adventures is a mini-guide to mountain climbing, river trekking and other fall activities when the weather makes lying on the beach or taking a dip in the East China Sea a chilling experience. Out+About will take you on a journey to exotic India and in Mike-San’s Japan dance with the lion dogs of Okinawa. This month’s lineup is rounded out by the MCCS Holiday Gift Guide, accessing higher education and much , much more… even how to say “gecko” in Uchinâguchi! 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 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.

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 7


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OUT + ABOUT

IT’S IMPOSSIBLE TO DESCRIBE A COUNTRY like India. People say it’s life-changing, soulstirring—the jewel in the crown of Asia, but keep pressing them and the words will fail. They’ll ask aloud, “How do you describe India?”

POSTCARDS INDIA

from

How do you encompass India’s long, turbulent tapestry of battling empires? Or its raw humanity and dizzying contrasts of colors, statuses, cities, religions? How can you summarize the spiritual Hindu pilgrimage to Varanasi to bathe in “Mother Ganga”? Or the Taj Mahal-sized beauty of the grandest architecture on earth? How do you even adequately describe the relief found in a small cup of chai? These are moments. Loose leaf, like torn out pages from a journal, snapshots of India that have no intention of summarizing any place. It’s a set of postcards, some arriving in order, some out of order, that were written from all over northern India—on sleeper trains, from the dunes in the Great Indian Desert, from the steps of the Taj Mahal, while melting into the back of a rickshaw and while drifting on the River Ganges at sunrise.

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TEXT TEXT AND AND PHOTOGRAPHY PHOTOGRAPHY BY BY CAYLEE CAYLEE REID REID LAYOUT LAYOUT BY BY CATHERINE CATHERINE NEWQUIST NEWQUIST

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 9


OUT + ABOUT

FROM JAIPUR JAIPUR IS DRIPPING WITH

majesty. I wove from palace to palace through nauseating pandemonium— conversations and people shrieking in all directions. It was a vertiginous change to then peer from palace windows over the city. The City Palace is a complex of courtyards, gardens and buildings and still home to the former royal family. It looks as though it was painted out of a fairytale. Jantar

Mantar is a playground of giant astronomical instruments. In Jaipur, you can even stay in a maharaja’s former palace turned hotel, where peacocks roam the immaculate grounds. And the Hawa Mahal, also known as “The Palace of the Winds,” is a pink and red sandstone palace, floating in the heart of the city. It’s a striking backdrop for the animated streets frisky with rickshaws, motorbikes, camels and buses.

CITY PALACE

THE NATIONAL BIRD

FROM AGRA THE TAJ MAHAL IS THE TANGIBLE TESTAMENT TO

a tragic love stor y: grief-stricken when his beloved wife passed, Mughal emperor Shah Jahan built the tomb for her. He was then overthrown and jailed by his son, where he was forced to gaze upon the Taj Mahal for the rest of his days. His agonizing love is practically written in the white marbled walls. Visitors tear up while standing under its towering perfection. As is common in India for close friends, I spotted two young men holding hands for a photograph in front of the Taj Mahal. It’s an over whelming , inspiring beauty.

FROM ON THE ROAD

ROADSIDE CHAI TAJ MAHAL

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I’M CONVINCED THERE IS

nothing sweeter than the relief found in a cup of chai. My stamina evaporates with each oven wave of heat. Roads are melting. My feet are blistered and black. But then comes the comfort, in different forms: an angel with a shortcut; a cheap cup of chai from a boy swinging a metal vat down the car-train aisle; a family sharing their snacks; a grandmother holding my hand and speaking with me through her interpreter grandson; and a free cup of the boldest roadside chai.

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OUT + ABOUT

FROM THE GREAT INDIAN DESERT IN A JEEP PACKED WITH TWO AMERICANS, TWO BRITS,

CAMEL SAFARI

AMER FORT

GUARDS AT THE CITY PALACE

a Singaporean, and our two guides, we traveled outside of Jaisalmer and into the desert, passing the crumbling remains of deserted villages and small religious communities, until we arrived at our guide’s house to continue into the desert heat on camelback . The shadows of us and our camels, packed with blankets and gear, stretched until the sky grew spicecolored, and we arrived at the dunes. The wind licked sand into our eyes, teeth and ears as we jumped, slid and danced on the dunes. The sky turned to a deep plum, marbled with tiny diamonds, the horizon stretching into the ground in all directions. We took the camels out, one at a time, for a night run, their knobby knees and hooves graceful through the sand—the rider bobbing up and down, racing the wind. The fire blazed while we shared food and toasted our drinks. Our cleansing laughter growing as bold and bright as the sky, until nothing else mattered, for an eclipse of a moment.

WEDDING MARKET IN DELHI

FROM DELHI

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CHAOS, CONTRAST AND COLOR: DELHI WAS A JARRING

welcome to India. Car horns blasted into the sky, sounding more like a celebration than an entire city of traffic. The backstreets, laden with low hanging masses of telephone wires, contain markets packed with shops: tiger ’s eye, garnet, moonstone strung onto a necklace; scar ves, one after another billowed out in front of buyers; spices baking in the white sun, filled the air, burning the eyes of passersby. I climbed a series of stairs and wooden ladders for a bird’s eye of Delhi. The streets swam with color—a river of people, bikes, auto rickshaws, cars, cows, dogs, goats and market stands. A layer of rose petals was dr ying on a flat rooftop. The wind ruffled hanging laundr y. A boy stood alone on another roof, waiting to catch potential homing pigeons. In the distance was the silhouette of Jama Masjid—a Mughal mosque, a vestige of empires lost. I caught my breath for a moment at the terrace and then plunged back into the raging streets.

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OUT + ABOUT

ON THE RIVER GANGES

EVENING CEREMONY

SACRED COW

FROM VARANASI WOMEN IN SARI

PEOPLE AREN’T WALKING AROUND

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with apologies in their pockets in Varanasi. It’s life and death, raw and unfiltered. Ghats spill into the River Ganges, known to Hindus as “Mother Ganga,” the goddess personified. In her sacred waters, pilgrims wash away a lifetime of sins, and dying here offers moksha (the liberation from birth and death). Dead are paraded through the streets to the funeral pyres. At sunset, I drifted along the Ganges in

BOATS AND GHATS

a wooden boat. The distant glow from the cremation pyres radiated through the evening. The nightly prayer ceremony, called Aarti, was a feast of sights and sounds—conch shell trumpets, tinkling of bells, fire, songs, drums and chants. At sunrise, the ceremony was simpler. A group of priestesses sang accompanied by a much smaller ritual. Back on the river, people greeted the morning: men and women bathing on the river, kids splashing around at a swimming lesson and a couple girls selling magnolia votive candles to float as wishes on the river. 

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FITNESS + FUN

Black Friday Aerobathon Don’t let pie get the best of you. Thanksgiving is a day to get together with loved ones and take time to give thanks and show appreciation for all the good things in your life. But it’s really just an excuse to put on your eating pants and bury yourself in a mountain of turkey, mashed potatoes, stuffing, casseroles and pies. Fortunately, we have a solution to help you enjoy your Thanksgiving feast without fear of adding an extra five pounds to your midsection this holiday season. Burn the calories from your second (ok, maybe fourth) helping of pumpkin pie and jumpstart the infamous food-laden season with the Black Friday Aerobathon at Camp Foster’s Gunners Fitness Center on November 25 from 8 to 11:50 a.m. Take part in four different classes: MixxedFit, Body Blast, Cycle and Yoga, to either get back into the fitness groove or maintain your healthful habits. Just because you enjoy some

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Burn the calories from your second (ok, maybe fourth) helping of pumpkin pie and jump-start the infamous food-laden season with the Black Friday Aerobathon delicious holiday treats doesn’t mean that you should quit exercising. Space is only available on a first- come, first-served basis…so don’t be late. For more information, call 645-3910 or visit mccsokinawa.com/wellness. 

Taiyo Turkey Shoot Gobble! Gobble! Nothing says November like turkey. And what’s better than a Thanksgiving turkey? Winning one! Get in the holiday spirit with Taiyo Golf Club’s annual Turkey Shoot on November 12. Register by November 9 for $30. The event fee does not include the green fee or cart fee. Turkeys and gift certificates will be given as prizes. This tee-time event is individual-stroke play with 100% handicaps. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/golf or call 098-954-2004/2006.  NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 17


FITNESS + FUN

What’s going on at your bowling center? There’s always time to spare a few frames.

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: HEYRK/BIGSTOCK.COM, RYEKO\BIGSTOCK.COM

The Camp Schwab Bowling Center will host its 9 Pin Tournament on November 2. In this game, knocking down nine pins on the first throw will count as a strike. The tournament starts at 6 p.m. (entry fee $20). The top three bowlers will win cash prizes. The Camp Hansen Bowling Center will host a 3-6-9 Tournament on November 18. Each player in this tournament gets an automatic strike on the third, sixth and ninth frame! This tournament starts at 1 p.m. (entry fee $20). The top three bowlers will win cash prizes. At the MCAS Futenma Bowling Center, compete in a Scratch Tournament on November 19. This tournament will consist of three games of head-to-head bowling. The tournament starts at 6 p.m. (entry fee $20). Top three bowlers win cash prizes. In addition to these tournaments, bowling centers throughout the island will be holding weekly Red Pin Specials and Glow Bowling. Ask your favorite bowling center’s staff members or visit mccsokinawa.com/bowling for more information. 

Marine Corps Birthday & Veterans Day Sale Save 10 to 20% on select scuba gear. Exploring the underwater wonderland is a definite perk to enjoying the island-life. With its rich underwater landscapes, diversity of sea life and pleasant temperatures year-round, Okinawa attracts scuba divers from around the world. It is difficult to grow bored diving in the waters around Okinawa. To help you explore all the ocean has to offer without breaking the bank, Tsunami Scuba will commemorate Veterans Day and the Marine Corps Birthday with a sale from November 10–12. Save 10 to 20% off select items. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/tsunamiscuba or facebook.com/mccsokinawa.scuba.  NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 19


FITNESS + FUN

Castle, Home & Gardens The Beauty of Okinawa On November 13, enjoy a wonderful mix of Okinawa’s beauty and culture. Stroll through Nakagusuku Castle ruins and enjoy the gorgeous panoramic views from high above the coast. Then, visit Nakamura House for a taste of traditional Okinawan architecture. At the last stop, wander through the relaxing splendor of the Southeast Botanical Gardens. The entrance fee for Southeast Botanical Gardens is included in the tour price. Please bring yen for other admission fees, lunch and extra spending. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/tours. 

Battle Sites Tour

THOMAS ALAN SMILIE

What really happened here? Want to learn more about the battle known as the “Typhoon of Steel?” The Tours+ Battle Sites Tour will offer insights into the Battle of Okinawa available nowhere else. Visit the Battle of Okinawa Historical Society Museum, explore the Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters and end the day at Peace Memorial Park where you will find a newfound respect and appreciation for the Okinawans’ plight. Bring dollars for lunch and yen for admission fees. Tours will be held on November 5 and 13. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/tours. 

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FITNESS + FUN

Hike Hiji Falls Escape the daily humdrum and soak in Mother Nature’s beauty On November 19, river trek (or follow the paved trail) to Hiji Falls in the mountainous wilderness of Kunigami located in northern Okinawa. Once you’ve worked up an appetite with a vigorous hike, enjoy a late lunch at Okuma Resort. Bring yen for admission to Hiji Falls (¥500 per adult, ¥300 per child) and dollars for lunch. Hiking can be strenuous and is not recommended for individuals with health problems. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/tours. 

Fun Dives We’ll take you diving.

MIKE DALEY

Dear Single Marines on Camp Hansen, did you know that you’re only a short drive away from a magical universe? Maybe you thought King Tacos is as good as it gets. Although the taco rice there is arguably the best, it’s no comparison to what you can experience in the one-of-a-kind waters of Okinawa. With its rich coral reefs, vibrant sea life and almost yearround warm water, Okinawa has a reputation as one of the best dive locales in the world. Whether you’re a master SCUBA diver or a recreational snorkeler, the waters of Okinawa offer something for everyone. If you’re new to diving or to this island, who better to explore the celebrated seas of Okinawa with than the pros at Tsunami SCUBA? Join them on one of their fun dives. They provide everything—you just have to register. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/tsunamiscuba or facebook. com/mccsokinawa.scuba. 

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 23


e Daley ey s & Mik id & Mi ke Dal u l p o t s e a R n e A , Cayle , Ryan lee Reid s Alan Smilie Miyagi y a C y B a by Thom ayout By Lisa L graphy

Photo

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 25


kinawa is wel l-known as a summer mecca, a subtropical island paradise featuring beautiful beaches with watersports such as diving, snorkeling, jet skiing and tons of fun. But what is there to do when the wea ther cools and lying on the beach is no longer a very pleasurable option? Have you eve r been river trekking on island? Did you know that Okinawa and the surrounding isle s feature several waterfalls? How about lacing up the hiking boots and scaling the Okinawan vers ion of Mt. Fuji and enjoying the pan orama below? Or, maybe pitching a tent and roasting marshmallows and hot dogs whi le com muning with nature on a camping trip is more your spe ed?

There’s plenty t o do on is in the autumn, land here are our fa vorites.

Do go chasing

waterfalls by Mike Daley

Taa Falls Taa Falls, located on the Henan River in Ogimi Village (a hamlet north of Nago City) is an excellent place to “get your feet wet” so to speak. The forest surrounding the Henan River is home to numerous types of birds and countless other critters which live in the nooks and crannies between rocks and the dense forest undergrowth of the river’s banks—some of which are endangered species that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. The trek up the river to reach the falls involves copious amounts of climbing and wading through the river’s cool, crystalclear waters.

ht oda. Turn rig and exit at Ky iately before expressway ed e m th im on ht rig rth head no i Village. Turn signs on towards Ogim nagasa hat de the fork traditional ha pass and head e at By th ht go by rig e Na e e bl th onto th ge (recogniza lometer, take id ki e Br on an y en el r. H at ve or after the ter approxim the Henan Ri the bridge). Af the parking lot alongside both sides of to ad ro is th w llo in the road. Fo

To get there,

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 27


Hiji Falls Hiji Falls, the tallest on the island of Okinawa, is one of the most well-known waterfalls to visiting Americans due to its proximity to the Okuma Joint Forces Recreation Facility. Hiji Falls is an approximately 3 kilometer hike (roundtrip) from the camping area (and parking lot) located downriver from the falls. Pathways and stairs have been built so there is very little danger involved making it a good trek for neophytes and younger (elementaryaged) children.

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Pinaisaara Falls While Hiji Falls is the tallest on Okinawa, it is quite small when compared to the tallest in the prefecture. Pinaisaara Falls takes the crown as the tallest waterfall in the Ryukyu Archipelage at 50+ meters. “Pinai” means “beard” and “saara” means waterfall, so it’s named after its resemblance to, you guessed it, an old man’s long white beard. The trek to this waterfall takes at least a half-day beginning with a kayaking expedition up a river lined with dense mangrove forests made up of multitudes of Yaeyama hirugi, mehirugi, ohirugi and hirugi-modoki. The riverbank is populated by countless mudskippers and immense herds of fiddler crabs waving their giant pincers at each other. If you’re lucky, you can spot a crested serpent eagle perched on a branch of one of the taller trees. Call MCCS Tours+ for more details on booking a trip to Iriomote Island.

CCSonTboookuinrgsa+trip to Iriomote Island. Calorle M details for m

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 29


Hiking by Caylee Reid

Before embark on your adven ing ture, make sure yo u have sunscr

een, plenty of wat er, bug spray, a camera with an extra battery, a first -aid a high-energ y snack and fri kit, ends to share the fun. If possible, w ear a light, long-sleeve sh irt and pants to avoid scratches an d pick up a st ick on the trail to clear sp ider webs. Do not go if it is raining. The rocks will be very slick making the hike dang erous. This hike is moder ate to difficult. It is not recommende d for children under 10. The GPS coor dinates are 26 .674658, 127.912170 (parking lot) and N 26° 40.542, E 127° 54.3782 for th e trailhead.

Motobu Fuji Shinrin-yoku, which means forest bathing, was first coined by the Japanese government in 1982 to encourage city-dwellers to get out and breathe in the benefits of nature. It’s the idea that basking in the beauty of nature is a form of therapy resulting in creativity boosts, lower stress and blood pressure, and stronger immune systems. Hiking is innately human. It stretches back to the beginning of our existence as a species, which is one reason there may be so many benefits to returning to the forest. Walking under the cloak of trees, sunshine soaking their leaves while careening through trails, it’s almost like walking through a poem—exotic to our day-to-day existence. Motobu Fuji, also known as Cone Karst, is a large hill (or small mountain) that offers one of the best hikes on the island. It’s nestled between several hills, so the beginning is difficult to find. Park your car in the small lot, and make your way up the road to the post that says “Motobu Fuji.” The trail starts easy—a dirt path lined with shiikwasa trees and flowers fluttering with butterflies. The trailhead to climb the mountain is on the right at the bottom of a set of broad

stairs. Look for the small wooden sign roped to a tree. This is where the fun begins. You’ll pull yourself up through the steeper parts by ropes and chains. The majority of the trail is covered in jagged moon-like rocks known as karst. As you scale higher, beware— there are thorny vines that snag anything crossing the path. At the summit, the 360˚ view includes folds of neighboring mountains cracking through the landscape, coral shelves stroking the ocean, Ie Island and the vast blue of the sky and sea. Okinawa is packed with trails winding through jungles and forests. You don’t have to travel all the way to Motobu to find a good trek. On any hike, try practicing shinrin-yoku by using all five senses to soak in the gifts of the outdoors: Absorb your surroundings—the shapes and colors and movement. Chase the call of birds, the roar of waterfalls, the slight hum of bees or the deafening song of cicadas. Feel the texture of the earth. Breathe in the fresh air, trees, leaves, herbs and flowers. Snag a shiikwasa to taste the sour of the citrus and enjoy the laborings of nature.

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camping by Ryan Anastoplus

Yagaji Island A dead fire is all that’s left. A blackened pit cool to the touch. Carbonized logs coated in ash that crumbles under your fingertips. Last night it was roaring, a beacon of humankind’s will to live. Today, it’s a mummified tribute. A sand-coated hot dog pokes through the ground next to charred twigs tipped with marshmallow goo. The sun has risen to better things but it’s risen to worse things, too. Even as we play pretend wilder people for the weekend, it seems feasible that humans began as campers, emerging out of the sand and sea to hunt for several types of animals to create hot dogs out of, and constructing s’mores from tree bark and sap. We’ve always felt some kinship towards nature, since it’s our true home, despite our will to expand civilization further away from where we originated. A framed picture of the great kayaking trip of ’06 on your desk and 2,100 hours of sitting in a box in front of a computer each year is the price we pay to have a continued appreciation for nature. On Okinawa, all you need is a tent to be the keeper of hot dogs and the ruler of sand fleas at any beautiful spot on island. Wherever you camp, you can sit and consider the billions of years it took to forge the tiny spot where you lay; the odds that this small patch was untouched by civilization and the fortune and luck that your lineage, for almost 4 billion years, was attractive and healthy enough to birth children so you can find yourself sitting covered in sand with a bag of marshmallows and hotdogs. Perhaps you’ll think “what if I just never left? What if I just lived here to eat hot dogs and marshmallows for the rest of the year? Grew my hair long and decorated it with sea shells?” And that’s just the struggle of nature v.s. civilization that we face when we challenge the wild and go camping. Check out Semper Fit Outdoor Recreation to rent all your camping necessities for a very reasonable fee. 

Camp sites on Okinawa

Okinawa Comprehensiv Nashiro Beac e Park h Phone: 098-932 Phone: 098-99 -5114 7-2218 Address: 672 Hi Address: 982 Nashiro, yagon, Okinawa City Itoman City Directions: Fro Directions: Go m Camp south on Foster Legion Ga Hwy. 331 after passing Naha te, go straight for abou Airport. Turn rig t 5km. ht after the The park will be sign for Nashiro on your left. Beach and Open daily go straight for 2km. Check-in: from Open daily 9 a.m. Check-in: anyti Check-out: be fore 9 p.m. me Check-out: an Price: Car Camp ytime ing (up Adult ¥450, stu to 10 people) ¥2 ,640, One dent (13-18) ¥300, Child (5 Camping Spot pe -12) ¥150 r night *No pets ¥1,320 *Pets all owed on GPS coordina leash only. tes: 26.101941, 12 GPS coordinate 7.703379 s: 26.305559, 127.8 23891

Kunigami Village Forest Park Phone: 098-967-8092 Directions: Pass Okuma and turn right after Hentona Tunnel. Go up the hill until you get to the Kunigami Village Forest Park. Open daily Check-in: from noon Check-out: before noon Price: One camping area per night ¥1,000, Campsite with parking space per night ¥2,000, tree house per night (up to four people) ¥6,000, Bungalow per night (up to eight people) ¥10,000 *Pets are allowed on leash only. GPS coordinates: 26.732722, 128.188696

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DINING + ENTERTAINMENT

Happy 241st Birthday Marines!

THOMAS ALAN SMILIE

Once again, MCCS Food & Hospitality will be proudly hosting Marine Corps Birthday Balls. Although celebrated informally, it is said that the first official Marine Corps “birthday ball” was held in 1925 in Philadelphia. This event was attended by well-known national leaders, representatives from all military services, the Secretary of the Navy and the 13th Commandant of the Marine Corps General John A. Lejeune. The celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday was formalized throughout the Corps on October 28, 1952 by direction of the 20th Commandant of the Marine Corps Lemuel C. Shepherd Jr. The traditions detailed in the Marine Corps Drill Manual approved by General Shepard are still carried on in Marine Corps Birthday Balls held throughout the United States today as well as on Okinawa in MCCS clubs. Since 2003, MCCS clubs have hosted an average of 44 birthday balls annually serving approximately 15,667 celebrants. Last year MCCS hosted 45 balls and spent almost 13,000 labor

hours (excluding hours spent in planning and preparation) to ensure that the special occasion was as memorable as it deserved. This year, MCCS Food & Hospitality stands ready to support 51 balls and serve 17,000 Marines and celebrants during the Marine Corps Birthday Ball Season with delicious meals and dedicated service. Due to this support, several MCCS clubs will be closing during the Marine Corps Birthday Ball season. The Habu Pit on MCAS Futenma will be closed on November 4 and 10, the BeachHead on Camp Schwab will be closed December 2 and the dining room at The Palms on Camp Hansen will be closed for dinner November 3 to 20 and for breakfast/lunch Saturdays and Sundays, November 5 to 20 (Chili’s Express will remain open). The Butler Officers’ Club dining room will be closed through December 1 (they will be open November 24 for the Thanksgiving buffet).  NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 35


DINING + ENTERTAINMENT

Gobble…Gobble…Gobble

ALEXRATHS/BIGSTOCK.COM

Celebrate Thanksgiving at MCCS Clubs and Restaurants. This year, celebrate Thanksgiving in maximum style with minimum toil; your greatest challenge of the morning, afternoon or evening (depending on when you wish to dine) is what outfit to wear. At Camp Schwab’s BeachHead enjoy a glorious spread from 4 to 8 p.m. Inside the ballroom in The Palms on Camp Hansen a Thanksgiving buffet will be served from noon to 4 p.m. Thanksgiving meals at BeachHead and The Palms are $17.95 for adults, $8.95 for children 5–11 and FREE for kids under the age of five. On Camp Courtney, gobble-gobble-gobble up a sumptuous Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Tengan Castle. The award-winning Butler Officers’ Club will be serving a Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Camp Kinser’s Surfside will be offering a Thanksgiving buffet from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Reservations are recommended for these buffets. All are

$19.95 for adults, $9.95 for children 5 to 11 and FREE for kids under the age of five. The Veranda inside Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster and the Habu Pit (reservations recommended) located onboard MCAS Futenma will both be serving a Thanksgiving dinner buffet from 5 to 9 p.m. Both dinners are $19.95 for adults, $9.95 for children 5 to 11 and FREE for kids under the age of five. Finally, those wishing to accentuate their holiday with a few rounds of golf at Taiyo Golf Club can enjoy an a la carte brunch at Taiyo Steakhouse from 7 a.m. until 3 p.m. For more details on offerings or to make reservation for a Thanksgiving meal, contact a participating facility. Visit MCCS Clubs and Restaurants online at mccsokinawa.com/clubs. 

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DINING + ENTERTAINMENT

“practice family yoga and other relaxation techniques”

A Festive Feast…to-go please! Let the MCCS chefs do the cooking for you this year.

FROM TOP: BHOFACK22/BIGSTOCK.COM, THOMAS ALAN SMILIE

Thanksgiving could easily take the award for best holiday. It’s a whole day dedicated to feeling grateful for all of the good things in life…and eating until the pants just don’t fit anymore. This, of course, comes at a price paid in sweating and toiling in the kitchen for hours upon hours. Care for the former without any of the latter? Well, that delicious and seemingly too-good-to-be-true proposition is completely possible with Holiday Meals-to-go from MCCS Clubs and Restaurants. Patrons can order complete packages for a full meal, order just a turkey or ham, or perhaps just a few extra side dishes to add to the rest of a meal. Available packages include Classic 18-20 lb. Turkey Package (serves 15-20) for $125, Deluxe 9 lb. Ham Package (serves 10-14) for $100 and the Holiday Feast Combination Package for $215 (Serves

28-30) which comes with both a 9 lb. ham and 18-20 lb. turkey. All packages come with holiday sides which include traditional herbseasoned bread stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, seasoned green beans, turkey gravy and a choice of pumpkin, pecan, apple or cherry pie. All items are, of course, available a la carte. Holiday Meals-to-go orders can be placed five days prior to desired pick up date and paid in full two business days prior to pickup. Clubs will start taking orders on Monday, November 14 with first available pick up on Saturday, November 19. Order times are Monday–Friday, 9 a.m.–6 p.m. All arrangements must be made with the club where the packages will be picked up. For a listing of participating clubs visit mccsokinawa.com/clubs. 

Okinawa Dance Event Relax from your holiday shopping with cultural fun.

MCCS Marine & Family Programs-Resources presents an afternoon of Okinawan dance and music performances to kick off the holiday season island-style on November 26 from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Camp Foster Community Center Auditorium. The event will include karate demonstrations, taiko and eisa performances, and, the crowd favorite, a shishimai performance. Light holiday-themed refreshments will also be served. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/mfp-r.  NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 39


DINING + ENTERTAINMENT

Basic Mode PHOTO COURTESY OF BASIC MODE

Prepared to be moved! Basic Mode, a dynamic and exciting eightmember band which will be thrilling audiences at MCCS Clubs in November and early December, is sure to get you moving to the beat. Basic Mode will play from 8 to 11 p.m. on Tuesdays at The Palms on Camp Hansen, Wednesdays at the Ocean Breeze on Camp Foster and Thursdays at

Bayview on Camp Courtney. On Fridays from 10 p.m. to 1 a.m., Basic Mode will be dialing the excitement level up to eleven the Surfside on Camp Kinser and they will also rock the house from 9 p.m. to midnight Saturday nights at the BeachHead on Camp Schwab. Basic Mode will play at the Bayview November 30 from 8 to 11 p.m., Kinser

Surfside December 1 from 8 to 11 p.m., at the BeachHead December 2 from 9 p.m. until midnight, and at the Ocean Breeze December 3 from 9 p.m. to midnight. For more information on these performances call 645-5821, visit mccsokinawa.com/entertainment or facebook.com/mccsokinawa.entertainment. 

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RESTAURANT PREVIEW

Sam’s Anchor Inn Enjoying a special meal in a special place Text and Photography by Mike Daley

TOP RIGHT AND BOTTOM RIGHT PHOTOS BY THOMAS ALAN SMILIE

How to get there From the Camp Foster commissary gate, travel south on Hwy 58. After the third intersection, after passing MCAS Futenma, you will see Sam’s Anchor Inn on the right across from a Carenex gas station. There is parking in the back and in the front. Hours of Operation Daily: 5 p.m.–midnight Phone Number 098-897-5555 Payment $, ¥, major credit cards

Since opening in 1970, when Highway 58 was known as Highway 1, cars drove on the right side of the road and the currency used on island was the U.S. dollar, Sam’s Anchor Inn has served astronauts, gold-medal-winning Olympians, princes, presidents and vice presidents, prime ministers, international celebrities, admirals, generals and multitudes more. What do these people all have in common? They all left with a smile on their face and a bellyful of delicious food. Sam’s Anchor Inn was the first restaurant on Okinawa to offer tropical drinks and also the first to use tiki torches at the entrance—something that has become synonymous with good steak on the island. Hundreds of business cards attached with tacks (a tradition started when soldiers came to Sam’s Anchor Inn for dinner before leaving for Vietnam) line the walls and ceiling of the stairwell up to the entrance of the restaurant. It’s a special, almost hallowed place. Sam’s Anchor Inn has a unique ambiance and friendly, professional staff but what really shines, and keeps customers coming back again and again, is the food. This review started with the Shrimp Cocktail Supreme (¥850)—plump, chilled boiled shrimp paired

with a zesty and spicy cocktail sauce. And then, the show began in earnest. The chef, Mr. Miyagi, (pictured left) seemed young at first glance but his experience and expertise became immediately apparent as he efficiently began preparing the meal on the immaculate teppanyaki table. Beginning with garlic toast, he then prepared vegetable accompaniment to the main course—soft and succulent top choice sirloin steak prepared perfectly medium rare as requested. The visual climax was most definitely the “volcano-style garlic fried rice,” which involves a tower of flame. Sam’s Anchor Inn offers full course dinners featuring steaks (¥2,350–¥2,980 depending on the cut), steak and seafood combinations (¥2,850 with shrimp, ¥3,780 with giant prawns and ¥3,950 with island lobster) and a seafood course with scallops, shrimp and baked grouper for ¥2,480. All dinners include a bowl of Sam’s famed navy bean soup from their cast iron pot, fresh salad, sautéed seasonal island vegetables and potatoes and bread, steamed rice or volcano-style garlic fried rice. 

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MARINE + FAMILIES

Accessing Higher Education

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Preparing transitioning service members for college. Education is a one part of the puzzle when it comes to transitioning out of the military, but it’s a big, confusing piece that easily gets lost under the carpet. With endless possibilities, higher education can be a daunting task. The MCCS Education Centers provide assistance to service members transitioning into being a student as a civilian. Transition advisors provide weekly workshops for Marines, Sailors and spouses transitioning to civilian life who are interested in pursuing their college education. Advisors are also available for one-on-one consultation and assistance in helping Marines and Sailors find the right school and program for them. One workshop is called Accessing Higher Education, which is designed to assist transitioning service members with creating a customized plan for a successful transition to a higher education institution. Attendance of the two-day workshop serves as a guide to align attendees’ personal and career choices in choosing a degree program, choosing a college institution, funding options including: state and federal benefits, scholarships, grants and student loans as well as the admissions process. Attendees can wear appropriate civilian attire and spouses and high school students are also welcome to attend. MCCS Education Centers encourage participants to bring their own Wifi enabled laptops and tablets to class. This workshop is offered on Camp Foster on November 3 to 4 and December 1 to 2 and Camp Hansen on November 17 to 18 and December 15 to 16. All workshops are from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Please call 645-5778 to schedule attendance or email amy.duclos@okinawa.usmc-mccs.org. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/ educationandcareerservices. 

Holidays at the Libraries Lots to do at your Camp Library this month. This month, why not set aside a moment to take things slow and spend some quality time with family? November is a time to re-connect with family and friends. Living overseas, we all are part of the Marine Corps family and MCCS Libraries provide opportunities for all to join together in different ways. During the rest of the year, many rarely prioritize what’s really important. Everyone could use a night to get together without worrying about rushing off to the next engagement. While heading off to the local library may not have been the first place that springs to your mind to get together with others, maybe it should be! There will be plenty to do for the whole family this holiday season at the libraries. On November 4, check out Military Family Game Night from 5 to 7 p.m. on Camps Courtney, Foster and Kinser. Anyone can get together with friends and loved ones to play board games (provided by the library, or bring your own). Refreshments will be available. On Veterans Day, November 11 and Thanksgiving Day, November 24 at libraries across the island, a wide assortment of refreshments and activities will be available for FREE. On November 11, activities will be themed to honor veterans and their services. On Thanksgiving day, craft activities, movies, board games and other fun opportunities will be available at all libraries. There is never a shortage of activities and always lots to do at your local library. Check out mccsokinawa.com/libraries for more details on all of their offerings and everything that is available, whether special events or everyday. 

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MARINE + FAMILIES

MCCS

GiftGuide 2016 NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 47


MARINE + FAMILIES

The following are a few gift ideas as well as the lowdown on special sales coming up at MCCS facilities where you can get that special gift for that special someone.

The perfect holiday gift for family and friends on-island or back home is The Best of Okinawa Living book available at select locations across the island for $37.95. Receive 20% off material fees for black frames or mats during the Foster Framing & Fine Arts Black Friday sale on November 25.

At the Foster Framing & Fine Arts Holiday Sale receive 15% off material fees for frames and all non-special order, in-stock items November 29 to December 10.

Grab a gift for the golfer in your life at the Taiyo Golf Club Holiday Pro Shop Sale November 25 to December 25. All items will be 10% off with select items marked down as much as 40%.

Save big on a gift for your favorite diver or snorkeler at all Tsunami Scuba locations December 16 to 18.

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MARINE + FAMILIES

Don’t forget your bowler this holiday season. Stop by the Foster Bowling Center for all of your bowling needs.

Save up to 20% off select Kenwood Audio/Visual items at the Kenwood A/V Christmas Sale at Typhoon Motors island-wide December 1 to 16. Also, all active duty Marines and Sailors will receive FREE stall fees during Typhoon Motors’ “Giving on Holidays” December 27 to 31.

Receive 15% off Thanksgiving-themed ceramics at the Thanksgiving Sale during the month of November and save 15% off Christmas-themed ceramics at the Christmas Sale during the month of December at Courtney Arts & Crafts.

Give the gift of a luxurious dining experience with the MCCS Taiyo Steakhouse Gift Card—available in $50 and $100 denominations. Give the gift of travel with a trip to Taipei, Taiwan February 9 to 13 or a journey to the winter wonderland of Nagano, Japan February 12 to 15 with MCCS Tours +. For details on these tours, call 646-3502 or visit mccsokinawa.com/tours.

*Offerings are subject to change. Please visit mccsokinawa.com for latest information on sales, promotions and holiday events.

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KIDS + PARENTS

Journey through Pregnancy All about those nine months of wonder. Becoming a new parent comes with fears, uncertainties and lots of questions. Sometimes you just need help. New Parent Support Program provides that to families coping with stress, isolation, pre-deployment, post-deployment and the everyday demands of parenthood. On Tuesdays on Camp Courtney and Thursdays on Camp Foster expectant mothers and fathers are invited to “Journey through Pregnancy,” a 12-week educational workshop where participants can learn everything about welcoming the newest member of their family. Topics include understanding pregnancy, understanding birth, mother as well as infant care, better breastfeeding and much more. Call 645-0396 or visit mccsokinawa.com/npsp for details. 

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Parents in Uniform

Learn to Swim

NPSP offers FREE classes for parents-to-be.

You’re living on an island, remember?

There are many challenges associated with being a military parent. Be prepared with New Parent Support Program’s “Parents in Uniform” class. This small groupbased course is offered to moms and dads at any stage of pregnancy. Home visitors will educate parentsto-be on Marine Corps policies including housing information, legal requirements, on-island childcare options and other family readiness issues. For more information about this FREE class and other offerings from New Parent Support Program, visit mccsokinawa.com/npsp. 

Want to be able to do more than just the doggie paddle? MCCS Aquatics’ Learn to Swim program will help you get started. The best perk of swimming on Okinawa is the recreation it provides for individuals and families. From pool parties to snorkeling trips, water activities abound on the island. It’s also a lifetime sport that works practically every muscle in your body and keeps your heart and joints happy and healthy. Sessions meet weekdays for two weeks. The next sessions run from November 21 to December 2 and December 5-15. 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 tailors these group lessons to a variety of skill levels at the Camp Foster 25M Pool. Registration is available online or in-person at the Foster 25M Pool. For the full registration and class schedule, visit mccsokinawa.com/learntoswim.  NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 53


KIDS + PARENTS

Defeat the School Year Blues DOLGACHOV/BIGSTOCK.COM

How to help your kid.

From tests and homework to social cliques and break-ups, the school year can be stressful for young kids. Although we would like to protect them, youth are privy to the same psychological patterns as adults: anxiety, depression and even suicidal thoughts. Learning healthy coping mechanisms early in life can decrease the impact stress has on the mind and body during formative years while preparing kids for life’s stressors in the adult world. Here is what you, the parent, can do to help your child learn to cope with stress. • Become an active listener. Listen to problems and avoid belittling the situation—the problem is large to them and should be treated as such. • Encourage relaxing activities such as

deep breathing or yoga. • Establish a routine at home that provides adequate sleep and nourishing food. • Encourage daily exercise and time spent outdoors to connect with nature. • If your child doesn’t feel comfortable talking to you about an issue, find a resource where they can vent their frustrations without fear. • Help your child appreciate the good things. MCCS offers FREE group fitness classes that will help establish exercise as a regular part of your family’s routine. Find the schedule at mccsokinawa.com/groupfitness. To find more ways MCCS can help your child combat the school year blues, like counseling and nutritional guidance, explore mccsokinawa.com/wellness. 

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SERVICES

Make it a Frame! 20% off all Marine Corps items

FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: ALIM_DOK /BIGSTOCK.COM, ROMARTI/BIGSTOCK.COM

Foster Framing & Fine Arts carries over 300 custom frames and 130 mats, leading to an endless possibility of designs. The staff can help you put together an image of what your final piece will look like. Sound great? Well get all of this for 20% off from November 4–10. Foster Framing is offering 20% off material costs for custom frames (Marine Corps-related items only). With ball season approaching, this is a great time to transform military uniforms, awards and accomplishments into distinctive displays. Foster Framing & Fine Arts is located inside the Camp Foster Community Center (Bldg. 5908). The facility is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. For more information, call 645-3674. 

Thanksgiving Special Gobble up the savings Yes, the time has come for a change—an oil change that is. All active duty Marines and Sailors who rent a stall to change oil will receive five liters of KIX All Fleet Motor Oil for FREE. Visit any Typhoon Motors facilities on Camps Courtney, Foster, Kinser or Hansen to take advantage of this great deal. Before you load up on mashed potatoes and stuffing this Thanksgiving, give thanks to your car by giving it a refreshing oil change at Typhoon Motors. For more information, call your local MCCS Typhoon Motors or visit mccsokinawa.com/typhoonmotors.  NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 57


The Dancing Lions of Okinawa

M

Text by MIKE DALEY Photography by THOMAS ALAN SMILIE Layout by MARGIE SHIMABUKURO

any know that the shisa, or shi-shi dog, originally comes from China and is an inseparable part of Okinawan culture.

reproduction of the mythical half-lion/half-dog beast protect almost every house on Okinawa from bad fortune and evil energy, as they do in many other places in the Orient. And, dancers dressed in lion garb, luck and prosperity throughout many parts of Asia.

NAME/BIGSTOCK.COM

complete with fearsome masks, perform lion dances to bring good


NAME/BIGSTOCK.COM

MIKESAN’S JAPAN

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The Lion Dog of Legend There are probably as many legends about the origins of the lion dance throughout Asia as there are variations of the dance. In many parts of China, the story goes that during ancient times, an evil monster called Nien terrorized the populace, eating villagers and livestock. The people, who were powerless against the Nien’s supernatural strength and pervasive evil, were forced to enlist the help of wild animals to defeat the beast. However, none—including the

powerful tiger—could effectively fight the Nien. Finally the people asked the mighty lion, who happened to be visiting his brother, the tiger, for help. The lion was already enraged by the Nien’s treatment of his sibling and immediately set out to confront the Nien. He shook his mane, rushed forward, and with a thunderous roar attacked the evil beast. The Nien was so surprised by the sudden rush that it was wounded badly in the attack. And, being a coward at heart, it promptly fled with its tail tucked between its legs. However even as it fled, the Nien vowed to return to take revenge on the people. Peace and prosperity returned to the people for a full


MIKESAN’S JAPAN

year until the Nien returned, bent on retribution. Since the fateful battle, the lion had become famous for his strength and had been tasked with guarding the emperor’s gate. The people were worried that because the lion had been enlisted by the emperor it couldn’t help fight the evil creature this time. After much discussion, the villagers decided to do the job themselves. They made a suit in the image of the lion out of bamboo and cloth, and two of the bravest martial artists in the land crawled inside it and approached the Nien. The “lion” pranced, shook it’s “mane,” and roared, and the Nien fled again a panic—again vowing to return the next year. Since that day, on the eve of the Chinese New Year, the

lions always dance to frighten away evil for the coming year. And, also since that day, “Nien” (or “Nian”) began to be used as the Chinese word for “year.” This legend is quite popular and is read to many children as a folktale; however, many more believe that the story of the “original” lion dance is a bit more ordinary. The story begins many years ago when a lion was brought to China from India as a gift to Emperor Zhang in A.D. 87. The emperor was duly impressed by the powerful creature, and he adopted the lion as a symbol of his might—emblazoning its image on many royal objects. Quickly learning the value the Chinese nobility placed on the mightiest of felines, the

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MIKESAN’S JAPAN

rulers of Middle East kingdoms soon began sending lions as gifts to Chinese emperors to help earn lucrative trading rights with Silk Road merchants. While already synonymous with power, it was with the introduction of Buddhism into China when the lion really began to be seen by the Chinese populace as a mystical creature. The lion was already popularly known as the mount of the Bodhisattva among Buddhists, so the animal began to be equated with sageness along with supernatural power. And it is believed throughout the Far East that because of this, the dance of the lion brings good luck, prosperity and longevity, and also scares away evil spirits. Although there are many more origin stories, the general consensus is that the earliest lion dances are from China and that there are two major versions from which all lion dances originated. These dances are the Larm Lee, or the dance of the southern lion, and the Buk Lee, or northern lion dance. The costume of the Larm Lee is usually made of a frame covered with brightly colored linen trimmed with gold or silver

brocade. The head has large eyes and is almost dragon shaped, except without horns or a long snout. The dance of the Larm Lee is virtually Hip Hop—highly synchronized with the drumbeat of the music—and the movements of the head are fast and precise. There are also a lot of acrobatic movements involved. The Buk Lee, or northern lion costume is more realistic—its head is very lion-like with huge jaws and teeth. The mane is shaggy as is the cowl and leggings, which comprise the “body” and “legs” of the cat. During performances, the body movements of the Buk Lee are much more feline, and the expressions made by the moveable mouth and eyes in the mask make the lion seem eerily real. While the Chinese dances have differences, they also share many similarities. Patterns for both the northern and southern lions follow roughly the same lines, and the lions usually dance in pairs, trios, or quartets. Many of the dances have an affiliation with a martial art such as kung fu or karate, and lions usually dance accompanied by some sort of human “companion” or “keeper.”

The Lions of Okinawa These versions have since spread throughout Asia. The dance of the “lord of the jungle” is known as sanye on the Korean Peninsula and on Okinawa, the dancing lion shares the same name with its counterpart in

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MIKESAN’S JAPAN

mainland Japan—the shishimai. Both the Sanye and the Okinawan shishimai costumes share many characteristics with the Chinese northern lion. The mask of an Okinawan shishimai is traditionally carved from the polished and painted wood of the deigo tree and is lined with a bushy mane usually made from the dyed fibers of a banana plant. The cowl and leggings are also made from the same material. The total effect of the costume is awfully convincing—especially when the lion is taking a pre-performance stroll (as they usually do) and snaps at spectators—never for a moment acting like anything other than a giant lion-dog. Two people perform the dance, one handling the head, the other playing the body and the tail. And usually musicians, playing instruments such as drums, cymbals, and pipes, accompany the “animals.” The Okinawan shishimai dance steps are also quite similar to the dances of northern China. The movements are

stately, with realistic head movements and sudden bursts of cat-like, speed, and the shishimai performances on Okinawa are sometimes preceded by karate demonstrations. Many modern-day Okinawan shishimai performances also integrate humor into their performances. Although the best time to see shishimai on Okinawa is during the late summer months and around Chinese New Year, they can be seen at almost any time of the year—the shishimai perform at many special occasions such as seasonal festivals, the grand opening of businesses, and they can even be seen at Naha International Airport greeting visitors to the island.

The Original Okinawan Shishimai Tera Village, a small hamlet located below the walls and ramparts of Shuri Castle, are said to be the first practitioners of shishimai on Okinawa. During the 14th century, the King Sho Hashi of

Whether you experience shishimai at the Ryukyu Kingdom Festival, at the airport or at the grand opening of a local mall, seeing the grace, power and beauty of the dance of the Okinawan lion-dog is an essential addition to everyone’s “list of things to experience before leaving Okinawa.” It also may be the only time you can be bitten by a lion, and not only remain uninjured, but also be assured of good fortune for the year to come.

Shuri Castle declared that Tera Village be the keepers of Shishimai lore for the kingdom. The dances were derived from martial arts learned from families with samurai pasts, and teachings were passed from father to sons. This tradition has continued for over a half a millennium, continuing today in Tera Village. While many shishimai of Okinawa integrate humor, the lion dogs of Tera Village stand tall and are deadly serious. Never do they break character, and they often perform in the moonlight which makes them even more fearsome. We caught up with the shishimai on the slopes of Shuri, where they braved the noon heat driving the evil spirits and bad luck from over 100 residences and businesses in Shuri with their dances. The performers ranged in age from elementary and junior high school students to adults and it didn’t matter if the residence was an apartment on the second floor or at the top of a steep hill, the lion dogs remained lion dogs. Their day concluded with a moonlight performance at a small shrine in Tera Village attended by over 300 spectators jam-packed into the shrine’s tiny grounds. The Tera Village Shishimai Team will also perform at the Ryukyu Kingdom Festival November 3 at Shuri Castle. 

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 65


ISLAND ICONS

Masa Magic He leaves his crowds stunned, and they spend the rest of day trying to figure out what happened. Introducing the must-see magician of Okinawa: Masa Magic.

school, and Cyril was performing all around Asia. Because he was performing in English, I thought I should also learn. So I decided to go to the United States.

How did you get started in magic? When I was 10 years old, I saw a magician named Cyril Takayama on Japanese TV— a street magician like David Blaine. He asked some people who were eating hamburgers, “Do you see this cheeseburger?” pointing to the menu poster, and he made a real one appear from the poster and took a bite out of it. Then he put the cheeseburger back but with one bite missing.

How good was your English at this point? I thought I was good. But when I went there, [I found that] the English that I learned in Japan was totally different. I was shocked that I couldn’t even understand what was being said. The only way I could connect was through magic. All I knew was, “I’m Masa. Watch.” That’s all I could say.

THOMAS ALAN SMILIE

And how did that set you on the path? Did you immediately get a magic kit or…? I actually just try to watch and imitate. Just try to figure it out. I like watching magic TV shows and Harry Potter since I was a kid, but when I actually got into it was when I was 10 years old. How did your career go? You started imitating and then how did that develop into what you’re doing now? I don’t have a magician mentor or magician friends. So, I had to do it all by myself…I just kept watching YouTube videos. Then I started having gigs. I kept performing my magic on a volunteer basis at schools in Okinawa. This is when I was in high

Were you performing the whole time? I mostly studied but since I couldn’t speak, I could only make friends through my magic. During my first year in America, a guy asked me to come to a party and do some tricks. I started going there every weekend to do magic for college students. Then my name started to get popular and people started referring to me as “Masa Magic.” It was a really cool experience. Since you’ve been back what have you been up to? At the end of my overseas experience, I decided to go to The Magic Castle in Hollywood, California—The Academy of Magical Arts. It’s like real-life Hogwarts. I took an audition, and I did my tricks for the judges. I earned the badge, which

authorizes me as a professional magician. There are some Magic Castle members from Japan, but I was told I am the first magician authorized in the United States from Okinawa. What would you call your style of magic? So many people have big boxes and big props. I like it, but my goal, my style, is street magic. I borrow someone’s phone or ring or pen, maybe a watch, anything that people have, and I try to come up with something. To create the magic on the spot. What do you enjoy the most about performing? Watching people’s reactions. When people smile. I think it’s priceless. When I first saw the serious hamburger trick, I was so spellbound. Mesmerized. Whoa. This is not a trick. This is magic. Those are the feelings I want to bring to the people that watch my magic. Where can people see you perform now? All around Okinawa. I have a YouTube channel: Masa Magic. And my Facebook page, also. If you follow it, and I have it in English and Japanese versions, you can see where I am performing: Facebook.com/ MasaMagic. 

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 67


LIVING ON OKINAWA

Niku Jyaga Meat and Potatoes Serves four Ingredients (serves 4-5) 1/2 large onion 2 medium sized potatoes 6–8 large green beans 200 grams Sukiyaki beef (thinly sliced) 4 Tbsp. soy sauce, 1 1/2 Tbsp. sugar 1 1/2 Tbsp. mirin (sweet cooking wine) 4 Tbsp. dashi* Method of Preparation: 1. Make sauce by mixing soy sauce, sugar and dashi*. 2. Peel potatoes and cut it into bite-size pieces. 3. Cut beef into bite-size pieces. 4. Boil the potatoes until al dente (fork tender). Do not over-boil. 5. Boil beans, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces and place in cold water. 6. Thinly slice onions and stir-fry beef with onions until semi-transparent, and then add potatoes and sauce mixture. 7. Set heat to medium and reduce liquid (stirring constantly), then add green beans with mirin. 8. Serve with steamed white rice. * To make dashi: bring water to a rolling boil then add a hand-full of katsuobushi (dried bonito flakes). After one minute, strain the liquid.

PHOTOS FROM TOP TO BOTTOM: ADUCHINOOTONOSAMA/BIGSTOCK.COM, OYSY/BIGSTOCK.COM

Matsutake Mushrooms Many in Japan believe that autumn is the season for sports, reading and hearty appetites. Because of this, many tasty fruits and nuts can be found in stores throughout Japan. Among all these popular autumn foods such as chestnuts, eggplants and saba (mackerel), the most well-known (as well as expensive) is probably the matsutake mushroom. Matsutake are usually cooked with rice or grilled in foil. And, the strong aroma of this mushroom is equated with luxury. Unfortunately, not very many people can actually enjoy what is considered the “king of Japanese autumn food.” Like caviar

and foie gras, matsutake mushrooms are very expensive. One single good-sized specimen can easily cost from ¥10,000 to ¥200,000 and more. Conditions for growing matsutake are very hard to produce artificially. And, even in a natural environment, these sensitive mushrooms are difficult to find. Like the mushroom’s name suggests (matsu means pine tree, and take means mushroom), matsutake only grow in red pine forests. Once a matsutake is found in a mountainous area, the price of the land skyrockets and this is probably why matsutake are sometimes called “mountain diamonds.” 

Uchinâguchi Corner Gecko

Uchinâguchi Yamori

Japanese Yârû

NOVEMBER 2016 | OKINAWA LIVING 69


Commercial Ad Directory

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MCCS NEWS

Boingo Broadband Wi-Fi and IPTV services now available on four camps As part of Boingo’s official phase II rollout on Okinawa, Boingo Broadband’s high-speed Wi-Fi and IPTV services are now available in Marine Corps barracks at four camps on the island: Camp Foster, Camp Hansen, Camp Kinser and Camp Schwab. Barracks on all camps will be online in November. “Boingo is committed to offering the best connectivity solution for the Marines based in Okinawa—it’s fast, it’s portable, and there are no contracts to deal with,” said Travis Johnston, marketing and sales manager for Boingo Wireless. “Plus, as partners with MCCS, we enjoy sponsoring fun events that give back to the community, like Comic Con Okinawa for the single men and women living in the barracks.” “We came to Okinawa to ensure that the Marines finally have a high-speed solution that provides exactly what they want—with Boingo Broadband there are no data caps, no installation appointments, no equipment fees,” continued Johnston. “We make it easy and convenient to connect because we are focused specifically on folks living in the barracks.” A major benefit of Boingo Broadband is that the specialized service is designed for Marines and is completely portable from room to room, building to building and base to base. Boingo customers can

connect anywhere they see the Boingo Wireless network; Boingo’s military service is available without having to cancel or update plans in case of a TAD or PCS. In addition, Boingo extends its global network of more than a million hotspots to keep Marines connected as they travel the world.This service is included with subscription plans. In addition to the four USMC camps on Okinawa, Boingo Broadband services are currently available at MCB Hawaii/ Kaneohe (Kaneohe, HI), Pu’uloa Range Training Facility (Ewa Beach, HI), Camp Pendleton (Oceanside, CA), Marine Barracks Washington, D.C. (Washington, DC), MCAS Yuma (Yuma, AZ), MCB Quantico (Quantico, VA), MCLB Albany (Albany, LA), MCLB Barstow (Barstow, CA), MCAGCC 29 PALMS (29 Palms, CA), MCAS Beaufort (Beaufort, SC), MCAS Cherry Point (Havelock, NC), MCAS Miramar (San Diego, CA), MCRD Parris Island (Port Royal, SC), MCRD San Diego (San Diego, CA) and MWTC Bridgeport (Bridgeport, CA). To learn more about Boingo Broadband services, please visit boingo.com/broadband. Boingo Broadband continues to expand to new bases and for a complete list of bases where Boingo Broadband is available or coming soon, please visit boingo.com/broadband/locations. 


Okinawa Living Magazine  

November 2016

Okinawa Living Magazine  

November 2016