@RT COSPL@Y @T THE COMIC CON
October 2017 | Issue 236
OKINAWA SOBA CHRISTMAS IN BORACAY
contents October 2017
8 40 CLOCKWISE FROM TOP LEFT: INGIMAGE.COM, RODERICA MATHIS, MIKE DALEY, RODERICA MATHIS, COVER PHOTO BY RODERICA MATHIS
features 8 Out + About: Christmas in Boracay Doing a little early Christmas shopping? This year, how about giving them the gift of paradise—a Christmas in beautiful Boracay!
On the cover Special thanks to the Robertson family for sharing their costumes.
Wearable Art: Cosplay at the Comic Con Once again, Comic Con Okinawa will be attracting enthusiasts of all ages—from military families dressed in their finest superhero costumes to young service members transformed into zombies, all mugging for photos and sharing their enthusiasm. Favorite characters from comics, manga,
anime, movies, games and more will be brought to life at the Comic Con Okinawa cosplay contest.
40 Restaurant Review: Han’s Jumbo Steak Go ahead…indulge yourself with a thick, juicy and flavorful steak at Han’s Jumbo Steak located inside AEON MALL Okinawa Rycom.
60 Okinawa Soba— Noodles of the Ryukyu Kingdom The search for a perfect bowl of Okinawa Soba is an endless journey with countless destinations.
contents October 2017
Marines + Families 43 SMP Haunted House This year’s Futenma Single Marine Program Haunted House theme is simple—scare you out of your socks and into a cold, cold sweat.
45 Okinawa Dance Exhibition Experience traditional Ryukyu music and dance at this FREE event.
Kids + Parents 53 NPSP Home or Office Visits There’s no question about it: There is absolutely nothing more difficult and more worthwhile than being a parent. The MCCS New Parent Support Program (NPSP) is here to help.
Halloween Special Bring your car in for an oil change at Typhoon Motors on Halloween and get five liters of KIX All Fleet Motor Oil for FREE.
Fitness + Fun
Dining + Entertainment
Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon MCCS Health Promotion will be hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon to increase awareness of this terrible malady.
Kinser Festival This year’s festival will be featuring performances by Neon Trees and DJ Manifesto.
Halloween at MCCS Clubs Scare up some buddies and head to your nearest MCCS Club for a Halloween bash.
Taiyo Club Championship One of Okinawa’s premier golf tournaments of the year is upon us—the 2017 Taiyo Club Championship.
23 Let your pooch…take the plunge! Let the real doggie-paddle experts show you how it’s done at the Camp McTureous 25M Pool Pet Plunge.
Mensore + Feedback
39 Jungle Fest Head up to the northernmost Marine installation Okinawa—Camp Gonsalves Jungle Warfare Training Center—for a jungle-full of fun at Jungle Fest!
Living on Okinawa
OCTOBER 2017 | ISSUE 236 COMMANDING GENERAL MCIPAC Brigadier General Paul J. Rock Jr. ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF, MCCS, MCIPAC Edward S. Hutsell DEPUTY ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF BUSINESS & SUPPORT Michael S. Gieseck DEPUTY ASSISTANT CHIEF OF STAFF MARINE & FAMILY Herbert F. Corn CHIEF MARKETING OFFICER Jim Kassebaum EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Mike Daley MCCS ART DIRECTOR Henry C. Ortega OKINAWA LIVING ART DIRECTOR Margie Shimabukuro DIGITAL MARKETING MANAGER Thomas Alan Smilie SOCIAL MEDIA Shelbie Thilmony PHOTOGRAPHER Roderica Mathis 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, Angela Neal MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH MANAGER Andrew Menges MARKETING ACCOUNTS & RESEARCH Ashley Herring, Kristen Wong, Secoya Holmes, Ashley Snipes, Allison Dixon DISTRIBUTION Kelli Kreider, Desiree Adams BROADCAST Kathlene Millette, Gabriel Archer, Emi Komiya
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 email@example.com For advertising 098-970-2245 (phone) | 098-970-0975 (fax) firstname.lastname@example.org (e-mail) See our advertising rates at mccsokinawa.com MCCS Marketing Branch MCB Camp S.D. Butler. Unit 35023 FPO AP 96378-5023
広告掲載のお問い合わせは MCCSマーケティング営業部まで 098-970-2245 (日本語可)
Okinawa Living Magazine is printed with
Okinawa Living is published by MCCS Marketing. Its purpose is to inform the military and civilian community about events and programs offered by MCCS or available in the local market. Dates and times may change. Copyright ©2017 by MCCS. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transferred in any form, by any means, electronic, photocopying, recording, or otherwise without written permission of the copyright owner. No federal or Marine Corps endorsement of advertisers and sponsors. MCCS is not responsible for editing content of non-MCCS ads.
from the ICE Program and Facebook Is there a way we can purchase an item before it arrives? A black (Camp Hansen) House of Pain zipper hoodie is pending order but not known when it should arrive. It would be nice to be able to prepay for a “popular” item and reserve the size you want. It will allow your staff to know the statistics of what’s in high demand and what is not. —via ICE We apologize for the wait and will be ordering the hoodies soon. While we can’t accept payment prior to the goods/services being rendered, We can take your information down (size, color, etc.) and send you a personal email when the product arrives. Please let us know if you require any additional information. —MCCS Semper Fit
Kinser Surfside: Thank you for providing my gluten-adverse daughter with alternative food choices at family night! We really appreciated it!! —via ICE Foster 50M Pool: I just want to ask if the chlorine level of the pool is within the normal parameters. My son and I took the “Learn To Swim” program and after two weeks, our swimwear was bleached and damaged. Also, even after we shower, the smell of chlorine really stays in our hair and skin. —via ICE Chlorination of Marine Corps swimming pools is governed by the Manual of Naval Preventive Medicine, which requires a range of 1 to 3 parts per million. If the pool falls outside of this range, we will close until acceptable chlorine levels are restored. The Foster 50M Pool is always maintained within the appropriate range with an average of about 2 parts per million. Additionally, the U.S. Naval Hospital Department of Preventive Medicine conducts regular inspections to ensure our pools are safe in regards to chlorination and sanitation. —MCCS Semper Fit Aquatics
I have been coming to the Camp Courtney Library for the past 16 months and have had a wonderful experience each and every time that I visit. Please keep up the good work and I really appreciate everything that each and every staff member does to make our experience here at the library special. —via ICE
mensôre “Welcome” to Okinawa Living
Boo! This month we will “celebrate” Halloween with costumes, showers of Hershey’s, Meiji or Morinaga chocolates as well as a healthy dose of chilly thrills. This month MCCS will hold another kind of celebration—which also has deep ties to costumes and thrills— Comic Con Okinawa 2017—which will be happening October 15 from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. at Camp Foster’s Fieldhouse, Community Center Auditorium and the Ocean Breeze. A mecca for comics, anime, manga, science fiction, fantasy and horror aficionados and more, Comic Con Okinawa will feature guest appearances by Phil LaMarr (voice actor for Samurai Jack, as well as regular roles on “Futurama” and “Justice League” and recurring roles in “Ultimate Spiderman,” “Young Justice,” and “Star Wars: Rebels”); voice actor Kari Wahlgren (who has appeared in The “Fairly Oddparents,” “Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness,” “Phineas and Ferb,” “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” and countless others); Japanese writer, illustrator, comic translator and game app developer Mayo “SEN” Naito and many more (including a SUPER SECRET guest appearance). Also at the Comic Con, generous sponsors will be offering prizes and giveaways in excess of $100,000 from companies such as AFSPA, United Airlines, University of Maryland, California Sunshine, Diamond Comics, Boingo, ANA InterContinental Manza Beach Resort, DC Comics, Funimation, Mattel, Hotel Moon Beach, Kafuu Resort Fuchaku Condo/Hotel, Krave Jerky, Moon Ocean Ginowan Hotel and Residence, Okinawa Grand Mer Resort, Razer, Red Lobster, Sheraton Okinawa Sunmarina Resort and others. Stay up-to-date on everything Comic Con by checking out facebook.com/ comicconokinawa and comicconokinawa.com. 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 Spotlight.
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.
OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 7
t’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…Well, maybe not. But just because it never snows on Okinawa doesn’t mean the holiday season isn’t approaching at breakneck speed. This year, how about a an unforgettable gift for that special someone? One of the best gifts that someone can receive is a break from the weekly grind; an escape from their tired routines and stress-filled days. This year, give them the gift of paradise—a Christmas in beautiful Boracay.
Text by MIKE DALEY Layout by MARGIE SHIMABUKURO
OUT + ABOUT
OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 9
t’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas…Well, maybe not. But just because it never snows on Okinawa, doesn’t mean the holiday season isn’t approaching at break-neck speed. This year, how about a special, unique gift for that special someone? One of the best gifts that someone can receive is a break from the weekly grind; an escape from their tired routines and stress-filled days. This year, give them the gift of paradise—a Christmas in beautiful Boracay.
OUT + ABOUT
PHOTOS COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM - WESTERN VISAYAS
Boracay is a tiny islet in the Philippines off the northwest tip of Panay Island in the Western Visayas. Far from the hustle and bustle of the capital city of Manila (315 kilometers south), Boracay is known world-wide as a travel destination for relaxation. With average December temperatures ranging from lows of 28C (82F) to highs of 31C (88F), Boracay is the perfect place to bask in the sun and forget winter altogether. The only reminder of snow that visitors will find on this idyllic islet is the sugary powdery sand on its beaches.
BORACAY PANAY WESTERN VISAYA
BORACAY OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 11
TOP PHOTOS AND BOTTOM RIGHT BY INGIMAGE.COM, CENTER AND BOTTOM LEFT PHOTOS COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM - WESTERN VISAYAS
OUT + ABOUT
Leisure activities on Boracay include snorkeling, scuba diving, wind surfing, kite boarding, parasailing, golf and more. The island also features a lively nightlife with a wide range of restaurants, bars, pubs and clubs.
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OUT + ABOUT
The Tours+ Christmas in Boracay tour runs December 20–26. The tour price for adults is $1,955 (Twin/Double Occupancy) and $1,875 for triple occupancy. The single supplement charge is $475. Children Ages 3-11 can enjoy this tour for $1,685 with one adult and $1,605 with two adults. Infants (Ages 0-2) are $700 with no airline seat and no meals. Register for this tour by November 1 by visiting your nearest MCCS Tours+ Center. Visit MCCS Tours+ online at mccsokinawa.com/tours.
T O U R DECEMBER
PHOTO COURTESY OF PHILIPPINE DEPARTMENT OF TOURISM - WESTERN VISAYAS
Meet at the Foster Education Center for transport to Naha Airport. Take flight to Taipei then to Manila. Enjoy an overnight stay at the Belmont Hotel Manila.
I T I N E R A R Y
Check out of the hotel following breakfast and fly to Boracay. Check in to Henann Regency Resort & Spa Boracay. The rest of the afternoon is free.
Enjoy breakfast at the hotel followed by free days for exploring the island, the resort and spa, and water activities.
Check out early morning for departure to Manila. From Manila Airport, fly to Taipei followed by a flight to Okinawa.
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FITNESS + FUN
Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon
Increase Awareness October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month. After skin cancer, breast cancer is the second most diagnosed type of cancer in women living in the United States. Men can also be diagnosed with breast cancer; however, their risk is much smaller. Medical researchers have identified several factors that increase risk of breast cancer. As age increases, so does the risk of developing breast cancer. A personal or family history of breast cancer is also a factor. Patients contracting cancer in one breast are at an increased risk of cancer in the other. Likewise, if a family member was diagnosed with breast cancer, particularly at a young age, the probability is increased as certain gene mutations that increase risk can be passed from parents to children. Radiation exposure can also increase odds of cancer. Those that have received radiation treatments to the chest as a
child or young adult have an increased chance of contracting breast cancer later in life. Being obese also increases risk, as does early onset of menstruation (before age 12) or menopause beginning at an older age. Women who give birth to their first child after age 35 may have an increased risk of breast cancer as well as those never having been pregnant. Hormone therapy medications that combine estrogen and progesterone to treat the signs and symptoms of menopause can increase the risk of breast cancer. The risk of breast cancer decreases when women stop taking these medications. And finally, drinking alcohol increases the risk of breast cancer. Despite this long list of risk factors, 75 percent of women diagnosed with breast cancer do not display any of them. However, that does not mean people shouldnâ€™t pay attention to ways that they can limit risk factors.
Limiting alcohol intake to one drink a day or less, exercising and eating a healthy diet to maintain a healthy body weight, performing monthly breast self-exams, and scheduling annual mammogram testing after age 40 or 50 (depending on family history), are all things everyone can do to catch it early. Due to a growing awareness of breast cancer and increased funding for research, there are many excellent treatment options. Early detection and treatment is the best strategy for a better cancer outcome. To increase awareness of Breast Cancer, MCCS Health Promotion will be hosting a Breast Cancer Awareness Zumbathon October 20 from 6 to 8 p.m. at the Camp Foster Community Center Auditorium. For more information, call Health Promotion at 645-3910. Visit them online at mccsokinawa.com/wellness. î€€ OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 17
FITNESS + FUN
Taiyo Club Championship It’s time to crown the champ!
One of Okinawa’s premier golf tournaments of the year is upon us— the 2017 Taiyo Club Championship. This three-day, stroke-play (54hole) event will be held at Taiyo Golf Club October 7–9. Players will be placed in flights according to handicaps. The last flight, the seniors’ flight and the women’s flight will be played using 80% of each individuals’ handicap (senior and women’s flights must be comprised of at least 12 players). The entry fee of $100 per player includes tee prize,
breakfast each day of competition, awards banquet at Butler Officers’ Club, door prizes at the awards banquet, a complimentary practice round and over $5,000 worth of prizes. Prizes are based on full field and subject to change. Green fee and cart fee are not included in the entry fee. For more information, call Taiyo Golf Club at 622-2012 or visit mccsokinawa.com/taiyo.
Tips from Taiyo by Todd Toohey, PGA Professional and Taiyo Golf Club Manager
“A good putting stroke doesn’t use any “wiggly parts.” The wrist, elbows, shoulders, hips and knees should not be powering the stroke. Favor the target-side leg, keep the lower body still and simply rotate the torso.”
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FITNESS + FUN
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
Sights, Frights and Fights
This month, join MCCS Tours+ for some chills, spills and thrills on their Naha Great Tug-of-War, Uruma Bullfights and Spooky Sites tours. On October 8, participate in one of the largest tug-of-war battles in the world on the Naha Great Tug-of-War Tour. With a rope approximately 200 meters long and weighing over 40 metric tons it requires over 15,000 people to engage in the world-record breaking battle. Afterwards, the rope is cut into small pieces to take home for good luck. If you want to Âbe part of the action or just want to see what 40 tons of rope looks like, sign up with Tours+ to experience the Naha Tugof-War Festival from noon to 8 p.m. Price for adults is $21, $14 for children 3 to 11 and FREE for children under 3.
On October 21, travel to Uruma City to see some bull-on-bull action. Bullfights are similar to sumo matches in structure. The massive competitors lock horns and grapple for position as their handlers stomp and shout to spur the bulls into action. The bulls can charge ahead to push their opponent away or use their horn to flip the other off balance. The loser is the one who backs off or turns their tail. Matches can last anywhere from a few minutes to an hour. The champion bull is paraded in a victory lap. The tour runs from 11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Price for adults is $20, for children 3 to 11 is $13 and FREE for children under 3. From October 26 to All Hallows Eve, get ready to get spooked out of your socks on the Spooky Sites Tours running from 6 to 10 p.m.
Tours+ will explore local haunts and ghost sightings around Okinawa. Many of the wellknown local ghost stories on Okinawa will deliver a frightening experience and some spooky insight about island superstitions and history. Price for adults is $20, for children 3 to 11 is $13 and FREE for children under 3. For more information on these tours, call 646-3502. Visit Tours+ online at mccsokinawa.com/tours. î€€
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FITNESS + FUN
Let your pooch
…take the plunge! A refreshing dip in the swimming pool on a hot day is definitely one of life’s simple pleasures. But a splash in the water isn’t only enjoyable for humans, it’s also a great way for pets to cool down and squeeze in some exercise when temperatures soar. Don’t let the calendar fool you; it can still be a scorcher on Okinawa in October. Let the real doggie-paddle experts show you how it’s done at the Camp McTureous 25M Pool on October 14 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. during this year’s pet plunge. Bring the whole family, including Fido, for swimming and contests. There will be events like the longest jump and quickest fetch for your furry friend to compete in, but humans aren’t allowed in the water. So grab your pooch and a whole lot of towels and head to the McTureous 25M Pool! For details, call 622-7397.
Swim with the Dolphins
INGIMAG.COM, BIGSTOCK.COM/ OSTILL
Late Fall Swim Team Tryouts The Okinawa Dolphins Swim Team (ODST) is a great place for aspiring competitive youth swimmers to hone their skills and make new friends. Tryouts for new members will be taking place October 23 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Camp Foster 50M Pool. Tryouts are FREE and swimmers must be at least seven years old by the first day of practice. Tryouts only take an average of five to ten minutes and are based on the exit skills assessment for Level 5 American Red Cross Swimming Lessons. Prospective members must be able to swim 50 meters of freestyle non-stop with proper side breathing, head/body position and kicking. The second part of the tryout will consist of 25 meters of backstroke and 25 meters of breast stroke with a short rest period (20 seconds) in between. All swims must meet competitive stroke rules, be non-stop efforts and must be performed with no parental interaction. For more information on becoming an ODST member, visit mccsokinawa.com/swimteam.
Master Scuba Diver Trainer Prep Course Employment specialists advise that to find a dream job, a person needs to stop thinking about just pay and benefits. They should instead think about the activities they would pursue if money was not an issue. If you’ve followed this advice and introduced landlubbers to the wondrous underwater world as a certified PADI Scuba Instructor, then you’ve probably earned the envy of friends and family. Take your scuba instructor career to new heights by building your credentials and enable yourself to offer more specialty diving programs to your students. For more information on this course, call Foster Tsunami Scuba at 645-4206. Visit them online at mccsokinawa.com/ tsunamiscuba.
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FITNESS + FUN
Improve your Bowling Skills… …with a Kegel Torch
Any regular at the lanes knows what a Kegel Torch is…some even swear that regular use of the good ‘ol Kegel enabled them to double their scores in no time at all. Don’t know what a Kegel Torch is you say? Well, that means you’re the perfect candidate to make use of one! A Kegel Torch is an instructional tool that instantly allows the bowler to see the line in the oil by projecting a light on the surface of
the lane. Bowlers practice using this target line from any angle of approach to find the line towards increasing the number of strikes they throw. Want to try it out? Head over the Kinser Bowling Center and give it a whirl! For more information, call 637-1643. Visit the MCCS Bowling Program online at mccsokinawa.com/bowling.
Haunted Bowling Night Beware the terror of the gutters
Don your Halloween costume and head over to the Foster Bowling Center on October 28 from 8 p.m. to midnight for a night of frights and strikes at Haunted Glow Bowling Night! FREE glow sticks will be provided, and all you have to do is fight the siren call steering your ball into the deadly gutters. For more information, call the Foster Bowling Center at 645-7205. Visit the MCCS Bowling Program online at mccsokinawa.com/bowling.
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@RT COSPL@Y @T THE COMIC CON TEXT BY MIKE DALEY PHOTOGRAPHY BY RODERICA MATHIS & THOMAS ALAN SMILIE LAYOUT BY LISA MIYAGI
OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 27
It’s a term that’s becoming more and more mainstream—especially with the growing popularity of comic book conventions (a.k.a “comic cons”) worldwide. And “worldwide” is the correct terminology to use—with “cons” held on almost all continents including Oceania (Australia), Asia and the Middle East (India, Pakistan, Philippines, Japan, Saudi Arabia, UAE), Europe (Romania, Russia and the UK) as well as the Americas (Brazil, Canada and, of course, the United States). “Back in the day,” comic book conventions were not-for-profit events coordinated by and held for the fans with appearances by industry-related guests such as artists. The first “official” comic book convention took place in New York City in 1964. Comic cons today are, of course, much more than tables loaded with comic books— some are major events held over two, three or more days that fill convention centers and hotels in major cities such as San Diego, Los Angeles, New York and Chicago. Usually run for profit, commercial cons are primarily a venue to meet celebrities and garner autographs. A broad range of media is represented, including horror, animation, manga, toys, collectible card games, video games, fantasy novels and more. Related industries also use the venues to introduce (and sometimes, tease) their newest or upcoming movies or games. Regardless of the main goal of organizers and the number of participants, one thing that larger and smaller scale comic cons do have in common is the raw enthusiasm displayed.
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
COMIC CON OKIN@W@
First held in 2010 at the Camp Foster Library, Comic Con Okinawa is MCCSâ€™s celebration of all things related to comics, anime, collectable card and video gaming, sci-fi, cosplay and more, bringing to Okinawa the fun and excitement of the larger conventions held throughout the United States and beyond. Comic Con Okinawa attracts all ages and demographics, from military families dressed in their finest superhero costumes to young service members transformed into zombies, all mugging for photos and sharing their enthusiasm. Discussion panels offer a chance to meet famous anime voice actors while in the artist alley, professional comic book and manga artists show off their talents. Favorite characters from comics, manga, anime, movies games and more are brought to life at the Comic Con Okinawa cosplay contest.
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COSPL@Y Many remember dressing up as a princess, ghost, Stormtrooper, vampire (or vampire slayer) Skywalker, mummy, Wonder Woman or other favorite character for Halloween as a child. And for some, they never stopped. Cosplay, which is a contraction of the words “costume” and “play,” is the next step up from Halloween in which enthusiasts “become” their favorite character for events such as comic cons. Oftentimes costumes, makeup and accessories are elaborate and in many cases much of the creation is performed by hand by the wearer of the costume.
MEET THE ROBERTSONS A family that cosplays together, stays together. One family of cosplayers that has made regular appearances at Comic Con Okinawa are the Robertson family. The Robertson family, father Doyle, daughter Kristina (17) and sons Alexander (18) and Luke (12) cosplay as a family (mom provides the cheering section). As it often does with costumes, it all started with Halloween. The holiday had always been a big deal with the family. The two older Robertsons really liked costumes and initially they wore store-bought attire. When Luke was 3, his father made a
handmade mummy costume and it just escalated from there. Doyle got better and better at making costumes and each year he challenged himself more and more. His enthusiasm for the “wearable art” was transferred to his older children in no time. “I’ve always been a huge 'dork.' I love watching videos and movies involving makeup and special effects” says daughter Kristina. “Halloween was always big in our house, and as we got older our aspirations outgrew store-bought costumes.” Kristina will be attending art school after graduating from high school…possibly perusing a career in special effects makeup. The Robertson family invests an amazing amount of time and effort on their costumes and the attention to detail shows. They have big plans for this year’s Comic Con Okinawa. “I enjoy the reactions that our costumes get and am looking forward to this year’s Comic Con” says Alexander. “I love to see other people's costume designs and being with people that love the same things that we do says,” adds youngest son Luke.
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SO... YOU W@NT TO BE @ COSPL@YER?
CLOCKWISE: THOMAS ALAN SMILIE, RODERICA MATHIS
Interested in participating in the 2017 Comic Con Okinawa Cosplay Contest? Following are a few rules and guidelines: Costumes should be of original construction, or clearly show modification to off-therack items (parents may assist youth contestants in creating their costume). Creativity and craftsmanship score big points and generate the most “oohs and aahs!” Store-bought costumes are allowed, but it’s suggested that contestants modify at least half of it. All cosplay costumes should be appropriate for general audiences—overly gory, overtly sexual and
menacing costumes are not appropriate for a kidfriendly audience and should be avoided. No liquids, messy substances or anything that may pose a danger will be allowed. All costumed guests, including contestants whose costumes include any form of prop or weapon, must have the item inspected at the door for safety prior to entering the event venue. Prop weapons will be allowed into the event provided they meet the Armory (Weapons) Rules & Guidelines. After a prop has been deemed safe by staff, the cosplayer will receive a clearly visible tag that indicates the prop has been inspected. After entry to the venue, all prop weapons must be carried in plain view and cannot be concealed. Staves, bō sticks, bokken, shinai and wooden swords are permitted and all fake, prop or homemade weapons are fine if they are in no way dangerous to attendees. Nunchaku and other flail weapons are not allowed. OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 33
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
All weapons deemed unsafe must be removed from the event or checked at the event coordinator’s table for pick up when the cosplayer leaves the event. In addition, misuse of any weapon or prop, such as swinging it in a public area or causing a hazard to attendees, will result in the weapon or prop being deemed unsafe for the event. If a weapon or prop is deemed unsafe for the event due to misuse, it will be removed or held at the aforementioned event coordinator’s table. Metal weapons of any kind, bullwhips/stock whips as well as guns and projectile weapons are not permitted. Examples of guns and projectile weapons include (but are not limited to) working guns, pellet guns, BB guns, air guns, crossbows, dart guns and blowguns. Replicas of guns or projectile weapons are okay if they are easily identifiable as props (in other words, if it looks real don’t bring it). Incendiary devices and ammunition of any kind are not allowed for obvious reasons. All devices which spark, shoot flames, burn, smolder, can otherwise cause combustion, or which exist for no purpose other than to be lit with a combustion device, are considered incendiary devices. Illegal weapons are prohibited (don’t even think about it). PMO will be notified if any illegal weapons are found in any cosplayer’s possession. The main categories for the 2017 Comic Con Okinawa Cosplay Contest include Adult Fan Individual (ages 18 and up), Adult Fan Group (ages 18 and up with a minimum of two and maximum of four in a group), Young Fan Individual (ages 7 to 17) and Young Fan Group (ages 7 to 17 with a minimum of two and maximum of four in a group). Young Fans must have a parent or guardian present to participate. Group entries count as one entry. The maximum amount of entries for the contest is 50 participants. Sub categories include Original Design—a costume design unique to the maker/wearer. It may be inspired by a work of fantasy, science-fiction, mythology, etc., but cannot be an exact copy of an existing design and Re-Creation—costumes copied from an existing design (such as a movie, comic book, artwork, etc.). One more important fact: There WILL be fabulous prizes for the winners! Remember, event staff may reject a costume entry on the basis of being inappropriate or unsafe, so ensure that guidelines are followed!
H@PPY COSPL@YING! OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 35
DINING + ENTERTAINMENT
Kinser Festival Featuring Neon Trees and DJ Manifesto
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
Kinser Festival is back with a Halloween twist! The much-anticipated fall festival will take place Saturday and Sunday, October 28 and 29 from 1 to 9 p.m. both days. Kinser Fest will have no shortage of food and drinks from local vendors as well as Bulldogs Burgers, Hickory House BBQ Brisket and Chicken, sizzlin’ pizza and Kanpai Lounge for adult liquid refreshment. As with all MCCS Festivals, there will be plenty of game booths, prize giveaways and amusement rides, plus FREE live entertainment. This year’s festival will feature a performance by American rock band Neon Trees—best known for their 2010 hit Animal which hit number 1 on Billboard Magazine’s Alternative Songs Chart. Neon Trees will perform on Saturday at 7:30 p.m. Kinser Festival’s entertainment lineup also features an electrifying performance by EDM DJ and violinist DJ Manifesto. Boasting an international fanbase from Moscow to Tokyo, DJ Manifesto deftly mixes classical and electronica at concerts throughout the world. DJ Manifesto will perform Sunday at 7:30 p.m. Kinser Fest is open to all DoD ID card holders and Japanese. Please leave your pets at home. Do not bring any outside alcohol, bottles or coolers. If you choose to drink, please do so responsibly. There will be daiko and taxi services available. For more information, call MCCS Special Events at 6455828 or visit mccsokinawa.com/festivals.
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DINING + ENTERTAINMENT
Halloween at MCCS Clubs A Scary-good time! Scare up some buddies and head to your nearest MCCS Club for a Halloween bash! The Kinser Surfside will be offering spooktacular fun October 27 from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. On MCAS Futenma, head over to Thirsty’s Enlisted Club for a Halloween Party October 27 also from 9 p.m. to 2 a.m. On October 28, Chesty’s SNCO Club and the Globe & Anchor Enlisted Club will be hosting scary fun. The Globe & Anchor will be opening its doors at 8 p.m. and Chesty’s at 7 p.m. Both events will run until 2 a.m. On Camp Courtney, Legends Officers’ Club will host a Thriller Party October 27 from 6 p.m. until midnight and the Bayview Enlisted Club will throw their All Hallows Bash October 27 from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Hashmarks SNCO Club will be having a Halloween Party October 28 from 6 p.m. until midnight. There will be Pandemonium at The Palms on Camp Hansen October 28 from 8 to 11 p.m. and the BeachHead on Camps Schwab will be throwing a Halloween Party in the Landing Zone Enlisted Lounge October 28 from 9 p.m. to 1 a.m. For more information on Halloween events at MCCS Clubs, call the nearest participating facility. Visit MCCS Clubs and Restaurants online at mccsokinawa.com/clubs.
Welcome to the jungle! It’s a festival in the jungle! October 21, head up to the northernmost Marine Corps installation on Okinawa—Camp Gonsalves Jungle Warfare Training Center—for a jungle-full of fun at Jungle Fest! Jungle Fest, which runs from 9 a.m. to 3:15 p.m. will feature food, bounce houses and a rappelling demonstration at noon. A pre-festival 5K Fun run will begin at 10 a.m. The gates will be open from 7:30 a.m. until 4:30 p.m. Jungle Fest is open to all SOFA ID card holders and Japanese citizens. For more information, visit facebook.com/jwtcjunglefest.
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Han’s Jumbo Steak Yes…they do serve JUMBO steaks Text by Mike Daley, Photography by Roderica Mathis Hours of Operation Open Daily 10 a.m.–11 p.m. (Last Order 10 p.m.) Phone Number 098-930-2983 Payment ¥, CC
Browsing the cavernous halls of AEON MALL Okinawa Rycom for a couple hours can induce cravings for a “real meal.” Pizza? Not enough “oomph.” Fish and chips? Again, not enough to satisfy your yearnings. No, you need a steak. A generous (to say the least) portion of steak sizzling on a hot platter is the perfect fuel to ready yourself for round 2 of mall hopping. At Jumbo Steak Han’s the name says it all, and after tearing through one of their juicy 450g (basically a pound of beef) ribeye steaks you’ll have to agree that “jumbo” a good choice to add to their name. The 450g ribeye, which comes with potatoes and vegetables, goes for a fairly reasonable ¥3,550. It’s also available in 300g (¥3,100) and 200g (¥2,580) cuts. Not limited to ribeyes, Han’s also serves cube roll (200g /¥1,750), sirloin (300g /¥3,400 & 200g /¥2,400), tenderloin (300g /¥3,000 & 200g /¥2,100), T-bone (450g/¥2,950) and others including a 450g hamburger steak for ¥2,200! Toppings such as wasabi, garlic chips and more can be added for ¥100. For an extra ¥400 you
can access Han’s all-you-can-eat fresh vegetable buffet and for an extra ¥270 you can also enjoy their all-youcan-drink beverage station and bottomless soft serve ice cream. Located on the fourth floor of AEON MALL Okinawa Rycom, Han’s rustic décor will transport you to the “wild west” and the sounds and aroma of steaks sizzling on the grill will set your stomach to thundering like a stampede of Brahma bulls. Han’s main attraction are, of course, the “one pounders,” however, their menu also offers grilled chicken and meals combining salmon with chicken as well as the “golden combination”—steak and lobster. Oh, and the aforementioned pizza and fish (as well as shrimp) and chips? You can get those at Han’s as well! Jumbo Steak Han’s offerings are a bit addictive, and the good news is that they offer a membership card that gives holders 10% off every purchase and a free beverage on their birthday. Speak with the server for more information.
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MARINES + FAMILIES
SMP Haunted House RANGIZZZ/BIGSTOCK.COM
Come…if you dare!
Shallow breaths. Racing heart. Clammy hands. Goosebumps scale your body. Tension rises as you wait for the next horror. You know it’s not real. You know it’s not. And yet, you can’t convince yourself entirely. Haunted houses are a strange phenomenon. Why pay to feel scared? What you’re paying for is a test of your courage—fight to keep going with your eyes open or flight and get out of there. Even though you can’t convince yourself, you know that there are no real consequences here. It’s a test without the repercussions. However, this time, it won’t be as easy to escape…and you don’t have to pay either!
The Futenma Single Marine Program’s Haunted House will be held at MCAS Futenma’s Bldg. 424 October 20–21 and 27–28 from 7 to 11 p.m. The theme is simple—scare you out of your socks and into a cold, cold sweat. When you think about it, that’s actually a plus because it’s still warm and humid on Okinawa during Halloween. Entry to the Futenma SMP Haunted House is FREE. However, this haunted house is not recommended for small children (kids under the age of 12 must be accompanied by an adult). Also, entry is not recommended for pregnant women or people with heart conditions. For more information, visit mccsokinawa.com/smp.
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MARINES + FAMILIES
OCTOBER Classes SBA Entrepreneurship Track “Boots to Business” This two day introductory course, which will be given by the Small Business Administration (SBA), is available to transitioning service members and their spouses/family members and provides valuable assistance to those who are exploring self-employment opportunities. The course provides the key steps for evaluating business concepts and the foundational knowledge required for developing a business plan. Participants are also introduced to SBA resources that are available to help access start-up capital and additional assistance. October 12–13, 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 Corporal for Financial Fitness (CFF) CFFs are trained corporals who provide peer-to-peer influence on personal finance. They support the PFM staff and the unit CFS by reaching out to Marines and Sailors in the ranks of E1-E4 to increase their awareness of the services and programs and to understand why financial fitness is an integral part of mission readiness. Only 36 seats are available. Please call 645-2104/3600 to register or for additional information. October 31–November 1 7:30 a.m.–4 p.m. Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 Relocation Assistance Coordinating Committee (RACC) The RACC meets quarterly to provide organizations and individuals involved in the relocation process a forum to keep abreast of changes in the relocation program and processes and to identify and discuss issues affecting the overall relocation program. Please plan on attending this meeting. For more information, please call 645-8395. October 19, 2–3:30 p.m Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445 Ikebana (Flower Arrangement) Learn about the Japanese art of flower arrangement. The class demonstrates this traditional Japanese art and also includes hands-on training. This class is designed for adults. Class size is limited to 15 students and participants must be registered to attend.
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
October 26, 11:30 a.m.–1 p.m. Foster MFP-R, Bldg. 445
Okinawa Dance Exhibition Enjoy an enchanting facet of Ryukyu culture
Vibrant kimonos, carefully painted faces and precise movements—traditional Okinawan dance is an experience that every person should have while living on Okinawa. Normally you would have to travel off base and pay to observe these dances traditionally performed for the Ryukyu royalty. A FREE Okinawa Dance Exhibition will be held from 1 to 3 p.m. on Saturday, October 28 at the Camp Foster Community Center Auditorium. Enjoy enchanting performances by local volunteer dancers and musicians, learn about the history of the intricate steps and take pictures afterward with the performers—including the ever-popular shishimai (lion dog)! For more information about this performance, call 645-2104.
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For a respected degree that’s worth the long nights, it has to be UMUC.
FALL SESSIONS START:
2 OCT | 23 OCT | 30 OCT | 18 DEC Visit your local UMUC office on base or www.asia.umuc.edu/okinawaliving to sign up for a no–cost webinar. Copyright © 2017 University of Maryland University College
MARINES + FAMILIES
Strength for Life Support Group Here for you when you need help the most If you are in need of a support community to cope with past or present domestic violence, Family Advocacy Program’s new support group is here for you. Strength for Life establishes a safe place for women to share their stories and gain strength and healing from others going through similar experiences. Each week, the support group focuses on building essential skills in communication, money management, healthy coping, parenting, goal setting, resume-building and stress management. Strength for Life meets every Tuesday from noon to 1 p.m. at the Camp Foster Behavioral Health Bldg. 439 on the second floor. By meeting in a shared, confidential and safe space, this women’s support group breaks down the social isolation and information barriers associated with living with domestic violence. Please make arrangements for childcare prior to attendance. Attending all sessions is not required. However, arrangements for childcare are required prior to attendance of the group sessions. For more information, please reach out to the Family Advocacy Program at 645-2915.
A costume contest for your furry friend Who says that Fido or Thor the fierce Persian kitty should be left out of the Halloween festivities? Dress up your furry friend and bring them to EFMP & FUN’s Fur Raising Costume Contest October 19 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. at EFMP located inside Bldg. 495 on Camp Foster. This event is hosted by the Okinawa “Families United Network” or “FUN.” FUN is a support group that fosters networking and information-sharing on island. They’re open to any military families, active duty single parents and anyone with special needs. For more information on the Fur Raising Costume Contest, or FUN, call EFMP at 645-9237.
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MARINES + FAMILIES
Because you’ve earned it
AXELBUECKERT/BIGSTOCK.COM, THOMAS ALAN SMILIE
In the past, many service members and their families may have postponed their education for financial reasons. They were often discouraged by false information about access to funds, or just didn’t know what kind of financial aid was available. MCCS Education Centers will be holding GI Bill Briefs for active duty military, spouses or veterans interested in using their GI Bill to further their education. These briefs, which will be held at MCCS Education Centers on Camps Courtney and Hansen October 16, centers on Camps Foster and Kinser October 17, and on Camp Schwab and MCAS Futenma October 18, will explain the differences between the Montgomery GI Bill and the Post 9/11 GI Bill. In addition, Marines will learn all the advantages of each type of GI Bill and how they can apply for and use these benefits. All briefs start at 2:30 p.m. For more information, call 645-7391.
3rd Annual Scholarship Spooktacular The 3rd Annual Scholarship Spooktacular, hosted by the MCCS Voluntary Education Program will be held October 27 from 8 a.m.to 4 p.m. at all MCCS Education Centers. Students of all ages are invited to come learn about Halloween-themed scholarships and other financial aid offerings. Spooky movies will be played for participants to enjoy and refreshments will be provided while supplies last. For more information, call 645-7160 or visit them online at mccsokinawa.com/educationandcareerservices.
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KIDS + PARENTS
It’s only a story…right?
While the exact origins of Halloween are unclear, today, it’s all about dressing up like Wonder Woman, Star-Lord, Rey, Pennywise or other favorite character, carving jack-o-lanterns, loading up on candy, visiting haunted houses, playing pranks, watching horror movies and, of course, telling scary stories. Looking for a spooktacular way to celebrate Halloween with your little monsters this month? MCCS Libraries on Camps Foster, Courtney and Kinser are sure to scare up a good time on Friday, October 20 at Spooky Storytime from 6 to 7 p.m. Before the trick-or-treating begins, bring out your child’s inner-ghoul with spine-chilling tales such as Skeleton Hiccups by Margery Cuyler, Room On the Broom by Julia Donaldson, The Hallo-Wiener by Dav Pilkey, Goodnight Goon by Michael Rex or Rex’s all-time-classic Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich. Ghostly songs, poems and decorateyour-own trick-or-treat bags (while supplies last) will also be on the docket for the evening.
Not only is reading one of the easiest ways to build a kids vocabulary, language and literacy skills, as well as improve concentration, curiosity and memory, it’s also a ton of fun and great for cultivating the imagination. Reading to younger children is one of the most effective ways to build vital speaking skills and increases neural connections in their growing brains. It’s also a great way for parents to bond with their children. Spooky Storytime is geared towards children ages 3 to 9, but all are welcome to come and find out what exactly goes “bump in the night.” Dress up in your Halloween costume to set the ghoulish tone for the evening. For details, call 645-6453 or visit mccsokinawa.com/libraries.
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KIDS + PARENTS
NPSP Home or Office Visits
Because parenting is a challenge There’s no question about it: There is absolutely nothing more difficult and more worthwhile than being a parent. The MCCS New Parent Support Program (NPSP) is here to help. All Marine Corps, Navy, and civilian families who are expecting and/or have children 0-5 years of age are eligible for “Home Visitation Services.” Home visitors work with families in a oneon-one setting to enhance parenting skills and provide support. The home visitor team consists of professional licensed counselors and registered nurses with extensive knowledge of the issues encountered by today’s parents. Visits may be conducted in the home, at NPSP offices or another convenient location. Interested parents or parents-to-be can register by calling 645-0396.
Bond with your Baby Take a FREE Infant Massage class The bond between a parent and child may be one of the strongest and most important of human attachments. Nurturing a secure bond between you and your infant is essential to the healthy development of your baby’s sense of self and security in the world. Infant Massage involves the most important elements of bonding and teaches the ideal interactions to build trust and love. Learn safe and comforting techniques of infant massage at New Parent Support Program’s Infant Massage class. This ongoing class is open to DoD ID card holders island-wide and held on Camps Foster and Courtney. For more information or to learn about other NPSP programs, visit mccsokinawa.com/npsp or call 645-0396.
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KIDS + PARENTS
Halloween Fun at the Kishaba Youth Center Frighteningly fun!
Teens: looking for a place to show off your dance moves and your cool Kylo Ren costume? Then come to Kishaba Youth Center’s Teen Fright Night Halloween Bash October 28 from 6 to 10 p.m. There will be a costume contest, delicious pizza and wings courtesy of Shisa Pizza and Halloween punch. Fright Night will also feature dancing, a trunk-or-treat, a haunted room and a lot more surprises! The Teen Fright Night Halloween Bash is open to teens ages 13-18. On October 30, 3–6 p.m., the Kishaba Youth Center will be hosting a Halloween Party and Costume Contest for tweens ages 10-14. There will be tons of food, fun themed games, music and a great opportunity to make lasting memories with staff and friends old and new. Participants will also get to show off their Halloween costume during a contest after the party. The winner will get a chance to choose from several great prizes! For more information about the Teen Fright Night Halloween Bash or the Halloween Party and Costume Contest, call 645-9237 or 645-8012.
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Sell your ride… …at the Auto Resale Lot
Selling your precious ride? Although driving through the post office, food court and Exchange parking lot every weekday during peak lunch hours is an option, there’s a much easier solution—just park it at the Camp Foster Typhoon Motors Auto Resale Lot and wait for the customers to come to you! The lot is conveniently located in a high-traffic location adjacent to Arby’s and across the street from the Exchange on Camp Foster. Register at Typhoon Motors on Camp Foster, Bldg. 5971, Sunday through Saturday from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. (Parking Permit—$15 for a 3-week period). For more information, call Typhoon Motors at 645-7169 or visit mccsokinawa.com/autoresale.
Halloween Special INGIMAGE.COM
Don’t be afraid, it’s just free oil. Yes, the time has come for a change—an oil change that is. Active duty USMC and USN personnel, bring your car in for an oil change on Halloween and get five liters of KIX All Fleet Motor Oil for FREE. Visit any Typhoon Motors on Camps Courtney, Foster or Hansen to take advantage of this great deal. Before you load up on candy this Halloween, refresh your car with an oil change at Typhoon Motors— because oil ain’t cheap, no matter what day it is. For more information, call your local Typhoon Motors or visit mccsokinawa.com/typhoonmotors.
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VA Helpline Help is a phone call away. Victim Advocates (VAs) are professionals that provide support, information and guidance to survivors of domestic abuse and non-offending parents of child abuse. A Victim Advocate intervenes in response to reported incidents of domestic abuse and child abuse by providing crisis intervention, help with safety planning, assisting in acquiring a military or civilian protection order, or accompanying the victim during a medical exam, court or other appointment as an informed and supportive companion. Victim Advocates also educate the community about coping mechanisms used by survivors, the dynamics of violence, the impact of trauma and the context in which violence occurs. They play a central role in a coordinated community response to domestic abuse by developing working relationships with legal and medical personnel, commanders and local area domestic violence centers. Victim Advocates are available 24 hours a day, every day to support you in your time of need. If you need help or have domestic abuse questions, please call the Victim Advocate Helpline: 645-SAFE (7233) from on base or 098-970-SAFE (7233) from off base or mobile phone.
MCCS Gift Certificates
The gift that keeps on giving Show them how much you care with a MCCS Gift Certificate for that special occasion. What can they use it for? How about camping gear rental from MCCS Outdoor Recreation? Why not a relaxing massage or performance-enhancing dietary supplement from Semper Fit? Or a customized bowling ball from the Camp Foster Bowling Pro Shop, framed photo from Foster Framing, a tour from Tours+ or an art class at Foster Framing & Fine Arts? The MCCS Gift Certificate is the most versatile gift, made for everyone. Use it for tickets to one of MCCS’ premiere culinary events, an oil change from Typhoon Motors, golf apparel from Taiyo Golf Club…the list is endless. MCCS Gift Certificates are available at MCCS retail facilities island-wide in $5, $10 and $20 denominations. For more information, call 645-3193. OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 59
The search for a perfect bowl of Okinawa Soba is an endless joUrney with coUntless destinations.
Noodles are a vital part of Oriental civilization. In many parts of Asia, these long strands of celestial goodness made of ingredients such as rice, wheat, buckwheat and egg aren’t only food staples, they also represent longevity and auspicious luck and are eaten at special occasions. It is said that noodles were originally created in China—a civilization that boasts thousands of years of history. And although no one really knows who takes credit for creating the first, it is commonly believed that noodles evolved from another, even older Asian food staple—rice. It is a well-known fact that cooked rice is sticky. An enterprising cook recognized the endless possibilities of the dough-like substance created by pounding glutinous rice. Among the products born from this process were rice cakes, spring roll skins (rice paper), and the noodle. Noodle cuisine spread throughout China like wildfire, and soon noodles were being made from different materials and various consistencies. As the Chinese Empire grew and its influence spread throughout the Asian continent, the noodle spread as well, reaching Japan and a tiny island kingdom called Ryukyu.
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Japanese So & Okinawa “Suba” he people of Japan have always harbored deep feelings for their noodles—whether in the form of today’s ramen, which are thin egg noodles in broth; sômen (thin buckwheat noodles often served cold); udon(thick noodles made from wheat flour served in a hot broth); and the ever-popular mainland soba, which are buckwheat noodles served cold with a dipping sauce or in a light piping-hot broth. Mainland soba, like other Japanese noodles, can be found throughout the nation, and there are many different varieties. However, Okinawa soba lovers who travel to mainland Japan may have a little trouble finding Ryukyu noodles—Okinawa soba wasn’t even considered “soba” in mainland Japan until 1978 because Okinawa soba noodles are made of wheat flour instead of buckwheat or “soba” flour. Between the 14th and 18th centuries, the Kingdom of Ryukyu
was a vassal of the Chinese Empire. And during these four centuries, emissaries between the kingdom and the empire were sent back and forth on a regular basis. During this period, special banquets consisting of cuisine known as sapposhi were developed in the Ryukyu court to serve the visiting Chinese emperor’s envoys. Not surprisingly, this cuisine featured Chinese food and included a variety of noodle dishes. Even after the mainland Japanese Satsuma Clan conquered the Ryukyu Islands, the noodle dishes (which were called uchinâ suba) remained as a dish reserved for the court. It wasn’t until after World War II that the rest of the populace got their first taste of suba (Okinawa soba was called “suba” by locals until after reversion in 1972). Today, many Okinawans have very little difficulty eating Okinawa soba 365 days a year.
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Although many of the uninitiated believe that Okinawa soba noodles all have the same thickness and are all the same consistency, nothing could be further from the truth. Like Italian pasta, Okinawa soba noodles vary from place to place. For example, a noodle from Awase is flat, extremely thick, and bears a definite resemblance to a fettuccine noodle. Yaeyama soba noodles from Ishigaki Island, on the other hand, are much thinner and spherical in shape—almost resembling a heavyweight spaghetti noodle at first glance. Consistency also differs from soba to soba. Okinawa soba from Shuri, like the noodles of Awase, are quite thick. And while Awase soba noodles are far from being rubbery (especially in comparison with some varieties of mainland Japanese udon), Awase soba may seem a bit on the soft side when compared to Shuri soba’s extra-firm noodles.
MCCS, THOMAS ALAN SMILIE NAME/BIGSTOCK.COM
Good dashi-jiru, or the broth that noodles swim in, is also a vital component to a perfect bowl of Okinawa soba. Like the noodle, the broth varies from area to area—there’s the sublime Nago soba and Miyako soba dashi-jiru, made mostly from dried bonito flakes or (pork-based) broth katsuodashi, the light of Shuri, and the elegantly complex katsuodashi and tonkotsu combination found in Yaeyama soba. Most Okinawa soba aficionados agree that wherever the soba comes from (or whatever the dashi-jiru is based on), the broth should be rich enough to complement the noodles, but never strong enough to overpower the taste of the toppings.
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THOMAS ALAN SMILE NAME/BIGSTOCK.COM
Modern Okinawa soba toppings can vary radically, and lately, experimentation seems to be gaining in popularity. At many shops that cater to the younger set, Okinawa soba can be seen topped with many unconventional items including Korean kimchi, mabodofu (a Chinese dish consisting of small cubed tofu in a hot and spicy meat sauce), gôyâ champuru (an Okinawan staple usually consisting of bitter melon, Spam, and scrambled eggs), ashi-tebichi (stewed pork’s feet—another Okinawan dietary mainstay), and others that may seem mildly to wildly blasphemic to the soba-purist. For many locals, a bowl of soba wouldn’t be complete without a few hefty chunks of sôki—arguably the most well-known Okinawan soba topping. Sôki is basically pork ribs marinated in a sugary soy sauce glaze and simmered slowly over a low flame until the meat is tender enough to fall off the bone. It is said that the “original” Okinawa soba was topped only with this stewed, flavored pork and sliced green onions—a style that can still be found in the northern areas of the island. However, if you were to enter any Okinawa soba shop and ask for “Okinawa soba,” chances are that it will be topped with san-mai-niku (“three layered pork”—a cut of stewed pork similar to a thick slice of bacon flavored with a sweet soy sauce glaze), slices of kamaboko (fish cakes), fried egg strips, and thinly sliced green onions.
“Mainland soba, like other Japanese noodles, can be found throughout the nation, and there are many different varieties.”
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A good cheeseburger cannot become a great cheeseburger without the judicious application of ketchup and mustard and the addition of relish, lettuce, onions, tomatoes, crisp bacon, and other condiments and toppings. And Okinawa soba, like the burger, has performance enhancers—namely beni-shôga, shichimi-tôgarashi, neri-tôgarashi, and the indispensable kôrê-gûsû—to bring it to perfection. Beni-shôga is ginger root that has been pickled in sweet vinegar, colored a brilliant red, and sliced into thin strips. Shichimi tôgarashi is another Okinawa soba mainstay. This spice, which translates into “seven-spice-hot pepper,” is made up of chili powder, sanshô (Japanese black pepper), chinpi (ground, dried orange peel), and hemp, poppy, shiso (beefsteak plant), and sesame seeds. Probably the most popular Okinawa soba condiment is kôrê-gûsû. Kôrê-gûsû is easily recognizable—just look for the small bottle of clear reddish fluid (which is awamori, a local Okinawan spirit) and shima-tôgarashi (small island red pepper) solution that can be found on the table of any Okinawa soba shop on the island. Soba purists who love spicy-hot soba know to grab the bottle with the most peppers that have settled at the bottom of the solution—it is the most powerful. Neri-tôgarashi use is a bit rarer than kôrê-gûsû; however many find this paste (a combination of awamori and ground shima-tôgarashi) as essential to their soba as mustard is for their foot-long hot dog. Declaring one soba shop on the island “the best” is not only foolish (unless you wish to spend the next couple of years of your life arguing); it’s also quite impossible because almost everybody on the island who loves Okinawa soba claims to know where to find the perfect bowl.
THOMAS ALAN SMILIE NAME/BIGSTOCK.COM
“Soba Day” After Okinawa was returned to mainland Japanese control in 1972, the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) in Japan claimed that calling the Okinawa soba noodle “soba” was incorrect. According to their standards, more than 30 percent of the noodle must be made of buckwheat flour; and Okinawa soba noodles were made of wheat flour like Japanese kishimen and udon noodles. The FTC ordered that manufacturers of Okinawa soba change its name to kishimen or udon but the people of Okinawa strongly disagreed. The director of the Okinawa Noodle Association fought for many years to keep the name until finally, on October 17, 1978, Okinawa soba received the approval of the FTC. To commemorate this day, many soba restaurants offered specials to celebrate Okinawa Soba-no-Hi or “Okinawa Soba Day.” However on Okinawa, many agree that slurping up a bowl full of Okinawa soba is an almost everyday occurrence, and every day is Okinawa soba day.
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LIVING ON OKINAWA
Kabocha-no-Nimono Japanese-style Seasoned Pumpkin Serves four Ingredients One half kabocha (a small Japanese pumpkin, usually green) 3 1/2 tbsp. sugar 1 1/2 tbsp. soy sauce 1 1/2 cup dashi soup (made from dried bonito flakes) Dressing 2 tbs white wine vinegar 2 tbs olive oil 1 tsp soy sauce Pinch of salt and pepper to taste Method of Preparation: 1. Scoop seeds out of the pumpkin and peel. 2. Cut the pumpkin into slices approximately two inches thick, soak in water for 2-3 minutes, and drain well. 3. Place pumpkin pieces into a deep pan, skin-side down. Add dashi soup, and cook with high heat. 4. Lower heat and add sugar until completely dissolved (be careful not to damage pumpkin slices). Cook for 7–8 minutes with low heat. 5. Add soy sauce, and cook for an additional 3–4 minutes. 6. Lower heat, cover pan and simmer until pumpkin is tender. 7. Serve
In Japan, autumn is considered the best season for sports activities, reading, art and enjoying cuisine. During the fall, Japanese expressions such as “geijitsu-no-aki” (fall; the season of the arts) and “shokuyoku-no-aki” (fall; the season of the appetite) are heard more often in conversation and on television. Many schools hold art exhibitions and sporting events and although the weather is still warm compared to mainland Japan, many Okinawan schools also hold sporting meets, called undô-kai, during the month of October. Undô-kai are very popular for both children and parents alike. During undô-kai, each homeroom class competes with other classes in a variety of athletic events such as relay races, three-legged races, obstacle courses and tug-of-wars. On Okinawa, students also perform traditional Ryukyu dances and eisa drumming along with athletic activities. Many schools begin preparations for undô-kai several weeks in advance. Because whole extended families come to cheer for their children, grandchildren, brothers or sisters, school grounds are filled with spectators. Some parents even go to school a day in advance to stake out the best position. While children are busy struggling with event-day butterflies, parents are even busier. They must prepare bento lunches, elbow for the best position to take pictures and video of their children, as well as participate in races with their kids.
Uchinâguchi Corner English
That startled (scared) me!
OCTOBER 2017 | OKINAWA LIVING 73
TOP TO BOTTOM: INGIMAGE.COM, MCCS PHOTO