PLACES (of the earth & mind)

Greetings From the Future

We've already been riding the "2008" wave for about 11 hours now. Kids, the future is bright. I'm seeing sun, fun, and adventure with an East Asian twist. Don't forget to sip your champagne at midnight so you can join us in 2008!


"For Relaxing Time, Make it Suntory Time"

Although the Japanese seem more advanced than Americans in many areas, they don't come close to Americans when it comes to the demand for modern convenience. For example, they do not generally use clothes driers, but rather prefer to hang their clothes on their balconies to dry. I've only seen one McDonald's, and that was in the touristy part of town. There are no take-out restaurants near us, and when you do eat in a restaurant, the meal will be served anywhere from 5 minutes to 60 minutes later. I think this easy-going way of life has more to do with the fact that we are not in Tokyo, but on a tropical island. This is akin to trying to understand New Yorkers by visiting Maui. I'm betting that all Japanese are not the same.

However, one thing they do love is easily accessible vending machines! And I mean, walk-out-your-front-door, stop-on-the-way-to-the-car accessible. I have no idea where this need for zesty beverages at every turn came from. You cannot walk down a residential road without seeing a Coca-Cola or Suntory Vending Machine. On the highways, cars can pull off to the side of the road to stop at a vending machine (on the left hand side, which is very disconcerting to me). I am not exaggerating, they are in the most random spots. The drinks, are of course, way more exciting than American vending machines (and more enticingly packaged). They offer iced coffee, hot coffee, apple tea, cream soda. Perhaps having a vending machine by your front door supplies a little extra income? If only I could figure out a way to hook up a Pinkberry frozen yogurt machine in my garage....

Check out the large wooden skunk...

And for those Bill Murray fans out there, who wanted to see if he was truly the face of Suntory Beverages, I'm sorry to disappoint....


Found Objects

Look what I found down by the sea shore today! Okay, full disclosure, it took me 3 trips to the sea shore to find these, but I did limit my scavenger hunt to the little slice of beach right by my house. I took great care to select the shells that weren't....occupied.


Season's Greetings

We had a dandy island Christmas. The East China Sea skies opened up and drenched us as we were running home on Christmas eve, but then we awoke to a gorgeous and sunny Christmas morning. We were graciously invited to not one but two Christmas feasts. I made some tasty apple crisps and John busted out some delish homemade pumpkin pies. Boy did I hit the jackpot with this one! The second party took place atop a high rise on the beach, with views of the entire island. Really breathtaking. Hope Santa was good to you!


Tonight, we swung by Sushi Zen, the Okinawa equivalent of Cheers. You can pop your head in any night of the week and always see someone you know (or someone John knows...but then, he knows a lot of people). The head Sushi chef used to have a restaurant in NYC till his mom got sick, so he moved back to his native Okinawa and opened up a hole in the wall with fantastic sushi and edamame. It's hard to have a distinguishable edamame but let me tell you, it's the best I've ever had.

So as we were wrapping up our meal, John's friend Heather came in Sushi Zen with 3 very large, shiny, practically still squirming tuna from an afternoon fishing trip. She gave them to the chef, and then we got to watch him fillet and serve. What a great community!