Monday, February 25, 2013

Sam's by the Sea

Dustin and I eat a lot of food in Japan. This country is a foodie's paradise and we are making sure to eat everything in sight. For our only dinner together in Okinawa, Dustin wanted to make it special. So he took me to Sam's by the Sea.

We got there just before the dinner rush so I was able to snap some quick pictures of the signs. The inside was an eclectic mix of nautical, military, and Okinawan memorabilia. I had a great time walking along the walls looking at how the island has changed in forty to sixty years. But that's not what makes Sam's fantastic.

It was the best food I have had in Japan.

To start, we got tasty drinks that come in glasses that you can keep. Mine is the foreground and was a wooden glass filled with a delicious blend of fruit juices served with mint and sugar cane. Dustin's was a blend of pineapple and lemon juice (which was surprisingly refreshing) and came in a shark's mouth with sugar cane.

Our appetizer was an amazing assortment of sauteed mushrooms with a soy sauce glaze. I have raved about the mushrooms in Japan before so this is not new. But these tasted phenomenal. Just a sprinkle of lemon and we gobbled up the whole dish.

We were each served three pieces of bread with homemade pineapple butter. The pink roll has dried cranberries and a sweet flavor. The middle piece was a sesame-flavored hard bread. Lastly was a soft pineapple yeast roll that was my favorite of the three.

Okay, this is the show stopper. This is their East Indian Curry Soup. They make it in this huge cauldron on one side of the room and the smell is intoxicating. We each received small bowls with croutons. This soup was creamy and spicy and had that amazing curry flavor. I wanted to lick the bowl.

It's not a Japanese meal without salad. A standard salad but with a twist: wasabi ranch dressing. Whew! After delicious curry soup, I need to keep eating so the kick doesn't catch up to me!

Dustin got the special of the day. It starts with a medium tenderloin  steak topped with steamed crab. It was doused with homemade Hollandaise sauce. Fresh vegetables, corn pudding, and fried mashed potatoes rounded out his main course. What? Oh, yes, fried mashed potatoes. Crispy outside with soft centers.

My entree was a bacon-wrapped fillet Mignon cut with garlic butter. It also came with a hefty portion of fresh King crab. My vegetables came with a wasabi, sour cream dip that was out of this world. I was so full already that I barely made a dent in this plate. It was such rich food!

Oh, but wait! It's not a million course meal without dessert. How about some flaming baked Alaska? Okay, so we cleaned this plate. It was so amazing that we didn't want to waste a drop. Belts have extra holes for a reason right?

Sunday, February 24, 2013


We reached 10,000 unique page views in a rolling twelve months!

March 2012
Thank you for following our adventure. This blog started as a way to keep in touch with friends and family when we moved overseas. It has grown from my personal journal to a source for English speakers in Japan.

Most viewed posts:
The Beginning
For My Customers
Mt. Fuji
Hiroshima Castle
Warm Fuzzies

 I love all the e-mails and comments and am thankful that you are still reading!

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Okinawa Miscellany

Some random things we came across while walking the beach or driving around.


Friday, February 22, 2013

Churaumi Aquarium

My first thought upon arriving in Okinawa (other than "I need a shower") was about the vehicles. After living in the Mainland for so long I was not used to full-sized, or I guess, normal sized cars. So much space! Also, the speed limits in Okinawa are much higher. Well, I say higher but that really just means by Japanese standards. They are still much lower than average speed limits in the States. Needless to say, I was pumping that imaginary break multiple times during my visit.

The first day Dustin and I decided to go to the Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium. I had visited this amazing aquarium on my last visit and knew it was something that Dustin shouldn't miss.

The aquarium was about an hour from where we were staying so we grabbed some breakfast and headed that way (with lots of imaginary break stomps along the way). The entire area is beautiful. The main building is right on the ocean with spectacular views. My favorite sight is the main building itself. Dustin took some amazing panoramic photos that have been posted to Facebook so check those out.

The first exhibit inside was a touch tank. It was really funny to watch a group of Japanese girls play with the starfish and sea cucumbers. They giggle constantly!

The Okinawa Aquarium has the world's first large scale exhibit of living corals. Tank after tank we were amazed at the beautiful creatures that live in the surrounding waters.

Nana, that's a moray.
The main tank is home to gigantic whale sharks and manta rays, which hold the record for longest in captivity. The aquarium also boasts of having the first successful births of manta rays in captivity.

THREE whale sharks!
The aquarium also has a large section devoted completely to sharks with many displays showing the life cycle of various breeds. We were given the opportunity to feel the jaw, teeth, and scaley skin of over thirty different sharks.

As we were walking through the various exhibits Dustin saw a girl carrying something interesting. I saw it and then spent a good few minutes chasing her through the crowds. "Sumimasen!" ("Excuse me!") Finally I caught up to her and asked to snap a picture of something awesome. Her group giggled (seriously, they do that a lot) as she held it up.

Yes, a balloon Mario!
Outside we walked to the dolphin area and spent some time watching the dolphins play before the show. The music accompanying the show was the theme from Jurassic Park played with an Ocarina. It was quite a fun show with lots of comical performances.

Next were tours of a turtle house with huge sea turtles followed by manatees from around the Yucatan Peninsula. Dustin and I have visited many aquariums over the years, but this one is quite spectacular.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Sick Adventure

Sadly, I have had the flu for over a week now. In fact, I'm going on eleven days of a congested feverish life. Ehhhh! But a little sickness has never kept me down for too long. With a long weekend plus a free day off from work, I wanted to be in warmer climates with my husband. So I planned a quick trip to Okinawa. I spent two weeks enjoying the area, but I didn't write too much about it the first time. In fact, only this one post. I promise more this time.

There is a guaranteed flight down on Friday afternoons so I was able to secure a seat on it. Unfortunately, the flight was a wee bit of an adventure in itself. My seatmate was also quite sickly. He was moving to Okinawa for a two-year unaccompanied tour and had been on the plane for 20+ hours. We talked over cough drops and I shared some tips I've learned while being stationed overseas. As we began our descent, the little boy across the aisle stood up and vomited all over me. He then runs, still vomiting, down the aisle to the bathrooms. It was EVERYWHERE!

It officially was the worst flight I have ever been on!

But I had arrived in Okinawa and got to spend some time with Dustin. Plus there were beautiful orchids everywhere. A little sacrifice for beauty, right?

Monday, February 11, 2013

A Funny Girl

In the summer between my freshman and sophomore year I was introduced to something magical. For this was the summer that I was introduced to Barbra Streisand in Funny Girl, now one of my favorite movie musicals. Two of the best songs were recently covered by Glee's Lea Michele. Now I love Barbra's voice, but Lea Michele gives me chills. I watch her performances over and over.

"Being Good" became my personal mantra through high school and to the present. It came after a discussion with my father on personal work ethic and "giving 100%". (I think we were picking up nickels on the side of the street at the time.) Enjoy:

And then close your eyes for poor video but an amazing voice (from Funny Girl):