Monday, February 23, 2009

Chasing Crime and Time

Never have so many superheroes, giant stuffed animals, ryukan fishermen, and evil killers convened in one place. All could be found running in the 2009 Okinawa Marathon. 

The event took place near our neighborhood, so we spent some time cheering them on and reminiscing about our own marathon experiences (how I hit the wall at mile 13, how I wouldn't let Sean talk to me from mile 20, and how I couldn't walk for two days )

Check out some of the participants. 

I love how his evil garb trails behind him...

Ultraman gaining speed ...

Winnie the Pooh enjoying the attention...

We must not forget yellow and orange-haired twin superheroes

or this kind gentleman who can talk on his phone and pose for a photo...

Finally, what would an Okinawan Marathon be without Goya Man?

So, what motivates Okinawan runners to keep going when they run out of steam?

Local music and...
Pickled plums apparently! Forget about those gel packs and power bars!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Balcony, Vegetable, Okinawan Miracle

At the end of last year, I read Barbara Kingsolver's "Animal, Vegetable, Miracle" and was so inspired to start my own balcony garden. All over our neighborhood, we see backyard garden plots with all kinds of fruits and vegetables growing strong, so why not?

The first week of January, I bought different things to grow-- herbs, tomatoes, eggplant, red peppers, strawberries, and flowers. One day last week, I went out early to water the plants, and I found this tiny tomato! Since then, I have things growing like crazy.

This balcony is one of my favorite things about being in Okinawa...

Sunday, February 1, 2009

Nakijin Castle and Cherry Blossoms Part II

This past weekend, we drove north again to view cherry blossoms, this time to Nakijin Castle in Nago. The castle is a World Heritage Site believed to be have been built in the 13th century. Not much of the castle remains except for a main gate, stone walls, partitions, and steps. The castle is perched atop a mountain and overlooks the sea like so many historical sights here. 

On the drive up there, we saw cherry blossom trees blooming all over the place (in people's yards, along the side of the road, and on the mountainside) and they're gorgeous. Some of the blossoms are pale pink.

While others are bright pink

The views at this castle were especially stunning-- pink flowers against blue sky and crystalline ocean.

We even got to try samples of cherry blossom tea. Strangest taste ever! I imagined it to be like rose water-- slightly flowery and sweet. Despite the pretty presentation, instead, it was like drinking salty sea water.   

We also picked up a can of Orion beer. Funny that even the local beer company gets in on the cherry blossom hysteria this time of year...


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