Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Home Sweet Home

Just got back from a 3 week trip to the states. Some of my favorite things in Atlanta... 

the Shih tzu baby

fresh guacamole

Trees in bloom

mom's crazy socks

fried green tomatoes and banana pudding

Water lilies

Someone forgot to pack the camera battery, so there's no documentation of San Diego. In any case, here are a few of those favorite things...

1. catching up with the old gang at Berta's in Old Town
2. letting friends D and M talk me into some new funky glasses
3. World Famous Caliente and Chilaquiles 
4. Hotel Del Coronado Seafood Sustainability dinner
5. meeting up with the maid of honor who brought lemon cupcakes all the way from Chicago

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Retro Day

Given the number of 50s theme places in Okinawa, we had a retro theme day complete with a movie, food, and bowling.

We started it off with no other than Pajama Game, which we got from the library. It was a wacky musical and the story was completely insane, ofcourse. 

Here's the story in a nutshell-- the setting is a Pajama factory and the two main characters are "Joe", the male manager and "Babe", the female head of the union grievance committee. They meet because Joe assaults and batters one of the employees (yes, it's true) and the Babe has to investigate the case. Despite Joe's aggressive tendencies and the fact that they're on opposite sides of the struggle,  Joe and Babe start to secretly fall in love with each other. They discover their mutual feelings at the company summer picnic. 

When's the last time you had this much fun at a work event? 

Anyway, there's lots of words like "gee", "golly", and "impetuous", and double entendre for you know what... Things are going along great for Joe and Babe. Babe's dad shows Joe the treasured family heirloom, a petrified bat and there's lots of making out next to train tracks.

One day the union finds out that their request for a 71/2 cent raise has been denied by the big boss, so they decide to subvert authority by working in slow motion and matching large pajama tops with small pajama bottoms. Joe gets wind of their plans, so he threatens everyone and when Babe stands up to him, he fires her.

The rest of the movie is Joe and Babe feeling sorry for themselves and singing. Oh, and there's some stalking and knife-throwing too. In the end, Joe seduces the company secretary to gain access to top secret records and he finds out that the big boss has been pocketing the 71/2 cent raise for each employee , so he threatens to expose the dark secret. The big boss gives in to the raise, but denies their requests for retroactive pay, but Joe and Babe don't mind because it all worked out for them. And that's the happy ending!  

Watching fine 50s cinema sure generates a big appetite, so next it was time for lunch at A&W. 

In case you're wondering what the purple things is-- it's called Wrappy Beni, basically a scoop of purple sweet potato (beniimo) inside a purple tortilla with some cereal sprinkled on it. Strange, I know, and not at all from the 50s, but how can you resist?

Okay, I'll admit. It was totally weird, but I had to try it.

A few hours later, our 50s food theme continued with Shakey's Pizza, est. 1954 (you see, we actually researched). We planned to get a basic pepperoni pizza with a milkshake, only they had a buffet that night with some strange Japanese style pizzas including 1) seaweed pizza  2) caesar salad pizza with croutons 3) peach and brownie pizza and a side of curry! Again, weird, but when in Rome, ...

Finally, the night ended with the great American past time of knocking down pins at the bowling alley. Sean beat me three out of three games. Look at his smug smile.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Coffee and Strawberry Fields Forever (oh, and flying squid too)

It was another road trip weekend for us when we headed north to restock our coffee supply and hopefully pick our own strawberries. 

In Okinawa City, our usual coffee place is Good Company Coffee House, but we have also heard about Hiro's Coffee Farm. Hiro (the owner) grows his own coffee plants here and roasts and sells his product to the public. What a funky place to hang out and you can imagine the coffee aroma is amazing! (Think Hawaiian trailer park, sort of) As soon as we got out of the car, we were greeted by chickens and Christmas reindeer with lights blinking on and off.

Rather than seating us with the slew of other Japanese tourists, they gave us our own special little camper shack...

The inside was all decorated out with coffee bags on the ceilings -

and coffee beans on the floor-

each table had its own coffee pot warmer

and they served us in these flower Victorian style old British tea cups

After fueling up, we went hunting for fresh strawberries. We heard a rumor that a farm existed nearby.

After driving around and not seeing any signs, we were about to give up. However, we stopped at a bird sanctuary along the road near Higashi Village and hawk eye Sean happened to look at an area map and spotted the farm. We drove along a windy country road near the ocean and finally came upon it. Note: if you are in Okinawa and want directions, email us and we'll tell you how to get here.

I never thought of strawberry patches and greenhouses so close to the ocean...
In any case, we got there as they were closing and the cost for picking was a little high for us (about $15/person for 20 minutes), so we opted to buy a carton to take home. The farmer asked us to wait about 10 minutes while he picked them for us and then came back with the most perfect beautiful and juicy berries. So worth the effort to come here. We even wanted to buy more, but felt a tad guilty that he'd have to go in there and pick for us all over again.

Feeling successful on both counts of coffee and strawberries, we headed back home. On the drive, we talked about how we kind of forget sometimes that we're in a completely different country. Many days, major aspects of living here don't seem quite so foreign to us. I mean, we feel like we live in little America often, being so closely associated with the bases and other expats. We can get almost anything we want from home and even eat at A&W Rootbeer if we get that craving...

and then we came upon the most bizarre sight on the road and had to back up the car to check it out--  spinning squid! Never saw that before in the states. 


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