X-Mas Waterworks

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/25/2005 @ 3:36 pm

Well it seems water pipes don’t know it’s supposed to be a holiday or a Sunday. When we came home today, this is what we found in front of the house. The pipes that were replaced in January – February this year didn’t seem to be able to handle the job and we were told it burst.



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At Face Value

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on @ 2:47 pm

When someone tells me how much they enjoyed a foreign place where they have lived in their lives, I am always glad to hear they had the chance to experience a different culture. But at the same time I’m always left with the thought “exactly what was it about the place that they liked so much?” What was their favorite pastime? What traditional art did they enjoy the most, a style of dance or perhaps a traditional style of music? How much of the native language did they know? How many locals that weren’t associated with the bases did they have as friends? What was their favorite hangout? Answers to these questions usually help me determine whether they actually knew the culture or if they were just infatuated with the outer face of a location.

Holiday Cheer

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 12/14/2005 @ 11:28 am

Holiday Lighting 05a

Holiday Lighting 05b

Holiday Lighting 05c

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Some of the local residential holiday lighting displayed on Okinawa this year.

Minding Your “P”s

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 11/29/2005 @ 11:18 am

Even after all these years on island, sometimes things happen that are just too funny. I recently went to get new reading glasses. During the eye exam, I was asked to read a chart. The selected item looked like something that might be written in Japanese, but wasn’t clear. So I explained that I didn’t read Kanji very well. The local eye examiner replied in Japanese language, “This isn’t Japanese it’s an alphabet letter.” We both giggled, then she adjusted the lens and asked again. It still wasn’t completely clear, but I could faintly make out a “P”. Giggling I told her it still looked more like a Katakana ? to me. We both laughed some more and continued the exam.

Bright Lights

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 11/25/2005 @ 10:40 am

Well another Turkey Day is over. Although many locals have picked-up on the Halloween fun, Okinawans don’t celebrate Turkey Day. It remains one of the few strictly American holidays. For weeks now the Christmas glitter has lined the windows and pathways of local stores, as retailers jump from one celebrated party time to the next. And eager celebrators quickly jump in and begin dressing their homes and businesses with the ever increasing array of decorations. When I was growing-up, our family tradition was to decorate the home the first weekend of December and leave the decorations up until the day after New Years, thereby providing for a month of holiday cheer. The locals however have two months of partying (otherwise known as cheers) in which they bid farewell to this year (in December) and welcome the new year (in January). In effect, one ends up with close to one-fourth of the year surrounded by Christmas decorations.


Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 11/11/2005 @ 1:14 am


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Since there has been a lack of wind and rain from typhoons this season, the local flowering plants are exceptionally colorful this year.


Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 10/24/2005 @ 7:09 pm

In an earlier post I discussed how living on an island helps a person to appreciate the little things. One example used was Kraft’s macaroni and cheese. Little did I know, until today that is, that the regular version of the product is almost an obsolete item in the lives of the new generation. Or at least that’s how it was presented in an article in one of my favorite food review sites Taquitos.net. Sometimes a person never realizes how much of a bubble one is living in until something seemingly insignificant pops in front of their eyes.

Its My Life

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 9/20/2005 @ 5:20 pm

I just saw the trailer for the movie ‘Memoirs of a Geisha’ on the Yahoo home page. Based on the well-known book, it looks like this movie will be a must see when it is released in December. The reality of the situation in modern Japan is Geisha are a dying breed. More often than not, all one sees or can afford nowadays are bar hostesses.

Bluebird of….

Filed under:☽2005,Culture — posted by JAWjaw on 8/26/2005 @ 4:56 am

Having lived on Okinawa since 1973, I have seen many changes in the type of merchandise that the island provides the mainstream tourists. Back in 1973 the mainstay of sales was aimed at the American market. After all there were few large Japanese tourist hotels; numerous American soldiers were stationed on island; and the yen rate was 365 to a dollar. The type of merchandise found in many of the “tourist” gift shops consisted of wooden products mainly from the Philippines; such as hands shaped in the peace sign formation and Hotei. Hotei is still one of the Asian Gods that Westerners confuse with Buddha. He is the fat jolly God of Contentment and Happiness, also known as the Laughing Buddha. Another of my favorite souvenirs included the brass Shisa incense burners. These type of “tourist” souvenirs are not seen as frequently as before as the focus of the island tourist industry has been redirected to the water sports industry. I still have those reminders of less complicated times on island and sometimes I miss seeing those simple, but charming, Asian goods.

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