Last night we had our 3rd Annual Unofficial Start of Summer Celebration. Although the bar got a little over crowded, it was worth it to be able to ignore the nasty weather that has been trying to dampen what should be a time for celebration. The start of summertime, there’s nothing else like it. Over here the summer season tends to be plagued with too much humidity, but the ability to spend breezy nights staring at the stars and munching down on an array of tempting barbequed edibles seems to create a balance.
When people find out that I have lived on Okinawa for just about forever, I often get asked if my household is American or Japanese style. I find the question a little perplexing since it is an indicator of someone who has probably never lived around a foreigner in America. When I was growing up it was very common to meet foreign spouses of service members that were friends of my parents. The one thing I found in common amongst the foreign wives was that their manner of maintaining household duties didn’t change much from the activities they would do in their native lands, such as cooking. The style of cooking was usually the same as what they grew up with. So when people ask if I cook Japanese or Okinawan style foods, I simply reply not really. The way I see it is that particular type of cooking is available at most of the local eateries, so if I’m looking to munch down on some tempura on any given night, I just go to a local eatery. But the types of eats that I grew up with are not so common over here, so that’s what I cook at home.
Many people believe that the philosophy of “no rules” governs people’s actions on Okinawa. Do you realize that this is a belief in perhaps what is the ultimate facade? If a person believes in the philosophy of ” no rules” to the point that it governs their behavior and actions, than aren’t they are following the “rule” of “no rules”?
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When one lives in one area for an extended period of time, the ability to objectively see the bad as well as the good characteristics of that area becomes more acute. One of the more pleasant aspects of Okinawan living is the handicrafts. This handcrafted cup (designed for awamori, but I use it for green tea) was created by a mainland Japanese artist, Soma Masakazu, who is enamored with Okinawa. The dragonfly design captured my imagination; and the art reminded me of the joy of watching the unique patterns of the creatures as they hunt down mosquitoes.
To me, being middle-aged has gotten a bad rap! I love being 50ish. By this time in one’s life, you’re old enough not to make many of the foolish mistakes that seem so prevalent in a person’s 20’s and 30’s. Yet one is still young and energetic enough to face new challenges, learn new things, and savor in new accomplishments. It is a time in life when a person seems to have the best of both worlds.
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This is an Okinawan residential street in 2005. The older residential areas here remind me of an apartment complex where the homes are the apartments and the roads are the hallway. This particular roadway was the access to three houses and one 3 apartments complex thirteen years ago. Now it is the access to 10 houses and the apartment complex. Originally the road was about one and one-half times this size. But as the buildings went up the road shrunk. Now it tightly fits one-way traffic only. Most of the newer housing areas have wider access roads that allow for two-way traffic, as long as nobody parks in the road. So if you are coming to Okinawa and have a typical American size vehicle, you’d be better off leaving it stateside during your duration on the island.
Finally, for the past two days the weather has cooperated with the time of year and it actually has begun to feel as if Okinawa is a subtropical island. Of course the fair weather time is spent catching up on all the yard work that was neglected during the mini-monsoon time period. But who cares, because it’s just great being able to get out in the sunshine and cool tropical breeze. Not to mention the opportunity to get some B-B-Qing into the schedule.
Sometimes one just never knows who is going to be a guest in their home. We saved this little fellow from the middle of the road this morning. Once he has recouped, we’ll set him back on his way.
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Even though it’s hard to tell on Okinawa right now, we are heading for the unofficial start of summer in a couple of weeks. For those of you who are planning your summer schedule, don’t forget the annual Peaceful Love Rock Festival is the first weekend in July. This year that means July 2 and 3. This started out as a rock festival in the ’80’s, but don’t let the name fool you. True, most of the artists are still from the Okinawa or mainland Japan. However the concert hosts bands of different genres and locations. Maybe they should consider renaming the concert to the Peaceful Love Music Festival!
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