Journey to Hiji Falls

Image

Nestled in the more sparsely populated Yambaru area of Okinawa Honto is the beautiful 26-meter Hiji Waterfall. Chuck and I woke up bright and early on Sunday morning and drove 1.5 hours north to make the hike. The approximately 2-mile trail incorporates steep climbs, wobbly suspension bridges, and sharp turns, and my calves are truly feeling it today, but who can complain when your ultimate destination is this stunning display of nature?

Image

…Seriously. I felt like I was magically transported into South Pacific the musical, frolicking in Bali Ha’i with Cable and Liat. Such a lovely place to spend a lovely morning, and I am glad we did it before the extreme heat of summer arrives.

After working up a bit of a sweat, we made our way back to the car and drove a few minutes in the opposite direction to visit Okuma Beach. Any time I Google “Okinawa beaches”, Okuma is the one that truly dazzles me. Since we were in the area, we had to pay it a visit, even if it was a bit cloudy and chilly. It is a Japanese resort area in part, but we were surprised to see that the U.S. Air Force actually has command of a large chunk of it, as a “recreation facility.” Chuck and I are both not sure how we feel about the military spending money to run the place, and honestly, I had hoped for a more unadulterated, local beach, but none of this changed the fact that Okuma is absolutely beautiful and I will most certainly go again when the weather warms up. Even with the clouds and wind, it was just perfect – and the sun managed to peek out once or twice!

 Image Image Image

Asian Food Porn 2.0

Asian Food Porn 2.0 photo5 (1)

Two delicious meals from our lunch spot in Kunigami-son, after our excursion to Hiji Falls and Okuma Beach. I don’t actually know what any of this is, but I’m guessing it goes something like this: Rice (or) Noodles + Meat + Veggies. Mix with delicious magical Japanese potion and serve 🙂

Anything is possible with sunshine and a little pink: Introducing Lilly, in Japan

I was first exposed to Lilly Pulitzer designs in college. At the time, I disliked the brand – I associated it with the seemingly cult-ishImage
sorority life on campus, of which I was decidedly not a part. Not that I had (or have) anything against it. I went to a few open houses, and looking back, I think I probably would have enjoyed it. But after 4 years at the all-girls’ prep school that inspired the movie Mean Girls, I just couldn’t get fully on board.

Then, I moved to the charming beaches of the southern corner of North Carolina. I found myself meandering into a signature Lilly Pulitzer boutique called “Palm Garden” one lazy summer afternoon, and truth be told – I was hooked. The bright colors and playful designs sucked me in, and I couldn’t escape the pure happiness of its message and the sunny charm of its origin. Before I knew it, I was trying on one of the signature shift dresses, and was delighted by how well they fit me. The only downside was the price… but let’s not talk about that. 😛

When I learned we were moving to Japan, I figured my Lilly wear was the one brand that would seamlessly transfer into the cutesy, colorful, tropical culture of Okinawa. Of course, most of it is still packed away, so I have yet to rock my Lilly dresses, shorts, and tops, but I did walk into yesterday’s nail salon with my latest (and most useful) accessory, the Charlotte Wristlet and Phone Case.

ImageNow, the ladies in Cocok spoke minimal English, but before long, they were all squealing over my happy little wristlet and exclaiming “Lee-lee-PULL-itzer” to each other across the salon. Through a combination of facial expressions, a few basic English words, and hand gestures, I managed to explain that it is only sold in America at this time, but they have a website! It wasn’t until I left – after I wrote down the URL for them to pass around – that I remembered Lilly doesn’t ship internationally. D’oh!!!

As for me, I am keeping my fingers crossed that APO addresses are an exception, and I can still get my Lilly fix. If they are, maybe I should mass order and open a little franchise here in Oki. I had a feeling it would fit right in!

 Image    Image Image

 

Moving right along…

  • We move out of the hotel and into our apartment on Monday. As luck would have it, ALL of our belongings arrive on Tuesday. 🙂 I am so excited to have my own stuff again. I am also excited to say “bye-bye” to the food courts, cafes, and fast food joints that have made up the majority of our meals, because unfortunately, we can’t eat at a lush Japanese restaurant every time. Chuck and I are both looking forward to balanced, home-cooked food again!
  • I was accepted into the Johns Hopkins grad school program. I am happy, but this definitely presents me with a dilemma. GWU, or Hopkins? The program I like better, or the cheaper one? As you all know, I am terrible at making decisions.
  • My lovely Bean will not have to go back into caged quarantine! This is the silver lining of on-base housing. She can do the quarantine “in-home”, which – for a generally indoor cat – is actually like no quarantine at all 🙂
  • I applied to 3 jobs, and already scored an interview for one of them. How is it that it took me a year to get an interview in North Carolina but it only took a few days here in Okinawa? Of course, none of this means I will actually get the job(s) – or even more interviews – but it’s encouraging to hear something back, rather than applying countless times only to hear… absolutely nothing.

As of now, I have no real plans for the weekend. I still need a car, so maybe we can go scouting for the one I like…my only requirement being that it’s pink! Pink cars are everywhere on Okinawa, yet they are very difficult to find at the “approved” used car dealerships. Wish me luck! I can’t be without wheels for too much longer.

Here’s a little Asian food porn for ya: Today’s lunch at Transit Cafe on the Seawall, which was comprised of tuna, avocado, seaweed, rice, a quail egg, sea grapes, and some sort of delicious sauce #yum

American Pedicures, You Lose

ImageWhen I first found out I was moving to Okinawa, the girls I knew there consoled me with the same bit of seemingly useless information: “You can get an amazing pedicure over here!” This afternoon, I visited Cocok Nail Salon with my sponsor, Kellie, and I have to admit that it was pretty much the best thing ever.  Not only do they serve you chilled green tea and the massage is lengthier and more thorough than any I’ve ever had, but you get a giant book of hundreds of intricate designs to choose from. I played it safe the first time and stuck with the pink and floral design pictured above, but it’s just a matter of time before I attempt one of the following:

  ImageImage

Plus, what’s not to love about a nail salon with a great view (clouds and telephone lines aside) and a resident feline? His name is Mitt, and he’s adorably grumpy 🙂

 Image Image

All in all, this was an experience I will certainly repeat. I’m generally the type of girl who gets a pedicure maybe two or three times per year, but in a place where I will fairly consistently be in sandals (or cute peep-toed shoes), I think they may became a staple in my island beauty regimen. For better or for worse, there is another location near the base I on which I will live. How lucky is that?

Now, check out Kellie’s toes! They’re little minions! Too cute.

Image

Is this what they call “frizz”?

20140422-131356.jpg

I’m not quite sure what to make of my hair these days. This is generally how it looks several sweaty hours after I attack it with curling irons, a teasing comb, and hair spray – not the morning after a fresh wash. My hair is very fine and somewhat thin, so I rarely deal with frizz. I guess this means I need to find a way to condition more without making my roots overly greasy. Or maybe I can find a way to enhance it so it looks more like a sexy beach wave? Maybe Pinterest can help me out…