What’s in Our Kitchen: the Okinawa Version

Chuck and I both love to cook, and now that we find ourselves in a completely different culinary environment, we are eager to discover the ways in which we can concoct new recipes and experience new flavors. Of course, we also want to know where to shop for the best ingredients for the flavors we already know and love! For instance, I will never tire of Chuck’s deep dish pizzas ūüôā The¬†Commissary here is sufficient for some things, but it’s small and pretty boring. I will probably only go there for things like cereal, milk, pasta,¬†and some¬†meat. Luckily, the local grocery stores out in Uruma are a real treat! I don’t know what 95% of it is, but the 5% I do know is fantastic, fresh, and relatively local (even if the squishy raw seafood with eyeballs and tentacles on display freaks me out!) Better yet, we found a¬†farmer’s market within walking/biking distance, with all sorts of fresh fruits, veggies, and flowers. It was just a quick trip in the middle of a rain shower, so I didn’t take many photos, but I couldn’t resist snapping a quick pic of the pineapples adorned in pink ribbon below…

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We brought home our goodies and whipped up some dinner: seared tuna in a homemade ginger-soy-lemon-garlic sauce¬†served¬†over a bed of fresh greens and accompanied by fresh avocado and tomato. Delicious, and healthy too! photo2 (9) We also got Japanese eggs, which are very large, brown, and don’t require refrigeration. In fact, the U.S. is one of the only countries in the world that refrigerates its eggs. We also treated ourselves to a¬†delicious¬†item from the dessert section of the Japanese grocery store – the half-eaten chocolate log pictured below. We¬†don’t know what it¬†is exactly, so Chuck calls it “Dragon Poop,” naturally. Appetizing, right? Right.

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In conclusion, I was particularly tickled to find out that while most Japanese produce is regional, they still import their oranges from the good ol’ US of A. I guess you just can’t beat Florida citrus! ūüôā

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Wanderings in Uruma

Now that Chuck and I are settled into our new apartment, I’ve had some time to explore the town of Uruma. I bought myself a used, Japanese-style bike (with a basket!) and I just love it. It has truly maximized my adventuring potential, as it covers more ground than walking yet¬†gives me the freedom and visibility I would lack if driving a car.

So, even though the weather has been rather¬†blah,¬†I hopped on and turned left outside of our housing gate. I turned again onto¬†the main road and wandered for several blocks, occasionally venturing¬†down side streets¬†that looked particularly intriguing. Of course, I couldn’t read any of the signs or storefronts, but I still managed to find multiple restaurants, bars, grocery stores, bakeries, spas, and even a florist. It’s certainly a quieter, more residential area of Okinawa, but it clearly has a lot to offer. And, despite the typical gray, concrete architecture, there are oases of beauty everywhere you look…

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Excited about all the new places to try (most especially the food), I finally turned around and biked the river walk, where I couldn’t resist snapping photos of the pretty¬†flowers. Even on a gray day, the colors just POP. I love all the flora and fauna around here.

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Of course, what’s exploring an island without a beach within easy reach? Uruma has that covered, too! If you turn right out the housing gate, you get a completely different experience: the most lovely specimens of Pacific blue. To date, the majority¬†of the beaches we have visited are on the East China Sea, but our very own Courtney and Uken Beaches are on the Pacific side of the island and are very¬†beautiful indeed!

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The beach route is significantly less urban, and a fun change of scenery from the more built-up side of Uruma. There are fewer restaurants,¬†shops, and cars, but more fields, unpaved paths, ornate family cemeteries, and… THIS:

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…Yep, that’s a bull. Walking the streets of Uruma. Can we be friends? ūüôā