Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yomitan Automobile Carnival

Several weeks ago Stevie saw a story in the Japan Update about a local event that was maybe the equivalent of an American car show.  Of course, what really caught our attention was the picture which showed one of the totally AWESOME dump trucks they have on Okinawa.  Here was our big chance to get up close and personal to one!  So we put it on the calendar - of course the weekend the show was scheduled a typhoon threatened our little island so the event got bumped back a week to this past weekend.

Since Stevie was on call on Sunday, I recruited Krimp and Dima to go with me and the kids.  Like all Japan Update recommended events, this one came with no good directions except to say it was being held on some defunct airfield somewhere on the Yomitan peninsula.  Helpful.  But believe it or not, we found the event!  And luckily the admission was only a whopping 100 Yen ($1.25).

So what does a Japanese Automobile Carnival feature???  A lot of American cars!  And others.  But love the taste of home these cars bring.

A Dooley (complete with dog in the tailgate)

Just need a "01" to make it the General Lee.
 Of course, there were funky Japanese cars...

London liked this one for the Pokemon character.

Don't know what to say about this one.

And funky Japanese fashion...

Just for the guys...

Note the heels.  At a car show?  Really?

Truth be told, these kind of shoes are not unusual on Japanese women.

Emmy liked these motorcycles, they were just her size.

She also liked Alvin on a motorcycle, but mainly because he was giving out lollipops!

By far the best part of the show for me were the dump trucks and something I'll call "Spidey Meets Kit"

First, the trucks.  Yes, you see trucks like this all the time driving on the roads around Okinawa.  These are the mini ones - I'm still working on getting a good picture of the big dump trucks.  Besides, they deserve their own blog post.

Now for Spidey Meets Kit.  Remember that show back in the '80's called Knight Rider?  I loved that show.  Me and Erika Hilmer used to be infatuated with the car - an 80's vintage, black Trans Am called Kit that talked and drove by itself and had this red light on the front bumper that made this noise like "wuhhh, wuhhh".  Remember?  Guess what?  I found Kit and it's in Okinawa!  But just to add to the weirdness/Japanese-ness of this, it wasn't David Hasselhoff who was standing next to the car.  No, it was an anorexic Spiderman!  ????

Seeing this view, I'm positive that's not David Hasselhoff in that costume!

The show was definitely interesting, and despite the rain that kept coming in waves, we had a fun time!

Cannon's hair after getting caught in a shower.

The sun came out as we were exiting the show!

Skoshi Warriors

Here's your Japanese lesson for the day:  skoshi means small in Japanese.  So what do I mean by small warriors?  Well this was an awesome event that the Kadena Youth Center put on for kids 6-12 years old.  It was meant to model a mock pre-deployment in order to give kids an idea of what real Marines, airmen, soldiers and sailors actually go through.  When I saw the ad for this, I thought it would be right up the boys' alley, and I wasn't wrong.

We dropped Cannon and London off for their "deployment" on Saturday and left them in the capable hands of the volunteers. 

They were going to have 4 hours of different stations and every one of them sounded fun.  There was the trebuchet where they launched water balloons at targets, target practice with the fire truck's water hose, an obstacle course, a paint ball course, crawling on a Patriot missile launcher, stations to handle different kinds of guns (including a 50 caliber), learning how to take down a man with a baton, getting "painted" for war and many more. 

I think the part they enjoyed the most was eating the MRE for lunch.  Cannon had chicken and noodles with pesto and Lundy had meatloaf with all the fixins!  They were fascinated by those meals.

Love this pic of London

Cannon's looking a little too happy about that gun.

Cannon taking down "Red Man"

London taking down "Red Man"

I popped in half way through to see how they were doing and to snap a few photos - guess I couldn't do that during a real deployment, huh?

Friday, September 23, 2011

Lester Heights Cookbook

About a year ago, the neighbors started talking about putting together a recipe book with all the yummy creations we eat at our neighborhood BBQs.  It was a great idea, but I had no idea how much work it actually entailed!  Liz and I began working on the book at the beginning of the year and finally completed it in May.  It was a work of love, but a great keepsake of our time on the Hill. 

I just found out that I can share the link so here it is, in case anyone out there is interested (or needs a recipe for dinner tonight!)

And as if I didn't learn my lesson the first time around, we're now talking about doing Part II!

Pretty in Pink

Emmy received some money from Aunty Kimberly and Uncle Brian for her birthday, and like all little kids, the money was burning a hole in her pocket and just had to be spent the same day.  And since I'm a good momma and don't like to disappoint (read: like to be fussed), I took her over to the PX for a shopping adventure.

Of course, during this shopping adventure we had to peruse the clothing departments (for my interest, not hers) during which time little Miss Em spied a pink shiny dress.  She's like a trout, dangle something shiny in front of her and it grabs her attention.  The shiny pink dress turned out to be a cheerleader outfit, complete with pom poms and a mini matching outfit for a doll.  Of course my non-doll loving daughter immediately asked if that mini outfit would fit a stuffed animal instead!  Well since Halloween costumes has been a recent topic of conversation, I asked Emmy if she would like to be a cheerleader for Halloween?  (The list so far has included a horse, a dragon and Tinkerbell).  Agreeing to be a cheerleader (and I'm convinced the real reason was just to get that mini-costume for her stuffed animal!), we bought the dress and took it home (along with a new book and painting book she bought with her birthday money.)

Not being able to wait another month for Halloween, Emmy tried out the costume within minutes of entering the house!  Isn't she cute?

Don't all cheerleaders wear pink rain boots?

She wouldn't keep still for me to take her picture, but I think these photos are fun!


The matching costume for the stuffed animal.

And not to be outdone by his little sister, London had to dress up too, along with his friend Joey!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Rainy Day Beach

Leading up to this past weekend, the forecast had been for a wash-out.  There was yet another tropical storm brewing off our coast and heading strait for us.  But alas, as tropical storms will do, at the last minute it petered out.  So now it was game on for a fun time!

After church, we asked a neighbor or two, who asked a neighbor or two, if they wanted to head to the beach.  Before we knew it, we had two vanfuls of neighbors headed for our "new" beach up north.  When we left the base, it was sunny, when we got on the highway it looked like a storm, when we got halfway to our exit, it was sunny again.  So goes the weather on a tropical island with a fallen apart tropical storm in the area.

Forty-five minutes later, we were at the beach with puffy clouds in the sky and no one but us on the sand.

Eric with his wake board.

Is he looking for sharks???
Of course, to the north of us, it didn't look so nice...

But the water was warm, the shell-collecting was good, and the friends were all around.  So when it started raining, what did this crazy group of neighbors do?  In the words of Dory from Finding Nemo, "Just keep swimming, just keep swimming."

Took this from the cover of the van as I was putting our stuff away to stay dry.

What a great, crazy fun time!  And eventually, the sun did come out again.

Back in the USSR

We love trying new foods.  It's been one of the things we've done since we were first married and lived in Dallas where there was every kind of restaurant - Ethiopian, Afghan, Nepalese, etc.  But in all our married years, I don't think we've ever tried a Russian restaurant.  Until last Saturday night.

Yes, yes, I know, we're in Okinawa and who eats Russian food in Japan?  Well, I suppose, technically we're kind of close to Russia - at least parts of Japan are, right?  And our very good friend, Dima, is Russian, so that kind of helps too.

Anyways, with a babysitter secured for the evening we had a double date night with Krimp and Dima to hunt down and try this Russian restaurant.

How's this for a creepy sign?  Steve thinks it's a rockin' Gorbachev.

After perusing the menu, and getting a few explanations by Dima, we ordered our "Russian Sets" and sat back to wait for the food. 

Stevie doesn't look so happy, does he?

Dima and Krimp

As we waited, we were entertained by a GIANT TV playing Russian MTV.  Let's just say the music was varied and I was glad we didn't have the kids with us!  That perception of Russians being all bundled up in fur - well, apparently they're not all that way.  And that perception of Russian women being big and burly - well, apparently they're not all that way either.

After a few videos, the food started to roll out of the kitchen and we weren't disappointed, even Dima said it tasted authentic.  We all started with a serving of pea salad which Stevie said reminded him of his Grandma's cooking.

Then came a steaming hot bowl of borsht with a super yummy peroski (meat filled bread).

Then the main course: for me little meat stuffed dumplings (forget what they're called!).  Stevie had the stroganoff, Krimp had perogies and Dima had the blichinki (cabbage roll - it was the best!  I guess he had the inside scoop since by this time he had relaxed and started speaking Russian to the waitress who must have given him the tip-off.)

Stevie's Japanese-sized portion of stroganoff.

Cabbage roll - yum!

Dinner was followed by dessert (ice cream, to remind us of the frozen tundra???) and Russian tea.  And I have to say, the meal was a pleasant surprise.  Who knew Russian food could be so tasty???

As we were about to leave, the waitress gave Dima another tip - the Russian dance show would be starting shortly so stick around. (By this point she had stopped speaking to us in English and just directed her comments to Dima.  Dumb Americans wanting to speak English to a Russian in Japan!)

After a few more videos to entertain us - the traditional music started up and from the back room burst a brightly clad Russian dancer.  The first dance was more traditional, so we were informed by Krimp who has been to enough Russian events to qualify as a semi-expert.  The second number was more gypsy-like, but still just as fun to watch.

It was a little hard to catch her in action with my point and shoot camera.

I love Stevie's face!
It was a really fun evening, and if you're ever in Okinawa craving Russian food, I know just the spot!

Stevie and Dima with a life-sized cardboard cut out of the owner - only in Japan!