Friday night we headed out to dinner at a nice place down the street we hadn't tried yet. It was a restaurant with lots of different small plates and sushi plates. We didn't know how much to get, so Jake ended up still being hungry when we left. Mcdonalds happened to be next door and we had been wanting to see what it's like, so Jake went and got a hamburger. It was pretty much the same as any Mcdonalds hamburger in the states. They did have quite a few different menu options, though.
Yes, that is a chicken and a hamburger together in one sandwich
After Mcdonals, we saw Gravity in 3D at the movie theatre on base. It was a very different and cool movie. I would recommend it if you haven't seen it. It was nice to have a typical date night. We are starting to finally feel like this is our life rather than something temporary, like a vacation.
Saturday we had planned on going snorkeling but the weather wasn't cooperating. The day started to get away from us until Jake suggested we go to a cafe up north I had heard about and wanted to go to. We hopped in the car and made the 20 minute drive up north near another Marine Corp camp. We drove into the parking lot of a large, strange looking building. As we walked into the cafe, I realized this wasn't just an ordinary cafe. Every thing was made of wood. The tables, the stools, the floors, the walls, and all of the decorative structures. We paid 800 yen (around $8) just to get into the place. We sat at an interesting wood table and ordered lunch. We had heard they were famous for their taco rice, a very popular dish on the island. This dish was created due to the American influence on the island. It's basically a plate of rice with taco meat, cheese, lettuce, and tomato. Jake got the giant plate of taco rice and I got a steak sandwich. The food was amazing. Jake and I ate every single bite of our very large and delicious meal.
Famous taco rice
After we were done stuffing our faces, we headed downstairs to where our map indicated the tour began. We are not quite sure what to expect. We walked right down into a limestone cave. There were stalactites/mites every where and lots of pottery and sculptures placed all over the walls. We continued our tour out back where the entire back hill we a beautiful garden. In this garden were tons of different rooms with different types of wood tables. It was like this place was made to have a giant party with different rooms, yet we were the only ones there. We wound our way through the garden looking at waterfalls and sculptures and then up through a few more different rooms. The top level was filled with tons and tons of bonsai trees. It was seriously the neatest place, but we still aren't quite sure exactly what this place is.
After our visit to this interesting cafe, I made Jake stop at what I thought was a farmer's market on our way home. I was so excited, but it turned out to be a market full of American food products like Peter Pan Peanut Butter and Folgers Coffee. There was also this interesting thrift type shop with old American stuff. We were kind of confused so we left after taking a lap around the place.
We stopped at our neighborhood beach for walk and for Jake to scope out some fishing spots.
We later went on a shopping adventure at the commissary and saw a guy out walking his bull. Yep, that's a big ole' bull just walking down the road.
We spent the night enjoying the beautiful evening in our back yard and then facetiming our friend's back in the states who will be joining us here in January. We keep forgetting about this time difference thing and ended up waking them up at 6 am. Sorry guys!
Sunday morning, Jake was needing a little slice of home so I made him biscuits and gravy. We then headed down to the capital city, Naha, for the annual tug of way festival. We were not sure what to expect, but as we got closer, we stumbled upon the rope in the middle of the road. It is the world's largest rope, so it took up almost one whole lane of the road! There was a parade down the main street, Kokusai, with dancers and drummers. We got there at the very tail end of the parade, but still got to see some of it.
The streets were lined with vendors selling food. We tried some yakatori, which is some sort of skewer thing. We kept telling ourselves that it was chicken, but we weren't quite sure.
Before the tug of war starts, there is a ceremony that takes place, uniting the two ropes together. There were so many people there that we could not see a thing that was going on. We could not even see the giant rope lining the street. We were supposed to volunteer with crowd control during the tug, but I wasn't feeling well after the weird stick meat and because of the large crowd and the heat, so we made the long walk back to our car to go get something substantial to eat.
so many people
The beginning of the ceremony
We stopped at a delicious sushi restaurant where we ate our body weight in sushi and ramen and then headed home.
That pretty much sums up our weekend, even though it is continuing into today and tomorrow since Jake is off. Tonight (it's late Monday night here) we had friends over tonight for a Columbus day cookout. it was nice to entertain in our new place and catch up.