Tuesday, August 31, 2010


Well, kind of. :)

I've been writing cafe reviews for a local website, Okinawa Hai, and the first one was published to the site on Monday! To go directly to the review you can click HERE.

This review is for a local restaurant called Vegetarica. The first review was supposed to be for my very favorite cafe, KUGAFU, but there was a mix up with the photos so that review won't come out until next month. I was so sad when I found out... but I will survive. :) I still have my photos and words out there in the wide, wide web! It's a start, right? :D

Hanashiro Shisa Parade 2010

  Today is a typhoon day. I have mixed feelings about that fact. On the one hand, they cancelled the second day of our English camp which I put so much work into. On the other hand, I got the whole day off. :) I've been waiting since 9 a.m. for a good storm to entertain me, but the wind has barely even rattled the doors all day. Ah well. I probably shouldn't be wishing for trouble anyways. ;)

Well, since I have a lot of extra time today, I want to tell you about one of my highlights of each year in Okinawa. 

Each year during the Obon holiday, my little neighborhood, Hanashiro, holds many festivals to welcome the spirits of their ancestors home for a few days and then see them off again when the holiday is over. 
My favorite event of the week takes place the day after the ghosts have returned to the sea: The Shisa Parade. 

During the parade, this blood-thirsty beast (part lion, part dog) marches menacingly through the streets. He is hungry for one thing, and only one thing: the heads of small children. 

Parents, usually so protecting of their young children, don't hide them from this blood-thirsty monster. 
Instead, they carry them out into plain sight. 

They gather the little ones together and offer their offspring to the lion... like tiny little sacrifices. 
And when the Shisa selects his prey,

he attacks,

and devours the baby in one gulp. 


Okay, okay don't worry. 

The Shisa only nibbles on their head a little. 
The children are left alive and only minimally scared.

This process makes the parents happy, because being munched on a little is good luck for a long, healthy life. 

The parade continues all throughout Hanashiro, with music and dancing, baby chewing and crying, and general merry-making. 

We pause only for prayer,

to rest, 

and to fight.

Finally, we wind our way back to the town center to celebrate a successful Shisa parade 

with music and dancing

for everyone. :) 

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Five Things That Have Made Me Giddily Happy Recently (2)

This month has been especially difficult financially. A lot of that is due to my poor planning: I forgot to prepare for the evils that are shaken (car inspection fee), road tax, and insurance renewal, which all unfortunately fell on the same pay check (for a grand total of more than $1000). Some of the problem is also due to my lil trip to Tokyo, even though the airfare and some of the housing was taken care of, it wasn't a cheap adventure.  So now I find myself living on a super tight budget... ramen-eating-college-student tight. Oh, and my fridge is broken. And possibly my AC. Yeah, it's one of those months.

So, in the spirit of remaining positive, here is another installment of
Five Things That Have Made Me Giddily Happy Recently: 

1. My new necklace.
One of my many, many Tokyo purchases. 
I adore this pocket-watch necklace and get a serious burst of happy every time I wear it. 

2. This wall hanging. 

I didn't make it, but it's inspired me to really try my hand at origami. 
I want to make a dozen just like it. 

3. Snack. 

Meet my new pet, Snack. He sleeps a LOT. And always in his wheel. 
Strangely adorable, isn't he? ;)

4. Dancing. 

Since I didn't get to go home this summer, and didn't get to go to Seattle for the Lindy Exchange, I've been indulging my dance addiction as often as possible. I know of no better way to beat the Broke-as-Dirt-Blues. Especially at $3 a night. 

5. Fingernails. 

Tackling boredom. Creatively. :)

6. (BONUS) Making it on my own. 
I was sorely tempted to call home and ask for help this month, but I didn't. 
I love my parents and I knew they would help me, but it feels so good to handle it on my own-- even if that means waiting another week before I can replace my fridge and living off overly salty, pre-packaged noodles.
Of course, it also feels pretty great knowing my parents would be there to help me if necessary. :)

When I look at it in that light, life is pretty good. 
Happiness is in the details.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Cafe Vegetarica

Few things make me happier than adorable cafes.
Here are a few highlights of my most recent discovery:

From the name you'd think, "Vegetarian." But you'd be wrong, as was I.

The decorative details at some of the local cafes kill me.
With joy. :)
I'm probably going to write a review of this place for Okinawa Hai.
The last one I wrote (for cafe KUGAFU) is going to be published on the website August 30th. Yay!
p.s. I will write about my trip to Tokyo soon. Such fun!!