Wednesday, September 22, 2010

BEER FEST, for those who drink it, and sushi!

No, the sushi was not at beer fest, sushi outdoors...I don't think so.
A couple weekends ago was the Orion beer fest. If you don’t drink beer, no problem, this is really an event that has something for everyone. Beer, of course, Eisa dancing, which is something special to the Ryukyu Islands (Okinawa islands), carnival games, GREAT food, even a haunted house. ***Quick side note*** Summer time in Okinawa/Japan is the spooky time, many spirits come out to play for the people of Japan in summer and don’t wait for our October.*** Some of you are wondering, what is Orion, I have never heard of it? That is because you can’t get it in the States. It is from Okinawa and it stays in this region. You cannot get in overseas. It is made by my personal favorite, GOYA…yick! Did you get that I was lying? The Eisa dancing beer fest goes for 3 days, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday with a fire work (hanabi) show sending off the big event. Bands play the whole night and there is even a dancing area. Don’t be afraid of getting in after bed time, the party ends at 9:00 pm. Enough time for you to party somewhere else. Good luck finding a cab though, we were forced to walk with fellow comrades to the “Gate 2 street” and found a cab down there when the crowd thinned out and the partiers went inside their respective bars and clubs. At the beer fest, a man that obviously had his beer goggles on proceeded to tell me I was cute. I feel that at 29, I am too old to be cute, but I will take it anyways. Though this man is not my husband, he didn’t show me harm and so I took the “compliment” for what it was and went on about my business. Drunk people that are not harming me or other are really amazing creatures, I would love to study them.

Say sayonara to the festival!

Our search for Ramune continues. We used to be able to get our favorite Japanese soda out of a vending machine by the house, we found out Monday it was sold out! Not sure if there will put more in. Ramune is a drink where you have to push down a marble with a plastic piece sold with the drink. You then must catch the marble in the notches in the bottle to make sure you can drink it. The marble will get in your way and you won’t be able to sip it if you do it wrong. You can actually get ramune in the States. I actually treated myself to it in Cheyenne, Wyoming. If you can get it there why not in Jackson, Tennessee, oh but when Suncoast was still alive, you could get it there. I have found only 2 more places now where I can get Mark and I’s favorite novelty drink. The Marine commissary, and Gordie’s, the burger joint by the house. I must go on a quest, and find out where I can get my special drink, though this is okay, I shouldn’t treat myself to it much. I don’t drink carbonated drinks that often and I would like to stick to that. Studies show drinking water keeps you young. Good thing I trained myself a long time ago on the goodness that is MIZU! See I am learning Japanese.

Fugu! In English? Puffer! Yes, some of you know and saw I have decided to eat fugu, blowfish. I have lived to tell the tale. What I didn’t realize is it really IS a big deal. You have to have a license to serve fugu, not anyone can serve it, which is a good thing. You have to practice many years to get your license. There was actually a time in Japan where after WWII there were many homeless and hungry. They would eat the scraps that the restaurants threw out. There was no way of knowing what they were grilling and eating and those who had the misfortune of finding the fugu, not know what it was, died quick deaths. Japan had so many deaths, that General MacArthur had to put policies in to place about people serving puffer. Now, I wonder if my blow fish and puffer is actually the same thing. I know, you are thinking, “Duh, Talya,” but hear me out. IT WASN’T EXPENSIVE! That was the main, uuhhh, factor for me, and where I ate it at was a little place, not elaborate or expensive. Though the walls are covered in pictures of Yoshi with famous people from all over the world, it doesn’t add to the price. The blow fish I ate was 450 Yen I believe; maybe even less, which right now is about 6 dollars. My hamachi (Yellow tail) was close to the same price, being more expensive or a little less than. The blow fish may have been the cheaper one, which then makes me think it wasn’t the fugu we have been taught to fear, with good reason of course. So with those factors, I wonder if I actually ate the potentially deadly fugu. Maybe in Japan you get it dirt cheap, I somehow doubt it, but you never know. I guess the best thing would be for me to ask. On to important matters, was it good!? It was, it was alright. Hamachi is my all time favorite and I order it wherever I go. Friends that have eaten sushi and nigiri with me know this. So would I eat it again, sure, but I am not sure if I am one on taking chances.

Nigiri is my favorite type of sushi. As pictured above, there is my blowfish nigiri as well as Mark's shrimp.  Better not try saying this word in the wrong neighborhood if you don’t know how to pronounce it. Knee-gili. R’s are L’s and visa versa, but L is not in the Japanese alphabet. Anyways, nigiri is the type of sushi where the fish sits on top or rice. In between the fish and the rice is wasabi. This is the Japanese way. It is not Japanese to eat nigiri sushi without the wasabi sandwiched between the fish and rice, this is something that Japanese restaurants have done, depending on where in America you it nigiri so Americans won’t complain. So remember for all of those who like nigiri out there, if it doesn’t have wasabi already, you’re doing it wrong! Sushi with seaweed is maki sushi. Maki means roll. I am sure you guessed that one by now for those who eat sushi. Sashimi is slices of raw fish without rice, it is expensive, but oh so tasty.

I was, am, on a quest for a new job, but is the grass really greener on the other side? Something I have to pray about.

Sayonara from the Scott’s!

Quick Stories Time and Quick Facts

“Ms. Talya, why don’t you speak Japanese?” little “M” asked me at school today. I informed her it was because I didn’t learn when I was a little girl. Ms. Kozue was tickled by this and so was I but more so than I was. I mean, really, why don’t I speak Japanese, or better yet, what is so wrong with M’s question when you have all types of people that can? I think her question was valid, a better answer would be because I was raised in Tennessee where I learned hillbilly and ebonics instead.

Naomi-san and another one of Mark’s coworkers noticed a beautiful lady walking to Mark’s work, and they were curious to find out who it was. Naomi was surprised that it was me, I didn’t know whether to smile and say thank you or be offended. She then informed Mark he was luckily, apparently only on certain days.

I am very used to driving on the other side of the road, I only once thought about driving on the right side, and it was a very brief moment, I, however, always go for the left side of the car almost every time I go to drive.

After work every day, Mark and I find time to watch various anime shows. We do not have cable, though we could get the satellite to watch the AFN (armed forces network). We do not, we save our money for other things.

I am paid in US dollars, not in Yen.

I do not drive anywhere I don’t have to, I always have Mark drive. I do not know how to get many places on my own, but I am learning. I also will not go in to any stores without Mark, or without money as I am afraid of offending people, though really, it’s not that bad, I am just a paranoid person.

I eat sushi at Yoshi-hachi’s. It is pseudo Japanese style seating, where the seats are on the floor but there is leg space underneath so that it is like sitting in a chair. I always have trouble getting down there and getting up and our shoes are removed before we go to the eating area.

It is hot here, just like it is in the southern states.  It is late September and temps are still reaching 90.  The humidity is brutal, luckily there is the beach, but Mark and I rarely seem to go as real life is in the way most of the time, and without fail, it will rain on the weekend.  The beaches have blocked off areas for swimming and those areas are shallow.  Most everyone is at the beach on Sunday because that is also the day that a lot of the Japanese nationals have off.
I am closer to China than I am to Tokyo.
There is a difference between Okinawans and Japanese.  There is an Okinawan language/dialect, but you are most likely to hear Japanese anywhere you go.
I hope to be able to blog more, life is catching up with me, there is much to do, school will start for me in a month and Mark is busy with school and work as well.  Hope we can find time to relax!
Sayonara from the Scott's! 

Saturday, September 11, 2010

C.R.E.A.M. (Cash Rules Everything Around Me), I need raw fish, and I'm turning Japanese!

This is a picture I put on facebook with me holding $2000 worth of Japanese Yen and I didn’t really put a back story on it so I figured I would explain it on my blog. Just so everyone knows…which I am pretty sure everyone already knows, Mark and I are not rich, we are not selling drugs, and we don’t have that kind of money lying around, until the 1st of the month that is. The military takes care of us enough to keep us in a nice apartment and to make sure we can pay the gas and electric bill. Of course when Mark got to Japan he needed a car to get from here to there and around the island and so he has money for that as well. Many places on Okinawa do not take debit cards or credit cards for payment when it comes to paying your bills, they still believe in getting cash in hand. Cash is universal and as Americans we have learned to live without the filthy paper and would rather put it on a card, but not here. When the 1st comes and the bills are due, Mark has to go to ATMs across the island and withdrawal his hourly amount so that we can pay for our bills in cash. Which I was always taught, NEVER carry that much cash on you, but on the 1st of the month it is a must. Rent is paid, the car note is paid, and a few other bills. While I log online to have my bills taken out electronically, Mark preps for an all around town excursion to square away funds owed. He can sign up for his to come out electronically, but there is a certain way it has to be done and blah blah, military jargon, blah blah, but Mark will sign up for it when the house in Cheyenne, Wyoming is sold. Yes, those who are keeping up, the house in Cheyenne, Wyoming has not sold. Yes, believe me, WE KNOW. That is the cause of us borrowing and begging, and not being true adults, we know. Besides, cash in hand always means you get paid, right? Money talks in every language.

I CRAVE SUSHI AND SASHIMI! I live in Japan and I have had sushi and sashimi twice!! I know, it honestly ought to be a sin, like a real sin. I fussed about it to Mark the other day, which then he did what Mark does, and spoils me and takes me to the best sushi and tempura place Chatan has to offer, only to find out it was closed because of the typhoon and tropical storms. It is a fresh fish market just like in Seattle, just maybe not as big, I wouldn’t know because it was closed! I did get to go to an awesome Japanese bakery. Everything is an art here, I wish it was more like that everywhere I go. The bad part about the bakery is that I am addicted to Japanese sweets. I have a spot in Columbus, Ohio that I go to every time I am there. (The Crescent Bakery) Shame, shame. I have now been to my Japanese bakery the same amount of times I have eaten sushi, I need sushi in my life, this IS Japan after all. The best sushi in the world and I am busy eaten katsu and yakitori, this just will not do!

Another shame, people pronouncing Japanese words wrong. While you are here, I assume you wanted to be here, there are few places that people in the military should hate, BELIEVE ME, Japan is not one of them. Sure you don’t belong here, but for all the people you meet that don’t like you, which chances are you haven’t because if you are anywhere you are suppose to be, the people have manners. While you are here, why not at least try? The Japanese won’t make fun of you for trying, believe me. Actually, they appreciate it! There is no where I have been where English is not the primary language where they weren’t appreciative that you tried. Japan is no different, just don’t be the American that thinks you belong here because guess what, married to a local or not, you don’t! Yes, you learned the language and we think that is cool, but don’t go up to the Japanese and pretend you know more about speaking Japanese than they do. That’s just rude. As much as all of us who love Japan would love to be Japanese, we aren’t, get over it, ha ha.

I should have some new pictures on facebook from Beer Fest/Eisa Dance Fest.  As always, come check them out and I will have some more about the event next week!

Sayonara from the Scott's

Friday, September 3, 2010

I'm bringing Grandma back!

That's me, GRANDMA!  Grandma is now an inside joke to Mark and I, but I will now share it as it has humor and also, old Japanese men seem to be bold as brass at times.
Mark's coworker, Yama-San, was introduced to me around week 2 or 3 of me being on "The Rock". (as my dad and other ol' vets seem to call it)  Mr. Yama, is an older Japanese man that has been working with the military for awhile now and is close to retiring.  After meeting me, Yama-San comes up to Mark at a later time during the week/month and tells him, "Your wife is very granuma, granduma (we are unsure of the actually Japanese word/slang)".  Mark of course hears what I heard when Mark was telling me the story, I LOOK VERY GRANDMA!?!?!  WHAT!?!?  Come on, I am starting to get my "crow's feet" but Grandma...really?  Why would another man say this about a man's wife!?  Mark was mistaken and after looking at Yama-San quizzically, Yama-San explained, "you know, granduma," using his hands to make a large coke bottle, "sexy."  So after I got a chuckle and a sigh of relief, I thought out loud of course, "wow, Yama-San was comfortable enough with Mark to tell him I was sexy?"  Which shows to me, older people will say what they want in any culture, especially in Japan, they have earned that right.  Though as the Western World rubs off on Far East culture, the respect levels are changing so I've read.  It also shows me, some people will say anything, I can't imagine it ever being okay in a work place for a man to call another man's wife, sexy, especially in the military, but this is Japan and Yama-San seems to be the head rooster as far as the Japanese civilians go.

Mark and I walking on the sea wall the day before Typhoon Kompasu

Typhoon Kompasu, I have been confused by you and all that you do, did.  I will clear this up for all who don't know, as I was unsure until Mark schooled me.  Yes, let me say it now, I got schooled.  I knew this was true, but I went back on what I was telling people because I hate to misinform.  Typhoons are hurricanes that start in the area of the world we are in.  They have different names only because of their region.  So my little friend, Kompasu was in fact a hurricane because typhoons and hurricanes are the same thing.  Okay, Typhoon Kompasu passed very quickly for all the hoop-la it caused, but as I found out, it only causes hoop-la for Americans.  The Japanese will be mindful of the storms, but are used to Americans thinking it's going to be worse than it actually is or, as Mark likes to do,...exaggerate.  They also have the mentally of, whatever will be will be, and that is the way, so now we move on, changed, but move on.  Kompasu was also our 1st typhoon, so of course we made sure we were prepared, unsure of what this weather would bring.  Typhoons and tropical storms are common for this time of years, our season running from August to October.  Right after Kompasu hit on Tuesday, tropical storm 10 began to head our way and it seems we will be passed but will still receive strong winds and rain this weekend.  Just in time for the largest Eisa dance performance of the year for Okinawa, that happens to be accompanied by a beer fest.  So all types are brought together in one place.  Now, every base event has been cancelled but as the Okinawans have been getting ready for this weekend long event, I am doubting much will stop their plans to party this weekend and luckily it will not be near as much rain or as strong as Kompasu, this weekend.  Kompasu passed by us making us wonder, okay, what was all the fuss, it rained, and it was like a normal windy day in Cheyenne, Wyoming.  The fuss was that once Kompasu actually came to the island, they did clock wind gusts at over 105 mph.  Once it gets to that point they order all military to stay indoors.  Kompasu, traveling north of our city, Chatan, left all the miltary facilities alone except the ultimate water playground for military, Okuma Beach.  **Side Story on Okuma*  Okuma is my favorite beach, Mark took me there to stay the night the 1st week I arrived on Oki.  You can jet ski, mini golf, camp, boat, eat, and they have a STARBUCKS!!! Okuma is a 1 1/2- 2 hour drive north from Chatan-Cho**  Okuma was hit hard, destroying the beach area as well as piling the road with tree clutter.  They sent 200 soldiers up to the northern part of the island to help reconstruct and clean up Okuma.  Mark went in to work early to help print the maps needed for this job.  It is expected to take a week or so to clean up Okuma, I am unsure when the beach will be back open to us.

I am finally getting ready to start school for my bachelors in October.  Mark has already started and I am not too far behind him.  Depending on how things go, I may be able to finish before we leave Okinawa, though Mark is extending, so I hope I have more time!  We love Oki and the opportunities it and God has brought our family, we pray for more.  Mark's major is Computer Studies and I am choosing Asian Studies.

Now it's time to enjoy our very rainy, 3 day weekend!  Sayonara from the Scott's!!

In other non Japanese related Scott family news:
THE BENZ, may she r.i.p.
The Back Story: For all that don't know, in 2007, Mark bought me a 2000 C230 Kompressor Mercedes Benz for a Valentine's Day gift.  I know he spoils me, too much, I admit, but he is a giver.  I am trying to changer my taker ways.
Now as many do know, on  January 8, 2010, Mark and I were in a car accident, in which I was driving Mark to work.  On that sunny, yet cold, day, where the roads were actually clear from snow and ice in Cheyenne, a man pulled in front of us, not wanting to wait for another light and though I slammed on the breaks, as Mark held me back from the air bags that did not deploy, but should have, we collided with the man.  The force then pushed us right, causing me to bump another car on the street that was full of people waiting to turn left on to the road we were on.  Our car, the "Mers" as Mark called it, and my "baby" was totaled and the man that caused the wreck received a ticket.  This started a LONG chain of hurry up and wait.  We found out yesterday, that as of August 24th, our case that had to go to an arbitration forum was found 100% in our favor and that the clams that I didn't do everything I could have to stop the accident was false.  Mark and I are so glad it's finally over!  The man's insurance company argued that we could have done a better job to stop the collision and that we were 20% at fault.  The forum agreed with USAA that we were not at fault and that the man that drove in front of us was.  So the Mercedes is gone, justice was served, and USAA has taken care of us again.

I know I am dramatic and long winded, but you love me right? ;)