Monday, July 21, 2014

Water Buffalo Taxi - Iriomote Island to Yobu Island

I've been really absent these past few weeks. I had been working more days then usual (inventory and then a new shipment), getting our house ready for our family's visit and now they are here! I wanted to schedule some posts in advance, but that just didn't happen. I had already edited these pictures and today we had a down morning, so i sat down and wrote this post. I may come back and write another post of our Ishigaki Anniversary trip while our family is here, but i won't promise anything. I will for sure be back with tons and tons of posts in August! Thanks for understanding! 
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For our anniversary trip to Ishigaki, there was one thing i was dying to experience, the Water Buffalo Taxi's from Iriomote Island to Yobu Island. I had read about them in my New York Times. 36 Hours. Asia & Oceania book and my boss also told me it was a must! On our third day there we took a tour to Iriomote island, one of the other islands in the Yaeyama chain. Yobu is a tiny little island (with a circumference of only 2.15 kilometers) just off the east coast of Iriomote, separated by a small beach. After a typhoon in 1969, most of the residents relocated to Iriomote island and only one elderly couple stayed with a dream to "make the island a garden paradise". Now it is just that! You can find 30 varieties of hibiscus, 10 types of palm trees, guava and papaya fruit trees, and more! 

They have a little more than 40 Asian water buffalo on Yobu Island; all of which have unique names! "Training in pulling carts begin two or three years after birth and quick learners begin hauling passengers after just six months to a year of training. They live for 30 years and pull carts for 15-20 years". (Yobu Island Brochure) They love water and spend most of their free time in the pond.














Our taxi ride back to Iriomote was extra special because our driver had a sanshin (an Okinawan musical instrument) and tons of lyrics to traditional Okinawan songs on the roof of his cart. In the taxi with us was a couple, a girl from China and a European guy (both of whom spoke japanese), as well as a japanese girl who translated as best as she could for us. The driver asked us where we were all from and then asked us to choose a song from the roof. We laughed because they were all written in japanese and of course we couldn't read them. The couple chose one and he serenated us the rest of the way. He was the sweetest guy and tried really hard to communicate with us, but of course most of it was lost in translation. We left his taxi wishing we knew more japanese!! I added a clip below of his serenade :)



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Saturday, July 12, 2014

Throwback: Our First Okinawan Summer

As we get ready for our family's arrival NEXT WEEK, we've been trying to make a list of places and things we want them to experience during their time here. We also want to add some places from our Bucket List that we haven't had a chance to visit yet. As i was writing this list down i was relying a lot on our adventure posts from the past two years. While looking back i realized what a jam packed summer we had last year! Here are some of the things we did during our first Okinawan summer, we are hoping to re-experience some of these during our family visit! 

stopped and smelled the lilies on Ie Island | experienced a gorgeous sunset on Cape Zanpa | hiked to/from Fukugawa Falls

visited a local flower shop | had breakfast with friends at Seaside Cafe Hanon | took pictures of my favorite view
celebrated 4th of july in Yomitan Village | pet-sitted Lucy and Penny




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Wednesday, July 2, 2014

What to Pack: Weekend Getaway

In May G and I went on a little Weekend Getaway to the Yaeyama Islands for our anniversary and we were so excited about exploring the remotest part of Japan. Read more about our trip. It was our first of many weekend getaways and i thought it would be fun to share what i packed. I'm usually an overpacker but i'm proud to say i did good on this trip, using only a backpack and planning in advance really helped. For the clothing I decided to stay within a certain color palette (whites and blues), so it would be easy to mix and match items. I added some colorful swimwear and a fun block print coverup from India. A girl always needs pops of color! Am i right?!
Here's what i packed: 

Basics
backpack
beach blanket
camelback water bottle
camera
GorillaPod tripod
small purse
coin purse (with yen, cards and id's) 
phone charger (not pictured)
travel notebook + pen
sunglasses
glasses (for picture taking)
umbrella
ziplock bag (not pictured)

Hygiene

3 oz bottles (perfect for my No-Poo!)
toothbrush and toothpaste (travel size)
pill case with essentials
brush
deodorant (travel size)
hand sanitizer
roll of toilet paper
small first aid kit
hair ties (not pictured)
bobby pins
concealer
eye liner
subscreen
bug spray (not pictured)

Clothing
2 tanktops (1 lace and 1 printed)
2 camis (1 white and 1 mint green)
1 polka dot top
1 3/4 sleeve top 
1 dress
1 chambray shirt
2 bathing suits
1 beach cover up
1 pair of converse sneakers
1 pair of sandals
2 necklaces
1 rainjacket
1 bra
4 pairs of underwear
beach towel



Q: Are you going on a Weekend Getaway this 4th of July Weekend? Ooh and any tips or tricks you have learned about packing are more than welcomed ;) Leave me a comment below!

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Monday, June 30, 2014

Weekly Wishes: July Goals

Welcome to Weekly Wishes an awesome link-up created by Melyssa of The Nectar Collective, as a way to breakdown our own goals/wishes for the week, as well as share positivity and motivation to others. I recently shared my New Year's Resolutions, as well as my Blogging Goals for 2014 and one of those goals was to get back into the Weekly Wishes swing, because i haven't participated since October and that's just sad. I've always loved the idea of Weekly Wishes and i know it would be the perfect way to remind myself of my long-term 2014 goals! After my previous entries (here) i noticed that blogging about my goals pushes me to reach them by the end of the week and the sense of satisfaction at the finish line feels pretty darn good. Sharing the goals i met at the end of the week keeps me coming back for more. I recently realized that setting weekly wishes was not so much me, so now i'm trying to set Monthly Wishes! 

Let's see how i did in June:
1. Enjoy hubby on the weekends. Yup, we did just that! 2. Go to the beach. I went to the beach twice this month and to the pool once! Hoping to go more this month :). 3. Make the driftwood sign for our bathroom. While G has been gone i had lots of free time, so this project got finally done. I'll be sharing pics later. 4. Work on my first giveaway! Done and done! I planned, posted and excecuted my first giveaway! The price is already on it's way to the winner's address! 5. Make our patio look cute. This is the only goal i was unable to work on. I decided to save our money for travel instead of on making our patio cute. 6. Record my first Vlog! Hooray! I posted my first Vlog two weeks ago and although i cringe watching it, i'm glad i did it. I'm planning on making a second one soon. 7. Blog more! I blogged 12 times this month! :) 

This month's goals are: 

1. Hold my hubby especially tight. He finally comes home this week and i'm counting down the hours until i finally see him again. For some reason this field-op has been especially hard, i'm so glad it's over. 

2. Spend as much time as possible with our friends who are PCS-ing! Our closest friends are going back to the States this month and we are soo sad to see them go. We have mani/pedis, dinner and a paddle boarding adventure planned for this weekend!

3. Survive inventory at work. Yup, for the next three weeks our store will be closed and we will be counting, and counting every single item we have in stock. It will be a nightmare but i'm looking forward to it ending. On the bright side my wallet will be very full this month! ;) 

4. Get ready for our visitors! Our family will be visiting us this month and there's a lot we need to do to get ready. I need motivation to get things done! Plus, i want to plan some aspects of their trip. 

5. Enjoy every second of our family time! We will be exploring Okinawa, doing things we've put off until this visit and we'll even be travelling to Tokyo for a couple of days. We'll probably go crazy by the end, you know because we live in a two bedroom, one bathroom apartment but it'll be a fun adventure!

The Nectar Collective

What are your Weekly Wishes? or your Monthly Wishes?
If you want to join this link up, Click Here to read the rules. It's definitely a great way to find new interesting blogs, read other people's goals and share some encouragement/support. Kind of a Pay it Forward project. Also, if you enjoy my little corner of the internet, you will love The Nectar CollectiveBe sure to check it out! ;)  

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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Solo Movie Dates - Yay or Nay?!

picture source
With G being gone these past few weeks, all i have been doing is sitting around on the couch binge watching episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel. But really there is so much tv you can watch, sometimes you need to take a break, and what better way to take a breather than by watching a movie. HAHA! Granted it's basically the same thing but at least i get out of the house for a bit. On Sunday i decided i needed a break, so i checked the movie listings on base and went to see - How to Train Your Dragon - alone. I had seen and loved the first movie, so i went and sat in a theater full of families and had a blast! (Yup, i'm pretty pathetic) 
I had Monday and Tuesday off, as usual, so i went all the way to the Air Force Base to cry my eyes out watching - The Fault in Our Stars. I had been dying to see this movie since they announced it was in production, mainly because i read the book years ago and i was excited to see it come to life. It was refreshing to basically have the theater to myself, you know so i could cry in peace. Wednesdays are Hump Day at the theater, which meant tickets were only $3.25, so i went to see - Malificent - another movie i'd been dying to see since the first teaser trailer came out. 
It may seem pathetic that i went to the movies by myself 3 times this week, but it's the most fun i've had since G left for his field op. Plus, who doesn't love buttery popcorn and candy for dinner? 
Q: Have you ever gone to the movies yourself? If not, would you ever? 

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