Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Little Pick-Me Ups

Orangina: always a great pick-me up
It's been a while since I have done one of these, but I really should try to do it more often, because it helps remind me that I love people.

I was visiting with my neighbors the other night, and one of them told me that I have really nice eyebrows. I have always felt a little blah about my eyebrows so it was nice to hear.

Then my other neighbor told me how her little girl saw me leaving in my pink car, and said, "Mommy, who is that?"

She replied, "that's Miss Annie and she lives right over there."

To which the little girl sighed and said, "She's so young and beautiful."


Totally made my day!

Needless to say, I really like my neighbors.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Adventures in Japanese Shopping: Dollar Store Edition

I love the dollar stores here! I could wander them for hours with all the cute and random stuff they have. Let's start with the dishes:
I really think I need this set. Seriously. 
Cute little entertaining ones. 
"Everyone loves ladybirds. Because it's small, colorful and cutty."
Well said. 
I love all the varieties of house slippers. Plenty of options for me, but unfortunately none for Victor. His feet are too enormous. 
 Adorable garbage cans I purchased for my bathrooms:
I love these cherry blossoms sticky gels. 
 One of my favorite designers is Cath Kidston, who designs the most adorable prints ever: mostly florals like this
I love these makeup bags and notebooks that are definitely Cath inspired
 My husband would love the "household accounts book" that says, "let's maintain our high standard of living and manage the family budget." I prefer this cooking notebook, that says "it is extremely happy to cook a nice dish."
Also love this stationary:
 And this adorable matryoshka doll calendar and stationary are my current favorites.

And now, just for a couple of the random ones.
Portable ashtrays: enjoy smoking time!

And make turning pages so much easier with the finger stall!

And I'm sure there is more dollar store goodness where that came from, mostly because I can't stay away from it! Oh, I love it. 

Monday, February 18, 2013

Chair Refashion

Remember my ugly government chairs? Yeah, I do. I had them picked up and I am in the process of acquiring/refashioning new (to me) chairs.

The first project were these chairs: I bought the two for $15
So, I took them to the wood shop on base and sanded them down. (I had to take a safety course before I could use the sander and it was me and like ten other men. It was amusing)
 And then I primed and painted them, and voila!
I might make new cushions, but I got these at the 100 yen store aka the Dollar Store, and I think they're pretty cute for only being one dollar. What say ye?

Stay tuned for the next set of chairs! Yay for chairs that don't look like this!

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Happy Sunday from Cape Kyan

i don't really know if that's my hair or the bushes in the picture, but I just like this picture
 We took a beautiful Sunday drive to the southern tip of the island, to Cape Kyan. The southern area of the island is where Naha, the big city, is and as we drove through it, we slowly saw the big buildings disappear, until we were on teeny one lane roads going through farm land and leading to the cape.

We also took a wrong turn and stumbled upon some castle ruins right on the edge of the cliffs. The ruins really were ruins. They were covered in forget-me-nots and other wild flowers.

I can't think of a better way to spend a Sunday: enjoying the gorgeous weather and marveling in how absolutely gorgeous is this world that God has created. When I have these kind of moments, the words of my favorite hymn always gets stuck in my head.
I really love Sundays. Hope you have a good one too!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters and What I Learned from Visiting.

A rainy Saturday afternoon was spent wandering around in the underground tunnels and rooms that used to be the underground headquarters during WW2 for the Japanese. But it is mostly remembered as the place where the Japanese military all fled to and tried to protect during the Battle of Okinawa. So much propaganda had been spread about the Americans, that thousands of Japanese committed suicide here in these cramped tunnels, rather than surrender, including the commanding officer, who wrote one last telegram about the battle, and then killed himself. 
The commanding officer's room:
His last telegram: really humanizes a side of the war we rarely go into. 
It was all pretty eerie and morbid. I have never really toured a place in war history where all the narrative is coming from the losing side. Here I am in Japan, visiting their museum that narrates their struggle and gives battle charts that show how my country came in and beat them. I was expecting harsh feelings here. After walking around all the tunnels and seeing where they were defeated, we visited the adjacent museum, and I was touched to see all the photos of Americans that were included in the exhibit: photos of them helping the innocent civilians who didn't have much at all to do with a world war. 
I love this one. Doesn't this soldier seriously look like he is from some backwoods hick town and here he finds himself on a tiny island in the Pacific in a culture so different from what he knows? Or maybe that's not the story, and he just looks goofy. Victor and I like to believe the first story. 
I am living here in Okinawa right now because of the fact that in the definition of war, America won, and Japan lost. But being here now is a real testament of forgiving and forgetting. We are here in Japan now, because we are friends. Japan is now one of America's closest allies, and sure, there are a few people here who protest us being here (well, mostly the ospreys), but they are a small number, and even then, their protests are still polite and dignified. The Japanese are welcoming and wonderful hosts. We love being here and getting to know them. 

This is the view from the entrance of the tunnels overlooking the city of Naha. Naha was completely flattened by the war. It's now back to being a thriving and bustling city. And I'm glad it is. 

And on a completely unrelated (and nerdy) side note, as we explored, I couldn't help but imagine all those tunnels and military rooms as a more primitive version of "the Nut" in The Hunger Games. I know, I know, I'm a dork.

Anyway, we had a nice day, and it was another good Saturday in Okinawa. So much history here to be learned, and so much beauty to explore.