I spent the weekend enjoying John's company. I leave soon and so we wanted to cherish every second together. Friday we had to move stuff out of the cabin and do laundry. We watched movies and drew pictures as we waited for laundry to finish. We got checked into the hotel on Kadena Air Base and watched some more movies. We went to a place on base for dinner called the Banyan Tree Club and got pizza and chicken. It was a fun evening and was nice and relaxing. Saturday John took me to the new mall on Okinawa. They are developing that whole area for resorts and tourism. It is going to look really nice by the time it is finished and that mall was huge! I was informed it is the largest mall in Asia. We had fun shopping and even got to listen to a performer in the mall (couldn't understand what she was singing, but it sounded beautiful). The mall is slightly confusing because of the way it is set up but we had a lot of fun walking around and going in and out of stores. I even got a dress. We enjoyed lunch on the rooftop where there are a bunch of cafes and restaurants (it's not even their food court, they had two in lower levels). The food was absolutely delicious. I got this beef taco rice dish with a lemon sour cream and avocado. I devoured it and then we shared a dessert that was almost too pretty to eat. I will hopefully get the picture of it before we destroyed the piece of art, and will post later. After lunch we went back to base. Since it was the fourth of July we decided to try and find some fireworks. The only place that was having fireworks was on a beach that was an hour and a half drive away, sooooo..... we substituted and decided to buy movies that might have fireworks (or... ok... explosions) and that were patriotic. We got some flags and ate some American food and had a fun evening together. Sunday we went to chapel and then out to lunch. After lunch we walked to the arcade and actually won something this time!!! As well as accidentally break the air hockey machine. I don't think it was our fault but they got it running and I had fun remaining undefeated. I almost won at MarioKart2 and we had fun loosing money to the claw machines. After the arcade we went to the bakery and then to the BX on base to buy some new luggage. My suitcase got destroyed on my way here and John needed to pick up a small one as well. We went to Jack's Place for dinner again and decided to call it Our Place because we really enjoy their scallops and it has kind of become our place to eat on base for date nights. I hope everyone had a wonderful Independence Day and great weekend. I'm not sure I'll be able to post again before I leave. I am packing up my stuff tonight and then leaving tomorrow. I wish everyone the best and will see my family and friends again soon! Thank you everyone for all your support and encouragement. This trip has been beyond amazing and I have enjoyed every second of it. I have learned so much about the culture and the arts of Japan and I have learned a lot about myself. I am excited to get my hands dirty again and start to develop my body of work more. Best wishes and see you soon!
After changing into some dry clothes, my wonderful host took me to the castle up the hill, Zakimi Castle. This castle was very different from the castle in Nagoya. It was mainly just the castle walls and some ruins, but we were able to take some stairs up to the top of the wall and walk along part of it. It gave an absolutely beautiful view of Okinawa. From on top of the castle on the hill we could see the river and the ocean, and even part of Naha City. We were not alone at the castle of ruins, we were welcomed by the largest spiders I have ever seen..... and it was terrifying how huge they are. Next to the castle was an art museum, unfortunately they were closing for the night when we got there, but on the outside there was an area filled with ceramic vessels. Some were large vases or lidded jars and some were shaped like a building with Shisa dogs (guardian dogs, one with it's mouth open and one with its mouth closed) or with "dolphins" (looks more like carp). These vessels were traditionally used as urns. It was a fun adventure and afterwards we went to a restaurant that you order from a vending machine, it prints out tickets and then when you are seated you hand them to your server and they bring out your food. It was very delicious and I got to enjoy goyoza that I love so much.
Thursday John had the day off and he spoiled me by taking me to the Yomitan Pottery Village. I got to look at a bunch of pottery and walk around seeing the difference between the styles of Okinawa and Seto. It is amazing how different the styles could be even with similar subject matter. Along with the pottery village we also visited American Village. American Village is this large shopping center with stores and small restaurants. We had sushi rolls for lunch which were perfect for the hot summer day. After an evening of chapel rehearsal we went to dinner for ramen at one of our favorite places and decided to walk around the shopping center. Neither of us had explored the area and thought it would be good to walk off all the food we ate. We found a 100 yen store, a place similar to a Barnes and Nobles but Japanese obviously, a bakery, and an arcade. Let's just say both of us were very excited about the arcade and we may have had a little friendly competition on a couple games. We plan on going back soon. The evening was filled with a movie and relaxation.
I really enjoyed getting to experience more of Okinawa off of base and hope to discover more in the short amount of time I have left. I hope you enjoy the pictures and I'll have more to come soon. Best wishes and enjoy your Fourth of July safely! I think we are going to try and find some fireworks to watch on one of the many bases on the island. Until next time!