Wednesday, April 9th, 2008 by Steph

Now this may surprise all of you (ok, none of you), but I am actually not all that interested in war. And I don’t mean starting them or watching them, but studying them and learning about them. Perhaps this lack of interest could be traced back to any number of uninspiring history teachers in my past. Or the fact that history class never really seemed to get past WWI, from an almost exclusively European standpoint. So when I was informed that I should check out the war memorials, the war bunkers, and the war museums during my upcoming trip to Okinawa, I politely nodded yes on the outside and then quickly jettisoned the notion of doing anything remotely related to WWII on my much needed vacation. I was going to see culture, dammit, and see a slice of paradise. Why ruin a good thing with something so depressing?


Worth a Thousand Words

Monday, March 31st, 2008 by Steph

About a week ago, Chris and I returned from a 9-day visit to Okinawa. Instead of outright telling you about the complex awesomeness of the place, let’s see if our new vocabulary gleaned from the trip paints a vivid enough picture.

Of course, there’s all the uniquely Okinawan things you’ll find there: umibudou, awamori, chanpuru, gusuku, ryukyu, utaki, tebichi, habu, togyu, sanshin, bashofu, bingata, mozuku, rafute, beniimo, eisa and shisa.

But several other general-use words adhered themselves to my long-term memory as a consequence of the trip, including: hade (gaudy), kaesu (to return, as in a car), yakeshimashita (sunburned), kokusai (international), suizokukan (aquarium), yatai (a food stall without walls), yakimono (pottery), ei (ray), haka (grave) and jietai (soldier in Japan’s self-defense force).

Create a mosaic in your mind’s eye with that vocabulary (and these pictures), and we’ll return soon to provide the narrative.