Monday, February 28, 2011

Castle Ruins, Sunflowers, and Sunshine

One of favorite things to do is pile in the car and just GO. Now that we have Annie, it's been even more fun than usual. 

   Below are some pictures from President's Day weekend. Castle ruins, sunflower fields, and sunshine. Doesn't get much better! 

Sunflowers are absolutely my all time FAVORITES. I was so excited to find fields and fields of them. They looked a little limp (we just had a BIG rain), but still beautiful!

Our walk around the castle ruins: Not much castle to be seen, but great views!

Lifting the rock. With just one finger. No big deal.

my family <3

I don't read much Japanese, but I'm pretty sure this roughly translates into: HABU SNAKE. This was at the end of the trail and I was very grateful we didn't bump into one of these. Yuck!

my brown eyed girl

  A few weeks ago, the pet policy for our housing changed. Meaning, if you live on the first or second floor (which we do!) you can have a pet. We hemmed and hawed over the idea of either going to get Dunstan and Tiger (not really practical), hoping someone would come visit us and bring them (not very likely), or finding a new pet here in Okinawa. 

 About the same time, we were tooling around on in the pet section. That's when we saw her picture and read her story. Recently brought in for being a stray, this sweet chocolate lab had about three days before she'd be put down. The pound gasses all unwanted dogs.

 The picture on the ad showed an adorable 4 year old chocolate lab. She was said to be very sweet, well-mannered, and desperate for a good home. Maybe it was the story, maybe it was her big, brown eyes, but we contacted the people behind the ad right away. 

 A few days later, we had reached a decision: we'd bring her home and see how it went. At least that way we would know that she wouldn't be put down. We were still pretty unsure about the whole thing, so we kept saying that if things didn't work out, we'd foster her for a bit and find a loving home for her here.

 We've named her Annie. She's just as sweet and well-behaved as we hoped. (There was one butter eating incident that we won't go in to. Looks like we've brought home the Paula Deen of dogs.) We've been working on some potty-training and house manners, but we're so excited to have her. She's a very sweet girl and we love her already. :) 

sweet girl on her first day home.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Cherry Blossom Festival

I love cherry blossoms. They've been one of my favorite flowers for a long time. I love their bright pink color and I love that they usually indicate that spring is right around the corner. I also think they're a beautiful reminder that life is short (much like their bloom - usually a week) and we should enjoy is as much as we can for as long as we can. 

 At any rate, the Japanese seem to love cherry blossoms as much as I do. If you turn over a 100 yen, you'll see cherry blossoms on the back. Here, a cherry blossom is associated with love, luck, and good fortune. Not too shabby for a little flower. 

 So, when I read about the upcoming Cherry Blossom Festival in Nago, I roped everyone I could into going with me. (I might have borderline harassed them...) At any rate, the result was a fun (although wet and somewhat chilly) day spent way north on the island with good friends. :) 

The stairs all the way up the hill. No thanks!

 cotton candy!

 Parade we caught on the way out. The cherry blossom dancers were great!

My husband takes fabulous pictures. :)

if you mess with the bull, you get the horns.

  I was extremely suspicious when Douglas came home and announced that we'd be attending a bull fight. I agreed after grilling him on the particulars. ("Will there be blood? No? Okay.")

  The bull fight itself was pretty tame. (Thankfully) Two bulls head butt each other until one gets exhausted and surrenders. There was also a lot of fried food and Okinawan drumming. All in all, it was a good evening! 

I about peed my pants laughing. Nice horns! Our announcers for the evening!

Um, this is not a bull. 

Love him. :) 

Douglas and Mark's bullfight. :)


Dinner & Drums

For this amazing dining experience, I’m giving all the credit to my awesome neighbor, Melissa. After reading up on En Okinawa, she promised an evening of drums and interesting Japanese food. So, we went out on our first double date.

   The food was excellent and the restaurant itself was beautiful. We ordered a variety of things to try. While we were eating, we were entertained by dancing Shi-Shi dogs and Okinawan drumming. It was a blast! Thanks to our fabulous Okinawan friends for a great evening!  

Do you mind if I climb the stairs and take pictures of you eating? No? Great.
The end of a great night. No, Douglas, the "prom pose" is not cute.