Gyoza is SO good.  These little dumplings filled with something magical.  We ate at a place known for their gyoza... ready in minutes and served with a soy peanut thai sauce which was amazing. The restaurant is called Osaka Ohsho.

Adam also got this crazy bowl of egg and soup that he ate all of!  I think it was similar to an egg drop soup with rice inside.  Either way, everything was delicious and it came in these sets which included pieces of chicken, miso soup and other stuff that we didn't realize we were getting.
Overall, pleased and full.  Come visit us, and we can take you here.  :)


Hiking to the Lost World

Before we got to the island, Adam bought this crappy stapled together, 2007 home-printed book about climbing on Okinawa.  A really awesome guy attempted to give a detailed book with several locations around Okinawa, how to get to each place and the type of climbing routes you can find.  Well, the first one we tried to find turned out to be bogus.  With his step by step directions we could not find anything.  There was no easy access trail, and there was no possible way it could be climbed.  We assumed it had become overgrown since 2007, as rock climbing is really not a big sport for the Japanese population.
Anyway, this Sunday, we decided to give the book another shot and find "The Lost World."  The writer described it as a 70 foot cliff wall with 23 different bolted climbing routes for all your rope clipping pleasure.  It was a rainy, kind of dreary Sunday, but we didn't want our weekend to go to waste.

We drove about an hour northbound, thru the city of Nago, up into the mountains of the North.

Per the step by step directions in the book, we got to Mt. Katsuyama, parked at a tiny little log cabin, admired the view, took a family photo (see pic) and walked to the bottom of a hill until we got to an overgrown farm.
At this point, I was thinking...this book is wack!!
Where is it taking us?!  But Cinder insisted, so we kept going and eventually found a trail.
It started to downpour around this time, and the 'dry' creek bed that we were supposed to hike up had turned into a flowing river.  We were all pretty excited!

We hiked through the river in a steady rain for about 30 minutes.  The water was clear, waterfalls around every river bend, we were under a thick rainforest canopy of palms, bamboo and various greenery, the leaves were shiny from the rain.  It seemed like a dream...until Cinder would come barreling through full speed, slipping on rocks, her eyes bugging out, sheer excitement and adrenaline.  She LOVED hiking in the river, in the rain, off her leash...and we loved watching.

Of course, there was also your fair share of creepy crawlies...spiders, mosquitos, dragonflies, butterflies, other critters that I don't even want to know about.

We were having a great time hiking, soaked but on a mission.

  Finally, we came around a bend and there she was..a 70 foot cliff face stared down at us, a mirroring mountain on the other side of the river, light came in through the valley and the rocky cliff glistened.  It was breathtaking.

 Adam examined all the bolted climbing routes, while I took lots of pictures, cleaned mud off my bare legs, played with Cinder and took in the beauty around us. 

 The one time Cinder was still during our hike, Adam was holding a treat.

 When we got back to the road, we were so tired, soaking wet, dirty, eaten by bugs, hungry and smiling really big.  It was such a cool place to bushwack through the rainforest, find an amazing 70 ft cliff face, hike through a river with beautiful clear waterfalls, and give our dog the time of her life.  What a great day.

We are SO glad that we found this hidden paradise!  Thank you old wack climbing book...maybe you aren't so bad after all. 
Next time we will go on a sunny day, with climbing gear and appropriate clothing, bug spray and friends.


Delica Star Wagon

Ever since our investment in our lemon Delica, Adam has become quite smitten with the Delica craze here on the island.  He is absolutely crazy about Delica's.  Especially when they have lifts, big mud tires, full custom graphics and big racks on top.

 Here are two that grabbed his attention.  Adam, this post is in your honor.

Of course, we have to give a shout out to our Star Wagon.  Adam took a pic of the front of it here:
The Special Gear for 4x4 Runners
This would make any man drool.

Cinder likes it too..it's nice, shady and roomy.  She looks so small all the way in the back!

HEY!  How did this adorable picture of Cinder get on the Delica post?  
I call this the Pancake Picture.

Blue Seal

The big ice cream shop here on the island.  They are known for their ice cream crepe cones.  Yes...exactly how it sounds.
It was a hot summer day, we checked out NEOS and then decided to cool off a bit.

Adam was the photographer here...The ice cream was delicious.  We stuck with our traditional favorites...instead of getting the sugar cane cookie flavor, pistachio, or coconut cream pop.  Maybe next time when we are feeling crazy!

Nature Earth Ocean Space

N.E.O.S. is the REI equivalent here on Okinawa.  Nature Earth Ocean Space ! 
Last weekend we were itching to check it out.
Adam and I have been in the market for a new kayak to get us out in the water.  If only we could go to REI...so we went to the next best thing.

 Talk about a colorful footwear department!

 I was diggin these cycling hats...gangsta-sporty.

Love this banner by Cannondale.  It was huge!  (REI you need to get one of these..)


Kali Ciesemier: Illustrator extraordinare

I have to give a loud shout out to Kali Ciesemier, who is not only an incredible person, but an extraordinary artist.  She is making the big-time right now in Baltimore, but being published all over the map.
She has been featured on the front of so many magazines!
These are some of my favorite illustrations that she's done:

Check her out!   (she's my cousin-in-law!!)

Here are some of my favorite illustrations:

Awesome portraits!
Hey!  It's Me and Adam!  That's right...she did some caricatures for our wedding...she's a badass.
I love this one!  It is so mysterious and eerie.  It may be my favorite of hers!

This is her latest work of art:

These are treasures.

 She creates these masterpieces on her computer!  Down to the tiny details.  Check our her blog and website to see how it's done.  MAD PROPS Kali...making the world more beautiful with your creativity and artistic genius.


Discovery Flight

It isn't too often that I call myself a winner.  But this time I'M A WINNER!
Remember the pottery class post, when I mentioned that we won it through a drawing that I entered weeks before at the community center...?  That day, I entered about 10 drawings; just passing the time.  I didn't really know what they were for, but thought hey!  I never win anything...may as well give it a shot.  Well, I won again!
This time it was for a flight around the island called the Discovery Flight!
How awesome! I WON!  Yeeeeehhaaaaa!!
So this afternoon, we went to the Aero Club on Kadena and met our flight instructor Asst. Chief Pilot Lance Dale who led us out to a Cessna 172, 4 seater for our flight around the island.  It just so happened that it was a beautiful and clear day!
Here is what we saw:

 Our views from 1,000 ft.
 This is where we live!  The large green space right on the coast is the field where we take Cinder to run everyday!  The beach on the left is Nirai beach.  we live just inland through the fields of Yomitan.

 Zampa Point.  You can see the white lighthouse on the tip.  This is one of our favorite spots.
I can't believe how clear some of these pictures turned out!

 Can you believe this water?  Seeing it from the sky was really amazing.  Can't wait to scuba dive here.

 Mountains! There are a lot of mountains on Okinawa. We haven't been to the northern part of the island, but now we know a little of what to expect.  The tallest mountain on the island is 1600 ft.

This is Ina island just off the Western coast of Okinawa.  Gorgeous contrast against the deep ocean.


Our pilot told us some pretty cool facts about Okinawa.  The island is not volcanic but actually limestone.  It is quite literally the top of a submerged limestone mountain that was once completely underwater until the top poked its head out of the ocean and Okinawa was born.  The widest part of the island is 18 miles across, the narrowest is 2 miles across, and 70 miles from top to bottom.  Okinawa also includes 160 smaller surrounding islands.

About 500 humpback breed in waters off the Bonin Islands and Okinawa every year.  Didn't see a tail during the flight...but we may need to take a boat out for whale watching.  Maybe they have a drawing contest for that!