The long awaited day had arrived.....my mom and dad were here!!!
I was anxiously awaiting their arrival and could barely stand there to take the pic before I got to run up to them and give them hugs. I was so unbelievably happy to see these two that I may or may not have been crying (tears of joy!) when hugging them and attempting to actually talk #pathetic #crybaby #damnilovethesetwo #apparentlymissedthematad And I brought a surprise to the airport with me: Ricky Bobby! He was able to keep my mom company in the back seat on our drive home.
I thought these two would be pooped from their trip over and want to go straight to be since they got in around 10pm. Much to my surprise, they wanted to have a glass of wine #bottleofwine and catchup! Well a jumbo bottle of wine, and countless wine spritzers #cougardrink, and countless laughs, we decided to call it a night around 2am.
Man was I glad these two were here! I can't tell you how happy I was when they booked the trip after I found a last minute deal with China Eastern to fly from SFO to Tokyo for $450. Even with a 20 hour layover in Shanghai, they figured visiting me was worth it :) #SFO->Shanghai->Tokyo->Okinawa I must be their favorite oldest daughter.
For their first day in Okinawa, I took them to the Four Seasons steakhouse for lunch in American village. Four Seasons does teppenyaki (where they cook your food on a grill in front of you) for great lunch prices and anyone who knows me, knows I love teppenyaki (can we say Bennihanas for my birthday dinner every year growing up?!) Our chef for our meal was fun (and super tall - probably around 6'6 or 6'7). He grew up in Okinawa and taught us another local Okinawan word: "Ma sun" for 'it's delicious!' (or oishee des in Japanese). My dad particularly enjoyed saying this with a southern accent, pretending like he was calling for his son. #notsurprised
After lunch, my mom and I were supposed to get a pedicure (but there was a scheduling miscommunication) while my dad hung out in American village. After rescheduling our pedicures for another day, we went to go find him, and found him reading a book while enjoying some music and mojitos on the beach #islandlife #ithinkhesenjoyingvacation
For their first official dinner in Okinawa, I took them to a local izakaya (Japanese, neighborhood restaurant/bar - and yes, this is the same one Nate's work partner took us to our first week on the island). Here we were able to sample the island's version of sake - Awamori, and enjoy little small plates of Japanese food: sashimi, kimchi, fried chicken, edamame
It was here that we had a breakthrough with my mom. We peer pressured her into trying tuna sashimi for the first time. She was reluctant at first, insisting she didn't like it because she's not a huge fan of fish, but after trying her first piece she was hooked! And ended up trying all the other types of sashimi we had ordered #adventerous #proudofher My mom's favorite dish of the night was the Japanese fried chicken - which in my opinion, was pretty damn tasty. She started off a little shaky with her chopsticks but was becoming a natural towards the end of the night (I think the Awamori helped ;) ) It was a successful first dinner with the parents and I didn't want it to end!
The next day, we packed our bags and drove down to Naha so we could pick up Nate and enjoy the city. Before we grabbed Nate from the airport (he was in Guam for work), I took them for lunch at Makishi Public Market in Naha. This is where you can choose your fish and have them cook it for you upstairs.
We got a plate of fresh sashimi, and some huge shrimp from downstairs. Once upstairs, we ordered some goya champuru and fried rice for the sides. We finished off our filling meal with some local Okinawan donuts - then headed to the airport.
After picking up Nate, our foursome was complete! We checked into our hotel and then started to explore Kokusai street (International street) where they have lots of little Okinawan souvenirs, shops, restaurants, and bars. I think my dad was impressed with the habu sake and actually seeing the snakes in the glass marinating.....
Along the way, we discovered an Awamori tasting at one of the gourmet markets. Here we got to mix and match different aged awamoris to create our own unique blend / mix.
For dinner, my dad was craving some shabu shabu. He was surprised we had trouble finding a shabu shabu beef place, but since pork rules in Okinawa, we settled for a pork shabu shabu - which was a first for my dad. Shabu shabu is a Japanese type meal where you cook all your ingredients in hot broth on the table. The meat is sliced super thin, so it cooks quickly (hence you can say 'shaabuuu shabbuuu while dipping it and have it cook) #somethingmydadtaughtme
After dinner, we found a little sports bar called 'Rehab' #seemsappropriate where we ordered some drinks and played some shuffle board with some Americans teaching English over here. Another first for my mom (shuffleboard) but she teamed up with my dad and they were the team to beat that night!
We also discovered a penguin bar where you actually got to drink and chill with penguins walking around and swimming behind you (in the enclosure). I was so excited to see this little fellas. We didn't stay too long since it was late - but fun to experience it.
The next morning we visited the Japanese Naval Underground Headquarters and Peace Prayer Park - there is a separate blog entry for these that you can read here.
After our day exploring Okinawa, we took my parents out to a fav spot of ours, Yakiniku Goen. It's an all you can eat spot, where you order food from an iPad at the table and cook on your individual stove at your table. We had a blast cooking, eating, laughing, and drinking. (Also, if you can't tell, I gave my dad shit most the trip for not smiling in pics and looking miserable - so now he would OVERLY smile - but I think he looks like he's having a blast! #missionaccomplished)
After dinner, we explored some of the bars on gate 2 street. We had a few drinks at Remy's where we chatted with the bartender who was from Korea. He told us about his life and the culture differences between Korea and marrying a mainland Japanese woman, and living in Okinawa. And he had a great sense of humor the whole time - so you know we got along with him well.
After that we took them to our favorite karaoke spot located on the second floor, Prince. I sang a duet with my mom - Grease 'Summer Lovin' AND 2 songs with my dad. Yes, you heard that right, my dad actually sung karaoke #wtf I was shocked and pleasantly surprised. And apparently, it wasn't his first time. He's sang some karaoke back in the day in Tokyo with clients #billyjoel #whoknew Great fun night with the parents - wish they lived here with us!
Sunday, Nate, my dad, and I went golfing at Taiyo golf course. We met up with our Japanese friend Rikko and her husband so they could join us for 18. It ended up being a beautiful day and a great time!
The next day, I took my parents for some yummy soba in Yomitan. Before driving down to Shuri Castle, we made a quick pit stop at the Zakimi Castle ruins. At Shuri castle, we got to enjoy nice weather and local Okinawan treats and Sanpin tea.
Wednesday night, my dad did some research and found a restaurant he wanted to go to that served sukiyaki (すき焼き), which is like a Japanese hot pot. It usually has thinly sliced beef which is slowly cooked at the table alongside veggies in a shallow iron pot in a mixture of soy sauce, sugar, and mirin. After the ingredients are cooked, they're usually dipped in a small bowl of raw, beaten eggs after being cooked in the pot and then eaten.
We invited our friends John and Alex to join us at Agu House near American Village. The article my dad had found with the sukiyaki was written a few years ago and the sukiyaki had been taken off the menu. BUT the owner said he had all the ingredients to do it and was nice enough to still serve it to us. I had never eaten a dish where you dipped cooked meat and veggies into raw egg but it was good! #thanksdad And of course, we all enjoyed some local Okinawan awamori :)
On one of their last days in Okinawa, I took my parents up north to eat at the delicious Pizza in the Sky and visit the famous Churaumi Aquarium. It was a bit gloomy and cold out but we made the most of it. We got a table outside and got blankets to snuggle up in while we enjoyed our tea, salad, and pizza. And my dad enjoyed the local Okinawan beer, Orion.
After lunch, we headed to the aquarium so they could see the big whale sharks. Even though it was a weekday, it was super crowded #chinesetourists but we held our own.
Their last day or two in Okinawa we spent the days relaxing. We had our friends Richard and Miwa over to eat my dad's yummy Moraccan tacos. We used the leftover pork to make my dad's delicious nachos for their last night here. We also got my parents hooked on Netflix's Daredevil that we binged on throughout the week and had them visit our favorite local Indian spot (the curry still wasn't spicy enough for my dad but he enjoyed it and the service none the less)
I'm so happy they were able to come for a week or so and enjoy our little island with us. I miss them to pieces and had trouble saying goodbye to them at the airport #dontleave #comeback
It was time for them to fly to Tokyo where they got to have dinner with some of my dad's old work friends. Then the next day they were off to Shanghai for a 20 hour layover and then their flight home. In Shanghai my mom got to enjoy some yummy soup dumplings. For my mom's first trip to Asia, she got to visit Okinawa, Tokyo, and Shanghai #nottooshabby!
Follow in our Footsteps:
Mojito Bar located on Sunset Beach
2 Chome Mihama, Chatan-chō, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa-ken 904-0115
Den Den (local izakaya)
904-2142 Okinawa-ken, Okinawa-shi, Noborikawa, 2 Chome-12-14
Hours: 6pm - 2am
Makishi Public Market
〒900-0014 Okinawa Prefecture, Naha, Matsuo, 2 Chome−10−1
Awamori Tasting - located in the back of HAPINAHA
〒900-0013 Okinawa Prefecture, Naha, 牧志2-2-30
Penguin Fairy Bar
2 Chome-6-16 Matsuyama, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 900-0032
Hours: 7pm-5am (Fri-Sat), 7pm-4am (Mon-Thurs), 7pm-1am (Sun)
500 yen sitting/entrance fee per person
〒904-0101 Okinawa Prefecture, Nakagami District, 北谷町Kamisedo, 545−3
Prince (karaoke bar)
1 Chome-4-2 Uechi, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0031
1 Chome-4-1 Uechi, Okinawa, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0031
Taiyo Golf Course
〒904-2205 Okinawa Prefecture, Uruma, Enobi, 1183
Ramen spot Yomitan (one of my favorites)
沖縄県読谷村波平1817-5 (located right across from the Kanehide grocery store 2161-2 Namihira, Yomitan, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0322)
Hours: 11am-4pm (Tues-Fri), 11am-2:30pm, 6pm-9pm (Sat,Sun) (closed Mondays)
Zakimi Castle Ruins
〒904-0301 Okinawa Prefecture, Nakagami District, 読谷村Zakimi, 708−6
(Open 24 hours, free)
1 Chome-2 Shurikinjocho, Naha, Okinawa Prefecture 903-0815
Price: 820 yen (adults), 310 yen (children)
Agu House あぐーの隠れ家 北谷店
2 Chome-2-2 Mihama, Chatan-chō, Nakagami-gun, Okinawa-ken 904-0115
Pizza in the Sky
〒905-0219 Okinawa Prefecture, Kunigami District, 本部町Yamazato, １１５３−２
Hours: 11:30am - 7pm (closed Tues and Wed)
Nail and Wax Salon Tida
1 Chome-6 Chatan, Nakagami District, Okinawa Prefecture 904-0116
Hours: 10am-6pm (closed Sundays)
Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium
424 Ishikawa, Motobu, Kunigami District, Okinawa Prefecture 905-0206
Hours: 8:30am - 5:30pm (Oct - Feb), 8:30am - 7:00pm (Mar - Sep)
Price: 1,850 yen, 610 yen
Megan Bond - AUTHOR
Just a girl raised in California and loved exploring Southeast Asia with my husband! We're back in the States but still exploring the world as much as we can!