OKINAWA TRIP 7: BEACH, AMERICAN VILLAGE AND DOJO BAR
By Jenifer Tull-Gauger
On Sunday, we finally got time to relax and try to acclimate. In the morning we went to Araha Beach – this time to just hang out, and with no camera crew watching. I went beach-combing. The shells were very small, and/or broken. We waded in the jellyfish net area. The net kept jellyfish out. At one point we found a sneaky one that made it into the area. It was shown to a lifeguard, who proceeded to troll inside the area to check for any more. I noticed that the common birds were more tropical-looking. In Arizona, this guy would be more dusty brown with less prominent markings.
After a few hours hanging out at the beach, we went to lunch at Coco’s Curry house. A lot of people liked the curry, and their servings were generous. The delicious garlic cheese naan (bread) had minced, dehydrated garlic and a lot of white cheese. They offered a salad with corn on it. Corn is currently a popular food in Okinawa.
Next stop: American Village. They built this recreation and shopping area several years ago, presumably for the American service families to feel at home. But it appears more popular with the locals, especially the young people. The architecture and feel of American Village reminded me of a small Disneyland – see photos.
Stores sold expensive modern American style clothes. I liked a couple of the American Village souvenir shops because if their unique variety and good prices. In this outdoor square, an artist created a masterpiece, live, in front of a crowd, using only spray paints and one round stencil.
American Village featured a huge arcade. Inside the extremely loud din and cigarette smoke accosted us. A lot of our group loved this drumming game. We thought some of us were doing really well, too, until a teenage girl schooled us all and got an exponentially high score.
A huge Ferris wheel overlooks American Village. You can see the ride from miles away on some parts of the island.
That evening we drove into Naha to go to the Dojo Bar & Cafe for dinner and drinks. Or, I should say we overwhelmed the Dojo Bar with our group of about 20. Ebersole Shihan had called ahead to make reservations. They probably would have been okay with our group plus their half-a-dozen regular crowd. But they had another group of about 20-30 karateka who also decided to go there that night, and it was PACKED, too crowded, and the staff could not keep up with orders. Nonetheless, I was glad they brought what I ordered and enjoyed it very much. The kids fell asleep. Gauger Renshi wrote on the wall – ahead and to the right when you enter the front door. The front door handle is a tonfa.
Buying food and snacks was often a gamble. We didn’t know what we were getting until we had bought it, opened it and ate it. Sometimes even then it was questionable. Below was a jackpot winner. The lesson: count your caramel corn blessings.