This week in Oki: (8/7-8/13) Bullfights, Haunted Houses, and more Summer Festivals!

Hagoromo Festival in Ginowan

If you didn't make it to any of the summer or eisa festivals last weekend, don't fret: there's still the Hagoromo Festival in Ginowan this weekend. It features over 300 participants in traditional dress, with lots of drum performances, Ryukyu folk dance, and a parade. Admission is free. For times and performance schedules, check out this link.

Bulls on Parade

There's also an Okinawan–style bullfight happening this Sunday, August 11th. What's different about it? Instead of a matador, two bulls duke it out. Tickets are ¥2,500 to ¥3,000 each (dollars aren't accepted). For more information, contact the Okinawa Convention & Visitors Bureau at 098-859-6123.

The Haunting

And, if you can't wait for Halloween to get here, you're in luck: coinciding with Japan's Obon festivals, there's a Ryukyu Haunted House, happening every day throughout the month of August at Navel Kadena, 3F, from 12-10 p.m. Children 12 and under must be accompanied by a guardian, and attend from 12 to 5 p.m.. From 6 to 9 p.m., only those 16 years old and up may attend. Tickets are ¥800 in advance, or ¥1,000 at door.

Posted 8 months, 1 week ago at 5:27 pm.

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Tropical Beach

Tropical Beach and Seating AreasTropical beach is located next to the Ginowan convention center. Alongside is a large park. Plenty of picnic tables plus other beach equipment to rent.

Tel: 098-897-2759

Tropical House Store: 9:00 – 18:00

Tropical Beach

Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago at 10:03 pm.

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Okinawajob.com – Okinawa’s Number 1 Job Website

Okinawajob.com LogoIf you're looking for a job in Okinawa, then there's no better place to start than www.okinawajob.com. Now in the interests of full disclosure, Okinawajob.com is also owned by Total Okinawa, however, after a lot of hard work it's not ranked number 1 on Google for many job search terms. We attract both small independent businesses as well as multi-nationals to post jobs that are available in Okinawa.

Completely free for both recruiters and job hunters with no registration required it's worth a look!

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Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago at 3:23 pm.

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August 2013 Dive Report

The Water’s Warm

Okinawan Sea LifeThe diving season is in full swing on Okinawa – the water is warm and full of adventure seekers and fish watchers. As the sea life is in abundance, also be on the lookout for the more dangerous types of critters such as the box jelly fish which is not so friendly to interact with. As we move into the later stages of summer, typhoon season will also be kicking in so watch the weather for sudden changes in winds,waves and currents. Websites such as those found at http://imocwx.com/cwm/cwm_ljp.htm and http://www.tide-forecast.com/locations/toya-Okinawa-Japan/forecasts/latest/six_day are both great sites for staying up to date on the weather and tend to be much more accurate than the sea conditions posted by the military. Only you as the diver can truly make a call on whether it is good to dive or not. Remember the 5 second rule and know your limits.

As now is the best time to increase those dive numbers and total bottom time counts it’s also a great time to increase that dive knowledge with a worthwhile dive class. Deep diving, search and recovery, advanced propulsion techniques, drift diving and introduction to technical diving are all classes that can expand your dive skills and make your diving a more rewarding experience. Specialities such as boat diving offer very little skill development and not much bang for the buck. Interview your instructor before signing up and talk about the exact skills you want to learn and what will be covered in the class to determine if the class is what you are looking for. A stack of cert cards does not make an experienced diver.

For those looking to truly expand their experience the staff at Reef Encounters is offering the full range of technical diving training including decompression diver, helitrox and trimix training. As technical diving is a truly advanced type of diving you want to get your training from the best and the staff at Reef Encounters has more experience and dive times than any other staff on island. Our technical instructors have a wide range of experience and training, not just a quick class over a month or two of tech training. Our staff have both open circuit and CCR experience and have been contracted by numerous professional divers including the BBC and Paramount pictures to oversee both non-technical and decompression dives for numerous products. When the pros are looking for training and support they call Reef Encounters and so should you.

Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago at 10:01 am.

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This week in Oki (7/30–8/6): Natsu Matsuri and Eisa!

The beginning of August kicks off several summer festivals, called Natsu Matsuri, in Japan. Okinawa adds its own flavor to this tradition with choreographed eisa drumming performances. Here are a few of them happening this weekend:

Tens of thousands attend the free Nago Summer Festival at Nago Fishing Port each year. Put on your walking shoes and check out the eisa performances, other live music, and lots of vendors, including one of the event’s sponsors, Orion beer. Don’t miss the huge fireworks display at the end of the night. Admission is free. Hours are 1 pm – 9 pm Saturday and 9 am – 9 pm Sunday.

Few Okinawan events are as famous as Naha’s 10,000 Eisa Festival on Kokusai Street. Part performance, part parade, you don’t want to miss this one-of-a-kind event this Sunday, August 4. Admission is free, but you can pay a fee and try out eisa yourself that day.

Or, check out youth and young men’s teams performing at the Eisa Festival at the Okinawa City Zoo, from 4 pm – 9 pm both Saturday and Sunday. Admission prices are ¥500 for adults, ¥200 for junior high and high school students, ¥100 for 4 year olds and elementary students, and free for children 3 and under.

Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago at 10:40 pm.

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King Furniture Sale

King furniture has a summer sale on with 10% off antique style furniture. If you're looking for some new furniture for your home or are about to PCS and want to take something back home then check it out. Website at www.kingfurnitureokinawa.com with much more available in their showroom off route 58.

King Furniture Sale

 

Posted 8 months, 3 weeks ago at 11:25 am.

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Check out the Kijimuna Festa this week!

cloud puppet

Check out the Kijimuna Festa, going on this week, through July 28! The Kijimuna Festa is an international performing arts festival held in Okinawa City. Tailored specifically for children, it features plays, puppet shows, film screenings and more from Japan and around the world. Ticket prices vary.

For more information on the event, read this Stars and Stripes article: http://www.japanupdate.com/2013/07/international-theater-festival-kicks-off-july-20th/

And, here’s the English version of the Kijimuna Festa’s website:  http://www.kijimuna.org/en/index.html

Posted 8 months, 4 weeks ago at 4:38 pm.

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100 Yen Store Makeover

Daiso, owner of the 1oo Yen shops with the green and yellow signs, has revamped its huge store in Ginowan, in the plaza with Uniqlo. Its pink decor and removal of the "100 Yen" sign reflect its move toward something a little fancier, which also means they can offer more items at higher prices. Despite its new look and broader range of merchandise, many finds are still ¥105, including this bag of cheeseburger flavored Cheetos, which took a little getting used to (you can even taste pickle), but were pretty good.

Posted 9 months ago at 8:00 am.

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REALLY Fresh Eda Mame

Sure, you've probably tried eda mame, those green soybean pods, at your local sushi restaurant. Maybe you've even  bought a frozen package, boiled and salted them yourself, before munching away. But have you ever bought them still on the branch? We found these branches of eda mame while on our quest for cheap, fresh produce at Okinawa's local farmer's markets. At a mere ¥98, they're a steal compared to what you'd pay at a restaurant or the grocery. Find out where we spotted them in the upcoming August & September issue of Total Okinawa!

Posted 9 months, 1 week ago at 10:46 pm.

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Tapioca World

Since this review as written, Tapioca world in American village has now closed. Thanks to our commenters for pointing out the following two locations still in Okinawa:

Haebaru Jusco – MAP and Nago Jusco - MAP

40 kinds of crepes and 39 different bubble tea drinks make the newest addition to American  Village worth trying!

Tapioca WorldAlthough popular in Asia and cities worldwide, bubble tea or “boba” is still unfamiliar to many here in Oki. Descriptions of its tapioca “pearls” bring to mind that awful pudding with bits too small to chew. The tapioca pearls in boba, however, are much bigger. They take on some of the flavor and sweetness of the drink they’re added to, and are sucked up a big straw. The pearls are meant to be chewed on between sips, and their texture is not unlike gummy bears.

Tough Competition
American Village’s newest kid on the block, Tapioca World, recently opened next to Partyland (formerly Yogurtland), a spot that has seen several restaurants come and go. With its focus only on bubble tea and crepes, can it compete against AV staples Partyland and Blue Seal, especially since Blue Seal also serves bubble tea and crepes alongside its famous ice cream?

Caramel Almond TeaGood value
Here’s what we liked about Tapioca World: first, the prices are lower than Blue Seal’s. Bubble tea at Blue Seal costs around ¥400 to ¥500, comes in one size, and some of the flavors taste, well, unappetizing—overly sour or somehow “off”—not a good value if you have to keep trying different flavors to find what you like. The few boba drinks we tried at Tapioca World were quite good. The caramel almond and ben-imo drinks still tasted like tea (as they should), and the peach smoothie (more like a fruit slush) was really refreshing on a hot day—we want to try the mango next. They come in regular or large sizes, and, overall, are a good value. We also liked that we could choose colored tapioca pearls instead of the dark brown ones.

Tapioca World CrepeCrepes
We tried the strawberry banana ice cream crepe, and again, liked that it was a bit cheaper than at Blue Seal. But it was just okay—there was a lot of crepe pancake for the amount of filling, and the ice cream was so-so—Blue Seal definitely has an advantage here. It didn’t much matter to us that they used tapioca flour, either. Still, at under ¥400, it was a novel treat to try at a decent price. They’re also thinking of rolling out some açai berry menu items.

Like many Okinawan businesses, Tapioca World offers a point card, for discounts on future visits. 

American Village, Carnival Park 2nd Floor
098-989-8660
¥ and $

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Honest Unpaid Reviews

Posted 9 months, 3 weeks ago at 2:34 pm.

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