Cooler Months, Cooler Dives – December 2013 Dive Report

Hammerhead SharkThe final few breaths of the 2013 dive season are now upon us. Time to reflect on the great dives you had this year and continue enjoying the season as it progresses. Diving in the winter months as the ocean cools is still amazing. It’s time to invest in a thicker wetsuit or add a hooded vest to your summer suit and get back in the water. The winter season offers some of the best diving that Okinawa has and enjoying the cooler waters and unique sea life should be high on every diver’s list.

Our most unique dives will be coming up in January and February as they do every year. Starting the first of the year, humpback whales will be making their way into the waters surrounding Okinawa, and the schools of hammerhead sharks will be making their annual migration to Yonaguni island. Reef Encounters offers you the unique opportunity to swim with these gentle giants of the deep. The annual swim with whales tours will be starting in January and our first off island trip of the new year will be to dive with the hammerhead sharks and explore the ancient ruins of Yonaguni. Reservations and deposits for the Yonaguni trips are due soon so contact Reef Encounters now to ensure you have a seat on one of these once in a lifetime expeditions.

This is also a great time of year to increase your training level or even look at pursuing that professional level training that you have been thinking about. Reef Encounters will be offering specials on both Intro to Technical courses and all professional level courses to include Divemaster, Assistant Instructor and Instructor. Start your training now so you can be ready to teach your love of the ocean to new divers by the spring. Instructor training courses will be offered in February and March and contract instructors are needed for the upcoming season, so get your training started now.

Also our daily dives to the Kerama Islands and the surrounding dive sites of Okinawa continue year round so contact Reef Encounters for diving trips and boat dives to explore the underwater wonder of Okinawa.

Posted 12 months ago at 12:28 pm.

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Kajinho (Pizza in the Sky)

Pizza In The Sky ExteriorIf you happen to be up North in the Motobu or Nago area, you’ve got to check out Pizza in the Sky at least once. While the pizza and limited menu draw mixed reviews from the public, one thing cannot be denied: its hilltop location offers lovely views of the Okinawan landscape and East China Sea.

There’s a fair amount of tables both indoor and outdoor, but the place was so popular on the Saturday we went, that we did have to wait a good while on one of their benches overlooking the Okinawa vista. Once seated, our server presented us with the menus, which were paper fans listing a menu item in each fold—Japanese on one side, and English on the other.

People seem to be very opinionated about the pizza. The crust is slightly thick, with a little bit of chew to it, and there’s lots of gooey cheese on top, which we liked, but others didn’t care for, due to the flavor or the amount. A small, 7 inch pizza (¥1100) and a medium, 16 inch pizza (¥2100) are available. Toppings include pepperoni, bacon, onion, corn, and green pepper, and the price doesn’t change based on the number of toppings you order.

Pepperoni PizzaAside from pizza, we enjoyed the house salad (¥500), a good sized bowl of lettuce, red onions, shredded carrot, cucumbers, and corn in a light, tangy vinaigrette. One bowl was enough for two or three people. Several freshly squeezed juices (¥400), including orange and guava, are also offered, and are quite refreshing, but seem a little steep in price for the half glass offered, so keep that in mind. For dessert, we all shared chunks of mango in a sweet syrup (¥500). Some of the chunks were still frozen in the middle, which were a little too chilly for when we went, but would be refreshing on a summer day.

Open from 12:00 – 19:00 (Last Order 18:30)
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday
1153-2 Yamazato, Motobu-cho
¥ only
098-047-5537

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Posted 12 months ago at 10:14 am.

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Shop ‘Til You Drop

Do you enjoy shopping, like to keep up with the latest fashion trends, or just prefer to try on before you buy? We’ve got three shopping centers in Naha for you to check out and get your “retail therapy” fix.

Ashibinaa Outlet MallAshibanaa Outlet Mall, just off the airport expressway exit toward Senaga island, is an outdoor American-style shopping center with more than 70 internationally famous brands, like Michael Kors, Ocean Pacific, Levi Strauss, and Coach.

While some claim that the merchandise is discounted by 30% or more, you really have to look for bargains (Levi’s was expensive), and the best deals we found were at The Gap and some of the clearance sections in Adidas. Kids will love the displays and play area at the Sylvanian Families store. Go for a bit more selection and sizing than you’d find elsewhere on island. Hours: 10 am – 8 pm.

Map at http://tiny.cc/ashibinaa

DFS GalleriaIf you’re leaving the country and have cash to burn (or just want to window shop), be sure to check out DFS Galleria on 330 in Naha. This upscale shopping plaza features designers like Armani, Prada, Gucci, and Louis Vuitton, plus a whole wing dedicated to fragrance and cosmetics like Mac and Kiehl. DFS’s boutiques have the latest trends in fashion, an amazing atmosphere, and even a bar and eatery.

You can only purchase there if you’re leaving the country soon, though. Bring your flight itinerary and passport and pay at the Galleria. Then on the day of your flight, take your receipt and pick up your loot at the DFS counter in Naha Airport’s international terminal after check in and security. Hours: 9am – 9pm

Map at http://tiny.cc/dfsokinawa

Naha Main PlaceJust a block down from DFS Galleria is Naha Main Place, a more mid-level shopping center akin to San A, and open really late. In addition to shoes and clothing shops, there are stores for eyeglasses, Japanese beauty products, socks, kids clothes, fabric and craft supplies, luggage, plus a grocery store, French bakery, flower shop, and even a Sanrio store, for Hello Kitty lovers. Hours: 9:00 am to 12:00 am

Map at http://tiny.cc/mainplace

Posted 12 months ago at 9:49 am.

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Secure Pay

Secure Pay LogoSecure Pay offers the most diverse and flexible bill payment options for Americans living in Japan and local companies doing business with Americans or US businesses. Safe SECURE payments through allotment, online bank transfers, automatic checking account debiting, or credit card processing allows you to select the most convenient and secure payment processing meeting your needs.

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Posted 1 year ago at 12:20 am.

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Marco Polo Bakery & Cafe

Soup & Scone SetMarco Polo bakery and café in Awase is a great place to people watch, and get your bread fix at the same time.

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, the café of 28 tables plus an outdoor patio provides a spacious atmosphere to watch the bustle of the bakery, and to smell the chocolate desserts and fresh bread being pulled out of the stone oven.

Breakfast is served from 8 am to 11:30, with options for sandwiches, French toast, and even soup. The lunch menu includes a new selection of four different pastas, a soup of the day, plus sandwiches, burgers (¥750—¥830), pizzas (¥1500), and a calzone(¥1200). The 15 cm pizzas and 30 cm calzone each take about 20 minutes to cook. The generous portion of fresh creamy broccoli soup was perfect for the drizzly day, served with a scone and side of strawberry jam, though a basket of fresh bread was also an option. We did enjoy a basket of bread that came with sausage and vegetable pasta in tomato sauce, but the pasta dish, which included hot dogs for the sausages, was a bit disappointing—we expected more of an Italian sausage.

Juice, coffee, and sodas are also available (¥200), as well as draft beer (¥350) and wine by the bottle (¥1200). The caramel cappuccino (¥350) was medium-bodied, slightly sweet, not bitter at all. We’d like to try the latté (¥220) next time.

The established bakery is Marco Polo’s gem, and attracts so many customers that a yellow line is taped around the checkout counter for when there’s a flood of customers. The bakery offers a smorgasbord of tempting cakes, donuts, loaves of bread, and desserts, and even soups to go. The café’s lunch menu can also be ordered to go, and we hear that late at night, many of the bakery items are offered at a discount, to make room for the next day’s batch of goodies.

8:00 am to 9:00 pm daily
¥ and $
098-921-1820

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Posted 1 year ago at 9:23 pm.

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Imperial Housing

Imperial HousingImperial Housing have a variety of homes available in the popular military and civilian housing areas of Okinawa including Chatan town, Okinawa City and Yomitan. They have properties available to view on their website.

Tel: 070-5419-8595

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Looking for other housing agencies? Click HERE to view our complete list

Posted 1 year ago at 6:10 pm.

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Russian Restaurant Perestroika

Naha’s Premier Russian Restaurant

Perestroika will be closed during the month of August 2014

Plums and Apples Wrapped in BeefLocated a block away from Kokusai Street near the Naha bus terminal, Perestroika has been offering up authentic Russian cuisine since 2007. With it’s phenomenal food, charming atmosphere, and friendly staff, I hope it’s around for many more years to come.

What I love about Perestroika is it’s charm. Owner Elena and staff make you feel welcome, as if you’re guests in their home. There’s a lot to see as you wait for food, including colorful murals inside and outside the restaurant, cute Russian décor on the tables, and Russian dance and music concerts on two TVs.

Continue Reading…

Posted 1 year ago at 10:08 pm.

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This Week in Oki (November 14-21, 2013)

Even though the annual White Beach Festival planned for this weekend was postponed for the second year in a row, this time due to efforts to help victims of Typhoon Haiyan in the Philippines, there is still plenty to do and see on island this weekend.

Keep an eye out for little ones dressed in traditional kimono on Friday, November 15, which is Shichi-go-san day. Young boys age 3 and 5, and young girls age 3 and 7, get dressed up and go with their parents to a local shrine to be blessed, in the hopes that they will have long and prosperous lives.

If you like to watch basketball, the Ryukyu Golden Kings face off the Shimane Susano Magic at the Ginowan City Gym in Mashiki this Saturday, November 16th, at 7 p.m. Advanced tickets range from ¥1,800 to ¥3,000; add ¥500 to the ticket price if purchased at the event. For more information, visit the Golden Kings’ official website here.

If you’re looking for something outdoors and free, check out the Kitanakagusuku Festival happening this Saturday and Sunday from 3 to 9 p.m. at Shiosai Park in Atsuta. A Google Map for Atsuta is available here.

Posted 1 year ago at 10:17 pm.

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Art Rock 58

Art Rock 58 PosterLooking for something a bit different? Check out the Art Rock 58 event at Club Xcentric on November 23. Featuring live music, live tattoo artists and special guest dance.

There's also an all you can eat BBQ!

Click the image or the link for more info.

Posted 1 year ago at 10:34 pm.

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Girls Night Out!

Xcentric Male Revue ShowLooking for a great girls night out? Check out the Club Xcentric male revue show taking place on 15th and 16th November starting at 7pm

Click the image or the link for more info

Posted 1 year ago at 10:28 pm.

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