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.
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 7 months, 4 weeks ago at 10:46 pm. Add a comment
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:
40 kinds of crepes and 39 different bubble tea drinks make the newest addition to American Village worth trying!
Although 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.
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?
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.
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
¥ and $
Posted 8 months, 2 weeks ago at 2:34 pm. 7 comments
Posted 9 months ago at 3:11 pm. Add a comment
As the summer kicks into full swing the diving just keeps getting better. The warm waters of the summer bring lots of marine life to Okinawa and the surrounding islands. The summer weather also allows for plenty of diving opportunities. As the beach dives of Sunabe Seawall and Maeda Point are crowded with the summer tourist divers, it means it’s time to explore the less dove sites around the islands. For beach dives you could head south to Channel Crevaces and Gushikami Castle, both great sites seldom visited by tourists. You can also head north to Onna to explore its many locations or even further north to Hedo point. These sites are less visited than the standard locations around the middle of the island and offer great diving. In addition, the calm waters of the summer allow most divers to safely explore them.
However, to truly escape the crowds it’s boat diving for sure! The summer allows boats to roam further and explore seldom dove sites including Aka-jima, Tonaki and others. This is also a perfect season for Rukan Atoll and other southern sites. The warm water is also a great time to increase that dive knowledge with a class or two. Contact the professional staff at Reef Encounters to get that advanced license, drift dive specialty or move on up to the professional ranks with a divemaster or instructor class. Technical diving is finally making its way to Okinawa and Reef Encounters staff can teach you the ins and outs of decompression or sidemount diving to further enhance your enjoyment of the underwater world.
As always when exploring new spots caution is key. The sites on the north and south of the island can have currents and conditions that can change quickly so check the weather forecast and plan accordingly. Look for days with minimal tide changes, low wind and waves to explore new sites. If possible talk to others that have dove the site or bring a guide with you. We hope to see out exploring the ocean this summer!!
Posted 9 months, 1 week ago at 1:21 pm. Add a comment
As developmental behavior counsellors/therapists, our goal is to help you uncover your true potential and lead a life that is worth celebrating. While we can't change difficult situations of the past, we can work together to better understand and resolve challenges in your life. By applying complementary therapy approaches and techniques, we will unearth long-standing behavior patterns or negative perceptions that may be holding you back from experiencing a more fulfilling and meaningful life.
If you're looking for extra support and guidance through a challenging situation or you're just ready to move in a new direction in your life, we look forward to working with you to achieve your goals.
Treatment specialization includes:
- Therapy for Depression and Anxiety
- Couples Counseling
- Family Counseling
- Parenting Support
- ADD, ADHD
- Stress Management
- Dyslexia, Discalculia, Dysgraphia
We work with a wide range of emotional and behavioral issues providing services that span from therapy for depression and grief counseling to parenting support, couples counseling and beyond. In a comfortable and supportive atmosphere, we offer a highly personalized approach tailored to each of our patients individual needs to help attain the personal growth they’re striving for.
Posted 10 months, 2 weeks ago at 6:06 pm. Add a comment
Nitori now has three stores in Okinawa. It's been compared to the Swedish giant Ikea and is perfect for picking up household goods for any room in the house as well as bigger items of furniture. Now located on Highway 58 a few minutes from Camp Foster.
Posted 10 months, 3 weeks ago at 8:31 pm. Add a comment
- Inflate your BC, make sure it holds air and the inflator is not sticking.
- Check mask and fin straps for wear and replace if necessary.
- Ensure tanks have a current hydro and visual inspection.
- Inspect regulators for wear on mouthpieces and hoses. Ensure that regulators are not free flowing and breathing smoothly. Check second stages to be sure they are free of any debris or dust.
- If there are any doubts about the functionality of your gear bring it in for professional servicing.
After checking your gear, it’s time to ensure that your dive skills are up to par with a few easy dives off the beach. Alternatively, take advantage of the free refresher offered with all boat dives during the month of April and May on Reef Encounters dives to the Keramas and surrounding dive sites. If you are an experienced diver and looking to make diving more than a hobby, professional level courses are being offered this month for divemaster and instructor, contact Reef Encounters for details. Instructor courses are open to all agency divemasters and have very flexible schedules, so your busy work or military schedule will not conflict with your training. Come make some extra money this summer teaching others to do what you love to do.
Reef Encounters will also be offering up adventure dives starting at the end of April for those experienced divers looking for something different. We will be exploring the sea mounts south of the Keramas hunting for large pelagics and drifting the channels of the Keramas looking for sharks. We will also be looking for members of the Okinawa wreck divers team which will be working on locating and mapping the wrecks of the USS Longshaw, LST 447, the Midori Maru and others around Okinawa. Many of these dives will require advanced and technical certifications, classes are being offered now to qualify you to join these expeditions.
Posted 11 months ago at 9:39 pm. Add a comment
With so many ramen shops to choose from in Okinawa, there's a lot of competition to make the noodle soup not just tasty, but distinct. Tan Tan's does this with their spicy tan tan soup, a mix of creamy sesame and hot chili oil, which can be ordered at three different spice levels, or without spice. Level 1 has quite a kick, but isn't so hot that you can't taste the other soup flavors. Level 2 bites more immediately than Level 1, and we have yet to brave the fiery Level 3.Each level costs a little extra, similar to Coco's Curry, as do additional ingredients, such as onion, egg, or pork.
The staff at Tan Tan's are quite familiar with the sinus-clearing effects of their signature dish, and now supply patrons with tissue boxes on all the tables. We've heard it's rude to blow your nose in public in Japan (though it's okay to ceaselessly sniffle away), but perhaps in this case it's an exception.
Other ramen flavors are also available, including soy, miso, and paitan (pork soup base). Different sets include ramen and sides of gyoza dumplings, fried chicken pieces, or other dim sum. We recommend the shumai, round, fried dumplings wrapped in a crispy rice wrapper and filled with pork, onion, and other veggies. Shumai come in plates of three, six, or a whopping eighteen dumplings. The fried rice is also pretty good if you don't feel like ramen.
The prices at Tan Tan's are quite reasonable, considering the bowls of soup could easily feed two; larger sets are typically ¥880, not including the extra spice. Kids' sets start at ¥500.
We doubt you'll have room for dessert after a meal at Tan Tan's, but just in case, there's Blue Seal ice cream if your mouth needs a bit of relief from the spicy soup, plus gelatin and fun candies and snacks at the register when you pay.
Hours: Sunday – Thursday 11:00am to 1:00am
Friday – Saturday 11:00 am to 3:00 am
On R58 by American Village
Posted 11 months ago at 12:16 pm. Add a comment
If you made New Year’s resolutions, you’re either involved in working toward your goals,
or trying to forget about them altogether! While in Okinawa, learning Japanese may be near the top of that wish list, whether it’s to be able to read menus and signs, or to engage native speakers in conversation beyond “konnichiwa” and “arigato gozaimasu.” We break down three different companies that could help you reach your specific language goals.
You may have passed the baby blue signs wandering around Okinawa, or even the U.S. Kumon is an international language (and math) program. If reading that Japanese sign or menu is your goal, Kumon may be for you.
Learning Objectives: Reading and writing Japanese
Method: CDs, reading worksheets, writing workbooks, using your native language (English) in instructions
Class environment: correspondence course at home, or twice a week at a center
Teacher instruction: minimal; teachers advise on areas you need to repeat, but mostly support and encourage
Course schedule: self-paced
Cost: Adult correspondence course starts at ¥9400/month; Class course starts at ¥8400/month
Rosetta Stone: http://www.rosettastone.com/learn-japanese
The famous computer-based language program in the yellow box has done a great job of marketing itself as an “immersion” language program—you learn without grammar lessons and without translation into your native language.
Learning Objectives: Understand and speak conversational Japanese
Method: The software presents sets of images, as a voice uses target language words and phrases to describe those images. You repeat the phrases into your headset microphone, and voice recognition software compares your speech to the original. Or, native speaking tutors lead live practice sessions.
Class environment: Self-paced, computer-based or online
Teacher instruction: minimal, unless you enroll in a live practice session. The software is meant to gauge your progress.
Cost: starts at $179 for one level to $399 for three levels
Tokyo Mokyo: http://www.tokyomokyo.com/
Based out of Tampa, Florida Paul Stevens started teaching Japanese classes in 2003, and has since expanded to offer online courses that are not only equivalent to college courses, but are also as engaging and interactive as if you took his face to face courses If your goal is fluency in Japanese reading, writing, and conversation, Tokyo Mokyo is the way to go.
Learning Objectives: Reading and writing Japanese characters, improving conversation and comprehension, Japanese culture
Method: Live online courses, following the textbook Japanese for Busy People. The three writing systems are taught: hiragana, katakana, and kanji; plus cultural tidbits, extra grammar worksheets, and lots of conversation practice in class. . If you miss a live class (which is possible, considering the time difference), Paul edits and posts classes so you can watch as many times as you want. Chapter and Japanese character quizzes are given as you progress through the course, and like a college class, a final grade gauges whether you’re ready for the next class.
Class environment: 2 hour class once a week online for 14 week beginner course, 16 weeks for other courses; students start the course at the same time
Teacher instruction: Hands on; regular feedback and engagement
Cost: starts at $99 for 14 week beginner course plus cost of textbook