Thursday, November 24, 2011

Missing in Action

Ha! I really should be careful of what I choose to title my blog posts once Turf deploys ;)
Greetings! I apologize for my BLOG being MIA. I have no excuse other than laziness.
We have been a little less active these last 2 months, and I am already starting to feel my travel itch creep back in. Our friends Kendall and Trevor are spending Thanksgiving in Kyoto and I am SO super jealous. I've always wanted to go! As most of you know, due to Turf's upcoming deployment we had to cancel our cruise plans :( This puts an even bigger dent in my traveling. I have such a long list and I just feel our time running out! Time to get a move on it :)
Turf is currently in California for pre-deployment training. His blood must be used to this warm Okinawa weather (currently still in the 70' November!) because he his freezing his hiney off! We celebrated Thanksgiving a couple of weeks early before he left, and I spent the real holiday with a few friends. Black Friday shopping is a bit anti-climatic this year, so I am rushing to finish all my shopping online!

Here's a brief run-down of what we've been up to since my last post!

In September we took a snorkeling tour to the Kerama Islands, which are off the coast of Okinawa, with some friends. The snorkeling was beautiful with tons of interesting sea life to see and explore. We saw fish of every color, sea cucumbers, sea snakes, etc. It was a warm relaxing day, and Turf's first trip snorkeling since arriving on island!
 We boared a charter boat along with a big group and the boat took us to about 3 different spots. This was an all day excursion, so by the end of it we were wiped out, but it was definitely something I think we'll do again next year :)

Next came our little adventure to visit a few more of the World Heritage sites here on Okinawa. On this little outing we made it to Katsuren Castle first. Katsuren Castle is a bit further North on the island and offers beautiful views of the ocean. Katsuren's most famous "golden years" date back to the 15th century, under the rule of Lord Amawari. It is said that Amawari pushed the 9th lord off one of the castle walls, thereby taking control of the castle. He was the last powerful Lord to rule over Katsuren Castle.
 It's so odd and interesting to think of the way of life these people led way back then. To imagine so many rulers and so many castles is just insane!
 A photo we took after climing to the top of Katsuren Castle.

Turf also took me to visit the ferris wheel this day! This is only something I've been wanting to do since we got here! There is nothing super spectacular or historic about this thing, but it does offer great views of the island from the top!

We also visited a fun little annual event- the Naha Tug of War! If you ever come to Okinawa, this is a must see! Each year there is a parade followed by a giant tug-of-war contest. The history of this event dates back to the 17th century and is a battle between the East and West teams. The tug of war correlates to the competition held between the old rulers of Naha.
 The whole Naha section of Highway 58 is closed off to make room for this massive rope. Both sides are laid out and eventually connected together with a giant crane. Each huge rope has hundreds of smaller ropes connected, where people pile in, grab ahold, and pull! The rope itself weighs 40 metric tons, and has gone down in the Guinness Book of World Records as the largest tug of war!

The last stop we made was to Yara Castle. This is probably my least favorite of the castle ruins we have visited, because it was all overgrown....full of huge Banana spiders and other creepy crawlies!
 We didn't stay long this particular time, so here is some information! We did later go back as part of a Haunted Sites tour we took right before Halloween. Upon going back we walked back further to the "park" area, which was nicer, but still spooky (especially after learning of some of the legends and tales of the castle and it's surroundings).
 Finally, we got dolled up to go to the Marine Corps Ball (which, for those of you who don't know, is held in celebration of the Marine Corps Birthday!). This year the Marines celebrated their 236th birthday- oohrah!

Click on  to view the beautiful message that was played at this year's ball.

Finally, FINALLY, I also wanted to send an update on Boomer. He is still crazy but a sweet little cuddle bug. Here is a picture of him with his favorite toy :)

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