Saturday, November 29, 2014


I can't believe we waited so long to come to the Churaumi Aquarium.  It's part of the Ocean Expo Park near Nago, which is a huge complex full of playgrounds, waterfalls, ponds, beaches, museums, restaurants, natural wildlife exhibits and tropical gardens.  We wandered in during a lazy afternoon, and were quickly overwhelmed by the amount of activities and natural wonders waiting for us.  We mainly covered the aquarium (which we got annual passes for), and I can't wait to go back and see everything else!
Spiny Lobster
My interest in aquatic life in Okinawa was definitely sparked by the fact that we were both Officially SCUBA certified this week.  I wanted to get a feel for what we're soon to be seeing underwater, and I have to say I'm very excited-- although I'm not sure how I feel about seeing a shark next to me in the ocean quite yet...

Whale Shark and Ray

More Rays
Whale Shark Tank and Tourists
 The Whale Shark tank was by far the most impressive, I could have sat there for hours watching these massive giants gliding effortlessly in the water.  There's a cafe next to it that I'm seriously thinking about visiting and studying at right up against the glass.

Shark sex, finally explained!
Almost every exhibit had something about the reproduction of each animal.  The shark one was the most unexpected for me--so I HAD to take a picture and share it with you all : )

Sea Turtles
 Some of the exhibit are outside in the open which include the Sea Turtles, Manatees, and Dolphins. You can either watch them from above or see them through the glass underground.  Most exhibits are translated into English, so you can get a lot of the history and facts about these animals as you stroll around.
Robb VS. Sea Turtle

Sea Turtle posing like a boss

Cleaning the dolphin tanks
As we walked past one of the dolphin tanks (they have 6 or so, with 3-4 dolphins each) we found it being cleaned with the dolphins still inside.  It seemed a little awkward, you would think that they would temporarily put them in another tank... it made for an interesting image at least.

Thursday, November 20, 2014


A lot of friends and family have been talking about coming to visit us while we're out here, so I thought I'd make a list of things that I find helpful in Okinawa.  I've been here as a tourist and as a resident, and I find this place so incredible every single day.  I can't wait to share it with everyone who comes to visit!

7 Things You'll Need in Okinawa

1) Booties- for all aquatic activities.  Coral and other sharp rocks are everywhere, even if you're cooling off in the water, you will need something solid to step on.  (An old pair of Chucks works just as well).

2) Layers- Okinawa has an ever-changing climate: it can rain and be sunny and get windy within minutes.  Be prepared to be in a bikini one moment and a raincoat the next! There are umbrellas everywhere, depending on what season you are here, decide whether it's worth picking one up (they are inexpensive and available EVERYWHERE)

3) A good camera-- (that you KNOW how to use) 
A lot of moments come up that you'll want to capture, but you won't have time to carefully adjust settings- hilarious shirt, funny sign, beautiful bird, beach drive by-- be quick or know what auto settings get you good shots.  If you're here as a photographer, it's a different story.
*Waterproof case for your camera/phone is also a good call.

4) Cotton based clothing and comfortable shoes--  This is a humid climate: bring those cotton flowy dresses and pair them up with some bright tennis shoes, or rock some wide pant legs with cropped tees. You want the comfortable shoes because it's a great place to walk, run or ride a bike to see the sites! This island is part of Japan, but super laid back  when it comes to fashion (unlike dress-up heaven, Tokyo) so have fun with  your outfits, and keep it casual.

5) Sunscreen  (even if you tan! ) This is the place where you burn up.  There are plenty of arm cover ups that locals wear religiously, and even parasols that you'll see on the beach.  Know your skin and how sensitive it is-- you don't want to spend your vacation getting over a sunburn--trust me.

6) Basic Japanese Phrases and Cultural Guide:  Most people speak very little English here and this is a culture that is very polite.  Don't piss people off, learn how to say please, thank you, and the always useful: where's the bathroom?  If you have allergies or don't eat certain meats, for example, make sure you learn how to ask if that is in your food.

7) An open mind:  things here are different.  Don't be afraid to try new foods, or explore places you have no idea what they are.  Most of the time you will have no idea what the packaging says or what the signs on the side of the road want you to know.
Some of the best times we've had on this island were when we just followed signs to random places and let ourselves get lost.  And some of the most delicious food I've ever tried--well, I still don't know exactly what it is... but I'm still alive!