Sunday, June 12, 2011

The ladies of Okinawa!

Scuba was new and exciting, but this next part of my trip has been even more fulfilling. I've had a chance to hang out with some of the Quantico wives and their new friends on the island! Kara, Kaylie, and I went out for Thai food and shopping in American Village and happened upon a group of kids starting to dance.

The tip off was a young boy in a fairly eclectic outfit:
A hula skirt? Nay. First, we watched his friends perform a traditional Okinawan dance:

Then we got to the main event! Shisa dogs/lions performed a riveting chase dance for my amusement. They ran around fluffing their neon fur and terrifying every child they snapped their wooden jowls at. These are priorities I can tolerate.
You can hear me giggling in the background of this video because it is ridiculous and kind of mean in a fun way. Aside from a kid tall enough to don the mask, the dogs are animated by children who run around to music that builds fun-filled anticipation until the scary face opens and snaps shut in front of even smaller children who inevitably bawl their eyes out.

After my first shisa dog performance, we continued perusing American Village and found a rockin' Forever 21-esque shop full of random t-shirts with random text like "Alcoholic Girls!" We also came upon a rack of accessories devoted solely to miniature hats:

Kara, Kaylie, and me
It was great to catch up and I can't wait to see more of them this week now that my evenings aren't overtaken by scuba instruction.

I also had a chance to hang out with Kara and her friend Avril who is visiting from Kentucky. I met Avril two Halloweens ago when Joe and I hosted some TBS friends for a costume party. Imagine Avril's surprise when I wasn't a blonde biergarten wench and mine when Avril wasn't a sparkly fairy! ;)
After a short walk on the beach, we went to Coffee Casa for coffees. They are known for their delicious iced coffee drinks with homemade whipped cream. I'm drooling just typing these words. I tried the iced almond mocha and it definitely lived up to its hype! So good!

We met up with Kaylie and a few other island girls for pedicures at the famous Cocock's (pronounced "Coco's") nail salon. After the girls sit you down and begin the process, you get a 2-inch binder full of nail art to choose from. The designs range from intricately shadowed hibiscus flowers to butterflies with crystals. I was overwhelmed and apparently let my teenage innerself make the judgment for me. Reserve your judgments as I unveil cheetah print (3 colors!) with hot pink and rhinestones. There is not an airbrush in sight, just teeny tiny brushes and nimble Japanese hands.
All these lovely military wives - and our honorary wife, Avril - spent some time enjoying the sunny Okinawan weather out on the seawall.

How gorgeous are these women!? Here are our beautiful works of art:

*Sigh!* I'm so happy I got a reprieve from Iwakuni to visit Okinawa and all the pleasures that come with it. During our last dive today, I bumped into the girls at Maeda Point! It's so great to recognize friendly faces in a crowd. I know I've only been in Iwakuni for a few months, but I hope that I can make lots of new friends there too.

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