Shurijo Castle Written by my WIFE

Hi everyone! This is Carl’s wife, Emily. I was in Okinawa for six days visiting Carl and getting MARRIED! Today, I’m going to write about the last day I was there, Wednesday, March 15th. It was a gorgeous day out, sunny and warm. We decided we wanted to go see the Shurijo Castle, home to the Ryukyu Kingdom. I wasn’t sure what to expect, but was blown away when we first entered the castle. The first thing we saw was the actual Shurijo Castle Seiden (picture 1). This building was the main structure for the Ryukyu Kingdom for over five hundred years. The castle was restored in 1992 based off of pictures and references. To enter the castle, everyone must take their shoes off as a sign of respect. There is an $8 entry fee to get in, which I thought was a great price to see so much history. We walked through the Bandokoro, which was where visitors to the castle would send messages to the king. The Bandokoro led right into Nanden, which was used as an entertainment area for the officials of the kingdom. Now, these two buildings are used to showcase artifacts and artwork. Next was Okushoin, a smaller building where the king rested. Connected to Okushoin, is Kugani-udun, a private place for the king and his family. Inside all of these complexes were prayer mats for visitors and officials. My favorite part of the castle was inside the Seiden. We got to see a restored throne of King Sho Shin, who was the king from 1477-1526. His throne was facing the garden so he could watch his officials during the New Year ceremonies. The colors in this room were incredible. Vibrant reds, golds, and hints of black made the feeling of royalty stand out. Inside the Seiden, several ceremonies and celebrations took place. The ceilings were built high to make the room feel more formal. Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take pictures inside the buildings, so there is another reason to go visit it!

It was a great experience to see the castle and how structured the Ryukyu Kingdom was. In all, it took us about an hour to walk through each building and look around at the artifacts. I would recommend this trip to anyone who visits Okinawa. Not only does it take a short amount a time, you will also learn so much about the kingdom and structures of the castle.

After the castle, it was time for our wedding pictures! We met up with the photographer at the Gala. There was a gorgeous red Japanese structure sitting right on the beach. I couldn’t have picked a prettier spot to have our pictures done. We will post a couple of pictures once we get them back.

For dinner that night, we went to Chatan Brewery. Carl ordered a seafood mixture that was sitting in a broth. It had clams, mussels, octopus, a full fish (head included), and a few other things. I had sautéed shrimp with caviar on top. We each tried a different Chatan beer. I would recommend this place for a fine dining option. It was a little pricy, but the food was definitely worth it.

Okinawa International Food Festival

This is a delayed post due to being insanely busy with work and getting MARRIED! More on the marriage in my next post but I wanted to get this post out. Going to an international food festival in another country besides your own is weird because you end up eating food from home. I’ll start by saying all the food we tried was prepared perfectly! They had tacos, tequila, pizza, sandwiches, BBQ, hotdogs, hamburgers and craft beer. The turnout to the festival was massive and most of the venders sold out of food before the official closing time. Along with food they had vendors selling crafts and a traditional island dance group performing. The weather here hasn’t been the best lately, cold and rainy mostly, but for the festival the sun came out and the water was perfect to look at. Learning more about the culture and language of Okinawa is actually coming faster to me than I thought it would. Friendliest and most respectful area I have lived in, they not only respect you as person but also the environment and others personal property.

 

Double Deckers & Havana

wp-1488722442146.jpgOutside of Double Decker with their authentic bus you can eat inside. The restaurant and cigar bar are both within Mihama American Village.wp-1488722437954.jpgThe well stocked bar at Double Decker, good whiskey selection.

wp-1488722447039.jpgGapao Rice from Double Deckers. A blend of chicken, peppers, basil, rice and an egg. A delicious combination. The menu had a wide variety of Southeast Asian Cuisine.

wp-1488722742683.jpgLast stop was at Havana, a small cigar/cocktail bar. The cigars are imported straight from Cuba with a wide variety of boldness and flavors. We paired ours with a glass of Johnny Walker’s Blue Label. The owner of the bar came out to greet us with a set of cigars. He clipped them right in front of us then light them with a butane torch. I haven’t ventured much into the cigar world but out of the several dozen I have smoked, the Cuban has topped the list. Now that America has started to import them I highly recommend relaxing with a few good friends and enjoying a smoke.

CRASH. FIRE. RESCUE.

Leaving my recruiters office when I found out that I had been accepted into the Marine Corps firefighting program I wasn’t sure what to expect. I had thought about becoming a firefighter when I was younger but I wasn’t sure it was what I wanted to do in the military. Going through the fire academy was an life changing experience and gave me direction in my life. Throughout my career I responded to various calls from aircraft crashes to medical calls. Being a slower operating fire department we have more time to train and play out different scenarios. These pictures consist of tactics we use to fight fuel fires in an aircraft based scenario. We dump several hundred gallons of fuel into a pit then set it on fire. Two crews with handles will go in extinguishing the fire and proper safety measures. Firefighters have a special camaraderie between them that isn’t shared between any other group of people. Working 48-72 hours at a time together brings us together. Capturing photos of the fires was hard due to the extreme heat and the affect it had on the camera.wp-1488720856138.jpgwp-1488720872608.jpgwp-1488720890161.jpgwp-1488720908456.jpg

Okinawa American Village

American Village is a large outdoor shopping dining experience. There is something for everyone somewhere within the village. Touring around I found the SEGA store that has arcade games and pinocchio slots. There was shopping from solo clothing brands to designer and unique. I’ve dined at Bollywood Jewel and Yakiniku (upstairs from Bollywood) both had exceptional service and food. Yakiniku is an all you can eat grill your own meat, I enjoyed their rib steaks and kimchi. Eating there our group had a small private room with our own grill. Bollywood was some of the best curry I have ever had, even though I am new to the curry scene. I ordered the Bollywood Deluxe which comes with a bowl of curry, Tandoori Chicken, Chicken Achaari and a giant piece Naan bread. I recommend for the bowl of curry to go with Chicken Tikka Masala with a spice level of 6. Next time visiting I want to ride the ferris wheel they have and take some picture from up top. Tomorrow I will be visiting an observation point and going to Shurijo Castle. See y’all for now, tomorrow will be a new adventure.

P.S. Forgot to mention the habu sake that comes from Okinawa only, the habu is a venomous snake in the pit viper family. Okinawans mix the awamori then have special process for preserving the snake to be able to be bottled. The awamori is a rice distilled alcohol that taste similar to a dry sake. Good Habu sake doesn’t come cheap though in United States dollars that bottle in the picture below is a little less than $680

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Who am I?

I am The Carl Sullivan, growing up it seemed like everyone knew my name whether it was for the good or bad. I liked to push the envelope with everything I did, even if that was people’s envelopes to the point of them snapping at me. I grew up in Tulsa, Oklahoma with my mother, father, and sister. When my sister was about 5 years old my parents decided to have me, they thought since the first child was so well behaved why not have another! Well surprise surprise I kept them on theirs toes since day one and somehow continue to do so. When I was younger I couldn’t help but wonder off from my parents everywhere we went to see the unique things I wanted to see. I was never into going with the flow and following the crowd. This probably explains why I never did well in school, being told what to learn wasn’t interesting to me. I would had rather been outside learning new ideas through experimenting and trial. Boy Scouts gave me that outlet to explore the outdoors and learn new life skills along with survival skills and receive the honorable award of Eagle Scout. Camping with the Boy Scouts I have been all over Oklahoma, Missouri, Kansas, Arkansas, Texas, New Mexico and Colorado. I was also lucky to be able to do 3 high adventure backpacking trips with them, 1 at Double H and 2 at Philmont. High school was an adventure in itself for me, I didn’t fit into a single group rather I fit in with everyone I had friends from all walks of life. I knew the goodie goods, cheerleaders, stoners, jocks, nerds, skaters, thugs, saints, and my favorite the partiers who viewed life as one big party (which is what we did.. A lot of). Fortunately my carefree lifestyle brought me to making major decisions of either attempting college or joining the United States Military. The Marine Corps recruiter got ahold of me first and here I am almost to my 6 year mark. I have been all over the United States, to Ireland and currently living in Okinawa Japan. My first duty station when I hit was the fleet was MCAS Yuma, Arizona which gave me an incredible opportunity to travel to San Diego, Los Angeles, Phoenix, Las Vegas and explore the desert and its many wonders. Next I was stationed at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida which was a complete 180 from the desert but a well needed adventure. While there I explored Destin Beach, Daytona, New Orleans, and Pensacola. After a lot of uncertainty in Florida of my next steps in life I received orders to Okinawa Japan and I couldn’t had been anymore excited. My goal for this blog is to share my experiences as they happen and also write some post about past trips I have taken. I want to inspire people to get outdoors and see something new, the world is too big just to say in our own little bubbles and not explore.

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