Final Days: Friends, and Food

With just a little over one week to go til my permanent departure from Japan, I have way too much going on to write a proper blog update about it all :(. However, I will say that lately I HAVE had the time to sit down and eat a bunch of amazing food, with amazing people. To do these good final days at least a bit of justice on here, I’ve decided a good way to chronicle them is through some recent food porn I’ve taken, along with some acknowledgment of the eating companions who shared the mouth-watering experiences with me! I won’t name them specifically, but I hope that in looking/reading back on these in the future I’ll remember exactly who they are and how awesome they were to me. Sigh. Here goes…

These custard-filled malasadas served with vanilla ice cream from Tony’s aren’t exactly what you’d call authentic local Hawaiian fare, but they were still pretty broke-da-mout. The friend that took me here is also from Hawaii, and from the time we met he’s been my little slice of aloha here in Okinawa. Honestly, he’s kind of been like a brother to me! I hope he enjoys the rest of his time on Okinawa, and that we meet again someday soon on that other island across the Pacific that we both call home. Mahalo!

I think the name of this Korean stone pot fast food place is Pepper’s… which is irrelevant, really. Mostly I’ll always have a soft spot for the person I ate this with. He’s quirky, honest, and always makes me laugh. He really cares about his relationships with other people… he’s just a really caring person in general, and I really appreciate that. We agreed that the soup was the best part of this meal. I have to make an addendum, however… the best part was that it was spent with him. Keep on keepin’ on, friend.

Ok, I’d be straight-up lying if I tried to pass this off as a pic from the last time I ate ramen with this person… it’s actually a photo I took from the last time I went to FuFu Ramen before this one, and the ramen I ate was also slightly different (it was still tonkotsu but the broth had a more peppery roasted flavor… the name is eluding me at the moment). For some reason I forgot to take a photo… bad food pornographer! But I’d still like to remember all the good times with this cool dude I’m talking about, from our couple of FuFu adventures to the many others we’ve had around our adopted hometown. He is one of the best people to talk to ever, and we just really get each other. Though I sometimes wish he’d broaden his food preferences (I mean, how can you trust someone that doesn’t like ICE CREAM??), I actually don’t want this person to change one bit. Good luck homie!

There are two things I can’t believe I haven’t tried sooner here in Okinawa: 1) This amazing Indian restaurant (proooobably my favorite out of all the ones I’ve tried on the island since I got here) that cooks super healthy, super delicious curry (with an Okinawan twist!), and 2) befriending the person I ate here with. He’s probably the last good friend I’ll make while I’m here, but I’m glad we got started later than never. We had another super random/funny experience not involving food on this particular evening, and I owe it to him for having crossed off a couple more bucket list items in the short week we’ve been hanging out. I really appreciate it, you.

This is kimchi maki. Kimchi maki is AMAZEBALLS. You know what else (or who else, I should say) is amazeballs? My lovely friend who introduced me to this local yakitori joint, which is a favorite of hers and her husband’s. They are both amazingly chill, fun, and hilarious people whom I’m so lucky to have gotten to know over the last year or so. I’m especially grateful to know this gal, who always knows the right things to say and always finds the best links online ever. I wanna be her someday. Really, I do. Enjoy another year here, lady… I know you’ll make it through with flying colors (and tons of excellent blog posts, which I certainly plan to stay updated with!).

This interesting-looking dish will actually always remind me of a certain group of people, not one particular person. One of the passions I’m so happy to have found time for while I’ve lived here (and I guess should be surprised I even found at all) is ‘Ori Tahiti. Through the internationally renowned Japanese Tahitian dance studio I serendipitously came across last year, I’ve met some super sweet, super talented women who are shaking what their mamas gave them in Tahitian style and grace, all the way here in Nihon. Though there was often a language barrier between us that kept us from having particularly substantive conversations, what’s important is that we got to share this amazing dance together once a week during our lessons. I’m touched that they thought to throw a little otsukare party for me and another leaving friend this past weekend, at a Hawaiian restaurant of course! Again, while the authenticity of this loco moco/goya n spam champuru plate at the party is a bit questionable, it’s the thought that counts. And I’m so honored that these Okinawa-jins thought of me. I’ll miss them. Keep dancing, girls!

Finally… ahhh, taco rice. Quintessential Okinawan dish. Though my dining partner still prefers another taco rice joint in Maeda, I’m happy he joined me on a spontaneous little trip this weekend up to King Tacos in Kin Town, supposedly the spot where taco rice was invented! Another person I wish I had been smart enough to spend more time with from the beginning, this guy has truly been one of my favorite people in Okinawa. He is quiet, strong, genuine, and kind. He has one of the best laughs ever. We’ve talked about some pretty real stuff the times we’ve gotten together, and I’ll remember those conversations as some of the most thought-provoking here. You’re awesome, dude. Hope to see you next summer!

Wow. I’ve really met some cool people here, haven’t I? Wah… I don’t wanna leave them :(

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3 thoughts on “Final Days: Friends, and Food

  1. What a lovely way to pay tribute to friends and food, and I am stealing this idea. Also stealing the food locations. Also, honoured to be included. Final also: we will miss you!

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