Outsiders in Okinawa: Sakura at Mount Yaedake

It’s been a while since I’ve written an Outsiders in Okinawa post, but I figured cherry blossoms were the perfect way to get back in the groove! Sakura, or cherry blossoms, are kind of a big deal in Japan. Cherry blossoms are in bloom for a very short period of time, and as such are symbolic of the ephemeral nature of life—embodied in the Japanese phrase mono no aware, meaning the pathos of things, and referring to the heightened appreciation for lively beauty and sadness at its impermanence. Millions flock to different parts of Japan every spring to catch the flowers in their notoriously unpredictable prime. They bloom earliest on Okinawa because of how far south the island is located, typically flowering in mid to late January. Cherry blossoms then bloom across mainland Japan, making an appearance in Tokyo in March and blooming in Hokkaido as late as April. We visited Mt. Yae (or Yaedake), home of Sakura no Mori Park and thousands of sakura trees, to partake in hanami, or cherry blossom viewing. Mt. Yae is north of Nago near Motobu, so if you live near Camps Kinser and Foster or Kadena Air Base, be prepared for a drive. There are several different entrances to the park, but I’ll include a pin for the spot we went to off of the Expressway and Route 58. You’ll come across a small bakery selling fresh bread and mikan juice (so good!), and you can either continue driving or park and walk through the rest of the park.

 


Cherry blossoms line the roads leading up to Mt. Yae’s summit.

Cherry blossoms range in color from white to vibrant reddish-pink.

Shisa representing (from left to right) good relationships, health, wish fulfillment, safety & prosperity, and mental achievement.
Sakura ice cream is a fun, festive treat to try! Even in the rain. ☔️
sakura
Contrary to what Bath & Body Works may have led you to believe, these cherry blossoms have virtually no smell!

It’s free to enter Mt. Yae, but I highly recommend bringing yen for fun sakura-themed treats being sold in booths along the road. There are bathrooms and vending machines throughout the park, and there are other attractions as well—a small shrine, a large playground, and views of Motobu and Ie Island. If hanami isn’t on your Okinawa bucket list, it should be! You don’t want to miss these stunning flowers in bloom. | xo

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Daiso/Don Quijote Haul!

As if there weren’t already enough cute, fun things in Japan, there are these neat stores called Daiso, where everything (almost) is ‎¥‎100. AND most of the inventory is much more practical and better-made than some of the things I’ve seen at dollar stores back in the States! I was like a kid in a candy store walking through there, y’all. I went to the pink Daiso in Ginowan, and it was comparable to a Walmart in terms of selection and products, and I was able to score almost everything in this haul for $20! I also paid a visit to another store, Don Quijote (or Donki/Don Q) which is more of a discount store with lots of imports. I actually thought it was a little pricey! I still snagged some goodies, though 😉

Here’s a list of the things I bought at the Daiso:

  • frilly scrunchie (they’re making a comeback)
  • heart shaped earring backs
  • mini hair elastics
  • sock bun thingamajig
  • strawberry scented glitter nail polish remover
  • aloe vera facial cleanser
  • makeup brush/sponge cleanser
  • silicone vegetable scrubber (I bought it as a makeup brush scrubbie)
  • ceramic lotus soy sauce dish (repurposed as a ring dish)
  • heart-shaped sunnies
  • oven mitt
  • mason jar sippy
  • no-show socks
  • doggy poo bags + holder
  • not pictured: dog toy
  • 3 different plastic organizers
  • not pictured: pasta strainer
  • not pictured: burlap pouch decoration
  • not pictured: fake decorative herbs

What I picked up at Don Q:

  • 7-pack of LuLuLun brightening sheet masks
  • peel-off lip stain
  • Alice in Wonderland DVD (bonus: it plays in english and was only ‎¥‎148)

I’ve had the chance to test out some of the products I bought and I have to say, I am really impressed with the quality of the items I bought! I could probably spend hours in the store, wandering through the aisles and justifying purchasing things I don’t need. Have you ever been to a Daiso? What are your favorite dollar store finds? Let me know in the comments below!

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Outsiders in Okinawa | Sea Glass Beach

Hi everyone! I missed my Fri-Yay series last week so this is me playing catch up. Buuuut, since it’s not Friday, I can’t really call it a Fri-Yay blog. So, instead, it’s Outsiders in Okinawa for the day. Alex and I haven’t been able to do much exploring since we’ve been on this amazing island, but we did recently pay a visit to Sea Glass Beach. It was a little tricky get to, but it was so worth it!

The beach is north of Ginoza off of 329, so it’s easy to get to the surrounding area from pretty much anywhere on the island. You’ll have to take some dirt roads to actually find your way (PS – they are single lane, so watch for oncoming traffic!), but that’s the hardest part. We saw hundreds of adorable hermit crabs, plenty of sea glass, and some gorgeous panoramic views of the coast.


Sea Glass Beach is definitely worth a visit! The sand is a little rough (and hot!), so hubs and I kept our shoes on. The water also felt like hot bath water so neither of us swam, although the water was pretty clear at the time. We saw a fair amount of sea glass and coral, but I’ve heard the best pickings are after a typhoon. We haven’t had our first typhoon of the season yet, but once we do, believe me – I will be out there beachin’ it and collecting glass. Let me know if you have any craft ideas for sea glass in the comments!

PS- here’s the pin drop:

 Sea Glass Beach

Henoko, Nago, Okinawa Prefecture 905-2171

https://goo.gl/maps/xya7HKGY1YR2

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Fri-yay! Maybelline x Star Wars

Happy weekend everyone! This is a short entry, although I promise I’m sitting on about four blogs that I need to roll out. Alex and I visited the big new Aeon mall, and at his suggestion I picked something out from the cosmetics counter in the department store. If you read my last Fri-yay blog you know that the drugstore and high end cosmetics are all together in the Aeon department store, which is kind of cool.


My husband and I love Star Wars, and since I didn’t try any of the cool Covergirl x Star Wars beauty products back in the US, I thought it would be fun to try out one of the products here. My Stila Stay All Day liquid liner is on its very last threads of life, so this liquid liner caught my eye. Just look at the cute Stormtrooper! I wish I’d taken photos in the store because they also had a cute one with R2D2 and C3PO. I couldn’t for the life of me figure out what shade they were, even with the assistance of Google Translate. I did a lot of Google-ing and figured out that the Stormtrooper one was “soft black.” I don’t know what I was expecting out of soft black – maybe still black but not like…black hole black? I’m not sure. I will say that I was super disappointed!


^That’s with multiple swipes back and forth. It is barely pigmented! The tip is very precise and similar to the Stila, which I like. However, this barely shows up over my eyeshadow, so it’s almost not worth it. It does add a teensy bit of definition though, so I’ll still use it on occasion. It was ¥1200, so roughly $11.

Although this was fun to try, it’s definitely not something I’ll repurchase. If you have any recommendations of products to try or things you’d like to see reviewed, let me know! I’m waiting on an order from Colourpop and I’ve been testing some drugstore brow products, so look out for those in the coming weeks!

Xo Shelbie