Okinawa’s American Village

Those in Okinawa looking for an “authentic” American experience will often head to American Village, in Chatan, central Okinawa. As an American, it was interesting to see how Americana has manifested in Okinawa. Of course, the themed shopping district caters heavily to the US military personnel that occupy a large portion of the island.

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Polihale State Park + Kauai Pupu Factory

Kauai is the island that you visit if you’re searching for old Hawaii charm and rugged outdoor beauty. There are places on Kauai where you can truly get away. One of those places is Polihale State Park, a remote beach on the western end of Kauai. About an hour-and-a-half drive from Kapaa, Polihale beach is the westernmost publicly accessible beach in the state…and the drive to get there is something else…

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Dominique Ansel Bakery: Omotesando, Tokyo

I few years ago I visited New York City’s Dominique Ansel Bakery at the height of the Cronut’s popularity. People were standing in line during the wee hours of the morning, before sunrise, so that they could then resell the coveted Cronut for $50+ on Craigslist. Yeah, we weren’t down for that. Instead, we opted for a late afternoon visit with no Cronut’s in sight. Luckily, Ansel opened a shop in the very trendy Omotesando area of Shibuya in Tokyo in 2015 which made it a lot easier for me to taste a DAB Cronut. Let’s check out Dominique Ansel in Omotesando, Tokyo!

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Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe: Osaka Location

If you plan to enjoy breakfast at Morning Glass Coffee + Cafe in Manoa on a sleepy Saturday morning, then be sure to get there early. Even then, lines begin to form shortly after their first drop of coffee is served. It’s a popular spot amongst locals and Japanese tourists. Thing is, the Japanese no longer have to fly very far to get their Morning Glass Coffee fix since there is now a location in Osaka. Of course, I had to fly from Hawaii to check it out.

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Farewell To Alan Wong’s Pineapple Room

Local celebrity chef, Alan Wong, recently announced that he would be closing his famed lunch spot, The Pineapple Room. Opened in 1999 inside of the then Liberty House (now Macy’s), the popular eatery was a casual taste of Wong’s fine dining sensibility. As for a reason for the closing, Wong went on to say that “The dining landscape has changed, and we’ve amicably decided with Macy’s to move on from this concept.” With this closure, Wong’s fans now have just two options: the original namesake Honolulu location and the newish Shanghai, China location.

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The Best Way To Spend 100 Yen at Tsukiji Market: Marutake Tamagoyaki

One dollar doesn’t get you very far in the United States, In Japan, well, that’s a different story. There’s of course the popular dollar stores, but we recommend heading down to Tsukiji Market to look for a tiny tamagoyaki stand named Marutake Tamagoyaki. They’ve been making one dish, tamagoyaki, for over 80 years. It’s the perfect light breakfast or snack. And the best part, it’s just 100 yen, equivalent to roughly one US dollar.

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The Ruins of Nakijin Castle

Most people know Okinawa as being a part of Japan. However, it wasn’t until 1879 that Okinawa became Japan’s southernmost prefecture. Prior to that, Okinawa was known as the Ryukyu Islands and was ruled by the Ryukyu Kingdom, which consisted of three individual principalities: Hokuzan, Chuzan, and Nanzan. Nakijin Castle, built in the early 14th century and home to the Hokuzan Kingdom, is now one of five castles of the Ryukyu Kingdom that are designated as UNESCO World Heritage Sites.

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