Sunday, November 25, 2007

Mi Casa es Su Casa in Toguchi

After spending what seemed like an eternity at the temporary lodge on Camp Foster, Kevin and I moved into our house on October 23rd. It took quite a bit of searching before we settled on our house. Kevin was busy with meetings and such for his new job, so I was pretty much on my own. I made appointments with several housing agencies on the island giving them my specifications: 2 to 3 bedrooms, house/duplex or townhouse, with ocean or water view. In the end, I looked at about a dozen houses with 4 to 5 agencies before Kevin and I agreed and settled on our house in Toguchi. The house is located in an area called Yomitan. Our house is in a Japanese neighborhood, but the house itself is "American". This means we are able to use American sized appliances including a stove with an oven (yes I can BAKE!), a refrigerator, a washer, and a dryer. Despite all of my best efforts to find a "Japanese" style house with a tatami mat, in the end, the convenience of having American applicances won me over. Go figure.

Our house is relatively new. It was built in 2005 and is about 1750 square feet. I should add that almost all buildings (houses, businesses, etc) here in Okinawa are made from concrete. Okinawa sees a fair number of typhoons, so all buildings are built with concrete to withstand the storms. Typhoons are just like hurricanes, but because they orginate in the Pacific Ocean-- they are called "typhoons." When a storm originates in the Indian Ocean, I think they are called "cyclones". Anyway--some people are bothered by the concrete, but I like the idea that my house will stay standing when a storm hits. I digress. So back to the house. The house has 3 stories. A two car garage is on the ground level. On the first floor, we have the master bedroom (which is huge!!!) and bathroom. The master bathroom has a shower and two vanity sinks. The 2nd floor is the main living area of the house with the living room/dining room, kitchen and two bedrooms (yes, one of these rooms is a "guest" room). There is also a 2nd bathroom with a shower/tub and a laundry room with a full size washer/dryer. We even have a balcony. The 3rd floor is the rooftop terrace. All in all, we are very pleased with the house.

Since the weather has been perfect, Kev and I decided to take advantage of the warm tropical Okinawa climate and make our rooftop terrace into a "garden" area. I have a herb garden with rosemary, dill, sweet basil, chives, and thyme growing. Kevin is partial to tomatoes, so has several plants growing. We even have a tangerine tree and an Okinawan citrus called "Shikwasa." In addition, we have some string beans, spring onions, and strawberries growing as well. Keep your fingers crossed that Kev and I both have "green" thumbs. :)

Here are some photos of the Okinawa "Shisa" lion dogs guarding our house. These traditional decorative "dogs" are believed to keep the house safe from evil spirits. They are usually displayed as a pair, a female and a male. The one on the right has an open mouth and the one on the left, a closed mouth. The open mouth is to ward off evil spirits, and the closed mouth to keep good spirits in.

The Male:

The Female:

Well as the saying goes Mi Casa es Su Casa. We have plenty of room, so please come and visit!!!


Cindy said...

It sounds like heaven Chrissy, all that makes me want to visit you even more, which now that I officially have my passport, I can do!

So maybe in the next year or two?

I miss you and Kevin. I am so glad you decided to do a blog, It really helps people stay in touch and let each other know what is going on in each others world!

Love you!

Cindy said...

Hello Princess,

What a great website and I have put it on my favorites and printed it out for our keepsake. I am so happy that you and Kevin will be with us this Christmas. Watch out for the typhoons and the habu. Love you Princess.

DAD said...

Hey Princess,

This is a really great web page and the photos are funny and awesome... Mom and I miss you both.

Love always,

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