June 20, 2013

How to Prepare for Typhoon Season in Okinawa

Getting Ready for Typhoon Season with a Typhoon Checklist

Typhoon season runs from May through November in Okinawa and being prepared is big step towards surviving them without any problems.

typhoon season in okinawa, typhoon checklist
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Okinawa tends to get hit with a lot of typhoons. Some or rather weak and do little, while other have winds of over 150 miles an hour, and can do some damage. Fortunately houses, and telephone poles, are made from concrete which makes them sturdy enough to withstand anything a typhoon can throw at them. 

Provided below is a simply guide to creating a typhoon checklist to help you be prepared for the next storm to hit Okinawa.

Be sure to visit our Typhoon Tips page for a list of items to put in your typhoon survival kit.

Guide to Creating a Typhoon Checklist

What is a typhoon checklist? It is a series of things to do before a typhoon hits, perhaps even at the beginning of typhoon season, so that you will be prepared when the winds start to pick up.

It is important to customize your typhoon checklist to fit your needs and circumstances. So use the information below to guide you in creating your list, but also be aware that you may have unique things that should also be included in your list.

Things to include in your typhoon checklist - to be done before each typhoon:
  • Secure outside items such as patio furniture, grills, trashcans, children's play equipment, trampolines, lawn decorations etc. Either store them in your house/shed, or tie them securely to something that cannot move.
  • Trim or cut down trees and branches that could be blown over and damage your house or car.
  • Do a final outside walk around of your house to ensure it is secure with no items left to blow in the wind.
  • Fill your car with gas, and park it in a partially or fully sheltered location - somewhere it will be out of the full force of the wind, like behind a building or house.
  • Check your Typhoon Kit and add any items that may be expired or used. The kit should include things like flashlights, food, and more.
  • Have mops, towels and paper towels handy in case water somehow leaks into your house.
  • Turn your refrigerator/freezer to its coldest setting to help the food last longer in the even of a power loss. If power is lost, avoid opening the refrigerator doors.
  • If power is lost, it may be useful to have a battery operated radio to allow you to monitor the storm condition.
  • Include any other items that may be specific to your unique situation. This could include being prepared to evacuate if you live close to the water. Tailor this list to suit your needs.
  • Finally, make sure you have a variety of games and things to do while the typhoon is raging outside. It can get very boring being trapped inside waiting out the weather, so prepare some fun activities in advance.
This list should serve as a guide to help you develop your own typhoon checklist to use every time a typhoon warning is issued. Always check with others around you, including neighbors, to help you know exactly what should be on your checklist. 

Being prepared goes a long way in surviving the storm without problems. So always be as prepared as possible.

And once the storm has passed, why not get out and enjoy shopping at Jusco, or one of the other Top 10 Things to do in Okinawa.

Stay safe, leave a comment with questions or thoughts, and share with others if you found it useful!

June 4, 2013

10 Important Sushi Tips - The Sushi Etiquette Guide

Tips for Eating Sushi in Japan

Japan is a very traditional culture with many, many cultural actions based on traditions from hundreds of years ago. Japan is known for many things, and one of the biggest is sushi. But with most aspects of Japanese life, there are certain traditions and etiquette that should be followed when enjoying sushi

sushi etiquette tips in okinawa japan
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Okinawa is slightly less traditional compared to the rest of Japan due to its geographical separation and large American influences, yet one will find plenty of places to eat sushi, and proper etiquette is important.

For Americans or other foreigners living or visiting Okinawa, here are some sushi etiquette tips to help you make your next meal of sushi enjoyable and respectful.

Who should learn about sushi etiquette? anyone who might eat at a sushi restaurant should learn the proper actions so as to present a good image. Now, let's get to some tips to make your next sushi adventure more enjoyable.

10 Basic Sushi Etiquette Tips 

1. When entering a sushi establishment, indicate the number of people in your group by saying it in Japanese, or just by holding up the number of fingers (in some places, you may be expected to simply find your self a seat, either at a booth or at the sushi bar). For a group of four, you would say 'Yo-nin' (yoo-neen) or hold up four fingers.

tips for eating sushi in japan
How to Hold and Use Chopsticks
2. A small container of soy sauce should be at your table or provided with your sushi. Pour a small amount into the small shallow bowls also provided with the sushi. Don't put too much in your dish, it is considered rude and wasteful. If you enjoy wasabi, the green stuff (like horseradish) that comes on the side of most sushi plates, add some to your sushi, but don't mix it in the soy sauce.

3. Sushi can be eaten with either chopsticks or with your fingers, but never use your chopsticks to spear your food. If you don't have experience using chopsticks, practice at home. It is not polite to ask for silverware unless it is common at that restaurant. It is also rude to rub your chopsticks together, it suggests low quality chopsticks.

4. When eating your sushi, dip the fish, while trying to avoid dipping the rice in the soy sauce. This is because you don't want the rice to fall apart in the soy sauce.

5. Always eat the sushi in one bite, don't try cutting it into smaller pieces.

6. If you happen to also have other food such as a bowl of rice, never stick your chopsticks straight up into it. This is done only when presenting food for deceased ancestors. Either lay your chopsticks on the side of your plate, or resting on a chopsticks holder.

10 tips for eating sushi
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7. If you are also enjoying a bowl of soup, such as miso soup, it is OK to hold the bowl to your mouth and drink from it. You may also be given a spoon to use, which is fine.

8. When taking sushi from a common plate at the table, use a pair of serving chopsticks to put the sushi on your plate. If there are no serving chopsticks, use the back end of your own chopsticks, which should be clean.

9. Always be respectful of the other people eating at the sushi restaurant. Avoid speaking loudly or making too much noise. Bring a smile with you and be sure to learn 'thank you' in Japanese to use as often as appropriate. ('Arigatou' is thank you - ah-ree-ga-toe)

10. Have a good time and enjoy the food. In general the Japanese, especially those on Okinawa, are very forgiving of foreigner's mistakes, as long as you are trying to follow the etiquette. Even if you don't pronounce 'Arigatou' (thank you) correctly, it will usually bring a smile if you try.

Helpful video explaining more on eating sushi in Japan:

See the video above for more tips and helpful information. And remember, most Japanese or Okinawan people would love to help teach your words or proper etiquette if you ask them politely. 

For more on Okinawa, check out our Best Places to Live or the Top 10 Things to Do in Okinawa

Leave a comment below with questions or your experiences, and be sure to share this with those who might be visiting Japan!