After 30 years… Our trip back to my homeland: The Beautiful Island of Okinawa, Japan!

3

The big day is almost here… We will be flying to Finland tomorrow!!! It has been a very busy week getting everything packed, but we are looking forward to starting our new adventure! I am finally posting the photos from our trip back to my homeland. It was an amazing experience and also a very emotional one. It was so nice to see all of our family in Japan after so many years and also to meet many of them who were not born until after we moved away. I had forgotten how beautiful it was… It felt like we were in paradise!!

First evening in Okinawa. Dinner with some of our family! June 5, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

First evening in Okinawa. Dinner with some of our family!
June 5, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Our first evening together with our family!

Our first evening together with our family!

What an amazing view! at Itoman-Shi, Okinawa.

What an amazing view! at Itoman-Shi, Okinawa.

Such a peaceful place! — in Itoman-shi, Okinawa.

Such a peaceful place! — in Itoman-shi, Okinawa.

My mom at the WWII memorial site.  She is pointing out her uncle and great grandfather.

My mom at the WWII memorial site. She is pointing out her uncle and great grandfather.

The Cornerstone of Peace memorial.

The Cornerstone of Peace Memorial.

Mia and her daddy enjoying some beach time at sunset. — at Araha Beach Okinawa Japan.

Mia and her daddy enjoying some beach time at sunset. — at Araha Beach Okinawa Japan.

So cool... meeting my Aunt for the first time at the airport and her purse matched my wallet!  I gave it to her as a gift before we left! :)

So cool… meeting my Aunt for the first time at the airport and her purse matched my wallet! I gave it to her as a gift before we left! 🙂

Mia and her cousin feeding Koi fish.

Mia and her cousin feeding Koi fish.

This is a cave that I visited 30 years ago on a school field trip! It was amazing! — at Gyokusendou Caves.

This is a cave that I visited 30 years ago on a school field trip! It was amazing! — at Gyokusendou Caves.

Mia and I with our cousin — at Gyokusendou Caves.

Mia and I with our cousin — at Gyokusendou Caves.

At Gyokusendou Caves.

At Gyokusendou Caves.

A beautiful waterfall in the cave. — at Gyokusendou Caves.

A beautiful waterfall in the cave. — at Gyokusendou Caves.

Being brave at the Habu Snake show!  — at Habu Museum Park, Okinawa.

Being brave at the Habu Snake show! — at Habu Museum Park, Okinawa.

Having fun on our last full day in Okinawa! — at Okinawa world.

Having fun on our last full day in Okinawa! — at Okinawa world.

Mia and I having fun in front of the beautiful Shisa dogs. — at Okinawa world.

Mia and I having fun in front of the beautiful Shisa dogs. — at Okinawa world.

At my Aunt's home for an amazing family dinner!

At my Aunt’s home for an amazing family dinner!

Our family butsudan at my Aunt's house.

Our family butsudan at my Aunt’s house.

Mia and her cousin having fun!

Mia and her cousin having fun!

Danny enjoying some good food and drink!

Danny enjoying some good food and drink!

Mia and I on the balcony where we are staying in Okinawa... very close to where I was born! June 9, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Mia and I on the balcony where we stayed in Okinawa… very close to where I was born! June 9, 2013. — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Danny and I at the beach where we stayed.  We are very happy to be back together again! ♥

Danny and I at the beach where we stayed. We are very happy to be back together again! ♥

Mia having fun at the playground close to where we are staying... June 9, 2013. — at Pirate Ship Park, Araha Beach.

Mia having fun at the playground close to where we stayed… June 9, 2013. — at Pirate Ship Park, Araha Beach.

Our family at my Aunt's house.

Our family at my Aunt’s house.

Mia and her cousin enjoying the yummy dinner my Aunt's family prepared for us. It was amazing!!

Mia and her cousin enjoying the yummy dinner my family prepared for us. It was amazing!!

Mia playing with all of her cousins! They had a blast together!

Mia playing with all of her cousins! They had a blast together!

Mia and her cousin. They are the same age and only one day apart! March 15th and March 16th. :)

Mia and her cousin. They are the same age and only one day apart! March 15th and March 16th. 🙂

Mia trying on her cousin's cool school backpack.

Mia trying on her cousin’s cool school backpack.

At Camp Lester... where I was born!

At Camp Lester… where I was born!

My mom and I in front of the hospital where my older brother and I were born in the same room, by the same doctor, and exactly two years apart!

Where it all began… My mom and I in front of the hospital where my older brother and I were born in the same room, by the same doctor, and exactly two years apart! We were told that this hospital would be torn down later this year. So glad that we made it back when we did!

The glass bottom boat tour to see all of the beautiful coral and fish. It was unbelievable!

We had a lot of fun on a glass bottom boat tour to see all of the beautiful coral and fish. It was unbelievable!

Having fun on the glass bottom boat ride!

Having fun on the glass bottom boat ride!

Mia and I on the beach. Mia and her daddy drew a note in the sand for me. :)

Mia and I on the beach. Mia and her daddy made a note in the sand for me. 🙂

My family enjoying an afternoon together at the beautiful aquarium.... — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

My family enjoying an afternoon together at the beautiful aquarium…. — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Entrance to the Churaumi Aquarium.

Entrance to the Churaumi Aquarium.

Mia and I enjoying the beautiful view... — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

Mia and I enjoying the beautiful view… — at Okinawa Churaumi Aquarium.

An amazing tank at the Aquarium!

An amazing tank at the Aquarium!

Mia at the aquarium.

Mia posing with a cool fish at the aquarium.

At my family gravesite. Reunited with my mom's Uncle and his wife. We had to cut through the jungle behind us to get to it.... Luckily, there were about 12 of us to hike through it together. Yikes!!!

At my family gravesite. Reunited with my mom’s Uncle and his wife. We had to cut through the jungle behind us to get to it…. Luckily, there were about 12 of us to hike through it together. Yikes!!!

We made it through the jungle to my family's gravesite.

We made it through the jungle to my family’s gravesite.

Danny introduced my Great Aunt to Angry Birds! :)

Danny introduced my Great Aunt to Angry Birds! Now all of my family in Okinawa are playing the game!

This was on the drive to Motobu.

This was on the drive to Motobu to visit my family’s gravesite.

Grocery shopping... Holy Daikon! — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Grocery shopping… Holy Daikon! — at Okinawa|沖縄.

Our last dinner in Okinawa. We miss all of the yummy food!

Our last dinner in Okinawa. We miss all of the yummy food!

I will end with my favorite photo from our trip. Mia couldn't stop laughing from these Doctor Fish! ;)

I will end with one of my favorite photos from our trip. Mia couldn’t stop laughing from these Doctor Fish! 😉

Our family is finally reunited and our VERY long awaited family reunion in Japan!

1

Word on the street is that I need to update my blog!! So sorry, I am a little behind…. things have been crazy here!!! We are very busy packing up the house and are down to only one week until our move to Finland! Wow! It has been a great couple of weeks of family reunions for us. The first photos are from Danny’s return home from Finland and the rest are the airport pics from our trip to Japan. It had been 30 years since my mom and I had been home to Okinawa, so it was a VERY long awaited family reunion! I will post the rest of our photos from our trip in my next two blog posts.

Tears of Joy!  Sorry this photos is blurry... mom was too excited to hold the camera straight! Lol

Tears of Joy! Sorry this photo is blurry… mom was too excited to hold the camera straight! Lol

At the airport in Orlando... getting ready to leave for our Japan trip!

At the airport in Orlando… getting ready to leave for our Japan trip!

At the airport in Tokyo.... Reunited with one of my mom's brothers and meeting his daughter for the first time!

At the airport in Tokyo…. Reunited with one of my mom’s brothers and meeting his daughter for the first time!

At the airport... Greeted by some of our family. We made it to Okinawa!

At the airport… Greeted by some of our family. We made it to Okinawa!

My mom and her Aunt reunited at the airport!

My mom and her Aunt reunited at the airport!

Less than 24 hours and our family will FINALLY be reunited!!! Yippeeeeeeeee!!!!!!!!!!!!!

2

We are FINALLY down to only hours until our family is reunited!!! Danny will be boarding a plane in Finland in about 5 hours and will be on his way home to Orlando! Mia will finally get to finish her bike riding lessons with her daddy and I will get to sleep in for my b-day on Friday (Mia’s an early bird like her daddy and I am a night owl so I could really use some sleep)!!! We are so excited that the day is almost here and have a very busy month ahead…

We will be leaving on Saturday for our long awaited trip home to Japan. We will spend a few days in Tokyo visiting family as well as Mt. Fuji and then we are off to Okinawa (where I was born). We are very excited to finally be reunited with our family in Okinawa which we have not seen in almost 30 years! We will then return home for a short period and will be off to Finland for our big move on the 28th of June!

family