Okinawa Eats: Seaside Terrace

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, Dining Cafe Seaside Terrace

You can take a candy but they won't take your card

You can take a candy but they won’t take your card

Ambiance:  Recently opened (2012), contemporary finer-dining eatery located along Sunabe Seawall in Miyagi, Chatan-cho.

Service:  A small establishment which prides itself on fresh food perfectly cooked-to-order, which means the wait times can be, if busy, longer than what you may be accustomed to, but which is well worth the culinary adventure awaiting you when finally served.  The friendliness and personal attentiveness of the staff is superb.  The maximum group size accepted is six persons; reservations are highly encouraged for groups of 4 or more in order to ensure prompt service.

Food Quality:  Above-Average to Excellent.

Features:  Quaint eatery with conditioned indoor and shaded outdoor seating.  Romantic atmosphere, but kid- and pet-friendly.  An affable and engaging chat with Chef and Owner Taka-san is a highlight of any visit!

Cuisine:  Japanese-fusion, with a weighty European (Italian) spin.  The clearly American-influenced breakfast selections are hearty and filling, and they proudly proclaim they serve “Okinawa’s #1 Fish & Chips”!

Price/Value:  Above Average to Excellent.

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, Welcome

Yes, it’s hard making your way in the world today.  It can take everything you’ve got. Taking a break from all your worries sure would help a lot.  Wouldn’t you like to get away?  Where everybody knows your name, and they’re always glad you came?

Cat Friendly

Cat Friendly

If that’s you then sometimes you may want to toast “Cheers!” at Seaside Terrace!  A local restaurant with no pretenses and the friendliest staff around.  And yes, they – Taka-san and Christy both know our name there.

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, inviting atmosphere

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, Chef's SpecialFinding little gems along Sunabe Seawall is a favorite pastime for me and my wife.  Walking the wall to and from these eateries not only settles our full bellies, but also negates the potential for “trouble” involving the mixing of adult beverages and automobiles.  But it is just the serenely peaceful and stunning views of the East China Sea, especially during our sea-breeze cooled, coral-colored autumnal sunsets, that makes this place so…special.  Taka-san’s Seaside Terrace sparkles in this regard, offering indoor Contemporary European-sheik seating amidst a relaxing, romantic atmosphere, outdoor garden-inspired and umbrella shaded accommodations, and although it doesn’t offer views of the ocean, it’s literally across the street from the seawall.

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, Welcome

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, Chai-latteOkinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, interesting accoutramentsWhen we first discovered the Seaside Terrace, Taka-san was running two eateries (the other, Seaside Café, located near Araha Beach), and was open for dinner.  However, to our sad disappointment, dinner is no longer served here.  The menu is heavily influenced by Taka-san’s classical European culinary training, especially in the Italian dishes he offers.  However, although we continue to ask him about his opening again for dinner, the bistro remains opens only for breakfast, lunch, and everything and anything in-between until 1700 (last order 1600).

Kid-Friendly Books

Kid-Friendly Too

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, contemporary seatingHowever, it is in his breakfast options where Seaside Terrace really shines, particularly in their special “desert” French toast that is, in my wife’s opinion, the only way to truly eat breakfast.  Scrumptious French toast, topped with ice cream, capped with banana, drizzled with both chocolate and caramel sauces, topped with whipped cream and then finished with frozen fresh fruit?  What’s not to like about that! The menu, however, offers a full range of lunch options, including appetizers and salads.

The only way to do breakfast...served all day!

The only way to do breakfast…served all day!

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, intimate seating

Have you heard about their Fish & Chips?!?

Have you heard about their Fish & Chips?!?

This café offers a relaxed, quaint, and welcoming dining experience.  The food is prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients, and is crafted with care and presented with the personal pride of the owner.  There is limited seating, with a maximum capacity of somewhere around 12 inside and 12 outside.  The layout provides an advantageous space for small groups of friends, family or coworkers to gather and enjoy comforting company along with a fabulous meal.  Please note, however, that there is only one chef, working a small kitchen fashioning each meal to order, so be patient.  In fact, Seaside Terrace only takes groups of 6 maximum, and if you have 4 or more, Taka-san highly encourages reservations.  The food and service are worth it; the contemporary surroundings and the soft, sensual soundtrack make any type of wait relaxing and enjoyable.  Be forewarned:  on Sundays during brunch hours and on major American holidays (like Mother’s Day), the joint can be hopping!

Their prettiest customer.

Their prettiest customer.

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, breakfast served all dayThe pasta sets are large and indulgent, and I’m told that Taka-san has perfected his very own delightful trademark sauce over the years.  Having eaten here more than a few times now, we find ourselves being friends and neighbors to the staff…of two!  The owner is friendly and proud, and he always greets and chats with us whenever he has time.  Christy, the half-Japanese, half-Filipino hostess/waitress is studying English, so be sure to chat her up.  One of the finer aspects of eating with Taka-san is the personal indulgence one feels in having a 5-star chef cook just for you.

Owner & Chef Taka-san; tell him the Kings sent you!

Owner & Chef Taka-san; tell him the Kings sent you!

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, afternoon specialOkinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, Chef's specialsIn addition to the standard (yet scrumptious) menu fare are the specials listed daily on two blackboards.  And don’t forget the bar service, although without dinner entrees the drinks offered have been somewhat reduced.  One of my and Jody’s favorite cocktails ever were enjoyed here – the Moulin Rouge – and we liked them so much we brought our own bottle of Cassis to Taka-san and had four of them made to go with our afternoon brunch!  They were delightfully surprised at our throw-back to last year’s menu; we were sensuously satisfied with the playfulness of the frozen fruit, Casis and whatever other concoctions were stirred into that brew.  Ask for the drink when you’re there; perhaps with enough demand he’ll put it back on the menu!

Okinawa Eats Nov 2014, Seaside Terrace, always a way to open a door

Taka-san has always dreamed of operating a high-end American-Japanese fusion restaurant.  And he is off to a wonderful start on achieving that goal.  He and his staff are more than willing to make sure you have a truly indulgent dining experience.

Hopefully this won't greet you in the window....

Hopefully this won’t greet you in the window….

Check it out for yourself.  And be sure to tell them your name.  Cheers!!

An open and welcoming door.

An open and welcoming door.

Directions (from Kadena Gate 1):  On Route 58 heading south make first right at the first light (Family Mart).  Travel west to the 3rd light (which is the last light before hitting the Seawall), turn left.  Head south two blocks and turn right at the signage for the Sunabe Smile Dental Clinic.  Go all the way to the seawall and turn right (the seawall road here is one-way).  Traveling one short block along the seawall, look to your right and you’ll see a large billboard for Seaside Terrace.  Although there is some parking across the side-street, it is best to park along the seawall here.

Phone: 098-936-2556

Hours:  Closed Tuesdays, open 8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. weekdays and 8:00 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. weekends.  Reservations are suggested.

Payment:  Cash-only, Yen or U.S. Dollars


Food Fit for a Scoundrel: Genghis Khan

Okinawa Eats: Genghis Khan


11811345295_6d6c9a0b60_bAmbiance: Long-standing local Mom & Pop establishment, decorated in what can only be described as the Japanese-spin on a half senile American Grandma….

Service: Self-service buffet where you select ingredients that are cooked fresh to order.  The line at the griddles can get quite long at the prime dinner hours, especially on weekends and around military paydays.

Food Quality: Above-average.

Features:  Spacious and eclectic local eatery with easily reconfigurable, family style seating

Cuisine: Mongolian BBQ consisting of frozen meats but fresh vegetables.

Price/Value: Above Average.

Like you Grandma's attic, with food.

Like you Grandma’s attic, with food.

Khan.  What a glutton.

Khan. What a glutton.

Although you may not have the fathered as many sons as Genghis Khan and your Y chromosome may not live on in around 0.5% of the male global population, you can still certainly dine as he did almost as often.

11811730864_e00e2df623_bGenghis Khan is located conveniently a few blocks from our condo, and although we could walk there, we choose to drive because the journey back home would be just too hard on a bloated belly after enjoying the deadly sin of gluttony for at least the previous sixty minutes. The Mom and Pop joint, a not-so-small hole-in-the-wall that’s been around for almost forty years now, is just minutes from Kadena AFB Gate 1.  And the food is just plain yummy:  freshly cooked, served steaming hot, which seems to expand to fill and form-fit your belly, this style of Mongolian BBQ is true comfort food, and a great way to end a long day of adventure on Okinawa.


Eclectic Americana...for sure.

Eclectic Americana…for sure.

11812080046_f0b833598d_b11811752804_75c29f36c9_bWalking in it seems like you just might be walking into an old antique shop or possibly your overly patriotic grandmother’s house; if you like American flag hand-crocheted quilts, this place is for you! Hungry patrons are greeted at the door and directed to a table (usually of your choice), where you decide if you would like rice or bread to go with your soon-to-be consumed feast.  Then, you simply get up, grab a bowl – imprinted with Japanese and American flags – and fill it with all the meat (chicken, beef, pork and lamb) and up to ten kinds of veggies to your Mongol heart’s content.  Soba noodles are available, along with a plethora of toppings and seasonings, including a Genghis Khan original sauce, soy, olive oil, teriyaki and even sake!  For first-timers, there’s a guide posted in English about recommended spices, which is a great point of departure to start this culinary adventure.  You’ll soon be experimenting and will certainly come up with your own perfect concoction.  A cook then chops the raw ingredients and grills them under your watchful eye.  On slow nights, the owner may even assist you with what he considers best sauce combo.


11811320325_36664d0237_bThis buffet-style restaurant is perfect for the hungry Mongol in your life that you can’t seem to keep full. They are, however, only open for dinner.  And an insider’s hint:  be careful on payday weekends as the place is often hoppin’ full of Americans!


11811743484_c73f7cfa85_bA large establishment for Okinawa, Genghis Khan can seat up to 80. In my past times living on Okinawa, because of this high-capacity, we’ve held command Hail & Farewells here to great effect.  The purse-friendly ~1,800 yen buffet style all-you-can-eat Mongolian barbecue includes free refills of a full array of soft drinks, and also comes with rice or bread.


And really, don’t worry about fathering all those kids. With a royally stuffed belly, you’ll only have eyes for not the bedroom, but just the bed.


Hours: Dinner only, Sunday 4:00-10:00pm, Monday – Saturday 5:30-10:30pm

Payment: Cash only, but both Dollars and Yen acceptable

Address: 304-4 Sunabe, Chatan-Cho

Google Maps Coordinates: 26.3314702592, 127.749729032;,127.7496643&z=15&hl=en&source=embed

Directions from Kadena Gate 1: Take a left onto Hwy 58 and then a quick right at the first light (Family Mart).  Then take a right at the first street, where you will see a sign for a medical clinic in Japanese pictured with a blue person and a pink person with a heart in between.  There is actually quite a bit of street parking just past the restaurant.

Okinawa Eats: Kajinho, Pizza in the Sky


12425307123_d8a0d3f94d_bAmbiance: Local establishment situated high on a hillside in the Motobu peninsula.  With beautiful views and open-air seating on nicer days, the place is hugely popular and thus often very crowded.

Service: Although very crowded, the service during our visits has been impeccable.

Food Quality: Average-to-above-average, except for presentation.

Features: Minimal outdoor seating around the restaurant’s perimeter, with rustic bench-type seating inside.  Overflow seating in a type of circus-tent, an area that I would recommend diners attempt to avoid.

Cuisine: Pizza, one kind, house salad, and a wide array of tropical drinks and desserts.

Price/Value: Average.


Getting to this restaurant is not easy, even with instructions, printed maps, and pins on your iPhone (make sure it is right!). Luckily for us, being a car-load of gaijin climbing the surrounding hillside roads, the locals knew where we all wanted to go, and a woman actually approached and assured us of the way…think goodness!  Finally, just over the rise of the hill and down a narrow road into a gravel parking lot stood “Pizza in the Sky,” in all its rumored glory gleaming proudly in the bright afternoon sun.


Pizza in the Sky, like many other of the quaint style of eateries on Okinawa, appears to be operated within a traditional Japanese home. There is the expected indoor seating, but a really charming patio around the perimeter of the main building.  Watch out though:  as stated above, there is one seating area that I recommend diners avoid, a covered area set off to the side utilizing picnic table-like seating.


There are some really fine touches at Pizza in the sky. Their simple and short menu is printed on beautiful Asian fans.  What you will find is exactly what you’ve heard:  two sizes of pizza (and only one kind), salad, and various drinks.  Note that there is no choice in the pizza, rather, everyone gets the pizza of the day at Kajinho!


12357997233_839c53d102_b12425295503_b4daa3aee2_bThe pizza is not bad, and the salad was quite nice. The pizza crust is thicker than what I prefer, and takes a bit of chew to get through easily.  The cheese is not exactly what I would call “Italian,” but the chefs are not shy with it!  The salad is served in a large bowl easily enough for two, and is topped with a Japanese-inspired tangy vinaigrette.  The fresh juices, while delicious, are quite expensive.  It seems that their menu draws mixed reviews from the American public.  The real star, edibly speaking, was the tea that most of us at our large table ordered. Kajinho serves theirs with a bouquet of flowers and in rustically Okinawan pottery.  Regardless of what you think about the food, the fantastic views of the East China Sea are always satisfying.


Although the food is not to die for, in my opinion neither is the ambiance. Contrary to the urban legend of mythical proportions that has arisen around Pizza in the Sky, the mass of crowds that can share this hilltop location with you are enough to cancel out any romantic or rustic notion of dining here.  Crowds seem to crush at lunch, combining trips to the Aquarium or Butterfly Garden with a stop for a bite to eat.  I have heard that the dinner wait is much, much shorter, but watch the clock:  they close early with last order at 1830.


Beware there are a lot of bugs here, especially at night or near sunset. The staff does provide some bug-repellent coils to burn at your outdoor tables, but just be prepared for mosquitos and no-see-ums.  And come prepared:  Yen only!!


Hours: Open 12:00 – 19:00 (Last Order 18:30), closed Tuesday & Wednesday

Address:  1153-2 Yamazato, Motobu-cho

Phone: 098-047-5537

A Splash of Ramen: “Kitchen Splash” Restaurant Review

A Splash of Seashells

A Splash of Seashells

“Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.” ~Ludwig van Beethoven

“Having a good wife and rich cabbage soup, seek not other things” ~Russian Proverb quotes

“What’s a soup kitchen?” ~Paris Hilton

She has never had to live on Ramen.

She has never had to live on Ramen.

Good Soup is better than Second-Hand Art

Good Soup is better than Second-Hand Art

Kitchen Splash:  2-93 Miyagi, Chatan Town, 098-926-0151

Ambiance:  Average, except indoor smoking is allowed during dinner

Service:  Good

Cocktails:  Beer & Awamori available, cocktails very limited

Food Quality:  Average

Features :  Japanese cuisine, all you can drink, bar counter, close to Sunabe Seawall, international, pet-friendly (terrace only), ramen, set lunch, tatami rooms, terrace seating (very limited), English menu available.

Cuisine:  Japanese / Okinawan, Noodles

Price/Value:  Average

I often think gyoza and edamame make the world'go'round.  Oh, and blue-eyed beauties.

I often think gyoza and edamame make the world’go’round. Oh, and blue-eyed beauties.

Having a good wife, and needing only a local source of rich soup, Jody and I set out for “Kitchen Splash,” a noodle house of sorts located less than a block off Sunabe Seawall in the heart of commercial Miyagi.  And in the way of noodles, they do not disappoint.  However….

Truth in Advertising

Truth in Advertising

Group Tatami Area

Group Tatami Area

The restaurant is clean and fairly spacious inside, although the outdoor terrace seating is cramped and very limited, but pet friendly.  The décor matches the name; there are rustic touches here and there that both hint and call-out from the nearby sea.  There is a larger tatami area for group seating.  While we were there, the staff were playing a Japanese boy-group concert on their rather large flat screen TV mounted from the ceiling, and although the volume was higher than I would have liked, the music was actually good and the video?  Well, highly entertaining!

Rustic Seating

Rustic Seating

The menu has a full selection of noodles and soup, but offers little else.  The cocktails are very limited, and pricey by my standards.  However, there is a wide range of beer and Awamori.

Menu Selections

Menu Selections

Before the Kick-Boxing Match with her Meal

Before the Kick-Boxing Match with her Meal

We ordered gyoza and edamame for starters, both served quickly, steaming hot, and turned out to be quite tasty and fresh.  The service was prompt, although we were initially the only two in the eatery, soon joined by 4-6 others, most of whom appeared to be local shift workers just getting off for dinner.  When the soups came, we were both somewhat disappointed.  A large portion of our letdown, I believe, stems from our basic lack of understanding of the menu and options for our dishes.  I ended up with soy ramen soup with pork and vegetables, but instead of the yummy, meaty slices of pork that one can find in other ramen houses, my soup had a number of very fatty and what appeared to be second-hand pieces of pork, most of which I chose not to eat.  Jody tried a dish neither of us was familiar with, and although the spelling offered on the menus was “Tammen,” I believe what she wound up with was “Taman” soup, a spicy garlic and red-sauce concoction based on the local Okinawa fish Taman.

Fatty Pork...and Indoor Smoking - I'll Pass

Fatty Pork…and Indoor Smoking – I’ll Pass

We finished most of our meals, and took our short walk – 3 or 4 blocks – back home, where I remained somewhat disappointed in my ramen, and Jody quickly wound up with a pretty bad belly ache.  Even though we ordered her soup with “skoshi” spice, her meal was produced with a healthy kick, which she continued to fight through the evening.  Both ailments quickly passed, and we agreed we would splash in again at this kitchen, eager to give then another try.  But probably only for lunch, when indoor smoking, for some reason, is not allowed by the staff.  If the chances of Paris Hilton showing up here were even measureable, perhaps we would return for dinner.  However, we instead prefer not to share our evening meal with smokers in such close quarters.

Respectfully, No Microwave Used Here

Respectfully, No Microwave Used Here

Rustic Seating

Rustic Seating

• Open Lunch 11:30-15:00 / Dinner 17:00-24:00, Closed Wed

• $ accepted

• English menu available

• Parking is available, but problematic along the main seawall roads

• Pet friendly (terrace only)

• Takeout available

5 Anime Series for Non-Anime Fans

I really try to keep my site and blogs all-original content, but every once in a while, a blog is certainly worth reposting. As Japan-Hub states here in their blog, “In my humble opinion, the [anime] storylines are either too weird or too violent or just plain out ridiculous….” But, anime, as an Eastern art, is certainly worth investigating, if not appreciating, and the listing and reviews provided here I believe can offer anyone with a remote itch for something different and Far Eastern-centric a great place to start. I know I will.  It is time.


At least once a week, someone I know gives me a suggestion on an anime series to watch.  While I’m not an anime hater, I rarely give their suggestions a try.  In my humble opinion, the storylines are either too weird or too violent or just plain out ridiculous.  But once in a blue moon, I will get turned on to an anime that actually holds my interest and makes me look forward to the next episode.  Here are some of my suggestions for anime series that I feel any non-anime fan can enjoy and maybe even come to love:


attack on titan

Attack on Titan is THE anime to watch right now.  The premise is definitely intriguing: Mankind has been forced to live behind 3 concentric walls in order to protect themselves from Titans, huge and ugly giants whose only goal is to gobble up humans.  When titans…

View original post 736 more words

Breakfast at Tiffany’s (almost); Sea Glass Cafe Review

This Joke would Probably be Lost in Translation

This Joke would Probably be Lost in Translation

Sea Breeze Café Sea Glass, 2-46 Miyagi, Chatan Town,  098-936-2123

Ambiance:  Very Good

Service:  Excellent

Cocktails:  Tea & Coffee both Very Good

Food Quality:  Very Good

Features :  American-style breakfast, café fare, early morning hours, pet-friendly (outdoor terrace only), set lunch, takeout available

Cuisine :  Stylized American

Price/Value:  Very Good

Stylized American Dishes

Stylized American Dishes

Situated on the Sunabe Seawall in Chatan, Breeze Café Sea Glass opened its doors to the public on Aug. 23, 2013 and offers an oceanfront setting with stylish drinking and dining, but sadly no view of the actual ocean.  Starting at 6:00 every morning (except on Wednesdays), the café serves a wide variety of American breakfast favorites with a twist, such as pancakes, French toast, omelets, fresh fruit salads and galettes (buckwheat crepes), and delicious smoothies in 10 flavors.  In addition, a large selection of toppings and side dishes are available to customize your breakfast.  The breakfast fare and smoothies are available throughout the day, but there is also a lunch “dish of the day” which comes with an appetizer, soup, all-you-can-eat salad and bread, and a soft drink, served from 11:30 until closing.

Breakfast Harkens on the Seawall

Breakfast Harkens on the Seawall

Jody and finally took the two block walk down to get some breakfast.  The interior is very rustic in a modern way, well-appointed and comfortable in every way.  The service is good and fast, and English menus were available, while the staff spoke English well.  What at first appeared to be relatively expensive breakfast items – toast for 380 yen – quickly became obvious that you get much more than you bargain for here.  Our breakfasts both came with a savory salad, complete with a lite French-like dressing, along with very yummy tater tots, called “hash browns” per the menu.

Breakfast, More than Expected!

Breakfast, More than Expected!

My toast was the hearty thick-cut Japanese kind, and my two slices easily equaled four American pieces.  Soft butter and jam were supplied as toppings.  Jody’s French toast came prepared as two smaller pieces of what looked like baguettes; steeped in an egg concoction (but not soaked), cooked to a toasty and crunchy exterior, but with a warm, soft delicious inner core.  Jody chose fresh fruit as a topping, and a large portion of sliced, fresh fruit was provided.

Japanese "French Toast with Hash Browns"

Japanese “French Toast with Hash Browns”

There is a small deck outside where you can enjoy a relaxing morning or afternoon in the sea breeze while savoring a cup of coffee with a yummy dessert.  Just be prepared to be right on the Sunabe Seawall street, with only a view of the landward side of the newly heightened seawall.  The terrace seating area outside is pet friendly; Jody and I watched one of the servers bring out a dog dish full of water for a small furry friend visiting with its owner.  Also be aware that the terrace area is shaded much of the morning, but will take some direct sunlight in the afternoons.

Jody and I both highly recommend this café!!  We will most definitely be back, and become regulars.

Even Anime Characters Think Breakfast is the Most Important Meal

Even Anime Characters Think Breakfast is the Most Important Meal

Open 6:00-17:00, Closed Wed and 4th Thursday of every month

•$ accepted

•English menu available

•Parking available

•Pet friendly

•All food and drink items are available for takeout.

The Seawall Area of Miyagi

The Seawall Area of Miyagi