It's Universal

SUBHEAD: How the US Marines live in Okinawa illustrate how crazy we are.

 By Juan Wilson on 1 January 2009 for Island Breath 

Image above: detail of cover of September 2008 "Okinawa Living"

I was checking out the "free book bin" outside the Hanapepe Public Library a day before New Year's Eve and stumbled on the September issue of "Okinawa Living". It is a sixty-four page color glossy extravaganza and a U.S. Marine Corps Community Service Publication. It is geared towards military service personnel, and is an eye-opener on how alien Americans have become not only to the world, but to themselves.

The cover article was about the Camp Fuji Martial Arts Expo that brought together practitioners of a variety of Japanese traditional forms of combat. It pays homage to Japan's historic military values and disciplines and even features a vignette of our US marines carrying on that tradition.

Of course, the Japanese have a continued discomfort with United States troops in Okinawa. I imagine that this puff piece is in part to assuage the Japanese who may find "Okinawa Living" left behind at a local McDonalds, and in part an effort to "orient" the Marines to the customs of the land they occupy.

The magazine is sprinkled with ads for restaurants with knife wielding Japanese chefs. There are many ads for seafood restaurants and articles making local seafood more "familiar".

To make this distant and alien place seem more familiar and fun the Marines have arranged to make available all kinds of recreation from Bingo to Texas Hold'em Tournaments. More than one ad bragged of American styled bars that feature "Lady's Night".

Image above: Detail of DOD ad (see to shame women on Lady's Nights

Obviously the call to women in the service or married to men who serve has worked. A cautionary ad from the Department of Defense is aimed at women who imbibe. The ad's title is "WARNING BEWARE OF: that Drama Queen" and goes on to say "she gets more obsessive, jealous and weepy with every cocktail" and "loses her sex appeal due to puke stains on her blouse".

The ad seems an attempt to shame the unhappy gals stuck in Okinawa who go out seeking Happy Hour on Lady's Night and end up disappointed and drunk.Their website is

The back-cover of the magazine is a full color ad for Universal Studios Japan with an invitation to hop on a plane and join the Halloween fun between September 4 - Nov 4. It is truly spooky. The ad synergistically coincides with a feature article inside.

The big feature article in the magazine is about the Japanese Universal and Disney theme parks and how they'll make the family feel good to be Americans. If this is America, I'm glad I live in the Nation of Hawaii, even if a few Hawaiians think Las Vegas is the eighth island.

Below is the article on "getting away" -

Image above: detail of illustration for feature article on vacation-get-aways

[IB Editor's Note: Who are the aliens here? Who feels at home when they get to a place with tarantasaurus rex roam the land, ogres fly dragons through the sky and heroes are hybrids of half-spider/half-man... Ahh! Home Sweet Home!]

By Mike Daley in September 2008 Okinawa Living
Japan can seem like an alien landscape for the first-time visitor, light years away from the familiar sights of home. But did you know that a generous slice of Hollywood is only a island hop away?

Although many consider being stationed in Japan a vacation in itself, living in a foreign land for an extended period of time can leave families longing for a vacation from their vacation.

But traveling back to the U.S. (with family in tow) to its comforting familiarity can be an expensive and hectic proposition. Universal Studios Japan, located in Osaka, is celebrating seven fun-filled years of bringing the magic of Hollywood (and a heavy dose of the good 'ol U.S. of A.) to the Far East.

Known locally simply as USJ, Universal Studios Japan consists of rides, attractions, shops and favorite characters such as Woody Woodpecker, Snoopy, Shrek, Elmo, Big Bird and the Cookie Monster (from Sesame Street), and more wandering about in nine distinct themed areas.

There are a total of I5 attractions and 20 restaurants. Some of the attractions, such as Snoopy Studio and Universal Studios Motion Picture Magic, are unique to USJ and cannot be experienced at any other Universal theme park. USJ features a multitude of familiar rides and attractions based on blockbusters such as Jaws, E.T., Back to the Future, Jurassic Park, and Spider Man, but USJ also introduces visitors to characters that are a bit more "local" such as Nature, Hello Kitty, and others.

The park features a number of live-action shows, mountains of movie- and character- inspired memorabilia, and even themed decorations and shows based on holidays such as Christmas and Halloween.

Because USJ is the only Universal Studios theme park located outside of the U.S., much of the park is centered around American-styled sights and restaurants, (ranging from San Francisco and New York to fictional locales such as Jurassic Park).

Although Tokyo's Disneyland and Disney Sea may be the favorite kids destination in Japan, USJ also features plenty for children.

The major attraction at Universal Studios Japan that is unique to the park is Snoopy's Playland-a must-see for anyone traveling with children (and the young- at- heart). All the Peanuts characters are featured (some boasting their own themed rides such as Peppermint Patty's Stunt Slide).

Fans of Charles Schultz's comic strip will also enjoy a trip to Snoopy's Sound Stage Adventure, which places kids in charge of their own movie (with a world-famous beagle's assistance, of course). Here visitors can catch a ride on a roller coaster that circles USJ. Similarly, anyone with kids who has spent more than a day in Japan will have developed at least a cursory knowledge of Hello Kitty characters.

Children will be delighted by the daily Hello Kitty parade that winds its way throughout the park. Universal Studios Japan also features children's favorite characters from Sesame Street - including the almighty Elmo. The 20-minute Sesame Street 4D Movie Magic presentation will have kids squealing with excitement.

Many local Travel Agencies, such as Omega World Travel, OTS, and HIS offer package tours to Universal Studios Japan. Prices vary, but begin at around $400 per adult complete with hotel accommodations (two or three days), making it a great latesummer vacation locale.

From September 4 until November 3 USJ will be featuring a Halloween theme. For more information about travel, contact a local travel agency. For more information about USJ visit their website:



Anonymous said...

Where do I sign up? I've been looking for some direction in my life, and between the U.S. Marine Corps and Universal Studios Japan, I just may have found it!

Anonymous said...

The picture of those 6+1 guys looks like some real grey matter winners. How'd you like to have to try to reason with one of them?

Post a Comment