About the Champloo

ちゃんぷる〜 (champuru, champloo) (n) A mixture of two or more different things blended together to create something yummy, pleasing to look at, or otherwise better than boring.

smile1The first thing people here usually ask me is some variation of “What are you?”.  I can’t see why they should be so interested in this.  So I’m obviously a champloo.  Big deal.  Isn’t everyone in some way?  I’m Japanese-haole, to put it very broadly.  My husband is Yanbaru-Ishikawa.  And I bet his parents’ parents were from different places within those Okinawan cities, if you wanted to get really specific.  But no one stops to consider that.  They only care about the obvious.

Annoying?  Yes.  But some say I should try to look at the bright side of always being singled out.  After all, one of the best things about being an obvious champloo in Japan (and especially here in Okinawa) is the wide variety of people you can meet and the sense of adventure you always feel.  Had I stayed home, I might not ever have made friends with people from all over Japan, the US, and the world – I’d be far too busy sitting at home playing Nintendo with my brother or cousins.  Even if I went out, I’d just blend right into the crowd and no one would talk to me.  But here, being the odd one out makes everyone somehow more interested in what I have to say, an amusing if not pleasant change from what they would normally hear in their everyday lives.

When I was in Tokyo and Yokohama, I never had trouble finding others like me.  However, in Okinawa there aren’t a whole lot of resources aimed at people not totally Japanese but not affiliated with the military.  Whenever I need a quick getaway from Japanese society, I pick up the latest JapanUpdate newspaper or Okinawa Living magazine, only to find that most of the special deals and events are aimed at people with military ID.  Do I really care where to get the biggest steak at a family-oriented restaurant that takes dollars and credit cards, or where I can find the cheapest beer during Happy Hour at a bar I can’t enter without a GI escort?  Sometimes, of course, but other times I just want to meet somebody else like me who gets the “Do you speak Japanese?  Can you use chopsticks?” treatment daily and, gasp, actually can speak Japanese and use chopsticks.

So please feel free to leave comments or share your stories about Okinawan life – the more variety we have, the yummier the champloo.





  1. Hi Aiko,

    I was on FB looking at something Bron Hamilton had posted. I saw you liked it and being ultra curious followed your link to here. And I was rewarded with a wonderful blog. Then seeing you are in Okinawa I really became curious. That is because I’m a hopeless Churisan fan. I watch it at least once a year. And Kuninaka Ryoko is my most favorite Japanese actress.

    I too started a blog here recently and you may want to take a peek. If you do here’s the link (I hope since sometimes WordPress has a habit of fooling me).



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