Annis and Uehara publish English shopping guide of Okinawan vegetables and farmer’s markets

Annis and Uehara publish English shopping guide of Okinawan vegetables and farmer’s markets

Casey Annis (left) and Chiharu Uehara (right) with their farmer’s market shopping guide Eat Okinawa at the Ryukyu Shimpo Newspaper Building in Ameku, Naha City,


November 24, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

Okinawans are very well-acquainted with goya (bitter gourds), hechima (loofah gourds), handama (Okinawan spinach), and such Okinawan vegetables. However, when foreign people first encounter these, they notice many peculiarities in appearance and taste. Casey Annis and Chiharu Uehara from Ginowan City have now published a guide to help people unfamiliar with Okinawan vegetables called Eat Okinawa. The book introduces in English how to eat and where to buy Okinawan vegetables.

The inspiration for the book came from the Facebook page Annis started three years ago. Her page is intended for people affiliated with U.S. military bases and those from foreign countries. She posts information on farmer’s markets where one can buy vegetables fresh and cheap. As her page gained more followers, one after another she received questions and bewildered messages. She heard stories of surprise such as cutting open a winter melon mistaken for a watermelon, and biting into a goya that was thought to be a cucumber. Annis discussed these accounts with her friend of many years, Uehara, and after about two years they have completed this book.

In the book, ingredients are pictured with names listed in Japanese, phonetically in English lettering, and in English. It contains example recipes and recommendations on how to prepare ingredients, the locations of farmer’s markets and greengrocers in Okinawa, and simple Japanese phrases to use when shopping. There are many Japanese people buying the book as English teaching material. Annis and Uehara said their first priority was making the book easy to understand at a glance. They say that the one book covers every step from shopping for ingredients to up to eating.

The guide is being sold for 1,296 yen at four farmer’s markets in Okinawa: Hagoromo Ichiba (Ginowan City), Chatan Nirai Ichiba, Chanpuru Ichiba (Okinawa City), and Itoman Umanchu Ichiba.

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