AF News

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

American Village’s Restaurants Guide

We tried a restaurant in American village recently and on the way there I grabbed the tourist guide that has most of the restaurants there. While the guide is not completely inclusive, you will get an idea of what kind of food they have there. However, a short walk around the area will show you that there are plenty of hidden places to eat at, with larger mainstream establishments that you can eat at as well. I have the guide right below for your viewing pleasure…

American Village’s Restaurants Guide - Page 1 of 4

American Village’s Restaurants Guide - Page 2 of 4

American Village’s Restaurants Guide - Page 3 of 4

American Village’s Restaurants Guide - Page 4 of 4

Monday, October 14, 2013

Casio GB-6900AA Review

Casio GB-6900AA
Casio GB-6900AA

One of the things I left with from our ASHIBINAA Outlet Mall shopping trip was the Casio GB-6900AA that cost me around $126 at the current exchange rate. I was looking for a new watch to wear in uniform, since the Casio I have now is over 5 years old, so it is time for some change. I got the watch at the G-Shock store (obviously!) and there was plenty choices in there, definitely a benefit of being in Japan. The staff was very helpful, however their English was sparse, but they had English product sheets I could read for the watches I was interested in though. Well, this watch caught my eye since it can link up to your iPhone 5/Galaxy 4 and vibrate/beep when you get a call or email; you can even use the watch to find your phone! If you noticed that I left out SMS notifications, you would sadly be correct in your observation. I didn’t catch that when I bought the watch, and that feature would make this watch perfect for my use, instead of almost perfect. I do want to clarify that that the SMS notification feature doesn’t work with the iPhone 5 only, it will work with the Samsung Galaxy 4 though. And those are the only two phones this watch works with at the moment, and I think it has to do with the low power Bluetooth radios these phones have. I am sure more phones will be compatible as that feature gets integrated into more phones in the future.

Well besides not have the SMS notification option, this phone has proven still useful for me. The main reason I got this watch is that I don’t notice sometimes when I get a phone call when I am out and about. Most of my work days include being meetings and I have my iPhone on vibrate basically all day. I also keep my phone in my ABU pant’s thigh inner pocket, which makes it hard to feel if the phone is vibrating. So I thought having this watch would help me not miss calls, and it does that pretty good so far. I think this watch would also be good for people that keep their phone packed away in a merurse or backpack and still want to know if they get a phone call, without having to have the ringer volume on full blast on the phone. Overall I am happy with this watch, and if your application is similar to mine, be sure to give this watch a chance! Now, on to some details on the watch…

1. You have to use a separate G-Shock app for your phone for the feature to work on your watch. It is free and I have had no problem on the iPhone 5 using it. It is primarily used to link the phone to the watch, and to set up your alerts.

2. Incoming calls do not have caller ID when sent to your watch, it just flashes you have a call on the watch.

3. Like I mentioned before it doesn't send notifications to the watch when your get SMS on the iPhone 5, and this is probably due to the closed nature of the iOS system.

4. The email notification works great, but you have to save your email login details on the G Shock app first for it to work. Once that is set up though, you will get the notifications of new emails on the watch, and it even scrolls the senders email across on the watch display!

5. The next feature this watch has is the find phone feature. Once the phone and watch are linked, you can hold down a button on the watch and it will make your phone emit a very loud melody/music (of your choosing) to help you find it if you misplaced it. This feature works well and I am sure I will use this in the future. Of course this will only work if the phone and watch are still connected to each other. If you have no signal you are out of luck, but I noticed they will stay linked to each other, even if they are in different rooms. Which by the way, the phone will notify you when the connection is lost. I think that feature is great for people who forget their things all the time, like my wife! For example, the wife is at a café with friends and she puts down her phone on the table. They then finish up yapping awhile later and walk away to pay the bill. By the time they get outside, the connection between her watch and her phone has been lost, and the watch will beep/vibrate at her. This will hopefully remind her that she left her phone on the table!

Well that is about it on this watch. I have the link to the feature comparisons of this watch and the other similar models from Casio right below for your shopping needs…

Sunday, October 13, 2013


Well the wife was bored and was complaining that we haven’t really go out exploring yet since we been here on Okinawa (2 months). What she was really saying was that she hasn’t done any hardcore shopping yet and it was high time she did! I heard there were some big shopping malls/outlets on the island, so I did a quick search on the web and came across ASHIBINAA Outlet Mall. It is about an hour drive south, depending on traffic, from Kadena AB. If you use Google Maps, it will find this place and route you all the way there no problem. Well, I didn’t tell the wife exactly where we were going when we left, I just said we were going to Naha to shop. Well, when we pulled up the area where ASHIBINAA was, the wife’s eyes almost popped out of her head! This place is pretty big and has just about every band name you can think of. But remember that even though this is an Outlet mall, the prices are still going to be higher than you would expect, since everything in Japan is just more expensive. But I am not saying you not find deals there, but you just got to go there at the right time to find the deals. I noticed that most of the stores display the typical xx% percent off in their windows, but the major discounts of 50% or higher were only taking place during a limited time window that I noticed. For example, the Adidas store was doing a 50% off just about everything in their store for few hours and there were plenty of people grabbing stuff in there while they could. I sure the season change here has something to do with all the sales I noticed while we were there, but who knows. Now the practicalities…There wasn’t much spoken English going around that I noticed, so getting information in the shops may be a challenge for some. I think my wife would have been better off trying to speaking Korean than English in regards to communicating with people there. I say that because this place is near the Naha airport and there seemed be many Asian tourist there. So naturally, I would assume the shops would have more Korean and/or Chinese speaking staff, than English in this case. Next, the parking is FREE! There is a massive parking structure right next the mall, so it shouldn’t be too bad finding parking when you go. Additionally, I noticed that just about every store accepts major credit cards, so you should be good to go with making all your purchases. Just don’t forget to tell your bank you are in Japan, and save yourself from the experience of getting your card denied when you go pay. Finally, there are plenty of other nearby shopping areas around the Mall, which includes plenty of places to eat as well. Oh yea, I almost forgot to mention to bring a umbrella when you go there. Most of the mall is open air, so keep that in mind, since it can rain anytime here in Okinawa. So, we ended up doing some light shopping and we made a good day trip out of it. I would recommend to anyone to head out there for all your brand name shopping needs when you are in Okinawa. I also posted the shopping guide, with the map of the place as well. I am sure this will help the hardcore shoppers plan out their attack!

Here is the link to the Outlet mall…

ASHIBINAA Outlet Mall 
ASHIBINAA Outlet Mall 
ASHIBINAA Outlet Mall Map

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Fixed Honda Fit CVT Shudder!

I am following up on my Honda Fit shudder issue I mentioned in my “Car Services on Kadena AB” post. Well I got the OIL EXTREME last week in the mail and I went straight home to try it out. I ordered the 16 oz. package, with comes with two 6 oz. bottles and a 4 oz. bottle. I believe this package is enough to treat your transmission and engine oil of your typical car, but I didn’t use more than 6 oz. for my Fit’s CVT. On the OIL EXTREME website that talks about curing Honda Fits’ shuddering issues, it says to use 2 oz. per liter of transmission oil. But on the bottle, it says to use 1.5 oz. of oil per liter, so I went with that number. Also, I don’t actually know how much total fluid the CVT has in it, so I went with 4 liters, since that is how much drained out when I put in the new Honda CVT oil in it a couple of weeks ago. I have a long funnel and I put the oil additive in through the CVT oil dip stick that is located near the front right bottom of the engine. I let the fluid drain out of the bottle for a couple of minutes, and then buttoned everything up, and I fired her up…

Well I reversed out of my parking space and put it in drive…and there wasn’t even a hint of shudder at all when I pulled away! It worked its magic in the span of time from going from reverse to drive, which is just seconds. This stuff is definitely no snake oil, and it got rid of that shudder just like that! I drove around base to make sure, and the Fit accelerated with power and never falter like before, and continues to run fine to this day. However, I think by draining out the old CVT fluid and replacing that fluid with the improved Honda CVT fluid really help this additive do its thing my case. If I never drained the old fluid out, would this additive still work? My gut tells me yes, but that wouldn’t have been an optimal situation for the CVT in this car, and I would have been just setting myself up for issues down the road. Either way, I would definitely recommend this product to other car owners with CVT issues, and after talking to the Auto Hobby Shop here on base, there are PLENTY on this island. I let the Auto Hobby Shop manager know of my experience and he was plenty impressed and said he would look into if his distributor carries this additive. So we might see OIL EXTREME up on the shelves at the auto hobby shop in the future. If you can’t wait that long, the maker of OIL EXTREME ships APO no problem, and the web address is right below…

I do want to note that their ordering website doesn’t accept APO address properly, you have to add your APO address in the remarks section when you finish up the order. You just have to use a stateside address to complete the order, so use your permanent address or something, and make sure to put your APO address in the remarks. That came straight from the owner and my stuff got here just fine. You will get an email confirmation on where to send it and to validate your CC info, especially if your CC billing address is the APO address as well. Good luck!

Honda Fit & Odyssey In-Cabin Air Filters

OK, I ordered new in-cabin air filters for our Honda Fit and Odyssey and I am glad I did! I was starting to get a musky smell in the Odyssey which prompted me to look into it. Well, I managed to find out where in the car the filter was off the internet and then I took a look at it. Let me tell you, it was black as night and I think there was a petrified lizard on it too! It basically looked like it was NEVER changed for the whole life of this car. I then checked the Fit’s in-cabin filter and while it was black as well, there were no petrified lizards on it at least. I order new filters through the Auto Hobby shop and swapped them as soon as I got them. The Honda Fit’s in-cabin filter was easy to swap out, but the Odyssey was a little more involved (you need tools). Either way, both cars smell “fresher” than they did and I also have the peace of mind that 10 year mold isn't floating around in the cars when I drive the family around. The filters came with installation instructions that are in Japanese, but I am sure they will still be helpful to help locate where the in-cabin filters are located in the Honda Fit and Odyssey… 

Honda Fit in-cabin filer install instructions

Honda Odyssey in-cabin filer install instructions