MISAWA, Japan — “Tubes” is surfer lingo for waves. And when you meet Hideki Sato, owner of Tubes Restaurant and Bar in Misawa city, you’ll understand why he couldn’t resist borrowing the name from a place he’s been to in Indonesia.

Hide (pronounced hee-day), as he likes to be called, is a hard-core surfer with heavily-tattooed shoulders who loves most everything about Hawaii — especially the tall, clean waves.

He opened Tubes last summer to impart some tropical island flavor into his native Misawa.

With handcrafted wood tables, ceiling fans, tall windows, reggae music and surfers conquering big, blue waves on a TV screen over the bar, the only thing missing is tropical air.

I blow in just after 9 on a recent wet, chilly Friday night, grumbling that every time I go out on a restaurant review assignment it’s either raining or snowing.

But the ambience is sunny, the staff friendly, and I find some Americans who give me the lowdown on Tubes. The consensus: It’s a good place to drink and eat before hitting some of the more rowdy nightclubs in Misawa.

Petty Officer 3rd Class Catherine McKnight, 22, sits at the bar with an airman friend. They marvel at the apple-green Pearl Harbor cocktail in their glasses before it quickly disappears.

The airman said Tubes is “a good chill bar, a place where you can eat decent food and have fun with friends,” and McKnight agreed, saying it “isn’t a super-party place — you can relax so much more.”

McKnight, deployed for six months to Misawa from Brunswick, Maine, recommends the burgers and quesadillas. Hide told me earlier that the avocado burger is a customer favorite. I wonder about the “spam burger” but don’t ask. Spam, apparently, is popular in Hawaii, and Tubes also has a spam roll on its menu.

For entertainment, there’s karaoke and darts — and surf boards for sale if you just happen to get the itch to catch a wave.

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Jennifer reports on the U.S. military from Kaiserslautern, Germany, where she writes about the Air Force, Army and DODEA schools. She’s had previous assignments for Stars and Stripes in Japan, reporting from Yokota and Misawa air bases. Before Stripes, she worked for daily newspapers in Wyoming and Colorado. She’s a graduate of the College of William and Mary in Virginia.

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