Saturday, February 22, 2014


Today (February 15th) the Enginerd wanted to take us out to brunch at one of the hotels he's stayed at during his previous trips to Japan.  It had an AMAZING view and the food was fantastic.  I don't like breakfast foods, so I was so happy to see a yummy curry with rice.  That's MY kind of breakfast!  The Enginerd also made me an espresso and it was so good I almost made out with him right there.  I mean LOOK at this totally want to make out with him just looking at this drool-worthy coffee, right?

The view was breathtaking, and it was so quiet and lovely in the room...obviously our snotty-nosed, loud, obnoxious children did not fit in...I mean I LOVE them, but I felt like Cousin Eddy's family on the National Lampoons vacation movies.  For real.  I guess I fit in with my crazy kids because you better believe I took a photo of the fancy toilet in the restroom.

Monkey Island seen here...out the bathroom window

Fancy shmancy I did NOT try the "shower" or bidet...yikes

After that we walked around the Daiei mall and grabbed a starbucks mocha.  I really didn't need another coffee, but I cannot pass up a mocha outside of base.  The Japanese use a different chocolate and it makes ALL of the difference.  They taste like heaven.


Friday, February 14th

Praise the Lord it's over!  Today the Commander (or chief or something that's like...right below Admiral I idea) of the whole naval base came and did his closing brief.  It was really interesting.  He talked about how some people might totally immerse themselves in the Japanese culture and even respond to questions in Japanese.  They might even decorate their place in traditional Japanese decor.  He said there will be other people that will completely shut out everything Japanese.  They will get agitated at the thought of even leaving base and they will get angry at the people who are immersed in it.  He said there was nothing wrong with that, but he hoped that we would at least try to experience a new culture.  He said that we can miss our families and still have a great time.  They are two totally different feelings.  He also talked about how we subconsciously try to fit in.  By the end of the week, all of the civilians in the class were wearing gray or blue to match the blue navy uniforms.  It was CRAZY!  We all had a reason we chose our outfits, but he said our subconscious wanted us to "fit in".  Interesting.

I don't have any pictures from today, so just look at this pretty Sakura drink that actually tasted really gross.

Next up was all of the driving information.  Man!  They really want to scare you!  The guy basically said that if anyone dies in an accident that you are in, you will go to jail for years and years...even if it wasn't your fault.  The Japanese's thought on this is that there wouldn't have been an accident if you hadn't been on the road.  He told a story about a 17 year old boy who did EVERYTHING right.  He was going the correct speed, he stopped at the stop sign and then out of nowhere, an old lady on a bike ran into the BACK passenger door and died.  The boy's family had to pay $170,000 to keep him out of jail and then after his 1 year suspension, they still deported him back to America.  HE DIDN'T DO ANYTHING WRONG!!!  TERRIFYING!!!  I am no longer excited to drive here!!

We took our written test and about 2 questions into it, we found out that the base was shutting down due to a snowstorm.  So, we finished up the questions and got our kids as fast as we could.  We are SO GLAD to be done with this really difficult week.

Sunday, February 16, 2014 4

Thursday, February 13th

IT WAS FIELD TRIP DAY!!!  I honestly thought about signing in and skipping and going to get my boys from daycare.  I hated the idea of being 20 minutes away from them, but I'm glad I went.  It was fun to be on one last day with the Enginerd before we settle in for the long haul.

trying out the stamps at the train station
I think the kids will enjoy this when they get to try out the trains.

So today we went to Kamakura.  We all jumped on a bus that took us on a little tour of Yokosuka and then dropped us off at the train station.  They taught us how to get a ticket and how to pay.  Then they told us how to read the train schedule.  It wasn't as hard as it looked.

we took the changed to English right after this photo...we didn't have to read Japanese
Once we got there, we all met at the clock and they gave us 3 options for lunch, ramen (nothing like the dried stuff in America), Korean bbq or sushi.  We chose the Korean bbq.  It was really fun!  We cooked our chicken and pork over a small bbq in the middle of our table.  They had a really yummy teriyaki dipping sauce as well as a salad before the meal.  It was so fun to try something new!

After lunch we could take the long tour or the condensed tour.  I wanted to get home to the kids, so we did the condensed tour.  It was great!  We got a bit of history and still got to see everything in that area. If I had been a little more willing to let the kids go, we could have seen the big buddha, but I knew we had plenty of time over the next 3 years to see it.
This is a Torii which is from the Shinto religion.  It comes before a shrine.

Hachimangu shrine in the background.  People were inside praying.

60 stairs with me at the top

then Enginerd climbed them and took this shot of the smaller building

We had a wonderful time exploring and even took a moment to try green tea/sweet potato swirled ice cream.  It was yummy!  I guess this place has even gained some notoriety because Obama stopped in and had some when he visited.
Pretty green and purple!
It was a fun day, but I was very ready to pick up my kids at 3.  I am still really having a hard time with this.  One more daycare day.  The Baby doesn't want to go back.  :(  He has hit his limit and the novelty has worn off.  Poor baby.

Saturday, February 15, 2014 3

Wednesday, February 12th

Today we got to learn about these...

Yes I wrote down the time so I didn't have to do the math and figure out military time.  It annoys me.

I loved it all!  We had one presenter for the first half and she was fantastic.  She is Japanese but speaks English perfectly.  I wonder if one of her parents might be American because she didn't have much of an accent.  The history was fascinating.  We learned about the different historical eras and what they all mean.  We learned what samurai are and why they no longer exist (to sum up the reason in one word...greed).  She told us that Japanese language is really very easy to learn!  HA!  I call bologna!!!  

The vowels are similar to wonder I found them easy to remember!

We had a long lunch so the Enginerd and I went off base and had a date.  We went to an authentic Nepalese diner.  It was down a bunch of stairs, hidden away.  I loved the atmosphere and it was the best food we've had so far.  

I cannot explain to you how amazing this meal was.
The menu

After lunch we had a new presenter.  He's also Japanese but his English was a bit more difficult to understand.  He taught us about the Japanese sports.  The sumo was the first of course, but he talked about how much the Japanese LOVE baseball.  It really is their favorite sport.  He also talked about Kendo.  He went to his office and got his gear and put it on one of the navy chiefs.  Then he proceeded to beat the crud out of him!  It was really entertaining!  They used to use swords, YEARS ago, but now they use bamboo sticks.  
Uh...I had no idea I could do this one here!  Glad I took so many pictures!  I LOVE THIS!

I left soon after this.  I knew we'd be learning all about transportation the next day and I just needed to go get my kids.  I missed them.  It turned out that the next presenter didn't even show up, so the Enginerd got to leave early and go talk to another real estate agent about getting a house... 2

Tuesday...February 11th

Our AOB class started a bit later today.  I made the Enginerd take the boys to daycare while I took Lady Loo to school and then had some time to myself at Starbucks on base.  It helped me to not see them actually dropped off at daycare.  My stomach was still in knots, but it eased up a bit without the visual.

Today we heard from the naval Chapel of Hope and more boring navy stuff.  Then we had a Culture Shock presentation.  The lady was the first HORRIBLE presenter.  Oh man she was bad...but the subject was pretty funny!  Here are a few photos I took, so you can get an idea...

Mmmm...sweat!  Sounds delightful!  It's actually like gatorade.

Creamy Ball?  Nah...I'm good.

Not to be confused with a chocolate colon.  

Anyone for a nice cold BM?

Holy rude/racist Batman!

There were 3 slides like this.  

The first thing she talked about was toilets.  It was a little ridiculous.  Funny, but come on.  Do we really need someone to tell us how to use the toilets here?  I think we are smart enough to figure them all out.  She was a TOTAL waste of time...and yet the slides were entertaining.  I am looking forward to the next 2 days.  They will be interesting... one

Monday February 10th...

Today I had to drop my boys off at the CDC (child development center) so that the Enginerd and I could go to our AOB (area orientation briefing).  I cried.  It was awful.  I just left my babies with STRANGERS.  I am MAD at the navy for forcing our hand.  I want a driver's license here so this was the only option.  Then we walked Lady Loo over to her first day of school in Japan.  Of course when we got there, we found out there was a 2 hour delay due to snow.  So I had to schlep her over to the youth center and just trust they would get her to school.  I think I might be a helicopter parent.  ;)

The Baby washing his hands in a little sink at the CDC

The Commander of the whole naval base here came in first to give a small welcome.  We had to stand up for him.  That was weird.  His wife also spoke to the spouses.  She's originally from Ireland and had a bit of an accent.  :)  They were both fantastic speakers and I have a feeling that they are both good at their jobs.

Some of the cute wall decor

Next up was emergency information.  I didn't love it.  Not only did I just leave my babies in the care of strangers, now I have to trust that they will know what to do in emergency situations!!!  UGH!!!  This was not helping the knots in my stomach.  :(

Me looking extra fat and pretending like I'm happy about this stupid class...
Then we heard from the fire department.  He was a hoot!  He said, "What you do when fire?  Get Hell OUT!  What you do when you first to SEE fire?  Push fire alarm and GET HELL OUT!"  :)  He was cracking jokes left and right.  Also, we learned that if they have yellow on, they speak English.  The other colors of outfits do not.

I used to love Winnie the Pooh (even in college) so I loved that they were on my birthday month...
The rest of the day was all naval related and had NOTHING to do with us.  I wish I would have just left.  SO BORING!!!!!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014


Sunday the's another mall day!  We decided to brave the snow and get off of base.  Little did we know that we'd have VERY wet and VERY cold feet by the time we got to the mall!  Oops!  The snow here is slushy like in the PNW.  So the first thing on the agenda was...get the big kids some rain boots.  Thankfully they needed them and it wasn't an unnecessary purchase due to wet feet.

 The next thing we did was explore a bit, and get a treat.  The pastries here are so yummy!  We also got a bunch of candy to send to my nieces.  We've since eaten most of the candies...but that means another trip off of base.  Do you see a theme here?  When we got back from the mall we found out that we would FINALLY get to move to a bigger room.  It turns out the bigger room is exactly like the old room but has an itty bitty living area added on to the itty bitty room.  It's better than nothing I suppose.  I wish we had a room to close off for naps, but at least we aren't tripping over suitcases now.

looking into the room from the living area

Living area

bathroom off to the left, kitchen at the back far left

Tomorrow we start our AOB (area orientation brief).  I am not excited.  I do NOT want my kids to go to daycare.  :(  I'll miss them like crazy.  Lady Loo is VERY excited for her first day of school...and I'm thankful that it's right across the street from our class.  At least I can keep an eye on one of my kids.  :(

Tuesday, February 11, 2014


Today is Saturday the 8th.  It's snowing.  It feels like Montana.  We decided not to go back to the mall today.  We went bowling with friends instead. 

      Ready                                       Set                                                                           Go!!

It was a nice relaxing day.  Not much to tell...but look at these cute baby bowling shoes!  

I love them!  The kids' bowling shoes looked like 80's velcro shoes!  They were awesome!!  We had a great day and then the wind started to HOWL and we lost power.  It was amazing how quickly we got it back.  It happened about 4x and each time we got the power back so quickly.  It didn't matter much because the kids were sleeping and the room was dark.  It was really quite soothing.

Saturday, February 8, 2014

THE MALL...cue singing angels....

Today (Feb. 7th) a girl I've known for almost 20 years, picked us up to go to Starbucks and...wait for it...THE MALL!!!  I know some people hate the mall, but I love it.  I love shopping and I couldn't wait to see what a Japanese mall was like.  SQUEAL!

Mr. Man in front of our beautiful Starbucks view
So she came to the hotel to pick us up in her shaggin' wagon.  Oh's a white van with CURTAINS...real polyester curtains...on a curtain rod!!  Suh-weet!  We stopped at Starbucks for a pick me up before we took 4 kids plus her prego belly into the mall.  The mocha I got was out of this world amazing.  They must use a special chocolate.  I hate the U.S Sbux mochas, but this one was fabulous.  Also, I almost said, "Grasias" when I got my mocha.  Clearly all foreign languages = Spanish in my brain.  

Still looks the same...with a bit of Japanese at the bottom

I wish I would have be smart enough to take a bunch of pictures of all of the weird things we saw...but I was just taking it all in.  My favorite things were a utensil apparatus that could switch the top portion from a fork to a spoon to chopsticks.  It was near the trillions of bento boxes.  ;)  I also loved the chopsticks training tool.  I think I'm going to get it for the kids to use.  Pretty cool.  There is Disney stuff EVERYWHERE.  The Japanese LOVE Disney.  You can even buy Disney cell phones...not like a case but where it actually has Mickey as the background and the on button is a little Mickey.  We had a great time.  Lady Loo used some of her Christmas money to get a purse, a tin piggy bank and some chapstick.  All a bit on the cheap side, but she was happy.  

training chopsticks source
After nap the Enginerd and I decided we would go back out to get my cell phone.  It was finally done...but then had some technical difficulties that took a few more minutes.  They were great and so sweet. All of the posters really cracked me up.  I desperately want to know what this one was all about...

Apparently they also give out snacks and treats to people who do business with them!  My kind of people!  The 2 in the back were sort of like rice crispy treats covered in a thin icing with itty bitty cheese chunks in it.  Odd...yet strangely ok. The front bag is little quarter sized hard candies that taste a bit like mild burnt sugar.  VERY VERY YUMMY!!!

We got to meet Lady Loo's teacher who happens to be from the same PNW town we're from!  Small world. It made us all feel a little better about sending our sweet girl to such a HUGE school.

Lady Loo at her new desk!
Her teacher also said I could probably get a job teaching since they are looking for a 4th grade teacher.  While it did tug a bit at my heartstrings...I just can't put my baby in daycare.  I just can't.  I want to be the one with him for the majority of his day.  It's just a personal preference.  It sure would look great on my resume after 8.5 years of staying home!  Oh well.  I still would like to look into teaching ESL to adults in the evenings.  I'll keep you posted...

Friday, February 7, 2014

Exploring Japan!

Today (February 6th) we were able to get off base and really experience Japan!  Before we did that though, we had to register Lady Loo for school.  At first I said, "NO WAY...too big...don't like it." but the people inSIDE the building really put me at ease.  They were great.  I was impressed and even excited for Lady Loo.  They gave us the paperwork to fill out and get ready for Monday.  So we left to go off base...

I felt like I could apparate because one minute we were with a bunch of Americans living a regular American life...and the next we were surrounded by Japanese people and there were signs everywhere that we couldn't read.  It.was.amazing.  I finally felt happy.  I've been wanting to explore since we got here 2 days ago!!!

We left base so that we could go get me a phone.  The first shop we tried had no English speaking people.  The next one we tried was the winner!  They were able to help us figure out how I could call the Enginerd for free.  He'll be the one I'll be calling the most after all.  They told us it would take 45 minutes to set it up, so we decided to go over to Mr. Donut and have a treat.

YUMO!  I got a cafe ole' because the ladies at the cell phone place said that they had free refills and they just really wanted me to take advantage of that.  :)  The donuts were delightful!  I think I liked Lady Loo's the best.  It was sort of vanilla/coconut or something.  I'm not really sure, but it was amazing.  I was hoping mine was raspberry, but it was strawberry.  Not my fav, but it was still good. The Baby LOVED his and scarfed it down! As did Mr. Man.

We went back to the cell phone place after a little exploring and they still weren't done.  They felt TERRIBLE.  Their hospitality is incredible.  Canadians got nothin' on the Japanese.  ;)  We were hungry and getting tired so we had to leave my pretty new iPhone there, but I knew that was a good excuse to get back off of the base!

Bedtime has been pretty smooth since we've all be exhausted.  We are still in our teeny tiny room and hoping to move soon.  It's hard having no place to go to get away from each other.  We're driving each other mad.  Thank goodness for the playroom in the hotel!

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Day one...

Well we were up before the by 4 hours.  We had a lot to get done so I guess it's ok that our kids had terrible jet leg.

Today, February 5th, is a day of boredom.  We want to go explore Japan as if we are on vacation, but instead we have papers to fill out and adults to act like.  BORING!!  Moving from one country to another includes a lot of i's to dot and t's to cross.

After our uneventful day we all CRASHED HARD at 7:00 pm.  It felt like 1 am to us, so we were beat.

We slept pretty well and woke up around 4:30 the next day.  MUCH better than 2:30 am....

I figured out how to use this all on my own!   Clearly I'm a genius.

This was in our hotel so we had to take a photo.

The boys were in awe of the Samurai weapons and  armor.