Wednesday, September 26, 2007

It's been a few days since I posted. I tried yesterday, but our internet connection was down. By the way, thanks for your fun comments. I'm enjoying them!

Zach and I tackled the furniture in the living room last night. In my new role as housewife, I wanted to rearrange the furniture to make it a little more cozy. Poor Zach. I swear we moved the furniture in every possible formation. He really deserves a medal for patience. Our house has all these really strange angles and corners in the rooms. Our landlord is an architect and he drew the plans for the house. Maybe he was bored and decided that lots of nooks and crannies are a good thing. In any case, the angles make it difficult to position large pieces of American-style furniture. We did the best we could.

On Monday I went to lunch with my friend Carlina and her friend Seiko. Seiko is Carlina's landlord. She is really nice and speaks English really well. Seiko recommended this buffet-style restaurant in Yamato. They specialize in traditional Japanese dishes made with organic foods. Everything I tried was amazing. Seiko walked through the buffet with us and told us what we were putting on our plate. I'm trying to get over my fear of not knowing exactly what I'm eating all the time and just going for it. This new approach to food, however, has backfired already in the form of liver on a stick at a restaurant I went to last week. Blech!!! I came close to causing a bad scene, but thankfully I got it down.

That's about it for today. I hope everyone is well.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Since I arrived, Zach has been my taxi driver. While it's nice to have him doing the driving, it's not very practical and I've been wanting to do a practice run to learn how to get from our house to the naval base by train. (I do plan to get a driver's license while I'm here for emergencies, but since they drive on the other side of the road, I don't have a great desire to be driving everywhere by car.) Zach had yesterday off, so we decided to take the train to this nearby mall called Vinawalk in the town of Ebina, and afterward we took another train from Ebina to a station near the base. I know things will get easier the more times I do it, but it really takes a lot of concentration and paying close attention to your surroundings here to not get overwhelmed by the train stations. Some of the ticket vending machines are in English, but many are not. And unlike U.S. metro systems like BART in San Francisco and the Metro in D.C., the ones here are run by several different companies.

Our local train station is just a three-minute walk from our house, and the stop is called Sobudaishita. On your way to the stop, you have to walk by a pig farm, which can sometimes be quite smelly, and yesterday it was. We live in a very residential neighborhood, and it's so strange to see a pig farm plunked right in the middle of it. Space is very limited here, and they use every inch. We also live quite close to several rice fields and small gardens.

Everything went fine on our train trip and I was thankful for all of Zach's help. My next challenge is to the do the same trip by myself. And since there is a Starbucks at Vinawalk AND a Hello Kitty store, I'm sure it won't be too hard to convince myself I can do it!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Zach and I were waiting at a stoplight last night next to this McDonald's, and I just had to snap this photo of their latest featured food. McPork?! Check out the little piggy logo and curly tail. Does anyone remember the McRib? I never tried it, but I remember that they pressed the meat to look like a rib. I don't have any plans to run in and try one of these McPork numbers, but the photo had to be taken.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Okay, so I'm crazy. I found this mini puzzle at a hobby store call Tam Tam. I put it together tonight. I photographed it with a deck of playing cards so you could get a sense of how tiny this thing is. It came with pink plastic tweezers! And yes, I had to use them to put it together!

Monday, September 17, 2007

Here I am, copying the Japanese tradition of making the letter "V" in photos. I'm still not sure why they do it.

View from Jogashima

Lighthouse at Jogashima

Cute night light

The most amazing apple juice!

Monday is coming to a close. I had a pretty quiet day today. Zach is switching back to the night shift for the next two weeks, and I figure I won't see a lot of him on the days he is working. While I'm writing this, I'm nibbling on the most amazing Japanese chocolate that has four different flavors---two of which I can't read on the package---but they are yummy!

Yesterday was fun and a bit of test to see how well my patience level is with Japanese traffic. Our friends Carlina and Hoge (Hoge is also in the navy) invited us to join them on a drive south of here to an island called Jogashima, which means Island of the Castle, or something close to that. The view was amazing. See the pictures above. The drive, however, was not amazing. It took us close to three hours to drive about 25 miles, and about the same to drive home. We shouldn't have gone on a Sunday, but I guess you live and learn.

For those of you wondering, yes, I've already been sucked back into the vortex of the Japanese vending machines. I swear I'm going to come home with a suitcase filled with cute Japanese toys that serve no purpose other than to make me laugh. I recently bought a bottle of Qoo, which is this incredible apple-flavored drink that tastes better than any apple juice I've had before. As a bonus, an adorable night light came with the bottle (see picture above). I told Zach that he looks like the little guy sleeping, but he doesn't agree.

Well, that's about it for today.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Hello from Japan! This is my first entry and attempt at blogging, so please be patient as I learn the ropes. I hope everyone is well. I'm getting adjusted to being here and the married life, and Zach has been a sweetie with everything. By the way, since we're a almost a day ahead in Japan, the dates I post will be off by one to those of you reading from the U.S.

I finally arrived last Friday, the 7th. I was supposed to arrive on Thursday, but I had to delay my flight plans due to a lovely typhoon circling off the coast of Japan. My weather-forecaster husband and his coworkers didn't think it would be such a great idea to land in a typhoon, and I agreed. I wore a T-shirt that I made before I left with the saying "I'm not a witch. I'm your wife!" from the movie "The Princess Bride," and Zach seemed to get a pretty good chuckle out of it.

My first few days here were pretty quiet. Zach had to work, so I took on some domestic duties and cleaned a few things up around the house. I started to unpack and tried to get over a bit of jet lag, something I don't usually suffer from. I also discovered that Jehovah's Witnesses aren't only in the U.S.! I innocently opened the door, thinking it might be a friendly neighbor, and was face to face with a Japanese gentleman and his pamphlet. I have to say that he was incredibly polite when I said "No, thank you" and he walked away without pressuring me in any way.

On Monday we went to the base to get me in the system and to make appointments to meet my new doctor. We found out that there was a problem with my passport, so yesterday (Friday) we made a trip to the Japanese Immigration office in Yokohama. Thank god for Zach, that's all I have to say. He has a really good sense of direction and got us to the office without any problems. On our way home we stopped at the naval base in Yokosuka and were impressed with the size of their grocery store (which is called the commissary in military speak) compared to ours in Atsugi.

Today we are going to check out the flea market that they are having at the base in Atsugi, and start to tackle the room that will be my office. I hope everyone is well and I will do my best to keep you all up to date on what's happening here in Japan. It's a fun place and I'm so happy to be reunited with my new husband!