Friday, November 30, 2007

Okay, okay. As Carol pointed out, my new bag isn't new anymore, and it's about time that I added a new post. I am happy to read that you guys have found some good laughs from I was surprised at how many of you hadn't heard of it before. Tami, you'll have to send me a picture of yourself with your new T-shirts from Engrish! I told Zach about Smelly Smell, and he was saying that it would be even better if it said "Tasty Smelly Smell." That's my guy! :-)

So how was everyone's Thanksgiving? I was recovering from food poisoning on Turkey Day, so our holiday was a bit quiet. I'm not sure what made me sick, but I think it was something from our favorite sushi restaurant. Muh. I really like that place. Of course, now my husband, who can't resist teasing me, loves to ask me if I'd like sushi for dinner. Argh! I was out of commission for a good two days, and it's going to be a while before I want to go back to that restaurant, if ever.

I did attempt to make a small turkey dinner for us after I felt better. I'd purchased a lot of the food at the base before I got sick, and I didn't want it to go to waste. The challenge of this meal, however, was that I had to cook everything in a toaster oven (!) and over the stove. We bought the toaster oven soon after I arrived here in September because our Japanese-style kitchen only has a tiny fish oven. After burning two slices of bread in the fish oven, I decided that I didn't have a lot of skill using it and haven't touched it since. The toaster oven has been working out okay, and I did manage to make a decent turkey dinner with it, but it takes FOREVER to make cookies with it. Like a dork, I made a entire batch of peanut butter chocolate chip cookies in it, but it took all day long because I can only bake eight cookies at a time! Christmas cookies are going to be interesting this year, that's all I have to say! American-size ovens are going to seem HUGE when I return.

There's not too much else to report around here. I spent most of today cleaning house and getting things ready to start decorating for Christmas. Some of our Japanese neighbors have Christmas lights up already, and several of the malls and shopping areas have their twinkle lights in place too. Even though Christmas is not a big holiday in Japan (New Year's is their big thing), a few people decorate and many of the stores have Christmas decorations and cards for sale.

Okay, bye for today!

Monday, November 19, 2007

My new bag

Yes---it really says that!

Hello! I was out shopping yesterday with my friend Carlina, and I came across this bag. Since it was pretty cheap, I figured it was worth buying for the laughs. And as an added bonus, it's a nice bag! It has classic Engrish on it. If you're not familiar with the term "Engrish," it is used to describe the funny forms of English you'll find here in Japan. In fact, there's a person who has devoted an entire site to it. Check out to see more pictures of stuff that is really funny, and answers to why the Japanese print things like this bag!

Friday, November 16, 2007

Shrimp pizza!

Costco-size bag of small dried fish. Yes, it's in our cart, but no, it didn't stay there!

Birthday cake in Japanese!

Don't these look like hot dogs?

Silly Zach on the cell phone, standing in front of the rice aisle

More bags of rice

Vacuum-packed pickled items

Cartons of Japanese sake!

Happy Friday! The last couple of days have been beautiful here. It's overcast today, but still nice. Fall has definitely arrived, and the leaves are changing colors. It's warmer here than I am used to in Washington this time of year, but it can get cold too.

Yesterday was a day off from work for Zach, and we decided to make a trek to Costco Japan. We had heard that they have a pretty decent selection of books in English, and since both Zach and I love to read, we thought we'd check it out. Finding books printed in English here is not easy. We picked up a map from the base information center a while back, but it turned out to be horrible. We eventually found our way there, but not without a bit of frustration along the way!

I brought my camera along to take some photos of different things they had. For the most part, it was quite similar to Costco in the States, but they also had several Japanese foods and gadgets as well. Anyone interested in large bags of dried fish, or fish sticks that look like hot dogs?
:-) We thought the prices were quite high, and since we can buy a lot of American goods at the base for a lot less, we didn't go too crazy. We were kind of bummed about the book selection, which was basically nonexistent. We're wondering if they sold books in English at one time, but then stopped since maybe there wasn't a big demand for them here. Though we didn't buy much, I can see how a store like this would be quite appealing to an American living here who doesn't have easy access to American items.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

View of Mt. Fugi from Atsugi Naval Base

Another photo of Mt. Fugi

This morning I got a phone call from my weather-forecaster husband at work, telling me that if I wanted some nice pictures of Mt. Fugi, I should take the train and come to the base because it was going to be a beautiful and clear day. Since I've been here, I haven't seen Mt. Fugi because it's always been overcast on the days I've been at the naval base. We can't see it from our house. So, with camera in hand, I went to the base and wasn't disappointed. What an amazing sight! While I was taking the photos, a Japanese woman stopped and told me (in English) that she had taken pictures herself that morning because it's not often that you're able to see Mt. Fugi. I hope you enjoy the pictures!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Tofu Man has a new friend---Reindeer Man!

Howdy! Yes, it's been FOREVER since I posted anything, and it's been weighing heavily on my mind. Well, sort of, but I have been thinking about it. :-) I finished up a week-long orientation class on the naval base, plus a day-long driving class. I've also been fighting a chest cold thing that doesn't want to go away. Lucky Zach has it now. :-) And my birthday was on Saturday. Since both Zach and I are not feeling our best, we didn't go too crazy with celebrating. We did go to the city of Machida in the afternoon to do some exploring. It probably sounds kind of silly, but we went to TGIFridays for dinner. Japanese food is great, but sometimes it's nice to just have a good old hamburger. (There are a fair number of American chain restaurants here. Outback Steakhouse, Denny's, and most of the fast-food guys are close to where we live.) I did have a Japanese birthday cake that Zach bought at a Japanese bakery called Fujiya. It was quite tasty and came in fancy packaging. I forgot to take a picture, but I swear it was awesome. :-)

The orientation class was informative and I made a few new friends, which is good, since it's been hard meeting people here. We learned a lot about Japanese culture, and spent some time practicing some survival Japanese phrases. On the fourth day we went as a class to the one of the local train stations to learn about the train system. The instructor left us there in groups to continue on our own small field trip and figure out how to get home on our own. My group just took a quick trip to Machida to do some shopping. We all did fine and no one got lost. I had to use the train a lot during the week, and I feel more comfortable using it now.

Unlike the orientation class, the driving class left a lot to be desired, and I am frightened that a little card says that I can now legally drive here. I plan to practice on the base before I ever drive out in town. Some of you might not know that in Japan, they drive like they do in England, on the left side of the road. As a pedestrian, I've had to relearn all that I've always known about which direction cars are coming. I really have to force myself to think about it. I suppose I can figure out the driving thing too, but I want to be super careful about it. Getting in an accident here, even just a little fender-bender, is no joke. And the laws are different from the States. For example, if you are driving along and a guy pulls out into your lane and stops, and you swerve to avoid him but scrape his bumper, you're at fault because the guy was stopped. And pedestrians have all rights. If you hit a pedestrian, you're 100 percent at fault, regardless of what happened. Plus, you have narrow streets to navigate and people on bicycles and scooters with a death wish. I can't tell you how many times I've seen bicylists meander into the street with no thoughts about the oncoming traffic. On the plus side, everyone seems to drive pretty slow here so most accidents are minor if there is one.

By the way, as you can see in my picture at the beginning of the blog, Tofu Man has a new friend---Reindeer Man. The shop where I bought Tofu Man has their Christmas stuff for sale already, and I just couldn't resist. I know that some of you are deeply disturbed by this line of merchandise, but how can you say no to a square reindeer? He is so darn cute!

Okay, I guess that's enough blogging for today. Bye for now!