Aug 29, 2008
Aug 28, 2008
Aug 27, 2008
- A sweet little bi-fold felt Geisha wallet,
- a LOVELY printed fan,
- THREE packs of Watering Kiss Mint gum (with Xylitol!)
- ONE pack of assorted fruit flavored hard candies (At least that's what I think they are...)
- ONE pack of Strawberry-dipped Hello Kitty sticks,
- and ONE pack of Winnie the Pooh Sea-Weed Garnish!
Aug 26, 2008
Why? Because I declared Stephanie Nielson my nemesis and like a week later she got in a plane crash with her husband. No, I'm not joking.
So I figure I owe her.
And I am in the unique position of being able to offer something the other "For Nienie" auctions wont be able to offer: Japanese Treasure!
What kind of treasure? You'll have to tune in tomorrow to find out.
All the deets will be given then!
See you tomorrow!
Aug 25, 2008
Aug 22, 2008
That's what I didn't learn. And since that's pretty much all I needed to learn, I feel cheated. And I'm going to take it up with the Chief. Or Colonel. Or Commandant. Or President. Or whatever.
'Cause this stuff is important. Obviously.
I'll let you know how the President responds.
In the mean time, anyone know how to fix my Reader?
Aug 17, 2008
I am not a bad driver!
I MAY have been an extremely FAST and DISTRACTED driver with about 12 fender-benders to my name, but that ended at age 18. And I haven't been the cause of an accident since!
(Unless you count the little scraper I got into a few months ago when I side-swiped a telephone pole on a dark, narrow, and twisty street in Rhode Island. But I TOTALLY blame my night blindness and lack of reflector strips on the telephone pole for that one! And there were no other cars involved so it can hardly be considered an "accident" in the strictest sense...right?
And then there was the other little scrape a few weeks later when I tried to squeeze between two large trucks. But that also was also OBVIOUSLY the fault of the trucks, and I'm sure those white lines can be buffed right out!)
So you see, other than those two minor "incidents", and the, uh, follies of my youth, I am a GOOD (If somewhat slow and directionally inept) driver!!!
Just wanted to clear that up.
These are for Marissa:
Mars: What did you have to do to get a drivers license?
Me: On Wednesday we went to a class where an instructor talked us through a PowerPoint presentation. We were instructed to take notes. After the lecture, we took a 36 question multiple choice test. Open note, open neighbor. I passed with 100%, thank you very much!
FYI, 40 KPH is the max speed on the entire base. And it's 13 KPH in parking lots. (Don't ask me what KPH stands for or how fast one is!) And stay 20 feet back from school buses. And you can only turn left at a red light if there is a white arrow pointing left. And that only applies on-base. Not off! See how good I am? Oh, and don't forget that the turn signal is on the right hand side and if you mess up and turn on the windshield wipers everyone will know you're a newbie dork.
Did you have to take a drive?
Nope. That was it. We got our license on our way out of the class!
How much English is over there?
Off-base, not a whole heck of a lot that I can tell. Granted, I've only been here 2 weeks so I'm not exactly an expert yet...
Are their menus in English or do people that work at stores speak English?
No and No. So far, off-base, we've gotten by with pointing and saying "domo arigato gozymas" which means (I think) "thank you very much." I had to have my neighbor come to the store with me to point out the "water-based" paint because everything is in Japanese and I wouldn't have been able to find it otherwise. When I went through the check-out, I just handed the lady my credit card, grinned, nodded, said "domo!" and left! (By-the-way, there are only about 15 pre-mixed color choices so options are very limited.)
The base is pretty much all English right?
ACTUALLY, we (the Americans) share the base with the Japanese military. It has something to do with a World War II treaty. (Don't quote me on this. My military history is a little shaky.)
Anyway, so there are some Japanese people living on the base and many of the jobs are filled by local Japanese employees.
But on-base, pretty much every one speaks English. (At least everyone I've spoken to or had dealings with.) And I don't see too many Japanese people shopping at the commissary or BX so I don't know if they have a different store on-base, or if they just prefer going off-base to shop. Or maybe I'm just not very observant? Probably the latter.
Now, I wasn't asking all of these questions because you asked for questions, but I am going to complain that you said Beth was the only one who asked you questions and if you look at my comment, I asked 2 questions!!!! So you have to be my friend too, but I might not want you for my friend since you don't notice my questions! By the way, you pretty much already answered my original questions through your posts.
SORRY MARS! I promise to be a better blogger! Please keep being my friend!
I know there are other (new) questions I'm neglecting, but it's getting late and my brain is getting fuzzy. Soooooo...
Syonara for now!
Discussing whether or not to buy a life insurance policy for Doug.
E: If you die and leave me in Japan, I will never forgive you in this life.
D: If I die, I wont care.
E: Yes, you will because we're sealed and I'll be down on earth cursing your name.
And then when I get to heaven I'll kick you in the shins.
'Cause there's a little adjustment time in heaven before you have to get all holy.
D: Yeah, for you! It's called "hell"!
Aug 14, 2008
Yesterday I got my Japanese DRIVER'S LICENSE!
YES! I am officially licensed to drive on the left side of the road! (Doing my darnedest not to kill anyone!) I've driven twice now, and so far I'm doing okay. No fatalities, anyway...
So when Doug and I got home from the class yesterday afternoon, I stayed over at the M's house to use their Internet. They are our Sponsor's and have been very good to us.
Anyway, turns out, they're health food nuts. They eat a very "nutrient dense" diet which consists of LOTS of fruits, veggies, and beans. (And shockingly, not a lot of ice cream.) Well, it just so happened that my previous post took so bloody long to finish, (Lot's of pictures...) that I was still there at dinner time; and J, being the kind lady she is, insisted I stay and eat with them.
She made homemade pizza and this is how she made it:
Take a pizza crust. Add a very small amount of pizza sauce. (3 Tbsp?)
Add 2-3 heaping cups of sliced bell peppers and onions.
Then add 2-3 heaping cups of mushrooms, broccoli, and olives.
Then add some artichoke hearts along with some steamed, drained spinach.
Cover the top with sliced tomatoes and then VERY SPARINGLY add a little mozzarella cheese. Bake and serve.
So, can you picture this pizza? It's stacked about 6 inches high (no exaggeration) with veggies. And guess what?? I ATE IT!!! The WHOLE SLICE!!! And it was surprisingly good!
(Mom would be so proud of me! I'm growing up!!!)
Yep. I'm pretty awesome!
(I may have picked off a FEW of the tomatoes, but COME ON! I ATE PEPPERS!)
Anyway, that was yesterday. TODAY, was ALSO a big day. We got to move into our new home! Technically, it's a 4-plex. Or town home. Or something. Anyway, it's the end unit in a group of 4 attached units. And we didn't so much "move-in" as transfer our suitcases from one place to the other.
It has 4 bedrooms and 2 baths upstairs, and an eat-in kitchen, dining area, family room, and half bath downstairs.
It is just up the road from the elementary school and within a short walk to the hospital where Doug will work. So it's a pretty sweet set-up. And the best part is, someone in the neighborhood has unprotected wireless for me to steal until our Internet can be turned on in a week or two! (Did I say steal? I meant "share".)
Some other highlights from today? Car shopping in a torrential down-pour and visiting the "100 Yen" store for the first time. Awesome.
More later, I'm pooped.
Elora Danan Cusack
Aug 13, 2008
The M’s said we were going to “The Horse Park”. A place they’d been meaning to visit which came highly recommended by friends. Evidently, “The Horse Park” contained not only horses, but a large slide. Not knowing what to expect, (besides horses and a large slide) we crammed ourselves into two respective cars (they make ‘em small over here) and set off.
When we arrived, we found a fountain area decorated with streamers (which made me feel happy because obviously the Japanese people like a good party as much as I do.)
After walking through the main building which contained an eating establishment offering ice cream (immediately catalogued for future reference) we encountered a large slide. A horse slide? Possibly. Hard to say. But definitely a slide. And slide we did. (You might say we slid.)
Next, we walked to another much larger playground area, where some FREAKIN' ADORABLE little Japanese girls were chattin’ me up. (Me: "HI!!! MY NAME IS EMILY! WHAT'S YOUR NAME?!?!" It always helps to talk extra loud.)...
And my jaw dropped.
Because I was under the (VERY WRONG) impression that they only had “squatters” in China. Evidently not. Don't worry, I found the handicapped stall which accommodates not just the handicapped, but the American visitor as well. (Some may claim we’re one and the same.)
(Evidently this is one of the nicest bathrooms ever seen by the M's because it has not only toilet paper, but the handicap (American) stall, and hand soap as well! (Janeen just told me some disturbing information about squatters, but I'll save it for another post.))
And finally, the last surprise: The REAL big slide. Not the strange animal-esque thing in the front. No, THIS was the big slide they were talking about! A ginormous serpentine cage traveling down the mountainside. With no supervision, and no monitoring by park employees, we all agreed this was DEFINITELY not something that would fly in the states. But, of course, it DID have these safety posters!
Aug 10, 2008
What? You say you didn't ask any questions?
Only Doug's sister Beth asked any questions. So guess what?
I'M ONLY TALKING TO HER!
Let's chat, shall we Bethy? Here goes:
"Is this a dream? Pinch me. No, not there."
I think that's a question. No. No, this is not a dream. We really truly are in Japan. And you don't get to choose where we pinch you.
"Where do you eat while you are at the Base hotel? Kitchenette or cafeteria?" So far we've done most of our eating in our room. Our hotel room has a small kitchenette stocked with a few basic small appliances and dishes as well as a fridge, oven, microwave and dishwasher. When we arrived we found it had also been stocked with FOOD by our new friends, Janeen and Merrill.
Aside from that, there are quite a few eating establishments On-Base. In the BX (Base Exchange) there is a food court with a Pizza Hut, Taco Bell, Subway, Charlies, A&W, & Baskin Robbins. We went there for lunch today for the first time. There are also a few other places around the base ranging from the Officer's Club Buffet, to a Mexican restaurant, to a couple of Coffee Shop/Cafe's. Oh, and a Burger King. (Bleh!)
"Important questions?" Extremely.
"Where did you go to church and what language was it in?" There is a newly expanded and renovated chapel a few minutes off-base. It has a Military Branch which we will attend, (in English) and a Japanese Branch that meets later in the day in the same building.
A little aside: The Branch seems REALLY super nice. The Relief Society is small, and the Primary is HUGE!!! But is was nice to walk in a feel right at home.
Bonus question: What's the Yen rate? 107 Yen = $1.00. So it's basically 100 to a dollar which makes it simple to convert. Even for the math inept like me.
So there you go, Beth. A few of your questions answered. I have a whole post full of answers to questions no one has asked yet, but it's still in my head. And the accompanying pictures are still un-taken. So that'll have to wait.
***UPDATE!!! After having a few days to really get excited about living off-base, Doug came home yesterday and told me that housing had offered to let him look at three empty units On-base. So we went and looked at the available units aaaaaaaannnnnnddddddd...
WE'RE STAYING ON-BASE! And I'm a tiny bit disappointed because I was all stoked to be in the SUPER CUTE brand new house. BUT, ultimately, convenience for Doug won out. Being On-base means he'll be close enough to come home for lunch every day and it'll mean no commute. Not even a short one. We'll be able to survive with one car, and we'll be right next to the school. A few other On-base advantages: the apartment has been freshly cleaned and newly painted, but we're allowed to paint when we move in and decorate however we want. Also, we wont have to pay any utilities and we'll have a dishwasher. BUT, like I said, the main thing is having more Doug time. And that's always a good thing. (Except, of course, when it's not.)
And with that, I leave you. (In Japan.)
(me, not you.)
Aug 9, 2008
Do you realize what this means??? It means that we'll know EVERYTHING that happens HOURS before YOU will. (I'm totally going to get into gam.bling on sports.) It ALSO means that transitioning when you sleep and when you're awake takes some serious work! The following is a pictorial (with commentary) essay of our FIRST COMPLETELY AUTHENTIC meal in Japan.
The Cheese Roll House: Where they have Cheese Roll.
(What? You've never heard of Cheese Roll?)
These poor people had to wait outside since our two families took up pretty much the whole place.
So, Gabe is the first to suffer the ill-effects of time travel. It's only about 7 p.m.
One minute he's awake, the next minute...
Sammy nods off next.
They're dropping like FLIES! Then some of the food comes. The grown-ups are just happy to have some peace and quiet!Um, excuse me, I believe I ordered the LARGE Ramen!*
(Actually, Doug ordered the "XL Ramen". Good to know there is occasionally truth in advertising.)
Max didn't really want to eat his noodles.
So he fell asleep in self defense.They totally missed out. The Cheese Rolls were GOOD!
*If you don't recognize this as a "So I Married An Axe Murderer" reference, go rent the movie IMMEDIATELY!!!
***THANKS FOR ALL YOUR NICE COMMENTS ON THE LAST TWO POSTS!!! I feel all warm and fuzzy! If I had more time, I'd respond individually to all of them. But since I can't at the moment, know I appreciated them!!! A LOT!!!***
Aug 8, 2008
Aug 5, 2008
You make plans for something really far in the future, and you try to imagine it actually happening, but you can't even ever really believe it's real, and it just seems too far away, and you think that "the event" will just never "be here"...
So you just live your life...take your kids to school, watch your kids finish school, sell your house, (barely), watch your husband graduate from a Pediatric Dental residency, drive from Rhode Island to D.C., then to some other state you don't remember, then to Alabama, then to Florida, then to Alabama, then to Florida, then back to Alabama to watch your husband graduate from Officer Training School, then back to Florida, and then finally to Georgia...
Where you drop off your car. Leaving you entirely homeless, and car-less, and soon to be cell-phone-less...
And then you find yourself sitting at a computer, in the Executive Suite of some hotel, contemplating the next day which includes a non-stop 14-hour flight to Tokyo, followed by an airPORT change, and another short flight to your destination? Which is in a foreign country. That's foreign. Like really foreign. As in, all you know about it is what's in "Memoirs of a Geisha"...
And you have a nervous twitch that has developed under your left eye over the last few days which is now going pretty much non-stop...(Seriously. Non-stop!)
Have you ever had that experience?
'Cause I'm having it, and I've gotta say, it's a little crazy...
and evidently stressful because the vein under my left eye wont stop twitching. (seriously!!!)
So anyway, basically what I'm trying to say here is...
WISH ME LUCK!!!
and any other positive traits you can think of that will help me survive the next 24-48 hours...
Because I don't have a single Valium on me and I'm going to need all the help I can get!!!
Now lets all go to my side-bar play-list and listen to "Turning Japanese" by the Kinks. It seems like the only reasonable thing to do in this situation.
And did I already say "wish me luck"?!?!
Aug 4, 2008
Not that I'm an expert on either part of the country. In fact, I look at these things with a very "west coast" eye, so don't get all up in my face if I'm inaccurate. (Or do. Whatev.)
Here goes...Differences between North and South:
North: Coffee Milk/Iced Coffee
South: Sweet Tea/Iced Tea
North: Quahogs and Shellfish
South: Crawfish (Order as an edition to your Fajitas at your local Mexican Restaurant!)
North: Shaw's and Stop n' Shop
South: Winn-Dixie and Piggly-Wiggly
North: "Anner and Jennifa! Go get in the cahh so we can go to the pahhhty!
South: "Hey Baby-girl! Whatch'yall doin'?"
North: Barnes and Nobel/Borders
North: "Iggy's Doughboys and Chowder House"
South: "Jim and Nick's Southern BBQ"
North: Hot and Humid
South: REALLY REALLY Hot and Humid
I have about a million more, but my computer time is up. I'm afraid this will have to be finished in Japan!