Saturday, July 30, 2011

A Day of New Things.... Part 3

The last stop on our Day of new things was beautiful Toguchi Beach. Toguchi Beach is a small seaside park in the southwest corner of Yomitan Township on the island of Okinawa, Japan. The park area is bordered on the North side by Torii Station (a US Army Military Base). The ocean is the East China Sea.

The kids wanted to play at the park before we headed down to the beach. It was a nice park with beautiful views. The park had a natural rock climbing wall and cement slides. To get to the top of one of the slides you had to walk up a stone staircase (I thought I took more pictures). This is the sign posted up near the top of the slide. It's warning you of the Habu snake:

A habu (pronounced "hah-BOO") is a venomous snake found in southeast Asia (Japan, Phillipines, Taiwan, southeast China).

Habus are pit vipers, more closely related to the adder than to any species of North American snake. The actual "habu" (Trimeresurus flavoviridis) is relatively small, not usually getting longer than 5 feet. They are not typically aggressive but will bite if provoked. They are not as deadly as cobras or mambas, but are more much more dangerous than most North American venomous snakes. There are almost a dozen species of habu; the variety native to Okinawa (Trimeresurus okinavensis) is supposedly greenish or greenish-yellow

After the kids were done playing at the park we walked down to the beach. On the walk we kept hearing Lily say, "Stay on the path... Stay on the Path" Does that have anything to do with the signs?

This was one of the views on the way to the beach. We didn't get down there but we'll certainly go back.

Here we are at the beach. The tide was low so we were able to walk out to the cave. Walking out there was like a 6th grade field trip to Marineland in St Augustine. That wasn't sand we were walking on, it was all coral. We saw a ton of sea cucumbers, some black fuzzy star fish, sea urchins, crabs and some really pretty blue fish.

View through the cave

The kids searching for shells and looking at all the sea life

I think they are called Damselfish. It was a great day and we can't wait to go back. I wonder if they have a Karate Kid (the original) tour. I'd like to see some of those places:)

Friday, July 29, 2011

A Day of New Things.... Part 2

After Jesco Lily took us to lunch at... well, I don't know the name but I do know they didn't have chicken fingers.

Even Japanese parking spaces are small

Step 1) Find what you would like to eat on this menu
Step 2) Put in your Yen
Step 3) Push the button for your order (kind-of like a coke machine)
make sure you don't mess up and hit the wrong button
Step 4) Get your little tickets from the bottom slot (they look like movie ticket stubs w/ Japanese writing all over them)
Step 5) Proceed to find a table

They did have booths but if I was eating there I was going to sit like I lived there.
One table floor table had a hole under the table for your feet but it was already taken.

This was the kids meal. Have you ever seen the movie Ponyo? This is what they ate so we are going to call it Ponyo food. Ramen Noodles in the bowl with seaweed, ham and egg. The kids all ate their noodles and Cohen ate his egg.

I had garlic rice mixed with fried egg and onion, which taste like fried rice just more buttery..btw, I didn't know what I wanted but Lily helped me out with that. You didn't think I was going to be that brave did ya?

Oh, Sorry AJ.... Guess who pushed the buttons on the order machine and guess who hit the wrong button. Good thing he's very food adventurous. He said it was cold and wasn't that good. Over all it was a good experience but like all good things it had to come to an end... and well, it ended when the kids decided to cross over their grass mat curtain and started using the table with the floor cut out and it's seat cushions as a fort. What's an American to do?

A Day of New Things.... Part 1

While AJ was in Afghanistan he met a guy he worked with who lived in Okinawa. When Ron heard we were heading over he signed up to be our sponsor to help make our transition easier. His family has been incredibly helpful with everything from driving us to classes, taking AJ to work, helping us understand their cell phones and even trying to help us get in our house. His wife, Lily, and their kids took us around town yesterday and it was a great day filled with a ton of new and interesting things. Our first stop was Jesco, a Walmart type store.

Lily is part of a cultural exchange group where Americans and Japanese women go to each others homes and teach each other about their cultures. She says all Japanese homes have small furniture and appliances. She also told me not to plan on buying any shoes or clothes out in town. Well, at least that will save me some money.

This was outside the store and we just couldn't pass up a picture

A baby crib and twin size bed. They are the size of our pack-n-plays and toddler beds in the US

A living room couch 15,800 Yen (a little over $200) A washer & dryer combo. Jack would definitely want to do laundry

Typical stove and oven in a Japanese home (I think our toaster ovens are bigger than these and to the right....are you ready??? A dishwasher! For real!!

No Japanese dept store would be complete without a Hello Kitty section

Hand washing sink in the bathroom & baby diaper changing table

Since Mom's often take lil boys to the bathroom with them they have their own sinks and urinals. Perfectly sized for 2 and up. On the right is a woman's toilet (in a stall of course) They did have normal toilets but how could I pass up the chance to try this? It wasn't easy.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Whew.... I Passed

I'm officially a licensed Japanese driver:) I was so worried about the test but it wasn't too hard and I only missed 1.

We had a newcomers meeting on Wednesday which took all day 7:30 - 3:00. We did get some useful information and later in the day we got to take a written DL test, if you passed you walked away with a DL. Jack was such a good sport. He sat right along with us while the other two kids were in child care. When we took a lunch break we walked down to a place called the spot on base where there was a playground and he was glad to stretch his legs.

Just some street signs. The one on the left is self explanatory. On the right is a No Parking

Max Speed limit (it's in Kilometers) If it were a min speed limit sign the numbers would be underlined

A Taxi. The green stripe reads Authorized on/off base. Not all taxi's are.

Just some FYI.... The Japanese highly believe driving is a privilege and not a right. Because of that belief it cost $3000.00 to take the test. If they fail they have to hire an instructor that cost about $30 an hour to retake the exam.

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Big Day

Another long day.... It was a 18 hour plane ride with very little sleep. Other than it being long it wasn't bad. The kids did very well and the scenery was beautiful.

The Rocky Mountains

Just some islands we flew over

I was really amazed when we saw Mt Fuji from the plane.
AJ wants to climb up it before we leave but I had no idea how
big it was until I saw it from the plane...

We were very glad to have finally landed. We arrived Friday night about 8:30pm (7:30am eastern time) As soon as we stepped out of the airport you could tell we weren't in Kansas anymore (not that I'm from Kansas) It was very humid with a slight dry breeze.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Leaving on a Jet Plane...Travel, Wed July 20th

Wed afternoon we stopped to get a bite before we headed to the airport. I Love Longhorn!! I had my usual, of course, chicken fingers and wild west shrimp.

The kids were very excited when the waitress brought out a good-bye dessert.

When we got to BWI we had to haul everything in. I think I may have over packed a bit:) I wasn't sure how long it would take to get all of our stuff in Japan and so I wanted to make sure we had plenty just in case. The only problem was carting it everywhere. The kids were great, they helped so much and never complained about it.

Our flight was suppose to leave BWI at 3pm arrive in Atlanta at 4:30, have a layover then leave for Seattle at 7pm. Well, that didn't happen. Our flight leaving BWI didn't leave until 6:30 but for 2 hours of that wait we were sitting on the plane. Then once we arrived in Atlanta we had 15 min to make it to our next flight and ATL is a huge airport. It was a very long day. We got up at 5:30am drove 2 hours back to Ft Meade got on our flights and finally arrived in Seattle about 11pm

Since our flights were late we didn't have time for dinner so once we finally got to the hotel Madison and I went across the street for a little jack in the Box (which isn't very good).... eating at 12:30 (eastern time) in the morning... Happy Birthday, Cohen!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

We have already done so much since summer has started and I don't think we'll be slowing down anytime soon. Leaving NH we decided to stop by PA. to see my Dad. This is my Dad on the Left and Uncle Willie on the right. I asked Jack if they looked alike he said yes. I said "A lot alike or a little alike?" His response..."A lot alike" They are twins but neither of them of them had any twins so I'm guessing my brother Jeffrey will be the lucky one.
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