Sunday, July 27, 2014

Oh, japan.

We are finally starting our lives in Japan.  Honestly- the last 6-8 weeks have been so fast and so busy- I'm not sure what to do with myself.  I need to blog about our adventures between Ohio and Japan- but those will have to wait.  

I feel like Kent has been on vacation since the beginning of June!  which has been WONDERFUL! but- when life gets back to normal next week with a real work schedule- it will take some adjusting.  Right now he has to go in to work- but usually only the mornings or for a training of some sort.  He starts seeing patients again in a week.

We arrived on base about 9 days ago!   the flight was actually almost perfect.  Our kids were SO SO great. honestly- it could not have gone better (unless we'd flown first class!).  And actually- seats on the rotator (military flight) are all business class- so we had plenty of room! and the flight was only 9 hrs and 24 minutes!  I was planning for much longer.   plus- we landed ON the base so we didn't have to wait in any crazy lines or deal with crazy customs.  

Adjusting to the time change (14 hours!!!) was BRUTAL.  luckily- it only last 4-5 days.  But those days were pretty miserable.  We felt like the walking dead.  
the kids were up by 2:30 and wanting to play or watch movies.  I'm pretty sure it was our stomachs that woke us up.  I was starving constantly. all day long I felt like lead.  my head hurt.  it was rotten.
this morning- nobody got up earlier than 6:15!  and we all stayed awake last night until 8 or later! that is pretty amazing.  

Our very first night here we went to dinner with Kent's sponsor.  Every military member gets another military member already here to help 'adjust', pick us up from the terminal, get situated, etc.  Our sponsor is an internal medicine doc.  He and his wife have been wonderful.  
We went to an authentic Japanese Dinner where we sat on the floor with no shoes!  Metta loved it.  She even ate with chopsticks.  
the boys were both out cold the entire time!  they don't remember any of it.
 That first weekend I also went and checked out 'Joyful Honda'- a giant super store nearby.  The produce here is CRAZY expensive.  1980 yen (approx $19.80) for ONE POUND of grapes!!!  I found a seven dollar peach!  ONE PEACH!  it was shocking.  luckily- the base grocery store is cheaper- and I can shop markets where things aren't so outrageous!!

the male/female signs here crack me up.  
since I wake up so early- I've been trying to get out and run in the mornings!  it is still WAY too hot and humid at 5- but running helps me feel normal and less stressed.  Plus- running in a new place is exciting.  I get to run along/across the flight line and that's pretty cool.  I really need some workout buddies!!  I miss my YMCA so much.
 This is where we stayed our first seven nights here.  It's the temporary lodging while we waited for our place to be ready.  We were on the third floor and the kids loved using the elevators every day.
 We spent a lot of time riding the (sporadic) base shuttle around to try and sort out our lives. We didn't get driver's licenses or our car until we'd been here a week- so it was really tough that first week. and I was pretty exhausted and grumpy.  The humidity here is outrageous.  Luckily- ohio helped us acclimate a little bit. But hauling around three super tired kids in the insane heat on foot is not for the weary!  I think now that we've gotten past that first week- it can only get better and easier!!
We are all moved in to our place- I'll post pics soon- and we are sleeping much better.  We have loaner furniture that isn't too shabby.  we also ended up getting loaner linens (no blankets or pillow, though because they are out!), loaner silverware and dishes, and lightbulbs to light our house.  I only mention all of those things because we had to track them down separately in different buildings from different departments. the lightbulbs had their own building.  It's insane.  The government invented the wild goose chase.

A super nice thing about the base is the plethora of playgrounds.  they are on EVERY corner and in EVERY nook and cranny.  it's pretty amazing.  and if it weren't so hot- we'd spend all of our time on them :)
 Yesterday- Saturday- was our first real day.  we were moved in- had our car- and got internet and phones.  Cell phones and internet (along with grapes) will be our biggest expense adjustment here!  they are a ton more expensive!  luckily on top of kent's salary- we get a few hundred dollars a month as a 'COLA' (cost of living adjustment) to help offset the difference.  I'm kind of a cheapskate- so the prices increases have been hard to swallow!!

We had a church picnic yesterday morning at 8AM for Pioneer Day (mormon holiday!)!  since we are up at 5:30 anyway- it was perfect timing -although already terribly humid.  the kids got soaking wet to deal with it.

It's been so great to see the kids find friends and play.  I know this has been pretty hard on them and I love that they can make friends so easily.

 Zeb was over it after about an hour and a half.  Have I mentioned how humid it is?!
 we ventured off base and to a giant store called "seiyu" after lunch.  It's walmart. really.  they have walmart brands and walmart bags.  and you can use your walmart credit card.  Best of all- their produce was decently priced!!  and the 'people of walmart' aren't nearly as scary as in the states!!  Check out metta's little stroller thingy.  it was pretty fun.
 Zeb was dying to eat some teriyaki chicken and he was impressed!
 we also found a cell phone store on the street and signed our lives- along with our firstborn- away!!  So many places here have areas for kids to play.  it's HEAVENLY.  our kiddos were just happy too see toys and have A/C.  they were entertained the entire hour we were there.
 Zeb was pretty impressed with himself finding waldo in japan.  It's much harder when waldo speaks japanese, I guess.

we got some fresh fruit at the market while kent practiced his Japanese skills.  He really is such a proficient language learner.  I'm impressed.  He's reading a ton already and speaking well!  we plan on trying to be off base a lot to practice!
 While wandering around- we found a mini parade for the summer festival.
there were a few floats and lots of Japanese people giving us the peace sign :)  we look very touristy, I'm sure. Although I fit in nicely with my giant nikon camera around my neck!!

 here is an example of their streets.  this is two way. and SO SKINNY! driving is terrifying.  In fact- I haven't tried yet.  I make kent drive!!  it's the wrong side of the road!  and the steering wheel is on the right side!!  eeeeek.

We finished off the weekend with church today.  Our building is three stories- the top floor is the main meeting room!  The meetinghouse is just outside the base gates and the congregation is really pretty big.  About a hundred kids in primary (3-11) and as many adults!  It's really fabulous to have a built in community on top of the military one.

I can't wait to explore more and try out more food!!  our adventures are just beginning.


boysmum2 said...

Holy moly Toledo what an adventure. So much to do and learn just in 1 week. Glad you are settling well and that there is an almost instant community for you, sure does make things a lot easier.
The kids look at peace and that must help heaps.
Enjoy your time there, take heaps of pictures cause you know that before you blink it will be over and you will be moving onto somewhere else. All the very best and catch you soon, maybe I need to find out how much it is for a trip to Japan from New Zealand!!

Nicole Lowe said...

Ike looks content. I can't believe you got him in a stroller! :) so glad you are settling in. Seven dollars for one peach? I hope it tastes AMAZING!!

Kera Butler said...

It is good to see your adventures! Have fun.

yaya said...

Konichiwa...The only Japanese word I remember from the movie "Shogun"! Love the adventures and I know you'll feel at home soon. Craig found it amusing when he was in Taiwan that the locals always gave him the peace sign! Better that than the "signs" many Americans use! Take care!