Saturday, October 16, 2010

Interesting things I have seen in japan


Low-tech toilet. I honestly have been avoiding using these types of toilets. I was 29 years old before I ever used a lawnmower so I am betting I could avoid this style toilet for 3 years...


Each city has several different styled man hole covers. This is just one.




Sometimes we feel like superstars. especially when Japanese people want to throw their children in our laps for pictures. I have never used a peace sign in my life for a pic until I moved here. I think they expect it. Its pretty fun though.


This was my kind of restroom. It showed where the western style toilets were located as well as which ones were available for use. CHING!


A man unabashedly dressed as a rose. Loved it!


A three-story car dealership. This is actually very near where we live.




A very neat trash pile after a festival


A vending machine on basically every corner in this country. I miss coffee stands though...

Field Trip!

During our initiation week, we were required to go on a "field trip" to somewhere in Japan. We were to take the train, call to the base while off base, make it back in one piece, and then tell about our experience.

Our "teachers" in our initiation class gave us a few ideas of places to go in the local area. I was very interested in going to Kamakurra, Japan to see the Great Buddha and various shrines in the area. Fortunately, Evan was interested in this trip as well.

Navigating the train is not difficult for anyone except for me apparently. I caused us to miss two different trains and ended up extending the time of our trip by about 40 minutes. But in my own defense, I was still learning.

The trip took roughly an hour, and required 2 transfers. We got to see a beautiful view of the ocean on the way there.

First we stopped by the Great Buddha, a large bronze statue of the Buddha. It was damaged in the 15th century by a tsunami, but has survived. It has been reinforced in some places, especially the head. You can see the reinforcement inside the buddha which we were allowed to see inside for 500 yen. (about $5)



There are also many Buddist and Shinto shrines in Kamakura. The main, most popular one was Tsurugaoka Hachiman-gū. We were also able to see this one on our trip. This is now a shinto shrine but was also a Buddist temple in the past. It is the main tourist attraction in the area. The entrance also leads straight down to the main street in town and all the way to the ocean.



Evan cleansing his hands outside the temple. I love the little Japanese girl staring at him.

If my pictures look foggy - its from the humidity. It was the hottest summer on record in this region of Japan - Ever.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

2 weeks later...

So I had envisioned having a ton of extra time to blog, but we have been BUSY!

Right now we have housing set up to move into on the 24th. I am very happy about this because I am sick of my pets being in the kennel. They are at a nearby army base. I am worried about my Oliver pup. I travel an hour each day just to go to his kennel and walk him. I hired an army kid to walk him in the afternoons. He is so dirty, his ear is infected, and his behavior is all wonky. He has started marking and getting really aggressive at the front of other dog's cages. I can't wait to get him out, give him a bath, and start some training all over again. Only 5 more days.


"Geez mom, its HOT here in japan!"


This is a sign at the army base's dog park. Why is "pets" in paranthesis?


Playing at the dog park

I have started the job search and actually may end up with numerous odd jobs for awhile. There is a very part-time PT job, a yoga certification to become a substitute yoga instructor, and I am dabbling with the idea of becoming crossfit certified in october in okinawa. (I haven't talked to Evan about this one yet shhhh) Also Id like to teach a dance class on sundays. I am also going to apply for a fitness director position opening up soon. So I'm not sure what I will end up doing, but I am sure I will keep myself busy.

We got a car! A Mitsubishi pajero, which is actually a decent sized SUV. I have never driven a car this large, and it is so wierd driving on the opposite side of the street. My driving off base has been limited to the army base to see Oliver and company. Each time I drive, someone tries to kill me or themselves, but other than that its not too bad! The gas and brake pedals are not switched thank goodness. I do tend to turn on the wipers for the blinker however, because that is switched! Our driving class was quick and painless, but only taught us the road signs. Here in Japan, Americans are considered to be "professional drivers". Someone told us (so I am not sure how accurate this is) that most japanese people rely on public transit until they are older and can afford a car. So just because you see a 40 year old driving, he may have only been driving for 2 years. Still, being considered a professional driver is a bit wierd, and if there is any accident, regardless of who actually caused it, we are considered at fault. Since we are all Mario Andretti caliber drivers apparantly!


I fondly refer to it as the "Mack Truck"


The sticker on the front signifies that I am a new driver. I figure its my first year driving in japan so I apply. It is normally ment to be used by actual new drivers though!

We have gone on a couple "field trips" that I will blog about seperately. Evan went to Misawa Japan for work and will miss the big move into the new place.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

The Transition

So after a whirlwind of activity the last few weeks, let me catch you up on the trip! The last couple weeks at home were crazy. Mom and Freddy came up to take my car back down to florida and thus has officially become my moms car. I will miss it so much. That car was perfect. I made the two of them WORK for that car. My brother helped us move furniture and fixed my toilet. My mom helped run around with the pets and vet visits and dealing with overnighting USDA documents for them. I was a stress ball to say the least, and mom handled me quite well!

We made sure to hit up all our favorite restaurants before we left and took mom to the oyster bar on chuckanut drive for her birthday dinner. I also made SURE I had some RedRobin before I left as well. How I will miss those burgers and garlic fries...sigh

My neighbor helped Evan get Oliver's crate to the airport the night they left. I was SO worried our crate would not be considered large enough, or that something would be amiss in our paperwork. I was actually working myself up into a minipanic attack about it in the car before we got to the airport. BUT it turned out everything went very smoothly. The guys at the desk did not even LOOK at the paperwork at all, barely looked at the dog and said "your good to go!" So off the boys flew that night

I then had 2 days to make some final goodbye prep to our house, which, after dropping our price (ouch), we did finally rent. Apparantly our new renter has a better credit score than us and is a computer game software engineer. What a perfect person to rent our house (I hope).

My trip with sweetpea went smooth as well, although her water dish had fallen off the front of the crate, so who knows how long she went without water. I got a one way 10 hour flight (fortune!) but also the non--reclining seat in front of the emergency exit (misfortune). I brought three books to read and did not crack a single book cover. I dozed, watched tv, and ate in 30 minute increments the entire flight. Our plane left at 4:30am but we had to be at the airport by 11:30pm. After boarding the flight, one passenger was unaccounted for, and they had to find the bag he checked and remove it before we could leave, which delayed us 30-40 minutes. As soon as I heard we would be delayed I put my new hot pink neck pillow on and CRASHED. I do not remember the taxiing out, the takeoff or anything until abotu 40 min into the flight. My flight buddy was pretty nice, and enlisted marine leaving his wife and baby in the states for 2 years while he is in okinawa. yuck.

Once we arrived in Japan, there was a 2 hour trip to the base kennel, and another 30 mins to our base. Oliver was doing well at the kennel, but I couldnt stand the idea of him being cooped in the kennel all day and since its difficult for me to get to the kennel I decided to get a dog walker. We are on a totally different base, will be in classes all day everyday next week, oh and have no car. So I hired a sweet 14 year old girl (through her mom) to walk Oliver 2x a day for $10 a day! CHEAP! There is even a dog park on the base they will take him to as well. I met the girl today and handed her $80 to get started and she seemed amazed to be holding that much money in her hands at one time. They thought he was very sweet as well (who wouldnt I mean cmon?) so I am happy with the situation so far.

Housing is still on hold - not sure where that is going yet, but we should figure it out sometime next week.

Our room is super sweet. Its small, but is a good use of space. The sink in the bathroom is HUGE. I mean I know americans are bigger than japanese people, but the sink is a little overkill.

I'll post a pic of our 'command center' which has both laptops, two phones, tv, dvd, cameras etc.

More later - sorry about the lack of pics but it will get better! We go on our first off base adventure tonight with a couple from the command who also have no kids, but a dog at home to worry about - perfect for us. Hopefully they like us and we can keep them ;)

Friday, July 9, 2010

Olympic Weight Lifting


One of my endeavors in my fitness life is to learn olympic weightlifting. I do not necessarily want to be GREAT at Oly lifts, but I do want to be competent with my form so I can use these lifts in my workouts. Yesterday I worked on clean and jerk for the first time. I'm not very strong yet, but I am slowly getting the hang of the technique. My wrists are sore!

Here are some of my goals:
1. Clean and Jerk Bodyweight
2. Snatch Bodyweight
3. Double Bodyweight Deadlift


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The art of Racing in the rain

One Twenty Three/365 - The Art of Racing in the Rain

I read this entire book cover to cover on the plane from Washington to RI, laughing and crying the entire way. The lady on the last plane sitting next to me kept looking over at me since I had tears rolling down my cheeks! (the lady at the bookstore warned me) I LOVED this book. Highly recommended. I know if they make a movie of it - it would never do the book justice.

Link to amazons site to buy this book: HERE

Check out this great youtube video with a book intro

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

My trip to Rhode Island in sentence fragments

-Love the pic above because I look in shape...zooming out helped
-Rhode Island airport has the coolest hand dryers in the bathroom
-Saw a condom walking down the walking tram by itself in the Charlotte airport
-Cool restroom attendant in Charlotte "First class in the back, you pick your own seats and pour your own trouble"
-Rhode island is the unofficial breeding ground to a bajillion rabbits
-Downtown newport was cool, overpriced, slightly dirty, amazing views, and has the most amazing restaurant and beer choices
-Went on a mystery train ride - ate amazing ribs on the train
-Cried over "The art of racing in the rain" my entire plane ride to RI
-I now want to name my next dog Enzo
-Made it to day 2 before I completely gave up on my diet
-Got in one good workout the first day there
-Tweaked my shoulder the second day canoeing at Amys house
-Two hour drive to Amys included a 30 minute epic quest for a public bathroom
-Ate amazing Grilled pizza at amys. So much for gluten free. Screw it
-Said my goodbyes to Amys dog Doobie who is dying from cancer poor thing
-Ate smores and homemade blueberry pie. nom nom nom
-Lusted after Amys house right on the lake
-Now understands Evans money sucking vampire antics after blowing around $250 on a night on the town in Newport
-Got very very drunk for the first time in a long time, didnt piss off Evans new friends, and didnt throw up! Go me!
-Beautiful fireworks from the Newport base
-Pet about 5 other dogs on my trip - dont tell Oliver
-Listened to Crossfit Radio on my ipod
-Pissed off that my Pink CD didnt upload to my ipod
-BBQ at Evans friend's Friend's house Paul - he made me feel better about bringing pets to Japan
-Envious of Pauls ONE ACRE Yard! Told him repeatedly that he needs a dog for that yard
-Tried not to worry about selling the car or renting the house with partial success
-Learned the symbolic meaning of a pineapple on someones front step
-Walked the cliff walk with my cute Hubby
-Saw amazing artwork I couldn't afford
-Old carrier in the harbor below. It was beautiful