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Showing posts from May, 2010

Yo Yo Yokohama

5/29/10




The slideshows have been kind of a pain and the quality of the pictures in them is not great, so I'm just going to put a link in the posts when I have larger quantities of photos to share! *Update* apparently my last attempt at photos didn't work, I think I finally figured out a better way...enjoy!

Other housekeeping news...we've moved up in society...we own rather than rent. That's right folks we bought the domain name. Take that blogger. I really stuck it to the man!

On to Yo Yo Yokohama...
Yokohama is the 2nd biggest city in Japan (I could be making that up, although I think it's accurate), and home to the tallest building in Japan (Landmark Tower). It is also only about 26 minutes via train from where I am in Japan (it's probably midpoint from me (Yokosuka) and Tokyo. There are your fun facts for the day.
Here is the down and dirty. We saw a man wearing a woman's raincoat (teal with white polka dots) walking (towards us) rubbing both of his nipp…

Peace out 29...30's taking over!

Or maybe you prefer to call it my Happy Ending to 29?! This is Japan!
5/28/10

After some struggles and growing pains I am happy to say that I am exactly where I want to be in my life. I absolutely love where things are, what I do, and most definitely the opportunities that I have had and will continue to have as a result of my job!
My early twenties (and before) was definitely a time when I was living my life how I thought people wanted me to, doing things I thought that they wanted.
I focused so much time on getting from point A to point B because I thought those were the places that I was supposed to be...but by whose standard? Thanks to a lot of great life experiences and some toughening up I have come to a place where I am writing my own script as I go along rather than following the pre-printed one!
It's not about rushing from one point to another anymore, but about really having a kick ass time when you're lost and stuck in the middle!
29 has been a pretty kick ass year, and …

I forgot to mention the diaper...

5/25/10

So now that some of the adrenaline rush has worn off (not much though) my thoughts are gathering and I realized that I didn't properly set the tone for the canyoning experience.

First let me start of by saying that it was freezing. So cold that I was sure that the rain would turn to snow at any minute (oh did I forget to mention that part too, it was pouring!). The guides said something about it being 14 or 17 degrees Celsius. Since I have no idea what either of those are, I can just tell you that it was freezing and felt like it could snow!

Moving on to water temp. They said it was probably 1/3 of what the air temp was. You guessed it, freezing!

So before we even left for our adventure we had to get properly attired. This was a process that took much longer than I thought it would. We had 3 wetsuits on (ever tried to put 1 on, now imagine two additional layers of that on top!). These things gave a whole new meaning to squeezing 10 pounds of sugar in a 5 pound bag! The fir…

Whitewater Rafting and Canyoning in Minakami

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5/23/10

This is by far the best trip I've ever done! I've been whitewater rafting several times, and this trip didn't disappoint either. The rapids were Class 4's and because we have been getting a lot of rain (it was raining the whole day we were there) the water was moving really quickly!

On to the even more exciting part of the trip...canyoning! I've never done this and wasn't quite sure to expect when we signed up for this adventure. It was amazing; there aren't words to describe it! Unfortunately the person taking pictures or the outfit that we went with, Canyons, was not there to photograph while we went canyoning (he only captured the rafting portion of our trip). I did include the link to the website for the outfit that we went with so you can see what we did! We were in Minakami in Fox Canyon.

My best attempt at describing this indescribable experience is this: body surfing the rapids in 1 of 3 positions superman (flat on your stomach, arms bent i…

I love my Kindle!

5/22/10
Whenever I travel I really like to read, and with this being an exceptionally long trip, I've had the opportunity to read more than your average vacation! Thanks to my handy Kindle which is conveniently loaded with no less than 9 pages of book selections at any given time, I have options!
Something else that I like to do when I travel is to keep track of the books that I've read, so where better than this blog. If you have no interest, feel free to skip the post. If you want my opinion on the books, I'll gladly share it, just ask!
So far I have read: 10 Hours Until DawnThree Cups of TeaIt's Not Me It's You...Magical ThinkingThe Year of Living BiblicallySuperfreakonomicsIn the Heart of the CanyonI will update the list when I finish more books and would love any good recommendations from the readers out there!

Blue street festival

5/22/10

Today on our walk home we stumbled on a festival on Blue Street (the main street that our hotel is off of). By festival I mean the kind where they have tons of food booths, some wild animals (fish and turtles), Air Soft guns for sale (for the kids I'm sure), and phallic fruits on a stick. Don't judge, look at some of the festivals we have in the US!
I of course dined on a fabulous chocolate covered banana on a stick and some other concoction that was put nicely in a styrofoam container for me to eat in the comforts of my own home (probably the kind of dish you want to eat near a bathroom in the even that you start to get the grumbles...just saying!)
Photos from the festival

Ja-PUN

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5/21/10

I don't know how to start this post, imagine that, a loss of words...that's just how entertaining Ja-PUN was tonight! It is a group of civilian teachers, contract employees, and spouses who perform skits that highlight what it's like to be a Gaijin (foreigner) living in Japan. Hilarious is quite an understatement!
Adina and I proudly earned these buttons "Official Ja-PUN Benjo Bouncer". You may be wondering what that is, or how we earned these exclusive one of kind items. I'll tell you! I just hope that there weren't pictures/videos captured of any of it!
At the start of the show they were doing an audience poll about how long people had been in Japan and Adina and I were the lucky winners of the people who were the newest. I feared that this would required some embarrassment or participation at this point, but was thankfully let off of the hook...that is until about half way through the show when they surprisingly called us on stage to participate …

My Japanese Hairstyle!

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5/20/10
So this isn't the best that it's gotten, but it's certainly a nice rendition of what my hair looks like courtesy of Japan! Scary I know!
It's so bad that when Skyping with my parents, my dad even asked if I got a perm! Nope, just a free Japanese hairstyle thanks to the crazy and every changing climate here! The look on my face is what I experience when I look in the mirror and see what kind of mess has formed on my head! This was taken today, on a sunny day with no rain and little humidity. I will be sure to capture what happens on a rainy/humid day. I like to call it the lion's mane!

Enjoy!

In addition to hilarious t shirts, there are also some very funny signs/posters throughout Japan. I haven't been fortunate enough to see very many of these (I've generally included the ones that I have found funny here within my blog). So here is a great website, dedicated to a little humor found within Japanese signs, etc. Enjoy, it's in Engrish :)www.engrish.com

I celebrate the midpoint by...

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Purchasing new orthotics of course! Today (5/19/10) is the half-way there (feel free to strike out in a Bon Jovi tune while I finish my post!) point for my stay here in Japan. I've put some major miles on my sneakers and therefore the first pair of orthotics (purchased a couple of days into my stay here when I realized I would be walking miles every day (no exaggeration, I have a pedometer and I walk no less than 4.5 miles per day but its been upwards of 7 on some, this does not include the workouts at the gym). I digress, back to my celebratory orthotics. My feet will be so happy for the second half. I might even celebrate this milestone (let's face it, the first couple of days I didn't know if I could make it to this point!) with a nice wine in a can! Cheers!

More Kit Kats!

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5/17/10
I am happy to say that I scored 2 new flavors of Kit Kats today! One that looks like Raspberry cake or raspberry cheese cake, and the other that I like to call Flan flavored Kit Kats (Adina thinks that there's a good chance its Creme Brulee Kit Kat, but I guess we will find out when they get cracked open!)
I'm hoping that I find something like hotdog flavored Kit Kats (since they love hotdogs so much here!)

Nishizawa Rivine and Winery Tour

5/16/10
Sunday morning we were up at the crack of dawn, literally. We had to be on base before 5:30, which was our scheduled departure time. We had a long bus ride (3 hours or more) and traveled through Tokyo to some other part of Japan (no idea where, I tried to find it on a map but was unsuccessful). During our lunch stop at the truck stop (that's right, the truck stop) we had a great view of Mt Fuji which is still covered in snow!
The hike, describe by the guide as "6 miles that you wont even be able to tell is 6 miles" at times felt like I was clinging for my life and. This was a rigorous climb and the terrain was very rough! My calves were on fire by the time I finally got to the top (the half-way point). Throughout the hike we had to cross these bridges that were hundreds of feet (I have no idea how high but it felt really high) above rushing water, and oh yeah they bounced.
Thankfully the second part of the "hike" was mostly flat terrain and mostly downhil…

The grass is blue in Japan

5/15/10*Early apologies for the out of order posts, I have some catching up to do!*
Saturday we went to a bar called Younger Than Yesterday (YTY for short) to hear a bluegrass band from the states and some Japanese musicians play. The group was friends of a friend of Adina's so it was fun to have some sort of connection to the states! I have several pictures of the event, but what is most entertaining is the short video clip that I captured! Enjoy Japanese bluegrass!

Double or nothing!

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5/17/10So yesterday was a very prosperous day in terms of my Kit Kat search! In a mere 24 hours I have doubled my stash! I have what I would refer to as the "holy grail" of Kit Kats...I added the following flavors: Wasabi, Soy Sauce, Strawberry Cheesecake, and Japanese Chili Pepper! I don't know how I will top these flavors, but I certainly plan on trying!

Kit Kat Collection 5/15/10

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On a more positive note, my Kit Kat collection is growing nicely! I have included a picture of my collection thus far, it is missing a couple that I sent home to my parents to try (I believe the flavors were English Tea, and Strawberry Cheesecake!). Among other obscure foods and candies, Japan is notorious for some interestingly flavored Kit Kats, half of the fun is finding them (it's rumored that stores will only carry one flavor for a short time!) I'm on a mission to find a soy sauce or wasabi flavored Kit Kat!

Fire on the 4th floor

5/15/10
I have been looking forward to "sleeping in" all week. Finally in a new hotel, they turned the air conditioning on, things were looking up...until of course 2:30 this morning. What I didn't know was that my room has a speaker/intercom system in it, but I became well aware of this "feature" due to the morning announcements.
I was dead asleep and startled awake by the voice of a Japanese woman speaking through my room, had I had more Chu Hi or perhaps some psychedelics I might have believed it was God. I digress. So this woman very loudly starts speaking in Japanese, great. Then the English translation comes across, "Warning, there might be a fire on the 4th floor". Oh did I forget to mention that I stay on the 4th floor. At this point fight or flight should kick in right, I mean, I did just hear that there could be a fire on my floor. Oh no, I discovered a new response, "goodnight". I just stayed in my bed, confused, with little or no t…

These are the people in your neighborhood...

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5/13/10
It's always important to have good relations with your neighbors...now let me tell you about mine! There is the arcade/karaoke/bar/(fill in the blank with whatever else it could be) establishment directly across the street. It contains a machine that if I had the equipment I would fire bomb. Don't run to the phone trying to commit me, if you heard this machine you would be borderline crazy too! Picture an arcade machine that is really annoying, now multiply that times three and play it non-stop until at least 2am.
Neighbor #2 is a classy little establishment called "Relaxation" (pictured). It has no windows on the entire building, there is a metal grate that is always pulled down about 1/4 of of the way, and then another big door that you have to slide across to get in (no I did not go in, I watched a dirty old man (American contractor) do this one night when I was watching the activity out of my window!). One morning I woke up to a loud banging noise (on that …

A beautiful day in the neighborhood!

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5/8/10
Today was a magnificent day in sunny Yokosuka Japan! It also happened to be moving day...we switched from our coffin sized rooms at one hotel to a better hotel down the street (about 8 minutes (walking) closer to base). We had to be out of one hotel at 10am and then couldn't get into the other one until after 1 pm, so we decided to go to base to see if we could rent sea kayaks to enjoy some sunshine and kill some time! It was a perfect decision! The sun was shining, there was a curry festival taking place at Mikasa Park (which is where the arch structure is in the picture).
A great start to the day was only made better when we finally got to check into our new hotel and let me tell you by US standards I would never rave about this room, but compared to our last accommodations, this is a chateau! We also get complimentary breakfast in the morning, complimentary beverages and snacks in the evening, they have regular washing machines and dryers (not Japanese style), it doesn'…

Vegitalian, grape mentos, t shirts, and death by sushi

5/3/10
Today is an exciting day, I signed up for a whitewater rafting and canyoning trip through Outdoor Rec (on base). It's an all day affair, and by all day I mean we leave at 4 something in the morning and get back at 10:30pm! I have no idea where we will be (other than Japan) but it promises to be a blast!! It's scheduled for 5/23/10 so if I don't blog after that, please send the American Embassy searching for me! When I was reviewing the itinerary there was a special note: "if you are vegitalian please notify at least 1 week prior and we can bring veg. meal for you"...I'm half tempted to say that I'm vegitalian, just to see what the meal is, it can't be bad right?!
Dinner tonight was sushi...again...literally out of the past 7 days I've eaten sushi for probably 5 of them (possibly more but I'm not willing to admit it if that's in fact true). Feel free to comment on the warning signs of mercury poisoning...
I was advised by someone to tha…

Kurihama Hana-no-kuni (Flower World), and OMG I have to use what for a restroom?!!

Today (5/1/10) was absolutely amazing...and since I arrived at this date before you, let me tell you this in advance, enjoy the day!The weather was perfect, sunny skies (code for no rain here in Japan), and a free tour was offered in English (I should say semi-English) of the Kurihama Flower Park. This park is world famous for it's flowers (at least they say so!) I would tend to agree, it was absolutely amazing. We were told that due to the unseasonably cold weather that the flowers (mainly poppy's) were not in full bloom yet and probably would be within the next week or so, but as you can see from the slide show of pictures, it was still fantastic!
According to my information sheet it won the International prize "Nations in Bloom 2000" by IFPRA in London. It also won an International level prize (about protecting the national environment) called ISO 14001. The domestic prize that it has been awarded is "The Best Green City, Prime Minister Award" in 1999. T…