Sunday, August 1, 2010
This weekend we ended up going to Tama Hills, our first vacation in Japan. We were sort of forced into it since the our side of the base was going to be out of power ALL day on Saturday...but we were excited to go.
Now let me preface this adventure by saying we literally bought our car on Friday afternoon. For those that don't know, people drive on the other side of the car AND on the other side of the road in Japan. Also, the highways are beyond crazy. Think if driving through downtown NYC everywhere you have to go. There are alleys that act as side streets - but the main roads have lights at almost every intersection and traffic is horrendous at all hours of the day. So for us to just jump in the car and drive somewhere took real Kahunas.
Patrick did great - but we were able to follow our friends the whole way. Not that we really needed to though, because our GPS in the car in pretty awesome. It is all in Japanese...but the arrows and directions are very clear. It is way more advanced than any American GPS that I have seen - and it will show the upcoming intersection and highlight the lanes you are to be in. For example, if there are 5 lanes...1 goes left, 2 go straight, 2 go right...it will highlight the one(s) you should be in and warn you of the ones NOT to be in. It also has your next 2 turns to warn you. It will count down the (kilo)meters before the first turn, but also make you aware of how soon the 2nd turn is from there. And since we can't read or write Kanji (japanese symbols for words), we can type in the phone number and it will get us there! The previous owners also set a 'home' button and they live close to us...so we can just hit that button anytime to get us home.
Anyway, the room we stayed at in Tama was very nice. They even brought 2 cots for the kids. We got there around 6:30pm, ate dinner and then went back to the room for bed! We slept in until after 7 (which was awesome!!!) had some breakfast and then had some fun! The kids went on pony rides, we watched some softball games, played mini-golf, went hiking, etc. The only bummer was it was H-O-T! We were drenched in sweat and sought some coolness finally back in the hotel for lunch. I tried fried alligator tail (which was just like chicken wings) and a korean beef sandwich. I was proud of myself for being daring with food! It was all actually very good :-) The kids stuck with burgers and fries...but I am sure they will venture out soon!
Once we got back to base we have been getting more essentials and nice-to-haves for the house. Groceries, Gavin's school supplies, etc. We rented some movies for tonight and hope to have a relaxing night to ourselves (Patrick and I). Things are starting to settle in and we expect all of our items from our BIG shipment of AUG 13 (yes...friday the 13th). After that, it will feel much more homey. Although, I was pretty bummed the other day when Evelyn told me this place was just our 'house' not our 'home'. Our "home' is in Ohio still :-(