Monday, April 9, 2012

Happy Monday!

Happy Monday Friends!

I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and a wonderful Easter! 

We spent our Easter weekend celebrating with the squadron, going to the cherry blossom festival at Kamiseya and exploring Tokyo for the first time ... we saw the Imperial Palace and the cherry blossoms in Ueno Park.  It was gorgeous!  I will do a full post later this week!  I wanted to add a few photos I took with my iPhone, but for some reason they aren't showing up as options to insert.  Silly Blogger.

In other news, our household goods (i.e. the rest of our clothes, furniture, kitchenware, etc.) will be arriving on Wednesday!  I am SO excited to get back my: 
          • Dyson - these floors are impossible to keep clean.  
          • Paper shredder (NERD ALERT!) - I have over a month's worth of documents to shred.
          • Filing cabinet - I have over a month's worth of documents to file.
          • MY BED - this loaner furniture double bed is SO uncomfortable, not to mention SMALL.  
          • The rest of my wardrobe!  
I will be one happy girl come Wednesday! 

I will leave you with a funny story for your Monday ... I bought some croissants the other day at the Maruetsu and had them sitting up on the countertop.  I left to go run errands with my friend Mrs. K13 and we stopped back by the house so she could pick something up.  She ran in while I stayed in the car with her baby.  She came back downstairs to report that Miss Lucy had gotten the croissants down off the counter and was lounging on the couch eating croissants.

Oh, Miss Lucy, what a hard life she leads :) 

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Shadowhawk Fly-In

The weekend after we arrived in Japan, the jets flew in from Whidbey Island.  We gathered at the hangar to watch them fly-in on a Saturday afternoon.  We'd been told that the press would be there and they weren't kidding!  There was probably just as many members of the press as people there to greet the pilots and NFO's!  Once we arrived, we found out that only three of the jets would be making it in that afternoon.  The other three jets would arrive the next day.  We didn't know who was coming in the jets, but we hoped they would include our friends Mr. S. and Bag-O. 

A video of the Shadowhawks landing at NAF Atsugi for the first time.  Notice all the press taking photos and videos!

I also really like this video because it shows them doing their flyover and coming in for the break:



The first two jets parked

Later that evening the XO's wife hosted a party at her house and we celebrated (most) of the family being together again!

141 Ladies

Sunday, we went back out to the hangar to welcome the last three jets.  The press wasn't there for this fly-in but I was able to get some more pictures than I did on Saturday.

Last three jets

The boys going out to welcome the rest of their squadron

Mr. S.!

The jets coming in meant J. had to go back to work on Monday!

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


The first week that we were here, one of the guys in our squadron arranged for people to go to dinner at a place called "Great Viking."  It's a yakiniku style restaurant - meaning you grill bite sized pieces of meat and vegetables on a little grill right at your table.  This particular place had an all you can eat, all you can drink for 90 minutes deal.  

Meat and vegetable selection

Mr. D. grilling his meat!

The size of our all you can drink Chu-hi's ...

The grill ... notice the shrimp and crab legs!

Fooz taking advantage of the "all you can drink" part!

We had a lot of fun ... I thought 90 minutes would be plenty of time, but it seemed to go by so quickly.  It was very intense ... especially because when the 90 minutes are up, if you have any food left on your table you have to pay extra for it!

We can't wait to go back!

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekend Recap - Yokohama, Yokota, & Kawasaki

Happy Monday!

I hope you all had a good weekend!  We finally got out and about and did some sight-seeing over the weekend!  We started our weekend with a trip to Yokohama on Friday night.  A group of us took the train to Yokohama for dinner at El Torito.  They have the same menu as in the States and it was a great meal after two weeks of Japanese food :) 

My strawberry margarita

To get to El Torito, we never even went outside.  We arrived in the station and took a myriad of tunnels over to the Yokohama Sky Tower (which may or may not be the tallest building in Japan, according to my online research).  El Torito was on the 28th floor of the building and had a great view of Yokohama. I wish I would have taken a picture!

There was a Louis Vuitton IN the train station ... that should tell you how big it was!

After dinner we walked around for a bit and then went to The Tavern, an English Pub, for some drinks before taking the train back to Ayase-shi.

The entrance to The Tavern

The main street in Yokohama

The front gate of the base is about a 20 minute walk from the train station, so we stopped off at a dive bar along the way.  I really wish I would have taken a picture of Bar Skunk, but I don't think it's going anywhere, so next time! 

Saturday, we got up and headed to Yokota Air Force Base.  Their Officers Spouses Club was hosting an Asian Bazaar and we wanted to check it out.  Yokota is the base that we arrived at when we got to Japan and it had taken us about two hours to get to Atsugi.  However, we were hoping that since it was the weekend traffic wouldn't be as bad.  Nope ... it still took us two hours to get there.  And the weather was terrible ... it was raining and very windy.  I thought that Suzy might actually blow over at one point.  Anyways, we arrived at the gate and were told we needed a one day pass to get our car on the base.  And in order to get that pass, we needed to have ALL of our car's information which we did not have.  Luckily, another couple from our squadron was headed up to the same bazaar and they drive a giant van.  So we went out to find some off base parking and await their arrival.  We crammed six adults and three children into their van and made it to the bazaar!  We found a few pieces of furniture that we liked, but it was our first bazaar so we weren't sure if we were getting a good deal.  We decided to wait on the furniture, but I got a set of three Santa Kokeshi dolls.

We then drove around the base and, let me tell you, Yokota is SO much nicer than our base.  Their commissary is huge, their exchange is more like a department store and they have a Chili's restaurant. I can't tell you the last time I ate at Chili's in the states, but it was oh so good!  We had a quick dinner and then did some shopping before heading back home for the evening.

Our amazing dessert at Chili's ... YUM!

Sunday we got up and headed to Kawasaki for their annual fertility festival.  Most of the cities around us have been having fertility festivals the past couple of weekends.  The festival we attended was called the Kanamara Matsuri and was held at the Kanayama shrine.  It is held the first Sunday in April each year.  The history behind this festival is very interesting - prostitutes used to come to this shrine to pray for protection from sexually transmitted diseases.  Now, people come to pray for business prosperity, easy deliveries, marriage and marriage harmony.  I prayed for marital harmony as I don't want any kids any time soon :)

The festival has turned into a tourist attraction and was pretty hilarious.  I will let my pictures speak for themselves: 

The festival celebrates the penis

The Kamayana Shrine

Bag-O and J. with some local girls enjoying their penis pops ...

Bag-O getting iced ...

The man on the far right was REALLY enjoying his penis pop ...

Part of the parade

The man in blue dragged M.A. out into the parade!

She was a good sport and helped carry the float

The giant pink penis

Now do you see why this festival was hilarious?

Creepy Batman wearing nothing but a thong ...

Once the parade was over we walked around the town and discovered this little hidden street: 
It was lined with people selling food and trinkets

We tried a bun with bean curd in the middle ... tasty.

And then bought a fun souvenir :)

Bag-O with his treats ...

Then we visited the Kawasaki Daishi Buddhist Temple.  Apparently this is one of the largest temples in the greater Tokyo area and is popular among the locals to pray at midnight on New Year's Eve.

The main temple

First you go up to this fire and cleanse yourself with smoke.  You waft the smoke towards whatever area of your body that you want cleansed or healed.

Then you go into the temple and pray and toss a coin into the offering plate (expect it's not a plate, it's a giant vat).

The five tiered pagoda at the temple grounds

They had lots of little street vendors selling food ... we tried some of these noodles!

After we all had some street food, we ventured back to the train station and began our journey home!  The train system hasn't been too hard to figure out yet and we've got a very handy app on our phones called "Hyperdia."  It has the train station in English and will also tell you what train lines to take to get somewhere!