Friday, February 13, 2009

Some of the house, the finished rooms.

Well, I'm mostly unpacked but there are a few rooms that still need work, so I'm only going to post a couple pics this time, I promise there will be more soon though.

Here is our Living room, well, half of our living room, the other half isn't ready for photographing yet. I really like the large window, although when the sun is out you can't have it open because it shines too brightly in the room, but on overcast days or snowy days you can open it. I think an awning outside would help, but I don't think we're allowed to put things like that up.

This is the view from the sofa in the above picture, the stairs to the bedrooms and front door are to the right and left is a storage closet, more left off the picture is the kitchen and dining room.

Here's the dining area, the big door is the laundry room and the small door is a storage closet, to the left is a back door and more left is the kitchen. It's a pretty big kitchen too, lots of counter space. It will be in the next installment.
I'm SO happy to have our things with us FINALLY!!!

The beginning.

We left Los Angeles on Jan 19 at 11:00 am. The flight went well, it was LONG though, about 11 hours to Tokyo.. We spent the night at a hotel in Tokyo, near the airport. We took the hotel shuttle. Our first sampling of Japanese food was a buffet in the hotel restaurant, even with Jenna being free it still cost us 15,000 yen, at the current exchange rate, that is about $172.00 for just Kevin Brendan and myself. It really wasn't anything fantastically special either, the next morning we had breakfast, another buffet for another $100.00 or so. And our room was about $270.00 too. Our first taste of just how expensive Japan is.

Here we are waiting for our flight at LAX.

The kids didn't sleep as much as I would have liked, but here is some snoozing on the first flight.

The shuttle sign we had to wait next to for 30 minutes.

The next morning we left the hotel and took the shuttle back to the airport for the next leg of our journey. We watched some Japanese TV in the waiting area, it appeared to be about the growing of some vegetable delicacy. They were grown in deep underground pits with covers so the sun didn't reach the plants. We boarded a bus when they called our flight and drove us out onto the tarmac, there we boarded a smaller jet.

The Japanese flight crews are about the friendliest I've ever met, they gave the kids some postcards and toy airplanes, although Jenna had more fun playing with her stethescope style headphones, I showed her that if you whisper into one end it amplifies it in the ear parts. She played with that most of the flight.

As our plane taxied away, the entire visible ground crew waved to us until we were out of sight! This flight was only about an hour and 45 minutes and we arrived in Misawa before we knew it.
We got off the plane and picked up our luggage, then showed our tickets to the two airport workers by the door and exited the baggage claim area, we were trying to figure out how we get a taxi or something to take us on base when a group of women asked us how we were getting there, they were waiting for a woman who was coming to work on base but she didn't show, so these wonderful ladies loaded up our luggage in one car and us in another and drove us to the base hotel. Yay we're here!
For the next 10+ days we would walk everywhere on base from our hotel room, usually less than a mile to everything, but in snow and cold the kids have never really experienced before. We went to the BX, bought boots for the kids and myself, mostly ate at the food court in the BX but also bought some breakfast items back to the hotel, it had a little kitchen and dining table in the living area. The couch and chair pulled out into beds, we watched AFN programming, which has NO american commercials, and there are only about 12 channels.. There are also a few Japanese channels and I thoroughly enjoyed the infomercials about womans wigs and make up and some crazy soap product that whitens the skin. Here's some shots of our hotel rooms.

We attended a briefing where they bring in all the services such as dental, legal, family support, the vice wing commander, etc. to tell us about what's available here on base, what rules and customs we are expected to adhere to and also to get our drivers licenses, then they gave us a free lunch and sent us home for the day.

The next day we took a bus into Misawa city and were given a tour of a Buddhist temple, an historic Japanese house, complete with paper walls and NO heat! A museum, then the local "mall" and 100 yen store. They pointed out where the local farmers market is held, it's called the nine day market, because it runs on the 9th, 19th and 29th of every month. We didn't have time to check out the store because we were the very last people to be served lunch and by that time we couldn't even eat there, we took it back to our hotel room and ate yakisoba with some fried chicken for lunch. The next day we moved into our base housing!!! YAY!!! It's the third unit in a fourplex building, there are tons of closets and it's supposed to be around 1450 sq. ft. It's much bigger than I was expecting to find here. The kitchen is actually quite large, and the living room is enourmous, the bedrooms are small but we don't spend much time upstairs in them anyway. We are currently still waiting for our personal belongings to arrive in Japan, today is Feb 8th. We heard they might be here next week.. But we're not holding our breath.

The kids started school the tuesday after the tour and we picked up our car on Wednesday, then on Friday we got another tour into Hachinohe, a city nearby that's much larger and has several malls, one of which we got to visit. But first we went to a fishmarket and shopping center of sorts. I had some samples, steamed crab legs, which I've had before, some shark fin seasoned with sesame and chile, very different, almost like eating tasty rubber bands. Then I tried some sesame rice crackers and a small piece of squid ink sweet cake, it was quite tasty and would give Little Debbie a run for her money. The kids really liked the cake but Kevin wouldn't try it.
Next we were given a tour of the train station, where you can get rides all over Japan on regular trains or the bullet train. It's supposed to cost about 150 bucks one way to Tokyo on the bullet train. You save a little if you buy round trip tickets. After this we went to a Shinto shrine, very different from the Buddhist shrine. Then we went to the Lumpia Mall, had lunch and shopped around for a bit, I bought some small pieces of fabric from a fabric store, and we bought Seamus some dog treats with japanese writing all over the package.

More adventures to come!