Saturday, August 27, 2005

The Quest for Snow Monkeys

Today I travelled up to the "Hatchet," as the people here on base call it, with my brother's family to try and see some wild snow monkeys. The "Hatchet" is the most northern part of the main island of Japan and it is shaped like a hatchet or axe. It took us about two and a half hours to drive from Misawa up the "handle" into the hatchet part, and it was the most beautiful drive. The weather today was blissful, breezy, warm with billowing white clouds and blue skies. Most of the drive up north is through small fishing towns and through mountains, lush and green, surrounded by the glorious blue waters of the bay. We stopped at a Lawson's (the Japanese answer to the 7-11 or Royal Farm Store) for bento boxes for our lunch. Even the prepackaged lunches here are good! Then we piled back into the car to keep driving north. We didn't exactly know where we were going, just hoping there would be signs that would guide us to the right place. We had heard from friends of my brother's that the wild monkeys will jump right on to your car and even take food from you if you aren't careful. What we found was a park that charged 200 yen for adults, 100 yen for children ($2 and $1 respectively) to see some sad caged snow monkeys. It was still cool to see them up close and I took a good bit of video footage, because I think my children will enjoy watching them. There was even a teeny tiny little baby snow monkey chasing after his mother for a drink. We never found the wild monkeys who jump on cars and steal lunches from little children, we decided that perhaps that is a legend that people are spreading to promote this sorry zoo exhibit. However, despite our disappointment in not seeing real wild snow monkeys, I did get to drink in the beauty of this day in this gorgeous setting.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Lots of firsts

I am presently in Misawa, Japan, staying with my brother and his family on the AFB. So far I have been to the farmer’s market, bought a beautiful kimono, swam in the Pacific Ocean for the first time, had my first sushi, ate my first fried squid, been in a traditional Japanese house, and last night, felt my first earthquake!

There is much more that I will get to see and do here, since I still have 6 more days to experience Japan. It is beautiful here, lush and green and the weather has been lovely.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Is it tomorrow yet, cuz it still feels like yesterday?

Okay, since I'm in Japan it is right now, despite what the thingy at the bottom of the post says, Tuesday August 23, 5:20 pm....

I am proud to say, thanks to much prayer on my part and those who care about me, that the flights and bus transfer went smoothly to get me into Misawa around 7pm last night. I went to bed around 8:30pm and slept until 6am today, and hardly feel jet lagged at all.

So far we've had a fun-filled day since today is William's (my nephew) 6th birthday. We had a wonderful breakfast of Dutch baby and then I got to go to the farmer's market with my sister-in-law and then to the BX (which is the Basic Exchange here on the base) to buy me a kimono and obi sash. It's very cool, pictures will come later. Then we went to the beach for the afternoon, and I swam and jumped waves with my nieces, nephew and brother. Next up, Mexican restaurant for dinner. Here on base (the U.S. Air Force Base) it is very much like being in America, but once you step off, you are back in Japan.

5,001 visits

My site meter for snippets just reached 5,001 visits! Woohoo, yay snippets, and thank you faithful readers :D.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

I'm going!

I leave in just a few days to go to Japan. I’m phyched! My brother lives there with his wife and five kids. He is a chaplain in the Air Force, and THE very best brother in the whole wide world-he is the one making this trip possible. So I will go to Japan alone, no kids, no weighty responsibilities, just me (and my brother’s family) for 10 fun-filled days. I will post more on this after my return.

43 Things

I am doing 43 things. Well, to be more precise, I'm aiming to do 27 things, but the list is growing.

Monday, August 15, 2005

Happy Blog-Birthday To ME

August 15,2004 was my first entry....this year on August 15... well, who knows?

It's not really an occasion I care to celebrate (because of the very reasons I started this blog), but it does give me a small sense of accomplishment to know that I have consistently maintained this blog for one year. (I wish I could say the same for my houseplants. I have consistently been inconsistent at caring for my houseplants, but the tadpoles live on!)

What a year it has been! I hope for a better next one. Perhaps in 2006 I will have something worth celebrating. I can only hope.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Home safe

Mom and Dad made it back home safely from Japan late Wednesday night. Thursday was full of strories and presents and home movies of my nieces and nephews brought back to the states by my parents. I leave in one week for my Japan trip. I'm very excited about it, and since my folks pioneered the trip, it has helped alieviate some of my anxieties about travelling abroad alone. They assured me that all the signs I will need to read to make the transfer from one airport to another via bus are in English.

Preparing for my trip has prompted some shopping. Last week I bought a nice pair of black Dansko sandals, but I was so torn between them and another pair that I decided to head up to the Dansko outlet in Pennsylvania today. I was like a kid in a candy store! It was again hard to choose, but at the prices there, I was able to afford two pair for less than one from the retailer! I got the same sandals as the black, but in a butterscotch color and a pair of teal slip on sandals. If you aren't familiar with Dansko, you should be. They are the most comfortable supportive shoe around. It is no wonder why doctors and nurses wear them almost exclusively.

(Dansko has not paid me for this endorsement.)

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Home school back in session

August first was our first day of school. A little early some of you may be thinking, but when you factor in that we ended our school year mid-May, it doesn't seem so early. Also I have a fantastic opportunity to go to Japan to visit my brother and his family the last 10 days of August, as well as a family beach vacation in mid-September. So I figured if I don't start school now, we won't really begin until late September.

I must say that being able to teach my boys is an honor and delight. This week has been so great, they love the structure and format (thus far) and are highly motivated learners, making my job as tutor pretty easy. The most diffucult part of homeschooling them is what to do with Prettiness, and this week she has only gotten into minor trouble. She kept herself busy with the math manipulatives (how educational of her) for a while and I have taken down the barricade to the boys' room so she has really enjoyed playing with their toys (especially since they aren't in there to stop her from messing things up). This evening I discovered that she also disassembled the boys' night light -so they said- I have no idea where the little light bulb is now, probably in one of her many purses.

Next week will be a challenge (for schooling), because my sister will be visiting (I'm thrilled she's coming to visit while the rents are away) with her family of six (+1 on the way) and K and D love playing with their cousins. I'm sure they will be a bit distracted, but we will try to squeeze our lessons in in the morning, making time for fun-filled afternoons!