Saturday, March 31, 2012

Officially official

We will be leaving Japan on July 6.  It's officially official.  

I have so many mixed emotions about our move back to the States.  Sometimes it all seems so overwhelming!  I'm worried about so many things and excited about so many more things.  I stay up late thinking about all the things that need to happen in the next 3 months and the months following our move.  I'm excited about a new beginning, but so sad to say goodbye.  

So overwhelmed!

So excited!

So sad!  



I don't have very many friends, but the ones I have are awesome-- really awesome!

And sometimes my friends have drama in their lives, and I try to stay out of it as best I can.  As you know, I hate drama.  If I see drama coming, I run the other way.  I prefer to live simply and drama free.  But sometimes other peoples' drama can spill over, and sometimes I'm caught in its nasty web.  And, well, that happens.

But if I'm your friend, then I'm willing to get caught in the web with you, and together we can fight our way out, becoming stronger and better friends in the end.

And I try not to judge people on the decisions they make.  I know I'm not perfect.  And I cannot un-friend a person because they make decisions that others may not agree with.  Life is short and sometimes people just need to do what is best for them, and I can understand that.

All I know is that as long as you treat me and my family with respect, and you show me the same kindness I have shown you, I will be your friend to the matter what!   And just because others might judge you, I won't jump on that band wagon and become a hater.  I'm too grown up for that.  

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Addicted to donuts

I recently discovered Krispy Kreme donuts here in Japan.  I had never eaten a Krispy Kreme until about 2 months ago.  And that first Krispy Kreme was like a little piece of heaven!  So, needless to say, we've been going and getting donuts quite often, maybe a little too often!  My expanding waste line might be contributed to my mass consumption on Krispy Kreme donuts!  Maybe.

Here is Jude making funny faces after eating 2 glazed Krispy Kreme donuts.  

Rice and Ramen

The other night we had rice and ramen for dinner.  We went to our favorite ramen shop and pigged out!  This is what we ate:

This is what the fried rice looked like before we cooked it at our table.
And this is what it looked like after it was cooked and before I shoved it down my face!
And here is Jude pigging out on ramen.  Yes, my kid can use chopsticks.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Trayvon Martin

So, I live on the other side of the planet in Japan.  I didn't hear about Trayvon's death until a few days after it happened, when the media went crazy.

Once I read the news reports, I was shocked and saddened.  I know everyone has an opinion on the matter, so I'm going to give you mine; after all, this is MY useless blog.

As a mother of a mixed race minority son, Trayvon Martin's death scares me.  When did it become okay to kill a young boy because of the way he looks and the clothes he wears?  When did it become okay for the police to turn the other way and not investigate a shooting  fully simply because the shooter was a half-ass neighborhood watch guy with too much free time on his hands and a concealed handgun license?   When did all this happen?  When did it become a death sentence to walk home from a friend's house wearing a hoodie and baggy pants?  

If this is the America my husband has promised to serve, then I don't want him to serve anymore!  And if this is the America we are going back to, then I'd rather stay in Japan!

Life is such a precious thing!  I don't understand how one man can take another's so easily!  I don't understand why the police didn't do a full investigation.  I just don't understand!

In my opinion, Trayvon Martin's death is such a tragedy for America.  It brings race and racism to the forefront, illustrating just how far we still need to go as a nation.

And aren't we better than all of this?!  Aren't we the greatest nation in the world?  Yet, our youth, especially minority boys, seem to have to live in fear of being hunted down in cold blood because of the way they look.

As a mother, I can only imagine the heartache Trayvon's parents must be feeling.  I hope someday they can find peace.

And as a mother of a minority son, Trayvon's death infuriates me to the core!  I hope the police realize their mistakes and investigate Trayvon's death thoroughly.  As an AMERICAN, doesn't he deserve that?!

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Hawaiian pit-stop

As of right now, we are scheduled to depart Japan on July 6th.  We will be leaving Japan and vacationing in Hawaii until July 12th.  On July 12th, we'll be leaving Hawaii and traveling to our new home in Georgia.  Again, these are just preliminary dates.  Things could change.

Knowing these potential dates make moving seem more real to me.  Before, it was just an idea that we were moving, but now with these dates, it seems real-- too real!  After living here for so long, it seems strange to me that I'll be living somewhere else.  Japan has become my home and leaving it will be so hard, but making a pit-stop in Hawaii gives me something to look forward to and makes leaving here a little easier.

100 Yen Sushi

In Japan, there is a chain sushi restaurant that sells most types of sushi for 100 Yen (about a dollar a plate).  The food isn't the best, but when you get a hankering for some quick, cheap sushi, this is the place to go.  So, today on my way home from work, I was starving, and I felt like eating sushi and didn't want to spend a fortune, so I went to a 100 Yen sushi shop.  I took these pictures.

This place also has a conveyor belt that brings sushi to you.  I tried to get a decent picture of it with my iPhone, but this was the best I could do.

And to keep prices down, the sushi chefs are kept in the kitchen, and you can order food by using a handy-dandy touch screen.  Then, the food you ordered comes to you on a little train they send out on the first little shelf.  Jude loves to order things so he can watch the train zoom around to him with food on it.  It's way cool!

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Snow covered Fuji-san

So, I run 3-4 miles every Wednesday morning with a great group of ladies.  Today's run totally sucked, though!  The wind was strong, dry and cold, making for a miserable 4 miles.  But as I turned the corner, I caught a glimpse of Mt. Fuji covered in snow off in the distance.  And that made my miserable run a little less miserable.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Today's adventure

Today I hung out with one of my favorite gal pals.  We went to a local resale shop and molested a bunch of kimonos, looking for the perfect one to cut up and make into a skirt.  The resale shop had a HUGE selection.  See for yourself.

After we shopped, we went to this amazing udon/tempura shop and pigged out on yummy  noodles and fried goodness.

Man, I'm really, really, really, really going to miss this place!

(Everyday I feel so lucky and blessed to be able to live in such an amazing and awesome country.)

Monday, March 19, 2012

Allergies suck

So, all weekend Jude has been seriously suffering from bad allergies.  The poor kid sneezes about 100 times a day, and his nose is so stuffy and runny.  His eyes are so watery and puffy, he can barely see.  He's just miserable!  He's tried several different allergy medications, and they aren't helping, so he will be staying home from school today, and we'll be heading to the doctor.

I hate it when my poor little guy is miserable!  I wish there was something I could do for him!

Pinewood Derby

This weekend Jude participated in his first pinewood derby race.  This is one of the highlights of the year for all Cub Scouts and Boy Scouts.  Actually, it's a huge deal!  Like, boys and dads go nuts over this kind of crap, getting all competitive and spending weeks to create the perfect car.

Husband and Jude had great time working together, but, unfortunately, Jude's car didn't place.  But, in the end, Jude and Husband spent countless hours working together, doing manly things as a team...and that's what it's all about.

So, good job boys!  Maybe next year!

Saturday, March 17, 2012


We were bored last night, so we decided to do our favorite thing: sing karaoke.  With our days numbered here, we are indulging in everything we enjoy. And nothing makes me happier than to hear Husband and Jude sing a duet.  I love it!

Friday, March 16, 2012

Mother Nature's Alarm Clock

This morning around 4:25 AM, I was shaken awake, courtesy of another earthquake.  This earthquake was really close and quite strong. Thankfully, it was very short.

I tell you, there is nothing worse than being woken up by an earthquake!  I tend to wake up startled, scared, freaked out, and out of sorts.  It takes me several minutes to calm down and for my heart to stop racing.  Then, I'm usually too on edge to go back to sleep.

So, Japan's tectonic plates seem to be really on the move these last few days.  I just hope all these little quakes are ways of relieving pressure and NOT a build-up for the next BIG ONE that's expected to strike Tokyo.

Well, no matter what happens or how many times I'm shook or rattled by earthquakes, I intend to do my best to enjoy my last few months here in Japan.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Thursday Class

I teach these lovely ladies conversational English on Thursdays.  They are a great group that always keeps me entertained.  And I think they've taught me more than I've taught them!

I'm so lucky to live in a place where I get paid to talk!  I love my job!


What a night!

Yesterday evening, when Jude and I were eating our dinner (Husband was working late again!), we felt a small earthquake--nothing special.  I turned on the TV to NHK and discovered that the wimpy earthquake we had felt had actually been a large one up north.  See for yourself:

a 6.8 magnitude earthquake!  Tsunami warnings were issued along with evacuation orders for those who live near the coastal areas of Aomori Prefecture, Iwate Prefecture and Hokkaido Prefecture.  Luckily, the only tsunami wave reported was about 3 inches.  No one was injured and no damage was reported.

Then, as I was settling down, getting ready for bed, and my anxiety was starting to fade away, we had another earthquake!  A 6.1 magnitude earthquake near Chiba Prefecture--that's only one prefecture over from us!  Narita Airport was temporarily shut down, and the bullet trains (Shinkasen) were also temporarily halted.  Our closet doors rattled, the mirror on my dresser shook and our windows shook for about 15 seconds or so.   Again, it took me about an hour to relax before I was able to go to sleep.

My Japanese peeps keep telling me I'll get used to the quakes, but I don't think that will ever happen!  Each time I feel the ground beneath me shake, rattle, and roll, it takes all of my self control to not run out of my 5th floor apartment building, screaming like a mad woman.  I guess that fight or flight response in me says get the hell out NOW!  

Maybe my memories of 3/11/11 are still too raw and real for me.  Maybe when I'm safely back in the U.S., I will be able to truly relax and not have to worry about the ground beneath me.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Laundry Day

Most people in Japan do not have clothes dryers.  Since electricity is very expensive and space is limited, it's easier and more cost effective to dry your clothes outside.  So, on a beautiful day, you will see laundry and futons hanging off balconies everywhere.

(I took this picture today with my iPhone.)

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Before the bloom

In a few weeks, these trees will be in full bloom, and cherry blossoms will dominate the landscape. This will be my last chance to witness their beauty.  (I took this picture yesterday with  my iPhone.)

Monday, March 12, 2012

It snowed again!

Two weeks ago it snowed again.  It was crazy snow-- the kind that just keeps falling and falling.  It was so beautiful, and, of course, we had to go play in it.

I took this picture at a stop light down the street.

Jude at the park near our place, playing in the deep snow!

Sunday Sushi

I love how the food comes to us on a conveyor belt!  Awesomeness!

Time is running out

My time here in Japan is passing way too quickly.  Before I know it, our moving date will be upon us.  So, with that said, I've decided to chronicle my last months here on this blog.  I will do my best to update this useless blog with my photos and thoughts daily.  I want to capture everything wonderful about this place before I'm forced to leave it.

So, come along with me as I try to share daily what it means for me to live in this amazing, enchanted place I call home.

Sunday, March 11, 2012

A year later, 3/11/12

Wow, I can't believe it's been a year since Japan experienced one of the world's worst natural disasters.  The time has flown by, but for me, 3/11/11 seems like yesterday.

Today will be a somber day with sirens blaring at 2:46 PM.  The sirens are expected to last for several minutes, and during that time we will take a few minutes to pray for all of those who died, suffered and are still suffering because of the earthquake and tsunami.

There are certain days in your life that you will never forget, like September 11th. For me, March 11th is one of those days.  No matter how hard I try to forget the fear, anxiousness, and sadness that grabbed hold of me on that day, I cannot.

The events of March 11th were unimaginable, and I was here to witness them firsthand.  On that day, I experience the worst moment of my entire life.  It happened when Jude and I were hiding under our dining room table, watching as things were shaking and falling, listening to the horrible sound of our apartment building contort and flex, being jerked around by the force of the earthquake.  Jude was crying hysterically and asked me, "Mommy, are we going to die?"  At that moment, I didn't know the answer to his question.  I had no idea what was going to happen.  At that moment, my heart sunk.  A 6 year old child should never, ever have to utter those words.  Never!  And to hear MY sweet, helpless baby ask me if we were going to die, shot a jolt through me.  I decided we weren't going to stay in our building to see what was going to happen.  I decided we were going take our chances and run out.  We were going to be active participants in whatever was going to happen next.  We weren't going to sit there under the table and wait.  No!  We were going to run and get out.  And that's just what we did.

Once we were out and safe, nothing else mattered.  I was safe and my baby was safe.  I spent the rest of that miserable day outside, too scared to go back inside, wanting to protect my baby boy from all that could harm him.  I refused to spend the night in my apartment building.  I was too scared to go back, so we spent the next several nights at a friend's house, where I felt safer.

Ten days later, under Husband's order, Jude and I evacuated back to the States-- not knowing if or when we would be able to return or see Husband again.

March 11th and the month that followed sucked!  The uncertainty of the situation was the worst part.

However, I know March 11th sucked a lot worse for my Japanese students, friends and co-workers.  Yet, they handled it with honor, patience, pride and resiliency.  I saw the sorrow in their eyes, and today, it still lingers for some.

So, today on March 11, 2012, I think about that dreadful day a year ago, and I'm overcome with sadness for my gracious host nation and all of those in it.