Friday, September 16, 2011

Off to Kamakura!

Hello my dearly missed friends and family! I completely dropped the ball on posting updates/pics... SORRY! Hopefully, filling you in on a couple of my epic adventures will make up for it.

So the weekend before last, my very kind co-worker and I ventured off to visit the Big Buddha in Kamakura, Japan... these are just a few of the many pictures I snapped along the way!

It was my first experience on the Japan train line and it was quiet effortless. Because Japan is so densely populated, their transportation must be efficient and user-friendly... and it is! We took the JR Yokosuka Line (the station is just a short walk from the base which leads you through a rose park along the waterfront) through 4 stops and then transfered to the Enoshima Railway for 3 more stops till we arrived at Hase (where Mr. Buddha resides) in Kamakura. The link below is an exact copy of the map I carry with me. It looks a bit overwhelming at first but is actually pretty straightforward (at least it will be until I get horrendously lost on the Japan train lines)!

Now for some pictures to chronicle my journey to reach the Kamakura Buddha :)

Young Love looks the same no matter where you go <3

The great rose and water park I passed through on my way to the train station...

This little museum is so cute and check out the clock with the bells on the it!

I love lurve luv this little ducky guy :) and he's holding his yummy curry dish! So far, I've noticed they have one of these outside all of the train stations (at least the ones I've visited).

There are even Cub Scouts in Japan--this mom and son were so sweet and gracious to let me snap their picture! Give this kid a badge!

I wanted to pinch his cheeks and take him home~ he was laughing and chatting to his momma while waiting for the train...

Hope you enjoyed the "in transit" pics. More to come on the Big Buddha of Kamakura himself!!! Stay tuned!

Gossip Gir---oh wait, scratch that...................


Saturday, September 3, 2011

Random Pics of Japan Eats

"I Left My Heart In Tokyo"

So opposite of what my title might imply, I actually haven't been back to Tokyo since driving through it when I first arrived in Japan. However, I've been dying to use this title ever since hearing the song by Mini Vida (link below... but the only slightly applicable portion is the chorus).

I'm really beginning to love Japan, the people, and the culture. Yokosuka is another world-- it feels futuristic and historic all at once. There's so much to see. Sometimes I feel like I'm letting my inner Naomi Uemura (famous Japanese adventurer) down by not going out every chance to see more of Japan. But truth be told, the climbing/running up and down and around the aircraft carrier+the heat+the humidity+being hesitant about heading out on expeditions alone = staying on the base in my hotel room a bit too much! So my apologize to those who are wondering why there aren't more sightseeing trips documented here.
Tomorrow I'm hope to do some traveling after church. I've been told it's only a short trip to see the Big Buddha ( in Kamakura and some temples along the way.

Besides being very lazy today, I went for dinner with some coworkers and had bbq pork on a stick, chicken satay, and some yummy shrimp rolls. This delicious meal was followed up with a bowl for each of us diners that looked like milky, liquid jello with ice cubes and little... well... it looked like frog eggs! Yuck! But it was actually more like watery bubble tea. Pretty good :) here's the best picture I could manage:

Happy Travels!


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Japan Trip 2011- Day 7 and Day 8

Whew! Days fly when you're having fun! And they also fly by when you are working. So I'm about to drop 2 days worth of info on ya'll not to mention all that I left out from last Sunday...

Sunday: My time at Yokosuka Baptist was refreshing. They seem like a very old school, conservative baptist church -- all the guys dressed in suits, only sang from hymnals, etc-- which I actually really appreciate. I'm a little embarrassed to admit it but I forgot, just for an instant, how to read a hymnal (not just skipping from line one of verse 1 to line one of verse 2...) :(
Different styles of worship can be a hard to adjust to but I reminded myself that I was still worshipping my same AWESOME, MERCIFUL, LOVING LORD and I was struck by the reverence and sincerity of the verses we sang!!! Each person I met was incredibly friendly and warm! I even got to witness three brothers in Christ get baptized! Hooray!!! I will definitely go again.

Monday: Yesterday was spent training for my new role at work (running up and down and around the aircraft carrier) and my legs were definitely sore this morning! It's fun though because I get to interact with the sailors and get a sneak peak at the inner workings of the U.S. Navy. CoCo Curry again for dinner with the coworkers! The way it works is you order your curry at a certain level of spice; there are six levels. I kicked mine up a level in spice (from 0 to 1) and even that was a bit much!!!! I'm obviously a wimp because at Level 1, I was only a level above the "For small children or those who don't like spice" category.

Tuesday: Keeping an eye on the typhoon status. The typhoon is heading towards Tokyo Bay and looks like we will get rain tomorrow because of it. Today we were told to buy non-perishables, water, batteries, etc. for emergencies. So no matter what we will be prepared! Great dinner out again with my awesome bosses/coworkers :) I'm going to weigh 5oolbs by the time I get back to the states!!! Thankfully I'm running and climbing the ship all day and I AM TRYING TO RUN IN THE EVENINGS. Here are a few pictures of my Sunday walk back from church. Goodnight and love from Japan.

P.S. on a funny side note ... I just walked outside of my lovely, airconditioned room into the hot hallway and it was SO HUMID that my reading glasses fogged up immediately! bwahaha! I thought this was humorous.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Japan Trip 2011- Day 4, 5, and 6

Hello Again! It took so long for me to finish uploading all my "Exploring Yokosuka" pics the other day that I've fallen behind on my blogging (insert appropriate chuckle of the "bwahahaha" or "hehehe" or "lol" variety... because yes, I did just say "my blogging". Weird). Today is Sunday evening here in Japan and my weekend has been very enjoyable/restful.

Friday after work, my coworkers and I ate at an on base restaurant called "Italian Garden" where I had the most fabulous mini Hawaiian pizza--brick oven style. Oh baby oh baby! I've been doing a pretty good job of halving my meals and saving the leftovers but those last little slices ended up being eaten that same night while I stayed up watching ABC Family shows and trying to figure out what-on-earth is going on in The Secret Life of the American Teenager and feeling even more confused seeing Molly Ringwald play an aged, over-stressed mother. I miss Pretty in Pink!!!

Then Saturday: I slept in, skyped with my family, took a walk around the base, and did a little grocery/home goods shopping at the Exchange and Commissary. An overall un-exciting, but relaxing day!

Today (Sunday), our little work crew went out for brunch at the Chief's Club (the swanky, fancy restaurant on base). YUM! Something about watching the chefs make my omelet with the precision and art of Bruce Lee in Enter the Dragon--all with chopsticks may I add--made me feel ashamed of the scrambled mess that I prepare for myself back home.

Oh and did I mention they had a chocolate fountain in the Chief's Club! FOR BREAKFAST! It was the first thing I noticed when we walked in... and after carefully savoring my omelet... I made a beeline for the beautiful, flowing chocolate. Oh, and incase you're wondering, I ate it with banana slices which totally makes it ok for breakfast! Just so ya know!!!

Then it was off to church for me! I've really been looking forward to this part of my Japan stay. There is something exciting about meeting brothers and sisters in Christ from the other side of the world. It reminds me of how GREAT MY GOD IS.... and so encouraging to see His TRUTH reigns across nations. I attended Yokosuka Baptist Church today which (praise the Lord!) is only a 10 minute walk tops from where I'm staying. I'm not confident in my directional capabilities out in town yet and having to take a train or a cab would definitely make me less enthusiastic to go to a local church (unfortunately) but this worked out perfectly!

I will have to finish describing my wonderful first visit to the Yokosuka Baptist Church family in my next post because all the excitement of the day is wearing down and I'm getting sleepy (and hungry! I've talked about food too much in this post)! And you all--which sounds weird too...when I know it's mainly my Momma/Daddy reading these... love you guys ;) -- are probably exhausted from the play-by-play of my day...

...But let me end by telling you that I just enjoyed the most delicious run in the warm Japan air down along the water. I actually love running in humidity (although today was quite mild). I know it leaves me all sweaty and gross but it feels AWESOME! I don't know why but it makes me feel like I worked out hard (even when I didn't) ... it reminds me a bit of my runs in Hawaii :) So goodnight all my lovely friends and Happy Sunday to those back in the states (for tomorrow)! May your Sundays be as contented and blessed as mine was today.

P.S. Here's the amazing Little Boots song that spurred on my run down by the deep, black water :) enjoy!

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Japan Trip 2011- Day 3

Exploring Yokosuka

As I write this next post I am sitting at the computer desk, feet crippled beneath me; each of them with a large blister throbbing to the surface. Tonight I decided to get out and explore Yokosuka after failing miserably the evening before when my quick "nap" turned into a 6hr slumber (I'm still blaming it on jet lag, however, I've been known to do things like that back home on occasion).

So anyway... a shower, fresh make up, and probably 20 minutes of rifling through my clothes--most of which are work clothes--I decided I could venture out into the company of the brilliantly dresses and fabulously styled Yokosuka locals. Thinking of just strolling through the city streets taking pictures (unleashing my creeper-style, crazy tourist) and stopping for dinner at whichever restaurant looked the most intriguing, I prepared myself with a camera, a wallet full of yen, and my proper government IDs.

And I was in heaven! So many stores, signs, lights, delicious foods! You name it... I took a picture of it. My problem is that I'm not a very good photographer to begin with and stopping on a crowded Japanese sidewalk for "profile pic photo op" is difficult. Half of my photos came out blurry because I didn't want to be crushed by oncoming pedestrian traffic or bicycles or scooters. Funny thing is I didn't see anyone else really stopping to take pictures. But I don't care! I want my pictures and I'm going to get em! Ugly American, party of one please.

Between window shopping and picture taking, I saw this really cute donut store called "Mister Donut" so I decided to celebrate my first day alone on the town I'd have a donut for dinner! I got the teddy bear--and he had this buttery cream in the middle! Probably 1 zillion calories but super fun and tasty.

After my dinner donut I got a bit turned around and spent the next 45 minutes partly exploring and partly figuring out which way was back to the Naval Base. Anyone who knows me, knows that I am directionally challenged. In an area full of towering buildings and smog with no GPS to save me... well it was an adventure. Thankfully, I had several life lines (for example all the cabs waiting around would of more than willingly taken me home for a small fee) but I wanted to find my way on my own! And I did! EVENTUALLY. I was walking for almost 3hrs :)
So now my poor blistered feet (unprepared for such a journey in their cute gold/silver braided Born sandals) are celebrating the victory of finding the way home!

Here are a few of the pictures I snapped along the way... Goodnight friends!

Look at the cute Kewpie Doll key chain I found at the 100 yen store

Almost every restaurant has a window of plastic food so you can easily see and point out your menu choice! I had the chicken cutlet curry the other day from CoCo Curry. YUMMY