Keeping up with our busy Navy lives....wherever we live :)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Mall afternoon

My good friend Allie and I headed to the local mall this afternoon with her daughter and Maddy (Abby was on a camp fieldtrip!) 

We had lunch at an adorable cafe and did a little retail therapy! I got my first pair of Japanese shoes!! Japanese sizing fits up to a 8-1/2 to 9 American depending on the style. 9+ is impossible to find a fit for. 
My Flat White Latte
My Smoked Salmon sandwich 
Maddy in the new hat we got at this store...."Mom look, I made friends" Being a goof while our friends shopped! 
Super comfy everyday flat walking sandals (that's all we do here is walk.....and eat ��)!! I needed something versatile and somewhat cute. 

First tooth!!!

Look who lost her FIRST tooth!!
3 months shy of turning 6 and her first tooth came out!! She held out in fear (of blood) for over two weeks. And yesterday promised that today was THE day! 
She woke up and Abby brought her all of her favorite plus items and held her hand!!

And I pulled out my first tooth!! 
Maddy was SO incredibly proud and boastful all day to everyone she saw!

She earned herself a chocolate ice cream cone today for getting that over with! 

Monday, July 27, 2015

OH Holy HOT run!!!!

This is what a summer morning run looks like here in Japan! I ran with these ladies today and bagged out at 2 miles.....I'm just not acclimated enough and wasn't carrying enough water! But it is fun to get out! 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Sankeien Garden-Yokohama "Lotus Bloom"

Yesterday I joined two other ladies from base and headed out to the Yokohama Sankeien Garden.
The Lotus flower is in bloom, but only blooms early morning. 
We left at 6:15am and it was still HOT....two trains and a bus later and we arrived!!!!
The Lotus flower represents a lot in Buddhism and originated in Asia.
"A lotus begins in deep mud and each stem must grow through dirty, murky water. But the blossom rises above all this muck and opens in the sun to be beautiful and fragrant. This is the true nature of humans, who can rise through adversity into the beauty and clarity of enlightenment."
 Stages of bloom for one day only: 
LEFT: Post-Bloom and the seed pod is charging to drop seeds into the water
CENTER: Pre-bloom
RIGHT: Mid-bloom
 Fully bloomed
 Pagoda across the pond
 The yellow center pod turns green after the leaves all fall to generate new seeds

 Clever Japanese-- they created a cool off station for kids (and anyone roasting in the HOT HOT weather like we were) They trimmed the Lotus leaf stem and around the leaf edge; plugged a hose into the stem (which is very porous) and voila! Instant outdoor shower!
 Followed this dragonfly around for a while.....and he finally posed
 LOVE how the light shows the veining on the Lotus leaves
 AND.......a petal fell and was caught by the leaves below
 Pond in the center of the garden with a boat
 Japenese crane of some variety
 Turtles were doing what I wish we could have done.....we were MELTING and it was only 10am
 Japanese Wisteria still remaining from the early summer bloom
 These Koi and Carp at the waters edge were in a frenzy
 Turtles began to emerge
 Came in for their close ups
 For 50 Yen (less than $0.50) you can buy a string of bread to toss to the fish

Saturday, July 25, 2015

Yamato Bon Odori 2015

My first dancing festival was amazing! The base bussed us to and from the station where the festival was occurring, making it so easy. The event ran from 5pm til 8:30! We danced for one hour straight, in the HOT sun before it went down. These Yukata outfits are heavy and not breathable! I was prepared to sweat!! And we did!! 

The base offers this opportunity and they train us for 6 weeks (90min lessons once a week) to prepare and learn the dances. 

At today's festival we performed two dances. 
All dressed in my Yukata. They arrange someone to dress you in this! It's like a Japanese corset. Very fitted and tight! 
The red part is called an OBI. It is a banded belt of sorts and you see them everywhere here. Then there is the bow that slips in the back, and the fan! 
All the ladies who danced today 
Dancing at the festival! We dance in three lines, three across! Spacing is important!
It was 3-1/2 hours of constant rotating dancers. So we danced for one hour, ate for an hour and then had an hour to enjoy the performers and people watch. 
Lots of young kids dancing in the mix 
All the performers are very energetic and animated!!

Lanterns at the festival entrance 

We stopped at a Chinese restaurant and it was amazing. No English menu, but I took a chance and loved this dish. Pork and veggies with squid and some very different mushroom variety. 
Ended my night pounding one of these. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

Peach Picking, Kaleidoscope Making and Winery Tour

Last Sunday the kids and I went on our second base guided tour.
It was for "Peach Picking, Kaleidoscope Making & Winery Tour"
It was a great kid-friendly trip, 8am-8pm!
 The peach orchard was very hands on. We got to pick and eat as many peaches as we wanted!
And then any extras we could pick and buy to take home.
Fruit here is horribly expensive (compared to the USA) 3 large peaches was about $8.50
Washing off her peach
 Chowing down.......of course Maddy just stared at hers since she's my anti-fruit child
 Alongside the orchard were some grape vines--pretty to peek through
 I told Abby to hold up the peaches we were going to buy....I had no idea it would look like THIS :)
 After the orchard we drove to a craft/cultural center to make our Kaleidoscopes.
They had the kaleidoscopes prepared for assembly (which made my life SO much easier......since I was assembling three of them).
 First we assembled them, then we stamped our design onto our Japanese Washi paper, and then glued the paper onto the tube and chose our rocks/gems for the capsule.
The finished product. Very cool!
 Then we were on to our final destination--Shirayuri Winery
Our group had a tour of the facility and the grape orchard
 They grow a few varieties from Japanese to French grapes!
 The Peach Wine bottles before labeling
 After the tour we ended in their tasting room and were allowed unlimited tastes of their 6 varieties!
Plus Sparkling Wine and Brandy!
The Japanese do NOT make good red wine. I was warned by friends upon coming here that wine is NOT the choice drink when out for the night. But the whites at this winery were quite tasty and refreshing!
My loot for the day! I purchased a bottle of Sparkling Dry, Chardonnay, and a Peach Wine!

Mike, Allison, Abby and Roxy Smith

Living life in beautiful Virginia Beach, VA!