Monday, July 25, 2011

Sushi Go Round and Round and Round......

 I fear I may need to re name my blog. On the other hand, maybe in less than a months time since moving to Sasebo, I've completed my mission??
   Yesterday after church we ventured out to a resturant with the B family to try something new.. Well new for us anyway, as the B's have been there before.  We went to a place that I, just a few months ago would have dreaded going to and probably not eaten anything on the menu. This place was called Sushi Go Round. Well, that may not be the real name of it, but since we can't read Japanese, that's what the American's call it. Why is it called Sushi Go Round, you may ask?? Well, cause the sushi goes around on a conveyor belt and as the plates of sushi "go round" you take what you want and eat it. Each plate costs about $1.50.  It then conveys back into the kitchen and the sushi chefs add more plates to the empty spots and around they go again.

  Also at each table is your own personal little hot water dispenser to make green tea.  You take a cup located either on your table or above the conveyor belt and add some green tea powder, also located on your table and add the water. Here's what it looks like.

  What kind of sushi did I eat you may ask?  Surely NOT the kind with the raw fish on the top of some rice, right?!  The kind of sushi that I talked about in my very first post.. Most certianly not that kind, because as I stated in that post, I think that is disgusting! Well, again, I may have to re name my blog, because I DID eat that kind of sushi!! I learned that the Japanese don't actually make many sushi rolls, just fish on rice... So, here's an example of a few things we ate yesterday and what they are...

This is fried egg on rice. OK, so it's not fish, but it was something new I hadn't tried before and it was pretty good...

Now this is raw and cooked fish on rice. The one in the front is raw with some seaweed on rice. the orangish looking one is cooked shrimp on rice and the one in the back is another raw fish with some sauce and some white lettuce looking stuff on it. I could have done without the sauce on that one, as it was kinda mayonaise-ish and I don't like mayonaise. Perhaps I should change my blog name to that??

I also ate tuna, cuddle fish and whatever that white stuff is in the middle of the two. That one was kinda rubbery, but I was impressed at the lack of fish taste any of these had. I guess that's how it's supposed to be.

 Elliot had a more difficult time finding something to eat. She did pull a piece of melon off the belt and also ate a piece of cake she said was cheese cake. We ended up ordering her something off the menu.. Can you guess what it was??

Monday, July 18, 2011

Gomennasai- What does that mean??

Well, let me start off by giving you a little lesson in the Japanese judicial system. We learned during our introduction class that when doing something, on purpose or by accident, should always be reported immediately, apologized for AND paid for if necessary. Otherwise, one may end up with a giant fine, time in jail, or if you are lucky and depending on what you did, they may say, "Daijoubu", which means, "don't worry about it." The Japanese have many rules for everything and you've gotta follow them, otherwise you will be in big trouble! Oh yes, there are cameras everywhere! You will get caught.
   OK, so now that that has been explained, let me tell you why I gave this little lesson..  Today, after I got my long awaited drivers license, packed up my friends car, (thank you again, Kristen) we headed over (driving on the left side of the road and sitting behind the steering wheel on the right side of the car) to our housing complex, about 20 minutes from Main Base. Gripping the steering wheel with white knuckles and "threatening" the children with no TV or games if they spoke a word while I was navigating my way, we made it there with no problems. We got our keys, did the walk through inspection and hauled a few of our belongings up to our new home. After we felt we had sufficiently put away our things and Josh told me he was planning on going back to work, we piled back in the car and headed back for Main Base.  This is where the "fun" begins.
        We started off our journey back to Main Base with no problems. Josh didn't forget to drive on the left side of the road and the girls were remembering their code of silence. Then it all went down hill. I told Josh to take a left, when he should have taken a right and we got all turned around.. We had no idea where we were, or which way we were supposed to be going. Josh, frustrated cause he needed to get back to work and me, frustrated cause I knew I'd told him the wrong way, felt bad and knew he was upset, kept driving in hopes of a sign of some sort that may tell us where we should go to get back to Sasebo. Finally, we saw a sign for Rt. 35, that also said, "Central Sasebo". Thank goodness!! So, we start following the signs and come upon a toll. I see it's 200 yen, so I take out a 500 yen coin to hand to him. Similar to America, there is an express lane, in which if you have a credit card attached to your little toll chip, you can drive right through and the little chip will add the toll amount to your credit card. Here it's called the "ETC lane". So up we drive to the toll and Josh is heading to the ETC lane, to which I say, "No, you can't go in that lane, we don't have an ETC card!" At this point, he's already past where he can switch into the other lane, or so I think and he cuts it right and proceeds over to the non ETC toll booth. In the process, I *think* he has run over, or at least partially hit a road cone. Still in a tizzy over getting lost and now possibly running over a road cone in my friends car ( sorry Kristen) I give Josh the 500 yen and he tosses it in the basket. He's too far away from the basket to get the change, so he has to get out of the car and retrieve the change and get back in the car to proceed. In the meantime, I'm sure my blood pressure and his are so high we could both have strokes right then and there.
     So, we pull away from the toll when the thought runs through my mind, "Humm.. we just possibly ran over Japanese government property. This is not good when referring to the possible repercussions one might have following breaking a rule in Japan, which of course is damaging government property. I was afraid to say anything at the time, because I knew Josh was stressed out already and I didn't need to add anything else to the plate, not to mention it was a highway, with no toll collectors, so we don't know who we'd tell anyway. On we go continuing to follow the Rt. 35 signs and finally figure out that it dumps up in the middle of Sasebo. Great! We are back in Sasebo, we get on base and drop Josh off at work. I drive back with the girls to the lodge, sit down on the bed and lose it! I haven't cried at all since being here and in fact, I very much like Sasebo!  My phone rang, I answered it, half thinking it was going to be the Japanese police and found it was my friend Ro, who is fluent in Japanese and has lived here before. After telling her what happened, she said that we should go back and "Gomennasai" and offer to pay for the cone, so that if they saw us on video, we would not get in any trouble. After calling my mother at 5:15AM her time, (love you Mom and thanks for listening) crying and explaining that if we didn't apologize and offer payment we could get in a lot of trouble, even just for a road cone, Josh, Ro and her husband John, tried to navigate their way back to the "scene of the crime" to offer gomennasai and payment. The toll man, after being told the situation in Japanese, said, "Daijibou" (no problem) and let them go. I cannot tell you how happy I was, when Josh called to tell me everything was OK. The last thing we needed was to pay a hefty fine, or get hauled into the police station for questioning, as to why we hit a road cone and why we didn't stop immediately.
   So, Japanese judicial system lesson one learned- Always apologize for what you've done and do it soon, cause if you don't, they are watching and they will find you!

Monday, July 11, 2011

Photos, Friends,Malls and Pink Panther!

        This week we learned that since the girls are fair skinned, light haired and Elliot in particular is very blue eyed, people take pictures of them a lot! We will just be walking down the street out in town and someone will whip out their camera, snap a picture of them and keep on walking. My first reaction is to pull them closer to me, because in the US, a strange person taking a photo of my children would be creepy. I've been told it's quite normal here and that the Japanese are just amazed with blonde haired, blue eyed children. I wonder  what they do with all of the pictures they take of America children with those traits? Do they have a photo album with all of those pictures?
       On another note,we made some new friends this week! The B's have been WONDERFUL to us. It has been such a blessing to have met them and that my girls get along so well with their girls and the adults get along well too! I cannot thank Mrs. B enough, for calling us out of the blue to invite us over to play on a rainy day. She really was a lifesaver!! The B's also took us to explore the 100 yen store, which is a slightly higher end dollar store. It was really fun to check out a store out in town and really nice to have someone who spoke english to do it with!  I see myself visiting that store often, as they have every type of storage and organizational box or container you could ever need and in a ton of super cute colors!
    On Saturday Josh, the girls and I decided to venture over to the Ginza, which is basically a mall, but it runs in a long strip for about a mile and a half, with streets and cars running through it every so often. On the way there the girls found a water fountain to take a cool drink from and were quite surprised when they pressed the button to get a drink...

The Ginza was pretty cool to explore, but I don't see myself going there too often. Hannah took this picture, which is a little blurry, cause she wouldn't stop and stand to take it.

We bought a few things at the toy store in the Ginza and thought this was kinda neat too...

I have no idea what it says,  but I know I bought two things!! It's very different being the minority for a change. The Japanese are very nice though and are more than willing to help you any way they can. One woman at McDonalds helped me practice my basic phrases while waiting for my food to come to the counter!!

It's getting late, but I can't leave until I will share with you how clever and desperate my girls were to watch a little Pink Panther the other day. While skyping with their friends the other morning, Hannah figured out that if she could teach her friend Sebastian how to log on to Josh's Netflix account and find Pink Panther, then have him turn the computer around to face the TV, that she and Elliot could watch an episode or two through skype with their friends.. Here they are, in Japan, on skype with their friends in Annapolis, watching Pink Panther through two computers!! Pretty smart I think!!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Things I've Learned My First Week in Sasebo!

  Things I've Learned My First Week in Sasebo....

1. My children do not like walking and will complain about it every chance they get.

2. I am very happy to spend the day exploring the base and am anxious to get out and about to see the two housing areas and what they have to offer, as well as the rest of Sasebo.

3. It really stinks that we don’t have a vehicle. It makes it very hard to get to places further away, especially when referring to #1.

4. My husband looks handsome in his NWU’s even though he hates them.

5. Japanese vending machines are REALLY cool and unlike anything in America.

6. When backing up in a vehicle you must honk the horn to signal your back up.

7. It takes forever for the water to boil on the stove, as Japanese appliances don’t use 60 hertz power..

8. The NEX has had everything that I’ve needed or wanted in the brand I wanted it thus far.

9.The girls are very, very bothered by all the trash in the harbor. While the streets are pristine, the harbor has lots of trash floating around.

10. The idea of living in a Cho (house out in town) scares the crap out of me. The Tatami mats are very expensive to replace if damaged and the Shoji, I think that's the proper name (rice rice paper door dividers) are also expensive to replace if broken. Of course neither of MY children would ever think about poking hole in one, right?!

11. When they say rainy season, they really mean rainy season!! Yesterday was the first nice day we’ve had since we got here a week ago and today it has been POURING all day.
12. Rice fields don’t look like I thought they would. I don’t know what I really thought they looked like, but it’s just not what I imagine.

13. Driving on the left hand side of the road and sitting in the "US drivers seat" as a passegers side is really strange.
  That's it for now!! I'm sure that there are more. Maybe I'll come up with a second list at some point!                                                           Have a happy day!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

A little American Celebration!!

Today MWR (Morale, Welfare and Recreation) threw a 4th of July celebration a few days early. It was off base at Nimitz Park and we had a really good time!! There were lots of non military people attending, which is another reason I think they held it on a Saturday. It gives the towns people a chance to see what we do and give them a bit of our culture in their own country. The girls got all dressed up in their 4th of July outfits and we headed out the door.

As we strolled off base, I just had to take this photo. I still forget the Japanese drive on the other side of the road. It's really going to take some getting used to!

We were greeted at the gate of the park with a free freeze pop, which was much apprecaited, because it was SO humid out!! I don't think I've ever been so hot in my life!
Once inside the park Hannah and Elliot found these "fill in the hole with your face" boards and we had to take a picture with each of them!

    We then found our way to the arts and crafts section and proceeded to make every craft we could! They really enjoyed the different craft stations, which I was happy about, because I think after a few days of Navy lodge living, it was nice for them to get out and do something different.

After the crafts were done, we wandered over to see the bands playing. We found out  a few things at this point.
1. Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell was the MC for the bands.

2. Bowling for Soup is the band that Sings the Phineas and Ferb theme song. They were one of the bands playing today.  They sang the song twice and they noticed Hannah busting a move to the song.. Hannah was PSYCHED!!!

3. I would have never thought that shaved ice in Japan could taste any different than it does in the US, but it does!! It's delicious and just what we needed after a hot, humid day at the 4th of July celebration!!