Sunday, April 25, 2010

Tokyo Sky Tree...

...aka the New Tokyo Tower.  Blogs are abuzz with the news that the new Tokyo Tower is more than 50% complete, and has crept past the old TT (a puny 333 m high) as the tallest man-made structure in Japan.  In case you haven't heard about it (really, where have you been?) here's a link about the Tokyo Sky Tree.  

Since we were in T-Town last week, the kids and I decided to head to Oshiage to check it out.  I thought it'd be cool for them to be able to one day say "I was there when Tokyo Sky Tree was built!"

It's definitely impressive, Ethan was mesmerized by all the construction and cranes.  He loooooooves the old TT, and can't wait for this one to be finished.  It's scheduled to be completed in December of next year, I really hope we'll be here to see it!

Tokyo Sky Tree from the Rainbow Bridge over Tokyo Bay


Sunday, April 18, 2010


One of the things I love most about Japan are the four very distinct seasons.  I even love the winter, I love the cold, snuggling under mounds of blankets, long soaks in steaming, hot baths, cups of hot cocoa with whip cream.  But I think this has been the funkiest, coldest, longest winter ever.  And I am soooooo over winter! 




Just a few more pix from my sakura street:

I absolutely love sakura against a really blue sky!

Thursday, April 15, 2010


Back in February, the kids and I were off for Presidents' Day.  One of the nice things about living on a U.S. military base overseas is that on base we observe all U.S. holidays, meaning days off work and school, while off base, of course, they observe their own  national holidays, so whenever we want to travel on holidays, we don't have to battle the normal Japanese holiday madness with the crushing crowds and insane traffic jams.

Since we STILL don't know whether or not we'll be leaving Japan in August, I'm in full-on count-down-to-leave-Japan mode, trying to cram in all the things we want to see and do in what could possibly be our last 6 months here.  Meg and E still hadn't ridden on a shinkansen (bullet train).  I took a trip to Hiroshima via shink in June, and the BFF and I took one back from Osaka in September.  Gabi has taken 4 shinki trips so far with her cross country and track teams, so I wanted to be sure Meg and Ethan got to enjoy the experience too.

Shinkansen tickets can be really expensive, sometimes as much as a plane ticket, but the ticket price is partially based on how you're going to travel, so if you want to make a short/quick trip, it's not bad at all.  So I researched some of the closer desinations along the shinkansen route and settled on Karuizawa.  No particular reason other than it is just under an hour ride, which I figured was perfect for the kids, long enough to enjoy the ride, but not so long that they'd get bored.  And it was the closest place that I thought might have something they'd be semi-interested in seeing, an outlet mall.  Okay, so that probably sounds like something I'd be interested in, but Meg is a full-fledged teenaged girl who loves to shop, and this mall has a LEGO store, one of E's favorite places.

So, off we went.  The ticket was way cheaper than I had thought, especially since Meg's Youth fare was 1/2 the adult price, and Ethan was freeeeeee!  Score!  Seeing as I was spending so much less than I had budgeted, I decided to splurge on seats in the green car (first class).  Woo hoo!

We got to the station about an hour early, so we'd have plenty of time for train watching and picture taking.

The kids had a blast on the train, it was definitely worth the money.  Something I know they will both always remember.  But it didn't end there! 

The weather in Fussa was in the high 40's that day, and we had yet to see any snow this winter, so imagine our shock when we flew out of the last mountain tunnel into this:

Turns out Karuizawa is a ski resort too!  Soooooo awesome!  Meg and E were beside themselves with excitement!  The mall is literally at the base of the ski slopes, and the train station is directly across the street.  We could see people skiing and snowboarding down the mountain, it's the first time we had ever seen people skiing in real life!  (Remember, we're from FLORIDA, the "Sunshine, temp-never-drops-below-40-degrees state").

The mall was unbelieveable too!  Over 200 stores and restaurants!  It was like a real American outlet mall!  We found some pants and socks for both kids on a clearance rack, so I let them romp in the snow and get completely soaked, then they changed into the new, dry stuff and we caught the 4pm shinki back to Tokyo.  It was  a really great day and I'm so glad we decided to go.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


A few weeks ago, I decided I needed to make my blog private.  As you know, there are certain people who just don't deserve to see this little window into our world. 

But I hated it. 

There are waaaaay more people peeking in on us than I ever imagined (massive cyber hugs, in a totally non-creepy way, for those who delurked themselves, you have NO idea how much it means to me to know you're out there!!!!!) and it was becoming time consuming to keep sending invites.  I also realized that there were a lot of really awesome people I've connected with thanks to this blog, but none of them had any other way to contact me, and vice versa, so I couldn't send them invites to get, after much thinking and wondering and worrying.....I'm public again! 

Besides missing all my peeps, thanks to some words of wisdom from the BFF, I realized cannot give certain people that kind of power over my life.  I love my blog and I'm not going to let anyone spoil it for me.  So, I'm back!

Hanging in.....

.....and still hanging on.  Nothing new to report, kids are good, no job news, my husband is still an ass.......

Took the kids to Tokyo for a night at the New Sanno.  We took gobs of pix, I'll post them soon.  Yes Mother, I'm sending them to you.

My shrink upped my looney-tune vitamins, so maybe this funk will lift a little and I'll feel like blogging a bit more, but right now, I just have zero motivation to do much of anything.....

Cherry blossoms have come, and nearly gone, and I didn't do any of the hanami I had planned, but the the weather was so cold and dreary this year, so that played a big part in the nixing of my plans.  But this is the street I drive to and from my house, multiple times a day, so I still got to enjoy a bit of sakura.  For those in the know, this is heading straight towards the East gate, you can just make out the guard shack towards the center.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Meg decided to run track this season.  She ran cross country last year, but decided not to this year, and this is her first time running track.  She's running the 200m, 400m and 4 x 400m relay.  She doesn't care much for sports, but loves being part of a team and wearing a uniform, so she'll join just abouty any sport just for that!  She's actually shaping up to be a pretty decent runner!  She definitely has the skills, but just doesn't have a runner's heart or spirit. 

Gabi is running too.  This is her 4th year on the track team.  She's running the 400m and 4 x 400m relay, and doing the long jump and high jump.  The jumping was a complete fluke.  Her running events are always at the very end of the meet, but she'd have to show up at 7:30a for the start of meets, then just sit around all day until her events around 2:00p.  She was bored out of her skull, so decided to do the jumping events, just to have something to do while waiting for her runs.  Turns out she's actually pretty good, better at jumping than running!

Track meets are loooooooooong.  For "away" meets, we leave the base around 7:00a, and don't get home until around 5:00p.  But E's a real trooper and entertains himself all day long.  He loves going to the meets and cheering for his sisters and the rest of the time he's just plays, acting out stories, playing Star Wars with rocks and sticks (I bring a backpack full of toys and books, but he prefers pretending), running his own imaginary races and all those other little boy games.  He loves spending the entire day outside, but I have to make sure he eats dinner on the way home, because it's a sure bet that he'll fall asleep in the van and stayed sacked for the rest of night!