It was strange going directly from the airport to our house- no interim hotel period. Our house is furnished by Rijen’s work, with furniture we can keep or return and a welcome kit of dishes/essential items on loan until our things arrive. We are living on Kadena Air Force Base.
I’m not going to bother putting together a “house tour” of photographs because I’d rather show how it looks once we have our things, but from the following pictures you can get a sense of what it is like.
As far as acclimating to the time zone goes- usually we end up with one or both of the kids in bed with us/musical beds at some or many points through the night. There has been one night in the time we have been here when both kids slept through the night. Of course I am so used to them waking up, I was wide awake, but at least it was nice to have them both be in their beds in the morning. It hasn’t been bad though, and I think we are all slowly acclimating. We tend to get to bed earlier and get up earlier, so that is good for now.
The kids and I were all tired of the small toys we have been carrying around in our suitcase since May. There were a couple new fun things we got for the plane, but then we bought some toys from the Marine thrift shop on Camp Foster for $5. It gives us all something a little different to do while we wait for our big shipment. Leif likes to practice standing while holding onto this toy contraption, but as you can tell, he’s still a bit unsure of himself.
After unpacking the welcome kit and our suitcases, I realize there isn’t a whole lot to do yet. So our lives are pretty boring. The first week I didn’t have a driver’s license, and even though I have since passed the test, we only have one car. I have successfully driven on the other side of the road though- even though I constantly am flipping the windshield wipers instead of the blinker.
Some of the major tasks we have accomplished have been these:
1. We both got iPhones. So now Fiona can turn the tables and take pictures of me:
And now I can engage in silly texting with Heather (I’m blue):
(As a novice texter, i-phone flubs are still hilarious to me)
2. We set up our internet so I can now check email and pin things on Pinterest.
Yes, I pinned this 27 weeks ago! A Japanese tea kettle! I can finally buy it right? It’s only 15,750 Yen, Rijen! That is either $2.00, $20, or $200, I haven’t quite figured it out yet….
3. We have bought a new car.
Well, it is used- 2003, but only has 15,000 miles since it is from the mainland. It’s a Honda Fit.
4. We’ve had a few moments like these when things have gone wrong…:
5. ..but there have been a lot of fun moments too. When it was very rainy (one of the days leading up to the typhoon) and Fiona wanted to go outside, at first I started to say, “No, Fiona, you can’t go outside, it’s pouring rain,” and then realized going outside is like stepping into a nice sauna with a warm rain massage, so I told her to go ahead!
6. We have ventured off base a couple times. This store caught my eye immediately:
Just in case you can’t tell, the store is called “Happy Furniture Zone.” I am totally going to go shop there, and will let you know what it is like and if the furniture is indeed happy, or if it is the zone I will be in while viewing the furniture which is happy. The store leaves it tantilizingly open to interpretation, no?
Mc Donald’s of course.
7. Fiona and I have watched some Japanese television.
We only receive AFN (Armed Forces Network) as far as what stations we get. The network provides many popular stateside shows as well as important command information pertinent to the military community in lieu of commercials. We have been watching a little bit of the Olympics, but there are two Japanese channels we have checked out from time to time.
Highlights from the Japanese stations included a crazy game show (of course) some very slow folk dancing which I think hypnotized Leif (and possibly me too) and this cartoon, which happened to be on one afternoon.
I’m secretly hoping that Fiona will pick up Japanese by watching crazy anime. If so, I’m not sure how “fluent” she will be, or how appropriate the language in anime would be for a toddler to pick up, but I was actually impressed by the educational value of this one.
As far as I could understand by half-watching the cartoon which of course was in Japanese, these two little schoolgirls in modern times visited this monument while they were on a school trip in Hiroshima:
While looking at the monument, they were magically transported back in time in order to observe the actions of this man as he served in some sort of medical/humanitarian capacity in Europe, Africa and Japan.
After everything was over, I looked up the name of the doctor, and it turns out that it was Dr. Marcel Junod, a Swiss doctor and a Red Cross delegate. He witnessed bombings and the use of mustard gas against civilians during the Italian invasion in Ethiopia. These horrific experiences naturally made a deep impression on him and probably provided the foundation for the humanitarian work he did in Japan during and after WWII.
Most notably, immediately upon receiving photographic and telegraphic evidence of the effects upon Hiroshima after the atomic bomb was dropped, he organized an assistance mission and was the first foreign doctor to arrive on the scene. I found this quote I read from the Wikipedia article significant:
. . On what remained of the station facade the hands of the clock had been stopped by the fire at 8.15.
It was perhaps the first time in the history of humanity that the birth of a new era was recorded on the face of a clock. . . .
- (Dr. Marcel Junod: Warrior without Weapons ICRC, Geneva, 1982, p. 300)
So, I know that all went over Fiona’s head, but at least I learned something! Plus, that is my little cultural/historical offering regarding Japan for this post.
8. I unpacked our 5 air-freight boxes.
So, the belongings that we decided to ship to Japan arrive in two shipments. The first (air-freight) shipment should come within the first few weeks upon arrival. This shipment should contain more essential items that we want right away. The rest of our items will hopefully come before the end of the month.
The bulk of our air freight was our kitchen items, which I am very glad to have, however I wish I had directed Rijen to put some of our clothes in air-freight. I am getting very tired of the 5-shirt/2-skirt rotation I have been doing since May. (I know Steffan, first-world problems). Plus, Leif has outgrown most of his clothes, so he crawls around looking like he is trying to impress the ladies in his muscle shirts.
You can see our living room below- all the paper on the RH side couch is the packaging they used when packing. We had mountains of it.
Leif lounging on the couch while I do all of the work.