Friday, July 10, 2015

Doing American-type things, American Style.

We went to the Navy Base for the 4th of July!
Sort of proof.  Sort of because this is a Japanese boat, but we share the base with Japan.

You know what that means?
During an American holiday, we were surrounded by Americans.  Who spoke American English.  (I mean, just English is amazing, I'm not picky on dialect.)

It was a great time.  Our first overnight stay together somewhere other than our apartment since arriving in Japan.  It took us so long because we had to find a pet care solution that was okay with big dogs.  Pets here are so small that even the few pet "hotels" I found that would agree to take Mac were not anywhere near equipped to care for him.  Aka tiny tiny crate that they would stuff him into for the entire time we were away.  No thank you.

We ended up finding a pet sitter.  Which is a great solution for 1 or 2 night stays, but we'll have to figure something else out down the line for longer vacations.


The Mister has been to the base a few times now for Reserve weekends, but this was to be my first time on the base.  Packing had to be done carefully, as we took trains out there, so we weren't about to lug suitcases.  Backpacks it is.  And since we're only going for one night, we shouldn't pack too much... leave enough space and we could check out the commissary... As predicted I overdid all and everything so I looked a bit like I was going on a 4 month hiking expedition on the train back, but I overall I'd give that a thumbs up.  Because I came back with a whole bunch of new pants and underwear that fit my curvy American frame.  Score.

We learned a few fun things this past weekend.  Would you like to know about them?  Of course you would, that's why you click on these blog posts.

1.  I, KpMcD, get horridly motion-sick on bullet trains.
Which is, you know, not good news when bullet trains are literally the #1 best way to get around this country.  Related interesting news, I have broken my streak of refusing to use Eastern Style toilets because I was out of options and time... but I have still not actually used one for their intended purpose...

2.  Japanese people use forks and knives as poorly as they believe all Americans use chopsticks.  And it was real fun to watch.
We went to a steak house for a meal, because 'Murica, that's why.  The Japanese folks also eating there gripped their utensils like cavemen, and it made us giggle.

3.  The Mascot for Cosmo World - home of Japan's tallest ferris wheel - is named Cosumo.  It took us a couple tries asking folks to get that information.  But now I own a Cosumo key chain.  So that's a win.
Also we totally rode the ferris wheel, which did not make me more sick.  

4.  If you are married to the Mister, you can jokingly point at a big stuffed animal at a carnival booth and say "win me that!" and then before you know it, you have to lug a giant stuffed Tanuki around with you the rest of the weekend.  I am not complaining.  He is an adorable Tanuki.  And he was won on a Skee-ball machine, so we named him Dai-Skee.  Daisuki, pronounced the same way, means love in Japanese.  We're that adorable couple that makes people vomit, I know.  But I had already vomited that day, so I figure me and karma are even.
Dai-Skee, with Bubba for scale.

5.  If you are from the Midwest US, the attraction at Cosmo World named "Aisu-worudo" (Ice World) is really just like walking around in the fall if you forgot your jacket.  You will be amused instantly by the Japanese people who go through this attraction acting as if they will die of hypothermia at any second.
1st: the decor inside Ice World.  
2nd: after we exited the attraction, we immediately got icecream, which came with these little doughnut bears on top.

6.  Taco Bell is not Mexican food (we didn't learn that, we knew that), it is 100% Americana.  And when you've been traveling all day and are tired but hungry, a run for the border is satisfying in an almost carnal way.  We could have cried with joy over grade J beef.

7.  Terminator Genisys is a supremely stupid movie.  But it was in English?  No.  No it's still super stupid.  But we understood all the very convoluted words to describe why Arnold looks so old as an invincible robot, so that's a bit of a plus I guess.

8.  There are some amazingly beautiful Temples all over Japan.  We got to see two before returning to Nagoya Sunday, and they were awe inspiring.
We we able to witness a Shinto wedding ceremony while we were at this temple,
though I didn't take pictures out of respect for the couple.

These three little buddahs... I can't.  they're too cute,
and just hanging out on the side of a path.

9.  You can pay $.20 (20 yen) to go inside the Daibutsu (Giant Buddah).
The Mister said it was a bit claustrophobic inside.  I was happy to just witness the grandeur from the outside.

10.  If you pay extra, you can get into the reserved car on the bullet train with a seat that reclines and personal space that keeps one KpMcD from horking.  So we will do that all the time always now.  The More You Know.

All in all, 10 out of 10 gold stars, would travel again.
What would you do if you got 1 weekend of Americana 
(or your home-country) goodness after a 6 month stint without?
  Tell me in the comments!

In unrelated news, Mac earned himself a submission to DogShaming yesterday by murdering a bag of flour.  This is noteable because it is a 30 minute walk to the place that sells large bags of flour, and bags of flour are heavy, and I had literally JUST lugged that bag to the house then left for 10 minutes to buy carrots.  Thankfully I had purchased two bags, so my mission to bake was not thwarted today*
"The kitchen door didn't properly latch.  ...mmm, flour. (note his nose.)

Still- success!

*fun fact: The Mister and I just now have discovered that if you have made more cream cheese frosting than is needed for your carrot cupcakes, you can dip walnuts in there and chow down.  and we needed you to know, because it's amazing.

today's little language lesson
Shinkansen wa watashi ga byōki ni narimasu
The bullet train makes me sick.


Jen Anderson said...

When I did a semester in Paris, I missed chips. The French aren't that snacky. Once a month, I'd go to the bigger supermarket that had an American section and buy chips & salsa.

I never made it over to the shop that only sold American products. But a few years ago I went back and discovered they'd either moved or opened a branch right by my school (The American University of Paris).

And, of course, a friend & I tracked down turkey cutlets so we could host Thanksgiving dinner.

Kp said...

Chips are interesting here... there's a much different set of flavors. I tend to stick with onion and sour cream when I can find it, but I've seen corn (flavored, not actually made of corn), shrimp, seaweed, plum... Yeah I dunno.

I totally feel you on the Thanksgiving meal! There's something about American holidays in another country that make me more patriotic than I usually am in the states, but you best believe we will be having a traditional turkey meal here too!